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Lady Gaga - Paparazzi Analysis
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Lady Gaga - Paparazzi Analysis


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  • 1. Lady Gaga - Paparazzi
  • 2. When was the song released and where?• The album The Fame Monster was released on November 23rd 2009.• The Paparazzi single was released on June 5th 2009 in USA. In England it was released the following day (June 6th 2009) and was released four days later in Australia.
  • 3. Where does the song fit into the discography?• The discography of American singer Lady Gaga consists of two studio albums, three compilation albums, four extended plays, seventeen singles (including three as a featured artist), five promotional singles, two video albums and seventeen music videos. As of October 2011, she has sold an estimated 23 million albums and 64 million singles worldwide, which makes her one of the best-selling music artists of all time.• Paparazzi was the third song she released after Just Dance and Poker Face, possibly relating the song Paparazzi within her discography as she was beginning to rise into fame and become popular within her career, talking about how the paparazzi are now following her everywhere and how she’s dealing with the issue of fame.• The song portrays Gagas struggles in her quest for fame, as well as balancing success and love. Musically, it is an up-tempo dance song whose lyrics describe a stalker following somebody to grab attention and fame.
  • 4. What chart position did the song reach?Released in 2009, chart positions:• United Kingdom – 4• USA – 6• Australia – 2• Austria – 3• Canada – 3• France – 6• Germany – 1• Ireland – 4• New Zealand – 5• Switzerland – 4Certificates given to the single:• United Kingdom – Gold• Switzerland – Gold• New Zealand – Gold• Germany – Gold• Australia – 2x Platinum• USA – 3x Platinum
  • 5. What genre is the song?• It is difficult to distinguish the genre of any of Lady Gaga’s songs. Some of her songs include elements of rock, dance and electronic.• On iTunes the genre of Paparazzi has been defined as pop. However, others also define it as electro pop.
  • 6. Collaborations/ Production• The music video is an eight minute mini-movie starring Gaga and Swedish actor Alexander Skarsgård as her boyfriend – inclusion of a famous actor within her video helps to gain publicity for the video.• The enraged boyfriend throws her over the balcony. Gaga lies at the ground in her own blood as the photographers continue take pictures of her bloody body and tabloid headlines proclaim that her career is over. According to Rolling Stone this scene pays homage to Alfred Hitchcocks film Vertigo.• The music video was directed by Swedish director, Jonas Åkerlund, who has previously directed music videos for artists like The Smashing Pumpkins, Madonna, Moby, Rammstein, and U2• The video was supposed to premiere on June 4, 2009, in the United Kingdom and Ireland, on Channel 4. However, while touring in Australia, Gaga posted a message on her Twitter account on May 29, 2009 saying "Stop leaking my motherfucking videos", which referred to the video being released without the singers consent.
  • 7. Audience engagement with the song?• Rolling Stone writer Daniel Kreps compared the video with the music video of "November Rain." The scenes of the dead models were described as stomach turning while he complimented the video for "brimming with cinematic style [so] that it’s hard to take your eyes off it.• Anna Pickard from The Guardian complimented the video saying that "quite a lot of work has gone into it". However, she opined that the video was too long.• Entertainment Weekly gave a positive review of the video, saying it "gives us even more of the next-level cuckoo we’ve come to expect from the girl born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta." The paparazzi theme of the video was compared to Britney Spearss 2004 video, "Everytime."• The video was nominated for five VMAs at the 2009 awards in the categories of Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography and Best Art Direction. Along with four other nominations for "Poker Face", she and Beyoncé were tied for most nominations that year. The video won the award for Best Art Direction and Best Special Effects. The music video for Gagas single "Telephone" is a continuation of the "Paparazzi" music video, and is a short film as well. The video picks up right where "Paparazzi" left off; starting with Gaga in prison.• Barthes (Semiotics): interpretations of meanings lies within the audience and depends on the experiences, interests, beliefs and cultures they bring with them; multiple meanings (POLYSEMIC)
  • 8. What is the prevailing iconography for the song?• Gaga’s fashion• Dior ring• Dollar bill – with Gaga’s face.• White branded audio earphones• Madonna style outfits – white lingerie is cone-shaped as is the metallic outfit.• Gaga has a white medical cross on her neck cast as she gets out of the limo – symbolizes injury.• Button hairstyle – caused talk among public.• Lady Gaga wears a yellow outfit with symbols of her face within Mickey Mouse on it. This contrasts against the nature of her actions, as Mickey Mouse is associated with childish, innocent concepts.
