Music video: Similar text analysisTitle/Artist: Jessie J – Whos Laughing NowGenre: Pop/R&BTarget audience: Teenagers/Young adults 10 – 25Music: Drums, Piano, Base, fast upbeat tempo.Lyric Synopsis: The main message that is being put across through the lyrics is aboutbullying, standing up to people and becoming a better person. We see this throughout thevideo as Jessie J reveals to us how she was bullied as a child in school and didn’t have thenerve to stand up to anyone. However one day she finally plucks up the courage to face thebullies which results in her becoming confident and popular with the other children. Thislater leads Jessie to become one of the most talented up and coming stars of today and sheuses this song as a way off rubbing her stardom and success to get her own back on thebullies.Narrative:The narrative is non-linear as the video starts with a small girl who is meant to be ayoung version of Jessie in her school days. She is walking through a corridor withother girls her age staring and talking about her connoting that they do not like herand that she is the victim. The video consistently changes from the flashbacks of theyoung Jessie at school being bullied and teased back to the grown up adult Jessiewho is talking about her school experience. The young Jessie is sitting in class and hasher classmates shouting insults at her and pulling at her hair. “Hey Jessica you looklike an alien.” You then see the older Jessie creeping up from behind a desk in theclassroom which symbolises her rebirth and the person she has now become incomparison with the young vulnerable girl she used to be. You then see the youngJessie losing her temper, standing up to the bullies and walking out of the class,slamming the doors as she walks down the corridor connoting that she has hadenough and wants to become rebellious so people will notice her. In between all ofthis there are constant cuts to the older Jessie now sitting down in the classroomsinging and look really happy like she has overcome the bullies.We then see Jessie walking through into the hall and there is a Hollywood backdropwhich she stands in front of. This symbolises that Jessie has made it big in Americawith her singing and has become really successful. You then see the young Jessierebelling which connotes she has had enough of being treated like she is invisible as
she is destroying things in the school. She stomps into the lunch hall and ruins all thelunch so the other children cannot eat which connotes that she wants payback.There are still continuous flashbacks to the older Jessie who is still sitting in theclassroom, using a lot of hand gestures which connotes that she is confident anddoesn’t care about what anyone has to say. “She broke out of the box” connotes thatthe young Jessie broke out of the quiet little girl stereotype and became somethingcompletely different and unique. The older Jessie puts up her middle finger whichshows that she is not interested in what the school bullies have to say just to be herfriend now. The final part of the video shows the young Jessie aiming a fire hose atthe bullies and spraying them which shows her getting her own back on them formaking her life hell. She then has a bunch of the other school children jumping andsmiling behind her like they are supporting what she has just done and admire her.She is now their heroine.The video is mostly narrative driven which I think works extremely well as the lyricsand music relate to the storyline which is being performed throughout the video.Featuring Jessie J in the video, lets us know who is the song is sung by and who thevideo is actually about. The mode of address in this song is mainly first person as theartist positions the audience in her point of view as we can see different moments ofher life which lead her to where she is now. An indirect address was used for thenarrative part as the young Jessie in the video acts as if she is not being watched byan audience whereas a direct address is used when the older Jessie sings, as shelooks straight towards the camera as if she is singing directly to us, the audience.Themes:There are two main themes being addressed throughout the music video which areBullying and courage. As most of the video is based around the young Jessie it allows
us to see what was going on when she was a schoolgirl and what she had to face.Through the flashbacks of her childhood and her being teased and verbally abused,we learn that she was victim at school and had to face a nasty bunch of girls her age.As the video goes on we start to see the theme of courage as she stands up to thebullies, showing them that she doesn’t want to be messed around with anymore bycausing a scene and getting her own back.Representation:The social issues that feature in this film are mainly based around the young Jessieand her schooling experience. The flashbacks show scenes of how she was beingbullied and put us in her position of feeling invisible and unimportant as she doesn’tfit in with the other children. At the start of the video the flashbacks show anotherbunch of girls talking about her and sitting behind her in class pulling her hair andkicking her chair as well as calling her names. She finally has enough and stands upfor herself which shows a growth in her personality as she realises that she shouldn’tbe treated like this. The social class is a key part of this video as the girls that arebullying her look more upper middle class as they are dressed in pretty pink clothesand look stuck up and spiteful, whilst Jessie is dressed in plainer boyish clothes andlooks poor and timid, a typical “girl next door” stereotype. However the roles arereversed when we see shots of the older Jessie dressed in a designer outfit with lotsof makeup on. Also she used a lot of hand gestures, mainly pointing at the camerawhich depicts that she is talking to the girl who used to bully her and is beingsarcastic about “who’s laughing now.” When the young Jessie turns rebellious it isbecause she is trying to get attention and I think this is a good to see in the videobecause it reaches out to other children out there who are also being bullied to showthem that they are not alone and you have to stand up to bullies.Technical Codes:The first shot is a slow right panning shot of what looks like a school with the bellringing in the background. We then see a forward CU tracking shot which shows theback of the young Jessie’s head walking through the corridor with loads of other kidshanging around. This puts us in the same place as if we are walking behind her andthe audience is now positioned to experience what Jessie experiences. There is amedium CU of the four girls and we are lead to believe that they are bullies as theylook really snobby and start pointing over at Jessie connoting that she is not liked by
