Razorlight is an English-Swedish indie rock band that formed in 2002. Their song “America” is the second single to be released from their self titled album “Razorlight”. It was written by the band members of Razorlight. The performance music video is about a lazy couch potato’s feeling of alienation and boredom by American culture when compared to coverage on America.
The key characteristic of the Indie genre is a performance element in the music video. In “America” by Razorlight, the first few shots of the music video immediately introduce a performance element where a member is playing the guitar. The medium shot of the band member playing the guitar introduces the audience to the settings, members and instruments. Another characteristic of the genre is it’s independent from mainstream culture. For example the location of the music video seems to in a isolation venue, possibly underground which further highlights their rejection of mainstream culture. Popular underground music venues emerged in America and elsewhere in the 1980s and 1990s. Another characteristic of the Indie genre is the “Do-it- yourself” ethic whereby band members play their own instruments on their own terms and in their own location. All these characteristics are demonstrated in the music video.
There is a very strong relationship between the lyrics and visuals in the music video. For example the whole song is based on America therefore various images of America’s bridges and motorways are shown. Furthermore, when the lead singer sings “I light a cigarette”, an over the shoulder shot is used to show the cigarette and its fumes on the screen. Since the whole song is based on a couch potato’s alienation from American culture, a medium shot is used to show a man sitting on the couch with in front of him an empty pizza box and a cigarette. Furthermore, to further highlight America’s use in the music video, images of places in America are continuously played on a screen behind the lead singer.
There is a constant relationship between the music and visuals in the music video. For example, when the lead singer is singing a medium close up is used to demonstrate this. Also, when the lead singer is also playing the guitar, a slight high angle long shot is used to highlight this. Furthermore, when the drum intro kicks in at 0:47, a medium shot of the drummer is used to introduce him and his role in the band. Also, when the music becomes more upbeat we can see in the music video that the lead singer begins to move more to the music and begins to bounce on the spot.
Goodwin’s theory highlights the fact that in order to meet the demands of the record label close up shots need to be used in order to introduce the band to the audience. For example a medium close up shot of the lead singer is used to introduce him as the lead singer. A medium shot is used to introduce the drummer of the band and a medium shot is also used to introduce the band’s keyboardist in the music video. The record label also demands that the band have their own image therefore most of the band members have adored a typically indie style- floppy hair with side fringes, casual laid-back clothes. The exception to this style is the member who is playing the keyboard in the video.
Notion of looking and voyeuristic treatment of the female body.
There is no voyeuristic treatment of the female body present in the video. As highlighted before, the inclusion of this element would prove disastrous for the band as it may alienate their female fan base. There is a notion of looking present in the music video. For example a screen within the screen is used to portray the various images of America and when the lead singer asks “How does it feel?” the screen is used again but this time with the band members directly in front who are holding signs which demonstrate how they feel.
There are no intertextual references in the music video. This could mainly be due to the fact that the band may want the audience to completely focus on their song, music video and image and not something else.