  • 9. Close reading of the music video• There is a constant theme of chaos and a critique of the media and celebrity lifestyle.• Close-ups on herself and her partner – intrusive.• Close-ups on objects such as flowers, the water feature – creates a calm, luxurious atmosphere, which highlights the exquisite lifestyle of a celebrity. However, it is a strong contrast for the chaos that occurs later in the video.• Upward shots of paparazzi’s flashing cameras create intensity, alertness.• Lady Gaga is the center frame in almost all of the shots.• Use of fades and quick edits – shows the passage of time during the police investigation in which the people disappear and reappear.• Flash of the camera is used to change the shot, complementing the paparazzi that are obsessed with Lady Gaga.• Different forms of media use – paparazzi cameras, newspapers, reporters and microphones.• Digetic sound – tweeting birds, the rustle of the wind, the water fountain.• The major scale on the piano – soft, rhythmic, regular, hypnotic effect which is indicative of normality. This changes to a minor scale, foreshadowing that something bad will happen.• Titles/institutional references – the titles are in keeping with the comic-like feel of the whole video. They are in bold, bright, sixties style typography.• ‘The End’ is a traditional resolve to a film – creates a cinematic approach to the style of the video.• The song has two narratives – one of a girl who, at first, appears to be sweet and innocent is shown to get murderous revenge on her boyfriend after he betrays her. The second is that of the lyrics which convey the media.• Lady Gaga is a principal character – initially shown to be quiet and in love, dependent upon her boyfriend.• At the end she becomes revengeful and dominant.• The media is criticized within the video. They are shown to be manipulative and influential to the public.• ‘I won’t stop until that boy is mine’ – could be a reference to the dead women in the video e.g Gaga wants him to herself.• When Gaga is being escorted by the police after murdering her partner, her hair is styled like a dunce cap.• Aimed at an older audience due to scenes of sexual nature and acts of violence. However, the different styles of fashion and beauty are aimed at a female audience.
  • 10. Close reading cont.• The video begins wiping in slowly from a circle in the center. This establishing shot reveals palm trees shading the sun followed by an extreme long shot of a white mansion. These two scenes reveal the expensive and luxurious location of the video to signify wealth and fame.• Following close-up shot of an exotic pink flower with ‘Starring Lady Gaga’ in bold white font to the side. Most women see flowers as a source of power and they are sometimes compared to the female genitalia and sexuality. This emphasized the idea of Lady Gaga achieving dominance over her partner later in the video. Also, this video was filmed during an uproar in the media about Gaga’s gender.• Lady Gaga is shown frequently as the face of a dollar bill which shows her on a much bigger scale as it makes her look like an iconic figure of America, one which she is progressively becoming.• First outfit – white lingerie piece with feathered features to connote innocence and purity. She has four diamond rings on each of her fingers spelling out the word ‘Dior’ which a famous French fashion company (iconic).• During a moment of kissing between the couple on the balcony, the scene cuts to the gray scale view of camera to symbolize the paparazzi. After the man pushes Gaga over the balcony the camera looks directly up at him from below, signaling that he is the dominant figure.• The shot of Gaga falling into a black and white swirling background is homage to Alfred Hitchcock’s psychological thriller, Vertigo – this emphasizes the movie concept that the video takes the form of.• The shot of Lady Gaga lying in her own blood conveys the press in an atrocious and inconsiderate manner as they continue to obliterate her with photos.• There is a following scene of a limo with a purple carpet – purple being a constant color in this scene. It is associated with royalty due to the fact that it was expensive to make during the middle ages and also signifies power and wisdom.• As the singing begins there is a cut to Lady Gaga dressed in a revealing black leather outfit. Gaga is shown making the shape of a gun with her hand, which signifies death, and, in her case, revenge.• The metallic silver outfit that Gaga wears with her crutches is perhaps based upon a silent film created in 1972 called Metropolis – a tale set in the future about a girl named Maria who is transformed into a Robot. The way Gaga moves from her wheelchair to the way Maria moves is very similar.• There is also the use of strobe lighting in the video, which could symbolize camera flashes from the paparazzi.• The ring that Gaga uses to conceal poison is based on Lucrezia Borgia, the daughter of a powerful Renaissance Valencian in which she was rumored to have hollowed out a ring for the purpose of concealing poison.
  • 11. Theoretical reading of the music video• Lyotard: says there is no single truth – interpretation of meaning lies with the audience• Goodwin: demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close-ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which occur across their work, frequent reference to the notion of looking particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body (reflection of a postmodern society; style over substance, appearance over functionality, exterior valued over interior)• Barthes (Semiotics): interpretations of meanings lies within the audience and depends on the experiences, interests, beliefs and cultures they bring with them; multiple meanings (POLYSEMIC)• The video follows Todorovs theory in the way that it starts with an equilibrium (Gaga in a happy relationship), moves into a disequilibrium (she is pushed off the balcony) and resolves back to an equilibrium (she gets revenge).• The video also unconventionally follows Propp’s character theory because Gaga plays both the victim and the villain.