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Analysis of three favourite videos David Bowie – Ashes to Ashes According to Andrew Goodwin, the typical characteristics of a music video should include some sort of relationship between the lyrics and the visuals, but in this video directed by David Mallet and David Bowie there’s not such an obvious relationship. The video is abstract and experimental with the use of unusual colours, different scenes, editing techniques and characters, for the music genre I think this works well. Goodwin suggests that there should be a relationship between the music and visuals. The song is quite slow and dreamlike and the video does well to create this with the editing techniques and the slow-push camera position – with the camera moving slowly towards the characters. In the song there is an intertextual reference to an earlier song by David Bowie, Space Oddity, where he talks about his character of Major Tom being a Junkie rather than an Astronaut.

According to Goodwin, artists may develop their own star iconography. I think this video is a very good example of Goodwin’s theory as David Bowie has used the same effect with one pupil being dilated and the other not in this music video and his earlier music video, Life on Mars?. Bowie usually wears a lot of make up in his music videos which make the audience question whether he is male or female if they’ve never seen him before. I think he


embraces this fact which has become part of his star image in and out of his music videos.

This part of the music video is very confusing for the audience to understand its purpose in the video. The characters are wearing old clothes and are all women apart from Bowie. There really isn’t much of a definition as to why it was included in the music video apart from the effect of seeming quite cultish and odd when the two women on the outer side of the group sort of bow down. Bowie is in the middle as if he is the leading force of the group. I think the digger could be metaphoric for a controlling force. I

think the main theme of the music video is about the main character losing his mind, the light coming in from the top of the room and the padded walls and chair suggest that he is in a mental institution, perhaps everything in the music video is a dream that he is having whilst in a mental institution. The Specials – A Message To You Rudy This music video directed by Martin Baker is a very good example of Goodwin’s ideology of a relationship between the lyrics and visuals. Within the music video we are shown young people ‘messing around’, which relates directly to the lyrics. As well as being shown the various youth figures who are being portrayed as ‘bad’ we get a sense that the music video on the whole is not very serious and has much


more of a fun and happy feel to it, which I think the band want in order to depict their image as such, like in this shot, all the band are energetic and moving to the music, some of them look bored and serious which add to this image that the band want to portray themselves as. The music and the video go very well with each other as there are regular cuts in beat to the music which work in harmony with the images being shown.

Goodwin says that the record company demand lots of close-ups of the main vocalist(s), which there are of the three main singers in the Specials. I like how a crane-shot is used looking down on the vocalists, it makes them seem inferior to the audience, they’re looking up at them trying to get there message through to an audience that probably isn’t listening. I like this shot of the older people sort of pointing there finger because the younger people are misbehaving, it’s a classic case of the old vs. the youth. I think The Specials star iconography is the 80’s skinhead look, they want to look ‘hard’ as well as having a cool and fun feel about them.


Fatboy Slim – Build It Up, Tear It Down This is another example of Goodwin’s theory and how there is a relationship between the lyrics and the song. There are fairly few lyrics and the ones that are, are repeated, which is common with the dance music genre.

In the video there are not many close-ups of Fatboy Slim but there are loads of places where we see him, like at the club where he is DJ-ing. He is portrayed as quite fun and lively like his music and also a bit rebellious. This music video helps with this image because it shows people having a good time out and getting completely wasted. They end up tearing up the room afterwards which is the most logical thing to do. The camera speeds up then slows down and rewinds often in the first minute of the song which is building up from the introduction. It goes very well with the music. I also like the fact that the camera blurs occasionally then comes back into focus and blurs out again, it could be said that the film is a recreation of a persons night out, with the camera held from the point of view of a person walking into the party and observing who and what they see. Also these editing effects could be used as to portray a kind of drug influenced outlook on the party.


Chemical Brothers – Let Forever Be I think this song is kind of open-ended as to what the relationship between the lyrics and the music is. It has little singing yet somehow we have occasional This music video was directed by He tends to repeat images which is a characteristic signature with his work. I like how he does this with the woman waking and turning off her alarm.


Analysis of three