Thursday, 30 September 2010

History of the Music Video

It was in fact around the 1890s when musical papers were turned into something called the illustrated song but it was very hard to come across back then.

The Music Video first became popular during the 1980s due to the launch of a new television channel called MTV (music television) which also widespread the popularity of the music video into other countries such as China and the UK. MVs use a wide range of styles and film making techniques however some MVs do not interpret images from the songs lyrics, making it less literal than expected. It was clear that the decade of the 1980s was the year for MVs as they started to go mainstream rather than just occuring here and there when a band needs promoting. Many important acts of this period owe a great deal of their career and success to the skillful construction and seductive appeal of their music videos.

The 1960s when the french would create a piece of music to go with a short film; they called it a visual jukebox which was still quite rare until a band from Liverpool, UK called "The Beatles" used videos to promote their next tours and distribution in other areas. The Beatles released a music video titled "Twist and Shout" which some people would argue is their undisputed masterpiece. The simple lyrics and performance did not feature many technical aspects of media that are required today yet this video became a hit mostly due to the audience being able to watch The Beatles on television as well as hearing them on their records. This music video became iconic with such a cathchy tune and being the first among the future of the music video. The song has been used constantly in films that make that reference to the sixties such as Ferries Bueller and Benjamin Button.

Around the 1970s the swedish band ABBA used promotional videos to broadcast and distribute their music internationally, as was the case in many countries. ABBA was one of the few bands to inspire the activity of kareoke due to their lyrics being so uplifting an fun which will bring people together in spirit. ABBA will always be a tradition on the kareoke even today with all the new songs out there. Dancing Queen was an iconic music video being that it was something fresh back then and brought forth a new wave of "party music" Here it is now:

Elvis Presley had constructed his own star image during the 1970s when he was promoting himself in image and performance. He starred in musical films in order to pursue a different direction in his career while boosting his music e.g. Elvis Presleys "Viva Las Vegas" became an instant hit as that video used a wider range of new skills in media. Its catchy tune and unique effect at the time helped make the King of Rock and Roll. Here it is now:

The 1980s saw a very high rise in music video consistency as acts like Queen and Michael Jackson done a MV for almost every song they produced which ultimatly became a smash-hit. Michael Jackson was one of the few music legends that sparked the music video to be a positive marketing tool for career boosting and entertainment. for example; Michael Jacksons "Smooth Criminal" considered to be one of the greatest music videos of all time. Michael Jacksons "Thriller" includes skillful use of props and mes which shows the progress of the music video and how narratives were beginning to come into play alot more rather than just filming a performance. Michael Jackson has done a music video for nearly every one of his releases which has led to nearly all of them being no. #1 at some point during the 1980s -1990s Here it is now: - Smooth Criminal

Once USA launched MTV which automatically boosted the music video as a promotional idea, Britain reacted with a similar idea for music entertainment. The birth of "The Top of the Pops" came around this decade; although it is not around anymore while MTV continues to blossom and is now shown worldwide, the style of Top of the Pops remains i.e. the countdown technique used to show audiences the particular songs that are featured in the charts weekly with additions of live performances.

In the early 21st century it saw the rise of directors for the music video which had positive effects on the revenue and the singers/bands career i.e. Britney Spears "Hit Me Baby, One More Time" became the most iconic video of 1999-2000. Britney's music videos has inspired a new genre that is always aimed at the pre-teenage group e.g. Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber are among the new acts today that upkeeps the genre that Britney created. "Hit Me Baby One More Time" remained number one for almost the whole of 1999 due to its popularity and freshness. Here it is now:

Many had to be either censored or banned due to strong images that may influence acts of violence i.e. Prodigy's "Firestarter" contained images of arsonism causing it to be banned by the BBC and other major networks around the world. Rock was not a new genre at this time but it was beginning to evolve making the music stronger and angrier. The genre was at a stage where it had the image to influence people through the music videos that involved spreading anarchy while making audiences see the "fun" side to it. Here it is now:
Nowadays instead of devoting Music Videos to one channel, now we have a wide range of channel that are completely reserved for MVs the difference is that they are split up into genres making it more interactive for people with particular interests. Music Videos will always remain as a promotional idea for any band, singer, it has now become part of normal entertainment.

