“A music video is entirely determined by the genre of the music track”. With reference to two music videos explore how far this statement is true. (Aphex Twin – Come To Daddy, Michael Jackson – Thriller) A music video is a filmed or videotaped product designed to aid in the presentation of a music track to its audience. It is a commercial product, often featuring a performance of the track by the artist, or simply a way of selling the track in a certain style, visually.
A musical genre refers to a class or category of artistic endeavour having a particular form.The Aphex Twin video, Come To Daddy, is certainly one of the most eccentric music videos that I have analysed. It intertwines elements of different genres, to produce a video so dissimilar to reality. The director, Chris Cunningham, wanted to make an impact with this video, which he did with distinguished style and distinction, as we have seen from him so many times previously in his works, e.
g. Leftfield’s Africa Shox. The video starts with a rather gentle and sombre feel to it, where you see an old woman walking her dog.The dog however is not the small, vivacious dog you would expect an elderly lady to own. On the contrary, it is big and looks rather aggressive.
This could be a subtle tie in with the rest of the video, as it foreshadows the nature of what is to come. The old woman comes across an old, abandoned television set in the middle of a block of flats, which creates an atmosphere of tension as the track itself changes in pace and pitch. The dog starts barking at the television, which is shown in a mixture of normal and slowed down time.You can tell that something is about to happen, as the mood has just completely changed. The entire piece breaks from peace and ambiance, to fast pace and intensity. A head then appears in the television, which looks faintly human; just distorted.
Conjunctively, you are shown a group of young girls in another part of the area. However, their faces are different to how you would expect a pre teen female to appear. They all exhibit the same or at least a very similar face to the one seen in the television.
We continuously switch between these two scenes.As the video progresses, the old woman is portrayed to be increasingly more scared, and the “girls” begin to vandalise the surrounding neighbourhood. As the video nears an end, the face in the television finally becomes flesh and steps out. He is exposed as a monster, evil by nature and hideous to look at.
The sort of fiend often witnessed in horror movies. The monster then screams at the old lady, which gives the audience a sense of revulsion as we feel anxious for her. You are shown the girls vandalising the city once more before the video ends.The possible implication trying to be displayed is that television is evil. It turns people into similar creatures, and bestows ideas of violence and destruction.
This is illustrated when the girls with the same faces are terrorising the neighbourhood. The ‘monster’ coming out of the television shows the evil that can be broadcasted across television networks. The man that comes out of the television is being represented as rebellious, evil, nasty, scary and dangerous. There are also elements of peculiarity, and he comes across as quite psychotic; just by looking at him you can tell that he is monstrous.
Also, the television itself has a significant representation behind it. I believe that the video is trying to tell us that television spawns evil, and is thus the centre of malevolence. The old woman is being portrayed as the innocence of people, in my mind. When you see an old woman, our immediate expectations are that she is innocent and guiltless. If they had used say, a young male, you would not get the same sense of vulnerability. The young girls are being represented as those that are affected by television, so could also be seen as the innocent.
The only two main genres present here are horror and sci-fi. The horror element comes in when you see the children and the monster in the television. The sci-fi side to the video comes with the colours used and the way the video has been edited. When you see close-ups of the man in the television, there are certain rudiments of this genre as the head has been edited to look abnormal and inhumane.
There is a very surreal feel to this video, mostly because of the images and colours used. The faces on the girls seem so strange that it gives this music video an entirely bizarre feel to it.It is intended to scare and shock people, which I certainly think it did. There are many different images being shown on the screen, and it is constantly switching between these.
This, to me, shows a distinct correlation between the terrorising girls and the monster/man in the television. The intended message is to show that television is evil and it produces evil. As I mentioned before, this video was intended to be scary and thus MTV had to play it at night. It was thought to be too scary for children because of its savage, and sometimes horrifying, nature.For his work on this video, Chris Cunningham (the director) gained a lot of respect in the music video industry. He was highly sort after because of his originality and creativity. This video emphasises that point as there are not many music videos that have to be shown late at night due to their content. Madonna saw this video and decided that she wanted Cunningham to direct the video for her song Frozen.
This again was a big success and excelled his status and capability of creating a good music video. This, to me, really shows how much a director can influence a music video’s style/format.This video was set in a city that one would imagine was quite large. It was mostly shot in a nasty and derelict side of town, where vandalism is common, and graffiti lines the walls. In the long shots of the area around where it is set, you can see run down buildings and office blocks. There are is one main set, which is where the old woman comes across the television. It is in a square, amongst a block of flats, and you can see many bin bags and rubbish just lying around. This could be to emphasise the nasty nature of the creature inside the television, and give a visual representation to his personality.
