RESEARCH & PLANNING
Analysis of three media products
1. July Talk - Let her know
Mara and I decided to analyse "Let her know" by July Talk, an indie-rock Canadian band formed in 2012. "Let her know" is one of their first music videos in which the two singers, Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay, are starring. The music video starts with them sitting at a round table, facing each other. On the table there is a glass of water in which Leah is pouring an effervescent sustance, presented in a closeup. The instrumental part starts at the end of this scene, being accompanied by two frames: one with the band's name and the other one with the name of the song. The audience is used with this part of the introduction because it is always used for July Talk’s official music videos along with other specific details. They created their own unique style which can be easily distinguished from other bands. The black and white filter + slow motion is one of their most well known technique used in music videos. All their videos are B&W and slow motion is utilised in this video, from the beginning until the end, like in other videos for example they used it also in "The garden" and in some parts from "Summer dress”. The action takes place in a city full of people where the two singers are filmed in separate scenes, both of them dancing and enjoying the city lights and the crowded atmosphere. The music is very well synchronised with the video. For example, when the crescendo or the "aggressive" part comes, the shaky handheld camera technique is used in order to express an agitated situations. For the soft part, the round table scene is presented. There is a contrast between the city scenes full of energy and the round table almost static scenes. At the end of the video, they meet on the crosswalk and she jumps in his arms. Right in the moment of the hug, the video stops with a black screen. Another well known "habit" is the ending of the music video: the last frame is filmed exactly before something is going to happen and the video stops "brutally". "Let her know" is a conceptual video in which the two singers are freely walking and having fun, experiencing the typical nightlife in a crowded city. The meaning of the lyrics advices boys to not tell girls what they really feel and they shouldn’t get too attached to them in order to not suffer afterwards: "don't let her know that your feelings are for fun" & "don't let her be your favourite telephone".
Even though the official July Talk's website respects most of the conventions, it customises the standard elements presented on the page in a minimalist way. The name of the band is placed in the middle of the homepage, on a dusty black background. It links back to the same homepage where you are able to sign up to their newsletter. Even when you enter the page for the first time you have the option to subscribe. Along with this, they also advertise their brand new album "Touch". The main navigation is on the bottom of the page, brakeing the usual convention in which it is found on the top bar of the page. On the other hand, on the top right, there are the social logos (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Spotify). Their whole website is basically just a long page in which you have to scroll down to see the categories presented in the navigator. After scrolling down, the navigator tab remains fixed on the top of the page. They have the "Music" category, in which there are presented the albums and quick links to amazon and iTunes.
They also have their 8 videos presented at "Videos" category, on a white marble background.
In the "Tour" category they announce all their concert dates and locations, having quick links for buying tickets- on a black and white photo of the band, took in a concert. Twelve photos of them are at "Photos" category, with quick links to their official Instagram account. Nevertheless, the last category "Shop" is linked to another webpage. The branding image is supported by the design of the webpage: a dark colour palette is adopted along with a clean B&W look.
July Talk has three albums, all of them adopting a very minimalistic black and white theme. All their albums are linked to the two vocalists: In the first one "July Talk", both Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay wrote by hand the name of the band (same as the name of their first album) on the cover. The second album "For your bloodshot eyes" shows their two microphones, while in
"Touch", the two singers' hands are presented on their third and last album.
In order to create their own unique style, the band is using the classic "JULY TALK" font. It is used in the last two albums and at the beginning of every official music video. The black and white colour palette along with their neat style are supported by their website, music videos but also by their digipak.
2. Wet - Don't Wanna Be Your Girl
The second music video we decided to analyse belongs to Wet, an indie pop band from New York, active since 2012, and it is called "Don't wanna be your girl", in which the singer Kelly Zutrau, is starring. The conceptual music video represents a well-integrated composition of different shots from nature and mostly close ups in order to transmit the lyrics' personal meaning. Most of the shots are filmed with a drone while others with a 90s handheld camera. When the vocal part comes, the singer is presented in different positions/ locations where the lip sync technique is often used. There are only a few full screen shots during the video: most of them are overlapping each other in different harmonious compositions combining a landscape and a central element. The two main locations presented are a natural environment: a forest and a lake where the singers walks freely and sings, laying on the grass or staying in the water. A noticeble prop is the yellow and blue smoke which is a non-diegetic element to this organic, pure surrounding. The color palette focuses mainly on the contrast between the green ambiance and Kelly's red hair and the contrast between high quality shots overlapping the pixelated handheld shots. The meaning of the lyrics are presenting a dysfunctional relationship in which the singer doesn't want to be part of anymore. She doesn't want to belong to him anymore, that's why the music video is closely connected to nature as an escape.
