Music Video Analysis
Usher - Burn
By Holly Boyd
Genre of the song
It is a combination of R'n'B and Ballad.
A slow-jam song and this is indicated through the musical instruments (guitar &
piano) and a beat that is used. It can also be shown through the lyrics.
Who is the artist?
Usher is an American recording artist and actor. He was first
known in the 1990's. His success has continued through out the
years and has become better every time he released an album.
To date, Usher has sold over 45 million albums worldwide.
He has won numerous awards including five Grammy Awards,
four World Music Awards, four American Music Awards and
nineteen Billboard Music Awards.
The lyrics are about a break-up. How the
artist (Usher) is in love but isn't happy in
the relationship he's in. He then ends it
with the lady but soon realises he wants
When you read the lyrics its clear its not
going to be a fast-beat, happy song.
In each stanza there is, including the
chorus, there is the word 'Burn'. This show
a clear comparison between the song
name and the lyrics. This is a good way to
make the listener remember the song
‘When your feeling ain't
the same and your body
don't want to but you
know gotta let it go cuz the
party ain't jumpin' like it
used to even though this
might ruin you let it burn
let it burn gotta let it burn.’
Name of the song
• When the reader reads the name of the song...'Burn', it is not clear
whether its going to be a fast or a slow song.
• It is only properly understood when you hear the tune itself.
• The word 'Burn' is repeated throughout the song which makes it known
to the audience why it is called that.
• They consider this song to be the inner thoughts of Usher.
What the song is about
This song is about a guy who breaks his
girlfriend's heart by breaking up with her and
then later regrets it. He feels like he is
burning without her but she isn't coming
• There are two musical instruments involved in this song and these are the guitar
• There is also a constant beat that is repeated in the background.
• The voice range brings the whole song together without it, it would not be as
addictive as it is now.
• It is not edited on the beat, its edited on the lyrics.
Shots/ Camera Work & Sounds
The music video begins with a close up shot of the artist eyes (Usher) it then pans and
cuts to the ladies eyes who he is talking to and during this point, he is starting the song in
a spoken intro, this shows Usher is talking to the girl from his point of view.
When he begins to talk there is flashes at the end of each sentence. I think this is done to show
the lady blinking so its clear for the audience to know Usher is talking to her, during the part
Usher is talking, they use medium shots of him. It then cuts to an image of the lady so the
audience know for a fact he's talking to that lady featured. After every sentence there’s a shot
that relevant to what he’s just said, this shows he’s beginning to do a narrative within his
Burn, is the main focus of this video and it is seen in close-up shots of his eyes where there is a
flame in them, we can also see this in other various shots such a long shot where he's standing
next to the car and the trees are on fire. I think this is done to show how Usher reminisces on
what him and his ex girl-friend use to do, but then when the flame comes it shows the love has
When he is doing the narrative it always cuts to Usher singing after. This could be done
because he's in present and not in the future and he keeps thinking that.
When he is singing, we see extreme close-up shots of his mouth. Fades are used throughout the
music video and these work well because the audience then know when there coming out of
the narrative part of the video.
We hear non-diegetic sound towards the end of the video this is the cars engine. The video
then ends on a panning shot of Usher looking towards the floor in a medium-long shot.
Goodwin's Music Analysis
The music video demonstrates the genre characteristics:
I would typically associate lots dancing with RnB music and this is shown
frequently through the course of the video but as it is also a ballad the
dancing is very slow, which I think is better as it helps you to focus more
on the message the lyrics are giving out rather than the actions of the
There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals:
When the word burn is sung there is always reference to fire whether it is
just shots of objects burning in the distance or just flames.
When he sings about the relationship he is in, we are always shown what
the girl he sings about is doing.
The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close
ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which recur across
their work :
Throughout the whole of the music video there are many close ups, but
most of them being of Usher (the artist) to show his emotions, which helps
us as the audience fully understand what he is feeling.
Carol Vernallis Analysis
‘Quick cutting on the beat’: As soon as the tempo changes in
the song we are always cut across to a different scene in the
There are lots of very short, quick edits in music video. These
build up a montage and help to tell the story of the video.
“the editing in music video works hard to ensure that no
single element (the narrative, the setting, the performance,
the star, the lyrics, the song) gains the upper hand.”- In this
circumstance they tend to show the artist a lot and he
therefore has the upper hand.
Cutting against movement
• Lots of match on action, this helps to generate the sense of on
• Occasionally there are jump cuts as they break the 30 degree rule
by keeping the camera static and cutting
• Lots of different camera shots are used; long shots, close ups and
wide shots. Close ups are used so we can see how emotional usher
feels about the whole situation, where as long and wide shots are
used to show body movement and surroundings.
• Fades are used to show how times have changed, this is shown
when Usher is sitting on the bed and occasionally we see the girl
he sings about sitting behind him.
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.