Daniella JohnstonKings of Leon – Use SomebodyLead singer, Caleb Followill wrote the song about longing for somebody while feeling lonely on the road/ontour. After watching the video, we can see it has themes of both love and loneliness. The band whose genre isboth rock and indie target a wide audience of both genders, usually young adults, as they are more likely torelate to the band and their songs.Representation of charactersThe band doesn’t conform to our stereotypical views on ‘stars’ believing they are more important than the restof society. Even though they live a life of fame and luxury, we see that they too get lonely at times like ordinarypeople. Audiences can develop a personal relationship by empathising with the band, especially the lead singerin this video, and they may also be able to gain personal identity with the situation. On more than one occasionwe see the band getting out of a car on the way into their gig wearing sunglasses, which likens them to ourstereotypical representation of ‘stars’. However, during these shots they are rushing and avoiding the camerasuggesting they don’t like the publicity and care much more about their music. This is typical of performers inthis genre contrasting with mainstream artists who enjoy being in the public eye.Representations of the indie rock genre are typical. For example, these genres are both male dominated and toshow this there is not one female in the entire video. The overall image of the band is very masculine and theymeet our expectations for a band of this genre. The long hair, tattoos, facial hair and being bearded makes themlook more ‘rugged’. They also wear dark clothing, usually tight skinny jeans with baggier tops and vests. Blackis a colour we would associate with evil and darkness. It connotes power, authority, anger and death etc. andhelps them conform to the audience’s expectations of a stereotypical rebellious rock band. Shots include bandmembers purposely blowing smoke into the camera, lying on the floor looking ‘high’ and skidding across thefloor in a bar, developing this representation even further. One of these is shown in the image above. It lookslike he is trying to catch our attention, similarly to the way rock music is powerful and almost ‘in your face’.This shot also highlights their immaturity and childish behaviour, which is a stereotype for the male gender.Audiences may gain personal identity with the band and the way they behave, especially in scene where theyare doing regular things such as going to the pub and playing pool.Genre typePerformanceThere are many close ups of the vocalist singing to the camera during emotional parts of the song. We see theplaying of guitars, close ups of instrumentalists, on stage performances and screaming crowds.ConceptualThe song tells the story of how life on the road can be lonely. The montage shows the lead singer’s lifestylerevolves around the band, giving him no free time for a relationship. The lyrics ‘You know that I could usesomebody’ creates a mood of feeling low and alone.NarrativeThe camera cuts back to close ups of a female every so often for a second, perhaps one which the lead singerlongs for. It has a linear structure in the way it begins and ends at the night after showing clips of what hashappened throughout a typical day of the band.
Daniella JohnstonIconographyInstrumentsThey are a traditional rock band consisting of a drummer, guitarists and a lead singer.TrafficHighlights their busy lifestyle and how they spend a lot of time on the road travelling. Traffic movesslowly, this could represent how the lead singer is feeling in terms of his relationships and how he feelslike he isn’t getting anywhere.Red CarConnotations include danger, power and love – all of these can be associated with rock music and thethemes in the video. It represents the bands wealth.New York CityKnown for success and also has a lively nightlife to contrast with the lifestyle of the band when they arenot performing.Technical and audio codesMise-en-sceneThe video is set in New York City, known as the city of dreams. This relates to the band as they are living theirs.They could also be dreaming for somebody too. New York is a global powerful city, known for success andwealth, representing the bands lifestyle. Rock music could also be described as strong and powerful, like thecity. In the video there are scenes during the day and the night. These are juxtaposed with each other allowingus to compare the lifestyle of the band to the lifestyle of a regular person. Their lifestyle contrasts with ours asthey spend the day travelling and sleeping in preparation for staying awake to perform during the night.CameraLong shots establish the setting and set the mood for the video. In this shot, the lead singer is in the centre andis the first person we see, showing he has a higher importance in the band and that the song will be centred onhim. There is a clear juxtaposition between the band sitting in their apartment in the dark watching televisionand the bright New York skyline outside. The lively and exciting nightlife is juxtaposed with the lifestyle of theband allowing the audience to compare theirs to that of a regular person.