Wet's official website is s minimalistic as it has a simple blue-coloured background and the cover of the album occupying the entire page. The website also presents more mediums through which fans can access their music or them as a band. Besides the classical Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, they also have Tumblr and Spotify because they want also to approach teenagers who are not seeking for mainstream. They also use conventions like: the cover of their album on the homepage, the homepage, tour dates, videos, store, newsletter sign up and social media links on the header of the page.
They have two categories for online purchasing: one of them is Merch - for their clothing line and the other one is Store - for their album. By clicking on a certain category, you are directly translated to one of their social media pages.
The band released only one album since they started. The cover of the album quite simple but the concept is original and artistic: the singer’s back with hands, but one of them is a shadow. The name of the band and album are not presented on the main cover of it, breaking the conventions. As their target audience is niche, the band doesn’t focus on popularity and promote through their cover.
3. Wheatus - Teenage Dirtbag
Mara and I chose to produce a conceptual music video, so the Teenage Dirtbag video is contrasting our ideas perfectly. Wheatus’ music video is half narrative by presenting a cliché teenage story – an unpopular boy secretly likes a jock’s girlfriend. Even though it may seem that she doesn’t even acknowledge his existence, at prom she comes up to him and invites him to go with her to an Iron Maiden concert and they dance the night away. The other half of the video is the band performing the song at the character’s high school. They are also shown performing at their prom. Throughout the majority of the video, the band and narrative are shown separately, however at the end they both come together. This could represent the two teenagers also coming together, which supports the idea of finding each other. There are many conventions used in this music video with the purpose of sending the song’s message. The clothes of the characters are specific to the roles they are representing. For example, the boyfriend is wearing the specific baseball jacket while the main character is wearing dull normal clothes. The lighting of the video is typical to this type of stories as it’s bright and has a yellow shade. Another convention used would be the crowd dancing next to the band performing.
Wheatus' official website is quite minimalistic. The background is a basic yellow colour, but it fits well together to the large ambiguous font, the colourful band image and album cover. In comparison to the other websites analysed by us, Wheatus's website breaks the conventions of the header categories, as the picture of the band is placed on the top of the website. The website present their music, the tour dates and a merchandise shop. At the bottom of the homepage, the band’s twitter, instagram and facebook are present in order for them to be accesible to their fanbase. If you go to the “Music” category, their “Live 2015” album is available. They have the album cover as the only image present with all of their songs.
Wheatus is not usually a conformist band. Their albums do not usually have a connection with the title and the graphics are not complicated. All their albums are different from each other, not having any particular common feature which would characterise the band. However, their website is matching their latest album's theme (Live 2015). It was recorded throughout the band's 15th Anniversary Tour, containing only songs recorded during concerts.
The conventions Mara and I will use in our A2 Music Video:
From our analysis, we found some conventions that we liked and we wanted to include in our music video. For example, we got inspired by the July Talk's video (the first video analysed) and we want to include some outdoor night shots with city lights. We also want to present a contrasting parallel montage. The narrative is not very clear and it gives the option to interpret it until the resolution point, at the end. The audience needs to analyse the signs and signifiers in order to understand the message.
We chose to analyse the second song by Wet because of its less known way of splitting the screen. Different shots are presented in the same time on the screen. We want to include techniques like split screen or overlapping shots. We want to use the same concept of conceptual music video, high quality and low quality footage and coloured smoke.
Wheatus' video is the third video analysed which helped us realise what we don't want to include in our video. For example, the cliche-ic storyline, bright lights, the performance of the bang and choreography.