them. The music in the background resembles the noise that a chicken makes whichdenotes that the bullies are actually cowards and chickens. The camera turns to aMCU of Jessie looking at the girls and her facial expressions depict that she is quiteintimidated. There is a pan into the young Jessie which reveals what is going onaround her and how the other students are messing around whilst she is working. Amedium CU shows the girl sitting behind Jessie, pulling at her hair as we hear “ohthey pull my hair.” There are numerous medium CU of the other girls saying horriblethings to her such as “You’ve got teeth just like bugs bunny.” This connotes that theydo not like her and that Jessie is the victim of their bullying games. A CU of Jessieraising her head depicts that she has had enough because her facial expressions havedramatically changed. There is a quick cut to a shot of the older Jessie creeping outfrom behind a desk in the classroom which denotes that she has come back to herold classroom and is remembering how she got bullied as well as showing the bullieshow successful she has become. A CU of the teacher sleeping shows that she is notpaying attention to what is going on in the class and isn’t controlling the bullieswhilst making fun of Jessie. There are a series of jump shots that show the youngJessie standing up and the older Jessie singing which is the first time in the video thatshe really reveals herself and who she has become. She looks very confident andproud of herself as she uses a variety of hand gestures like pointing to the cameraconnoting that she has become a better person in life and wants the bullies to know.We then see the young Jessie storming through the doors in a long shot and a fewother shots show her punching the lockers and knocking things down with her bag.This depicts that she is now rebellious and has had enough of being treated bad.There is a tracking shot of the back of young Jessie’s head walking towards aHollywood setup in the hall which resembles her journey to fame. There are a lot ofquotes in the song from what people have said to her. The young Jessie mouthsthem and looks like she is taking the piss as she does it very smugly rolling her eyes ina medium CU which denotes that she is becoming more confident and doesn’t careabout the bullies. There are still continuous cuts to the older Jessie sitting in theclassroom in the exact same chair as the young Jessie was sitting in. This depicts thatshe is revisiting her childhood. On the second chorus when it says “Who’s laughingnow” we see a CU of the older Jessie laughing which connotes that she is laughing
directly at the bullies because she has come out on top and has done somethinggood with her life.There are several shots of the young Jessie still causing mayhem, now in the canteenthrowing the plates and spitting in the food. There are also quick cuts to the lunchlady who like the other staff in the school, does not seem bothered from the badbehaviour by Jessie.“She broke out of the box.” This denotes that Jessie broke out of the intimidated shygirl persona and stood up for herself. There are more shots of Jessie messing up theschool which leads into an extreme CU of the older Jessie’s lips and her designerwatch connoting that she doesn’t care about what happened to her because she hasbeaten the bullying. As she takes the piss out of the messages she has been receivingfrom her school day bullies, we see a MCU of the four girls mouthing what they latergo on to send Jessie. “Oh my God babes your voice is like wow!” The MCU showsthem looking quite smug again and embarrassed because Jessie has done so well inher life.The final shots as the song draws to a close show Jessie spraying her bullies with afire extinguisher which is like she is getting her own back. We then see the video endwith the rest of her class and a lot of children standing behind her and cheeringwhich connotes that she was the only child to have the guts to stick up to thesebullies. Everyone admires her courage and Jessie finally looks very happy of herself.Symbolic Codes:(Mise-en-scene)The whole video takes place within the school building because the song is aboutbeing at school and what some children go through inside a school. This locationgives the audience an image of a normal life and environment however what is
happening to Jessie obviously isn’t normal as we find out. The young Jessie’s hair isexactly the same as the older Jessie so we can instantly see that this is Jessie in herschool days and we subconsciously make the link. The older Jessie is wearing a lot ofmake-up and has nice nails and clothes etc because she is meant to be rubbing herfame and success into the bullies faces and getting her own back so in this video sheis showing them how she can fix herself up as they used to say she had “teeth likebugs bunny” and taunt her about her looks.Cultural Codes:There are not many indications of iconography in this video to show particularculture codes however there are subtle things can help us guess. I believe this videois based in modern times as the way the characters are dressed shows acontemporary style. However the young Jessie looks like she is from an averageworking class family because she is wearing dull clothes and doesn’t look as wealthyas the other children for example the bullies. In the classroom there are manydifferent coloured children which depicts that it is a multi cultural school.Audience Readings:The preferred reading for this music video was for the audience to understand thatbullying happens to a lot of people and the best thing is stand up for yourself. It’sokay to be different and everybody experiences some sort of bullying or bitchinesstowards them during their lives. The oppositional reading of this video is that peoplemay think that it is promoting bullying.Overall I really like this video and think it is a brilliant piece of work. It has bothnarrative and performance based concepts as well as delivering a very strongmessage that everyone should be able to relate to.