(2008 - present) Music Videos that are being made today contrast heavily to the music videos that were made 20 years ago. A new wave of themes and effects that have the ability to captivate audiences despite having similar lyrics to each song in the genre i.e. RnB. Most musical acts today are so surreal that they are able to embrace new areas of MVs despite the high amount of odd activity and narrative it is now considered the future of music. For Example; an artist known as Lady Gaga has won a vast amount of rewards due to her unique image and interesting image that has become like a trademark. Her music video "Poker Face" has become a worldwide success through her unique style and performance; it contains a lack of a narrative and seems to focus more on performance i.e. dancing. Her choice of costume is unlike anything that has been used before, ECMS is disturbing and uncomfortable yet it works like a piece of art. Here it is now:

New acts are heavily consisted of rappers as the youth of today are influenced by it yet it does not have a negative effect like Prodigy did. Rap has changed since the 90s it has become more foul-mouthed, glamorous with less disco style to it. Jay Z released a music video called "99 Problems" which i think is a perfect example to show how rap has evolved and what it is today; some rap are hybrids with club music to make it either more like a Pop/RnB video in order to appeal to a wider audience. Jay Z, 99 Problems; Here it is now:

All Summer Long by Kid Rock, Directed by Mike E Clark (2008)

The MES included a numerous amount of things you would associate with Summertime in the USA by the Lake down in Tennessee. This music video features alot of retro cars mixed in with modern speedboats to show the difference between then and now. The costumes were very casual and matched the scenery along with the half naked women there were walking and dancing around (establishing sex appeal, which you would expect from Americans) Old school stereos and aviators from the 1970s.
The cinematography was interesting as it showed all of the young teens around the fire as equals as it pans around them as they pass the whiskey to the next person. The camera only focused on Kid Rock as he described his behaviour back in the day. As the speedboat would zoom past things in the water the camera would film them coming up and then keep the focus as it leaves them behind. CUs on teens "making out" Most of the time the camera would cut from all the partying to Kid Rock and his band actually performing the song with a real flash light effect on the stage.
Basically everything Kid Rock sings/says automatically cuts to a visual of it happening literally with no exaggeration, lyrics do have alot in common with the visuals.
Beach Party music, old-school rock n roll causing the women to pole dance and the guys to go crazy. The music literally causes partying to break out not needing to make sense.
Intertextuality is going back to the 70s (rock decade) for some people. A mash-up of Lynard Skynards "Sweet Home Alabama" & Warren Zevons "Werewolves of London" in the lyrics and tune.
The Narrative is Kid Rock recalling the days when he had the most fun through Flashbacks that do not include him.
The band are portrayed as proper southern yankees who are cool, awesome and have no worries. They somehow get all the hot girls to hang out with them. This will promote them as this music video will definatly garnish alot of fans who want to be like them.
Target audience would probably be the young lads, old school rockers in the USA, maybe some hipees trying to relive the day as well.

California Gurls by Katy Perry, Directed by Matthew Cullen (2010)

Every piece of mise-en-scene in the music video is interesting as it takes costumes and props to the extreme. The costumes are very surreal and colourful which are well suited to the backgrounds which are also very colourful and unusual which changes constantly throughout the video. The diamond dice always seem to appear as a trademark for the high roller gangster type like Snoop Dogg. The props such as the rock candy and ice-cream cone palace etc. are all in CGI as the music video is in alot of depth with the detail, creating a visual dream world.
The camera just seems to follow Katy Perry around on her journey through the candy world and always seems to focus more on her rather than the other women that may be with her at the time in the narrative. The cinematography can suddenly cut away from the certain point in the storyline and return to Katy Perry naked in the candy floss clouds OR Snoop Dogg in his candy palace looking down on the dream world when it is time for the chorus to be heard.
The background is animated into a real cheesy cartoon which make no attempt to replicate a real world location however various california landmarks appear in the video i.e. walk of fame and hollywood sign all made out of confectionary. CGI Gummy Bears as evil henchmen do not create danger but is still an interesting choice of a visual effect.
California Gurls takes place in a fictional place called Candyfornia even though the lyrics are "california" which are bright, happy and makes california girls appear delicious along with everything else surrounding them.
Very party-like music and girly to go with the title. Representing fun and adventure to mix in with the narrative.
This music video was inspired by films such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Alice in Wonderland and does make references to them through the main characters Katy=Alice, Snoop=Wonka and throught the narrative in Candyfornia; Katy Perry and the other women seems to be portraying children rather than adults.
Narrative Performance main topics are teamwork and taking a journey. It shows how california girls can stand up to the men, valuable lessons shining through the fantasy/adventure traits.
Even though this music video appears really innocent and child-like it can cutaway from that and promote Katy Perry through Sex for the men (naked in the clouds) and her dominant character can have an influence on the girls (powerful dancing with other females) that watch this giving her more fans. Snoop Dogg still keeps is image as a "player" which can be identified through his lyrics "Katy my lady, these are the girls I love the most" and his character in this music video which is cool and dominant. The intended audience for this music video are mostly teenage girls and boys who like Snoop Dogg. Children may find this very entertaining as well.