Daniella JohnstonClose ups and extreme close ups are used. They create a sense of closeness with the lead singer giving the videoan exclusive feel. They tend to be used more during the emotional movements of the song, featuring the vocalistsinging to the camera making more of an impact on the audience. In this particular shot, direct mode of addressis used as he is looking directly at the camera to develop a relationship with the audience. This is effective as itallows the audience to clearly see his emotions and empathise with him.Wide shots represent the unity of the band. They are often used to capture a shot with the entire band in theframe therefore they are used frequently in rock videos. Wide shots also contrast with the use of close ups andmedium shots of the lead singer and band making the video contain a wider variety of camera shots.EditingTime lapse/fast paced editing used whilst on the road highlights that he is always on the go, travelling with theband. It also highlights time is moving forward and fast. The use of this fast pace adds to the concept of thevideo that he has none of his own time to have a social life and perhaps a relationship. It also goes perfectlywith the song as the faster shots are during faster parts of the song and when a shot changes, it cuts directly onthe beat of the song. The shots are all in sync with the song and they work well together.
Daniella JohnstonTwo cross fades are used in this video. The first one is shown in the image above. They allow us to see twoshots at once and this is effective as we get to see the lead singers face against a high angle shot of the city,which we assume to be New York due to the shots earlier in the video. This is effective as it establishes thesetting whilst introducing us to the character, and gives us the impression that is where he is currently located.They make the video look more interesting and professional, adding to the narrative.Black and white is used effectively in this video. We see several shots of the lead singer playing to the camera,alone in his apartment and these shots are in colour. However, all of the shots of the band performing togetherare in black and white and this could be for a variety of reasons. Firstly, black and white creates a mood thatcolour cannot achieve and empathises the themes of darkness, being lonely and feeling ‘down and grey’ like thelead singer is in the video. It develops the concept well and adds to the dark and edgy tones of the video,making it a more conventional rock video. The lack of colour during these shots also breaks down the range ofbright and fast shots so the viewer isn’t too overwhelmed and can’t keep up with what is going on. Anothercommon reason for the use of black and white is to make footage to appear to be from an earlier time in historyor during a dream or memory sequence. This could be to suggest that the band have been together for so longthat they play a huge importance in his life and they have lots of memories together.Neale’s ‘Mental Machinery’“Genre can be defined by instances of repetition and difference, it is part of a process of ‘mental machinery’between the ‘industry, text and subject’ is the theory suggested by Steve Neale. This can be applied to this videoas it conforms to the conventions we would expect to see in such a video, and doesn’t deviate away andchallenge the typical conventions of a rock video, as it is predominantly performance based. We could alsoargue that it also has a slight concept and narrative. It uses many conventions of the rock genre including urbanlandscapes, use of black and white and shadow, close ups on the vocalist during emotional movements and ofhands playing guitars, fast paced editing, a crowd and live performances. The band also looks how we wouldexpect them to; they have a simple and carefree look like much time hasn’t been spent on their image. This isexpected; as they are artists of the rock genre, not mainstream ones, who usually promote their music withtheir image.IdeologiesI think the main ideology that has been encoded into this video is that even though celebrities live a life ofluxury and have everything they would ever need, this doesn’t stop them from getting lonely. We assume thatthe band would enjoy every aspect of their life but we don’t realise that they are constantly on the go, workingand touring for their fans. This video highlights that although that is enjoyable, they don’t get much time tothemselves to live like regular people. In this case, we assume the lead singer is lonely but doesn’t have time for
Daniella Johnstona relationship. Because of this, the audience are positioned in a conventional narrative in which they share thepoint of view with the protagonist and can empathise with him throughout the song.