The song we chose:
The xx - On Hold
Target audience profile
The xx is a band that constantly impressed their audience, making them more and more eager to listen to their new music. As the people listening to them sticked and supported them through the years, now their audience is mainly made of young adults and teenagers. Because we are part of the XX’s fanbase, we already know what their target audience is. We are fans of their music and videos, so we have an in-depth knowledge on their progress as a band. This is why we didn’t feel we needed to do a target audience questionnaire. The band started small in the UK, with only a few listeners, but grew up and became popular and well-known in the indie world. It started with only 2 members, but recently Jamie XX joined and gave them a more electronic vibe. This attracted more people, because nowadays EDM is the most popular type of music.
We wanted a more detailed “profile” of our audience, so we researched on Spotify (a famous music listening platform). We discovered that even though the band is British, most of their listeners are from America with Mexico City at the top.
In addition, we brainstormed and realised that their audience is formed of people who don’t like mainstream or “radio” music. They are seen as something underground in the music world, but not from the point of view of the indie stage as they are one of the most famous indie electronic bands. All their videos are based on something aesthetically pleasing or artistic, because their audience is formed of people who enjoy these things. Nowadays, teenagers and young adults are very influenced by trends on Tumblr and Instagram, so they started appreciating and dedicating their time to create an “aesthetic”. The XX is formed around this idea as most of their work is seen as something inventive, gorgeous, minimalistic.
We created a mood board for the music video in order to get inspired and to remember our theme when we encounter difficulties along the way. We can maintain the same idea from the very first beginning until the end.
“On Hold” is about trying to extend an already broken relationship. When you keep someone on hold during a phone call, they don’t know if they should wait for the call to resume or end the call by hanging up. This song paints a relationship the same way: the narrator thought their lover would wait until the relationship was steady enough to resume, but instead they broke up. The track is The xx’s first single since their 2012 album Coexist, and the first music from any of them since Jamie xx’s 2015 album In Colour, which featured all three band members on different tracks. The chorus is a sample from “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” by Hall & Oates. It is the first ever vocal sample in a The xx song.
"I think you're too soon to call us old
When and where did we go cold?"
We interpreted the lyrics as the passing from young to old, from having fun to settling down.
Teenagers see the old generation as rigid and cold. They don't want to become like that.
"Where does it stop, where does it stop
Where do you dare me to (draw the line)?"
We see this as the character feels the pressure of adulthood, a monologue in which
she asks herself where do the responisbilities end.
"My young heart chose to believe
We were destined
All need love
Call it a lesson
The stars and the charts
And the cards make sense
Only when we want them to
When I lie awake staring in to space
I see a different view."
The character has a naive mentality regarding her future, thinking that all she needs is love.
Although, she is aware of the socially constructed idea of how a successful adult have to look like.
"I thought I had you on hold."
Even though the original meaning of this lyrics is putting someone on hold during a call,
we refer to it pausing the timeand postponing the inevitable growing up process.
Story & Plot
The whole story is based on a parallel montage that presents Mia’s life in the present and past. The contrast between Mia Old’s life (in an office, answering calls) and Mia Young’s life ( partying, drinking) goes very deep, as it emphasises the complexity of adulthood and how much you change as you grow up. It is both conceptual and narrative.
The plot begins with Mia Old in an office answering a phone call; this transcends into Mia Young arriving home, throwing her backpack on the bed and getting a text about a party. She ignores the backpack, starting to get ready to go out. Then she is seen on the bus, on her way to the party. After that, Mia Young arrives at the club, does various things such as drinking, smoking and socialising. In parallel, Mia Old is still at her office, drinking coffee, listening to music while arranging some papers. Mia Young is shown outside the club, while another girl is kissing her neck. The plot goes on by showing Mia Young out of the club, and Mia Old at home, wiping her make-up off. The following shots will be conceptual and we will try to connote certain ideas such as youth, progress, changes, life, throughout this time. The plot will end with both of them meeting on a bridge at sunrise.
I am satisfied with the locations we chose because they were all fit for our music video. They help us establish the narrative in both public and private spaces. We set a schedule in which the weather was on our side, in order to have a great natural light when it comes to outdoor places. For the indoors, we could use some extra lighting in order to obtain the effect we needed.
Other possible locations:
Sofia Carnessali as Mia Young
Luisa Alberti as Mia Old