The areas that the girls are vandalising are very similar to where the television is. You are shown dirty car parks, and rubbish lined streets, which the girls run along in a frenzy of sabotage. Again, I believe this is to represent the nature of the song and the characters within the video. It sets the mood, and gauges how you are going to feel towards these people. The camerawork in this video is very complex; it constantly switches between scenes and different types of shot.
There is lots of movement, for instance tracking is used when the girls are running down the street i. e. the camera is very rarely left in one position.
When you are in the scene with the television, there are many close-up shots on the face. This shows us that he is the main subject of the video, and also gives you a solid image of this creature. When the old woman is watching the evil face in the television, you get many high-angle shots of her, which gives you a feeling of superiority/domination over her. As this woman is terrified of what she is seeing, you would get the idea that you are greater than her. As well as high-angle shots, there are also low-angle shots featured in this video, mainly of when the camera looks up at the flats.You get a feeling of inferiority towards them, as if they have cornered you with the monster/man about to attack. Come To Daddy features many qualities that make it stand out from the rest of the music video industry. This is mostly down to the directing skills of Chris Cunningham, and also the editing skills that created the sense of horror and individuality that this video sent across.
Again, this music video states how not only a director can determine a music video, but also current events, as the meaning/message of this particular video would suggest.The music track really does not play a vital role in the production of this video. In Michael Jackson’s Thriller they focus a lot on building a horror-based generic narrative. The director, John Landis, uses certain techniques like colours, shadows, camera angles and sound effects that make it effective and triumphant in doing this. If we examine the mise-en-sci?? ne of this video, colours are used extremely efficiently to create tension and suspense.
It often symbolises certain aspects that people do not see when they first view a product, for example safety and danger.We instantly detect Michael Jackson’s red clothes that he wears throughout the piece. The red colour shows the audience that he is precarious or will become so. On the contrary, his counterpart wears pink and white codes of dress, conveying a state of incorruptibility and virtuousness. We can also get a sense of foreboding from these two contradicting characters.
As their personas clash in such a way, we can guess what the director is attempting to achieve. Just by observing these codes of dress, we have instantly recognised the nature of what is to come in the product.Almost unsurprisingly, the soundtrack in this particular piece becomes an extremely important feature towards the success of the product.
There are many uses of diegetic/non-diegetic sound throughout the piece which contribute towards this, for example, the maniacal laugh which concludes the video. This leaves the audience in a state of apprehension with the video’s conclusion; telling us that the girl is still in peril. An example of diegetic sound is when the girl is screaming when Michael Jackson is turning into a werewolf.
The scream makes us empathise, sit up and become aware. It’s a warning sound that is intended to frighten us. It puts the viewer in the girl’s situation and helps us to feel how terrified she is.
The crunching of the stones beneath our two central characters’ feet, when they are walking along the path after the car has broken down, is another example of a diegetic sound. This is the only sound we hear at the time and it is silent all around them. Although the situation appears safe, it also exposes the fact that anything could happen, at any time.These few examples are evidence that sound effects are especially important for a horror-style music video to be successful. The camerawork within the piece, although not groundbreaking in anyway, is effective nonetheless.
The first notable shot is the close-up of Michael’s face as he transforms; this shows the viewer, in detail, precisely what is changing and thus clearly stating that something abnormal is taking place. Much later in the ‘short-film’, we can observe an exceptional use of a panning shot as the zombies encircle our central characters, portraying a strong feeling of enclosure.The effectiveness of this product as a whole, although rather dated, is extraordinary. All of the different techniques of tension building, camerawork and editing that have been incorporated into a single music video make this one of the most successful concoctions of its time. Although the Aphex Twin video would almost undeniably suggest that there are several other factors which depict the final product of a music video, Thriller does the opposite.
The Thriller music track is unmistakeably of the horror genre, and the same could be said for the music video itself.If a successful music video is defined as one which reiterates and expands upon the ideas that a soundtrack portrays, then it would be impossible to suggest that this product could be anything but the genre of the track itself. Through Chris Cunningham’s work, we notice a distinct hidden meaning within the video, however, to completely prove the essay statement to be true, Michael Jackson’s Thriller can be described to be no more than a carefully constructed version of the music track, in visual form.