Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends


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Green Day - Wake Me Up When September Ends

  1. 1. Textual Analysis (Shot by shot)<br />Green Day – Wake Me Up When September Ends <br />
  2. 2. Context <br />Wake Me up When September Ends is a punk rock song by American Band, Green Day. It was released in mid June, 2005 and lasts for over seven minutes. The lead singer of Green Day confirmed that he had written the song as a memorial for his Father who died when he was only ten years old. The director of the video was Samuel Bayer, who had previously directed previous videos from the band, including “American Idiot” and “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. The video stars teen actors, Jamie Bell and Evan Rachel Wood. <br />
  3. 3. The music video begins with a long shot of a teenage couple standing in a field looking lovingly into each other’s eyes. To the left of them is the name of the song, written in bold white text, which stands out against the yellow of the field. As the couple kiss, it cuts to a close up of them as they begin to talk and embrace. <br />As the characters talk, the camera cuts between close ups of their faces. They talk about how much they love each other and how they will never leave one another, no matter what. The camera cuts to a mid shot of the couple embracing, the girl facing the camera. Slowly, the camera begins to zoom as the opening of the song begins. <br />
  4. 4. There is a quick cut to an extreme close up of the lead singer of Green Day’s eye. The camera tilts down to his nose and lips as he begins to sing. There is another cut to an extreme long shot of the couple in the field. He is giving her a piggy back through the field as the sun sets around them. <br />The next shot is of the couple lying down and embracing in the field. In the top left of the screen is the sun setting, which makes this particular shot seem very romantic. <br />Following this, there is a slow cut to the couple walking past benches and a fast food take away stand. By using a long shot, the camera tracks their movements as they walk past groups of people messing around. <br />
  5. 5. The scene cuts to an establishing shot and the girl running through the front door of a house being chased by her boyfriend. They are next seen sitting close together on a sofa, kissing each other softly. There is then a cut to a mid shot the boy being engrossed in a video game. The girl then turns the television off, ending the boys game and they embrace once again. <br />There is a slow cut to a long shot of the couple at a party and an unseen person is holding out a cake with “18” candles on them. The girl is rubbing cake into her boyfriends face and laughing. The silhouette of the lead singer of the band singing into a microphone appears on a red background.<br />
  6. 6. The next scene is a long shot of a closed door. Through this door, the girl is seen walking quickly towards it. The music quietens as the flings the door open, causing the wood crash against the door. As the door opens and she walks through, the boy is seen sitting outside. As the girl talks, her distress is apparent. She starts to sob as her boyfriend tries to comfort her and she pushes him away. Although at this point, it is not clear what the boy has done, he claims in a raised voice that he did it for them and that he thought she would understand. During this scene, there is a mixture of close ups of the characters as they talk, which shows their reactions to the audience. As the boy leaves, the music starts up again. <br />
  7. 7. A long shot of the band follows. The lead singer is standing on the floor whilst the others are on different sized white podiums. There is a red background and bright lights which flash on an on to the beat of the drum. During this scene, various close ups and mid shots are used to show the audience the band members. All of the band members are wearing dark clothing so when the backing lights are down, they look like shadows. <br />
  8. 8. As the lead singer begins to sing, there is a long shot of the girl sitting alone on the sofa. It then cuts to the boy sitting in an army green tank. When the scene cuts quickly to a marine’s officer silently giving orders to those who get off this bus, it has become apparent that the boy has joined the United States Marine Corps. During this scene, there are cuts showing the girl on the sofa, fiddling with a ring on her finger. <br />The next scene is a mid shot of all of the new recruits having their heads shaved. The boy is shown standing at the door, just watching them. When it is his turn to have his head shaved, there is a close up of his expressionless face. <br />
  9. 9. There is then a cut to a close up of the boys face, wearing the headgear of a marine. There are then some fast cuts of an army setting with men in full uniforms holding guns. There is an extreme long shot of a burnt out building, fire, black smoke and the marines walking slowly past it. <br />As the music gets to its loudest point with a guitar solo, there is a huge explosion in the background (which isn’t heard) and missiles are shot at a building. While this happens, there is a cut of the band playing. Behind them, sparks begin to fall, which I believe mimics the bullets raining down on the marines.<br />There is cut back to the marine setting and there are more explosions happening close to base. A long shot shows some of the marines shielding themselves behind a vehicle. <br />
  10. 10. As the music slows and quietens, the sound of bullet fire is heard. The music picks up again and the bullet fire increases. It then stops when the scene cuts to a long shot of the girl washing her face in the bathroom. <br />There is then a cut to a close up of the boy shielding himself behind a wall, looking out at his fellow marines. As he prepares to go out in the open, there is a long shot of one of the marines being shot in the leg and falling to the floor. <br />It cuts back to the boy, who closes his eyes and leans back against the wall. <br />
  11. 11. The scene then cuts to the girl walking up the tattered, wooden stairs of the ‘bleachers’. She sits on them and looks up into the sky. <br />It cuts to the boy looking out at his fallen marine with an over voice of the conversation he had with his girlfriend at the beginning of the video. <br />It when cuts back to a long shot of the girl, with the camera panning upwards until it fades to black.<br />
  12. 12. Final Analysis <br />Green Day’s video for wake me up When September Ends has a mixture of performance and narrative. The narrative shows a clear message about love and war which I think will really touch the hearts of the audience. <br />Wake me up When September Ends does not follow Todorov’s narrative theory. The video starts of in equilibrium, with everything happy and the girl and the boy are in a relationship. The video then remains in disequilibrium for the rest of the video when the girl discovers her boyfriend is going off to war. The video doesn’t particularly follow Propp’s character theory because there are no clear heroes and villains. However, the main character could possibly be labelled as the hero because he is going to war to serve for his country, yet he can also be labelled as the villain for breaking his girlfriend’s heart. <br />