Sunday, 8 July 2012

Rock Video Analysis 1 - Takin' Me Down

I would love to have made a reference to one particular Dumbledore quote from HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH but sadly the obscene nature of it would have been too unprofessional even for me. But oh well.

For the sake of not making myself feel too conscious about post lengths etc. when analysing these, I'm going to put each analysis in a separate post.

Because Johnny Gioeli was fantastic at Summer of Sonic yesterday I'm going to start with an old Hardline video. (I'm using a MySpace embed because the ones on YouTube have terrible quality. This is slightly better but still not too great).

As this is solely a performance video this could be interesting...

1) Relationship between lyrics and visuals

This is fairly limited because of the aforementioned fact about it being performance only, but there is one fairly interesting point to note - most noticeably during the first chorus, the camera is positioned low down in a low-angle shot so it is looking up at Johnny whilst he's singing the "taking me down" part, so it looks like he is looking down at the viewer.

2) Relationship between music and visuals

As a performance video what we see on screen ties directly in to what we hear, so to get the obvious stuff out of the way: the vocals are lip-synced, the band are miming their parts on their instruments, the Earth revolves around the sun etc.. On to the more interesting stuff, we see a succession of different shots of Neil Schon when he is playing his solo - of particular note is this close-up of his guitar -

This amplifies the status of the guitar in the video quite a lot (and therefore draws attention to the sound of the guitar in the song), both because it is a close-up shot, and because the greyscale filter is applied only to this close-up, and not to any of the full-body wide shots of Neil playing which precede and succeed it.

3) Genre characteristics

This is pretty much your stereotypical classic rock video. So, what do we expect from a rock video?

In regards to props - guitars?


Costume - performers wearing not much?

There's also a heavy focus on action and the video has a lot of fast-paced cuts to represent this - this is something people usually associate with rock music. re: cinematography, pretty all of the shots seem to have a camera pan rather than being stationary to reinforce this action.

4) Close-ups/artist motifs

As you can see from the screenshots I've already posted you can see that there are a lot of close-up shots of the band members, which helps make them recognisable to audiences, thus building up their star image.

To the point of artist motifs/similarities to their other work, despite the constant lineup changes they still seem to keep a consistent use of seemingly random individual greyscale shots mixed in to the video - I've seen this present in this, the Hot Cherie video from the same album, as well as the Fever Dreams video (which actually only came out a couple of months ago).

It's also worth mentioning that all three of these videos consist almost, if not entirely, of performance. This could be to stress the fact that they are pretty awesome as a live band, thus helping sell concert tickets (whenever Johnny hasn't decided to take a ten year break, that is*)?

Also of note (though slightly irrelevant) is that their 2012 album Danger Zone makes reference to the 1992 album Double Eclipse by featuring a picture of an eclipse on the album art.

5) Emphasis on 'looking'/voyeurism

Nothing in regards to the male gaze (there are no women in this video), yet the band seem to be wearing hardly anything with Johnny having forgotten his shirt altogether which is probably to please the fangirls.

There are a number of shots which show the band members looking directly at the camera, as if to address the audience - this helps engage the audience to a further level than just having them passively sitting watching.

6) Intertextual references

I can't see any other than the fact they were conforming to what was popular at the time e.g. the long hair/instruments/performance appeal being similar to what a lot of other rock bands of the time were doing.

*not from music in general, just from Hardline. He's been in Crush 40 with Jun Senoue. And Crush 40 are the best thing.


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