Katy Perry presents herself as a regular female pop singer in which some young girls may idolize her, she constantly wears revealing costumes despite her role in the music video as a mock up of the main character in "Alice in wonderland" (the innocent role) so Katy Perry presents herself as eye candy as well in order to target the typical male audiences out there. This music video makes her appear as a fun-loving person making it harder to dislike Katy Perry as a person/singer as she gives alot of talent in her performance: sing/dance/acting. The music video runs in a linear timeline narrative as most do. Cinematography tries to keep Katy Perry and Snoop Dogg in frame at all times because she is playing the game while he observes her so despite its complex setting/narrative the music video is constantly focused on their performances. Jump cuts speed up Katy Perrys journey and makes it seem fun for everyone, while the camera keeps a low angle shot on Snoop Dogg which makes him always appear in control apart from the narrative end. Over the shoulder shot of Snoop Dogg as he looms and watches over Katy Perrys progress in Candyfornia. The sound in this music video is very loud and dominating yet it matches the same volume as Katy Perrys powerful vocals; instruments are unclear but i would think that there is a DJ somewhere in the soundtrack so the music is very nightclub style but more brighter and light hearted. The fictional candy land is very interesting in terms of going to extreme lengths for the music videos narrative giving it more focus and heart. The special effects used to create the gigantic sweets and evil gummy bears is very child-like and tries not to portray realistic objects that much, the clouds where Katy Perry is featured during the chorus seem pretty realistic and is the only time in the narrative where she pulld away from Snoop Doggs game.

Take on Me by A-Ha, Directed by Steve Barron (1985)

Our Male character has been established as a fictional hearthrob motorcycle racer which already has captured the attention of the female character who is part of the real world and just seems like your normal everyday kind of girl.
Nowadays you would definatly notice the 80s retro fasion worn by both characters; the female wears really baggy clothes which focus more on the colour rather than the figure, the male wears leather and denim which is quite typical for a 80s male hearthrob; intertexuality for Grease, Footloose etc. The cafe setting is interesting because it appears to have no relation with the lyrics or music whatsoever however it can be a typical meeting place for dates between male and female characters introducing the intertexuality once more.
The cinematography is really interesting at the start as they include quick close ups and pan outs of the cartoon images (flicking through) so it's like you yourself are reading it and what you would look at. Chemistry is established through close ups between the real female and cartoon male and continous two-shot frames within the alternate reality where most of the narrative takes place.
The very amazing visual effect would be the B&W comic book characters coming to life and interacting with the real world (like a cool retro 3d effect) the cortoon hand grabbing the female hand and pulling her into his world. How the male still a cartoon is in the real world causing him to shed his black and white colours in flashy effects ultimatly becoming a real person.
The words do not make much point or sense to me however the tone works extrememly well with the visuals and creates a calmer environment for the female character even though she is no longer in her reality but somehow appears to be in a greater comfort zone.
I sure the music represents a love story as its intrumental sounds are very calm and soothing which does not give your mood negative effects and really does set the scene for the chemistry between the male and female and it also puts the narrative into suspense when the two main characters are being chased by rival racers.
This narrative really messes with the real world and creates a whole load of surrealism but does not change genre, this narrative (love story) shares alot of similarities with other popular 80s musical and romance films (grease & footloose) which can capture more of a wider audience.
The genre characteristics would be the establishment of the Male - Female relationship through chemistry at first sight which it clearly was. It also would include characteristics from the musical genre as dancing and singing is thrown into the narrative.
This music video is concept based on a classic 80s love story where the Male is put in danger but does not hesitate to protect his love interest, leads to some sacrifice and fear of danger or death but always ultimatly leads to a happy ending.
The music video promotes the band even through its narrative it seems that the only characters are male, female, rival racers however there are quick shots at members of the band when a guitar solo come into play (boost bands image) the narrative end cuts away from the female and male embracing only to switch to a magazine cover featuring the band "A-Ha" advertises a little.
This can target a mixture of people Male and Female, doesn't matter what age. Mainly for those sensitive souls out there.

Morton Harkett the lead singer is presented as the protagonist in the music videos narrative, helping out the damsel in distress. He is clearly portrayed as eye candy for the female gaze and constructed to be dreamy and brave which will appeal to most girls, stereotypical version of the hero. The narrative has the cheesy 80s romance thing to it. The rest of the band play in the background and make small appearences but do not interfere with the narrative; their music is very dominating with the catchy tune. ECMS; cinematography involves a heavy amount of CUs in order to create the meet cue between the male and female characters and to help the chemistry between them blossom alot more. Panning around the male and female characters helps to capture the romance as well as the interesting setting that has been created for this music video. At the start of the music video there are loads of fast, quick jumps to each picture featured in the comic book which quickly sums up the origin of the male character; makes some sense to the audience and is an interesting opening to a music video. The editing in this music video is fantastic purely because of the effect used to create the fictional comic-book world, animation seems ahead of its time when you watch this video; making this very memorable and iconic. A reversal effect is also used when the comic-book male character tries to enter the real world ad there are flickers of pencil sketching on his body despite the realistic surroundings. The incredibly catchy beat overpowers the vocals throughout the song making "Take on Me" known for its tune giving the audience today that 80s feeling.