A Critical analysis of ‘Frozen’, ‘stay’, and ‘Closer’. A2 Media Studies
A Quick resume Taken from her ‘Ray of Light’ album in 1998, the Frozen video features Madonna as an enigmatic being in the middle of the Californian desert. The video features only her. Using minimal mise-en-scene and no props, the video manages to captivate the audience with a series of camera shots and grades to convey the song lyrics in which Goodwin claims will have some reference to the music video. The director, Chris Cunningham, is a well established video director with a string of feature successes, working with artists including Shakespears Sister and Aphex twins. The director has trademark likings when it comes to directing videos. He tends to adopt the abnormal approach , whilst making sure he does not fall into the predictable commercial category. Ray of Light-1998 The Aphex Twins Chris Cunningham
According to Goodwin, the lyrics of the song and the actual video footage should share some relationship. This is evident in the video. During the song, the words “ Love is a bird, She needs to fly, let all the hurt inside of you die”, is clearly illustrated. This can be seen in the shot below.
Goodwin is correct when he claims that the lyrics of the song are featured. This allows the audience to feel captivated and actually feel engrossed in the song, rather than just passively watching it. This conveys the mood of the song, which is cold and frozen coincidentally.
Goodwin also claims that there should be a relationship between the music itself and the video. This is evident in the editing. For example, when the first drum beat sounds, the video cuts to a different shot
The mood of the music is also conveyed through the video itself. The title of the song is “frozen ”. Therefore, it would be wise for the video to lack colour, which again, accompanies the lyrics. This gives even greater emphasis on the mood of the song.
Goodwin indicated that there is a demand on the production company to include many close-ups of the central artist. Particularly if the artist is solo. In this case, Madonna is shot using many close-ups indicating her enigmatic persona. She is not really personified as a star in this video, unlike her other productions as this would not be suitable for this genre of music. Check out the screen-grabs below.
Clearly from the screen grabs, we can see that from the various screen-grabs, Madonna looks enigmatic as opposed to other music stars that enjoy emphasising their star-quality. This shows that Goodwin was correct in his claim that camera shots emphasise the music moods.
This video features a woman singing over her dying husband on the operating table. He is on the brink of death, and is being tempted by the devil. The devil in this video, is a woman, probably the second member of the band. This is an excellent representation of heaven and hell and the contrasting appearances of both.
Unlike Frozen, Stay features more star persona, using various camera shots including, extreme close-ups, long shots and MCU’s. this can be clearly referenced to voyeurism. For example, the woman representing hell is dressed in a skin tight costume which could be construed to mean sexual references and deviance. According to Laura Mulvey, as most directors are male, the female is usually the weaker sex, whereas in his case, women appear to be in control.
Throughout this song, a story is being told. A man is close to death and his partner (who represents heaven) and another woman (who represents hell) are fighting over him. Eventually, heaven prevails and hell goes back to the depths. There are no dance routines which is often featured in music genre’s such as R n B. It would be inappropriate to have a dance routine in this song.
The close-up of the woman representing heaven clearly shows desperation as she looks into the camera and at the audience.
Narrative The mise-en-scene in the video clearly tells the story too. From the mise-en-scene, we can clearly see what the situation is. Goodwin believes that extra mise-en-scene allows the artist to truly show their virtuosity.
Throughout the song, the lead singer in the chorus sings “ Stay with me”. When this is being sung, the lead singer is seen to be clinging on to her partner as he lays on the operating table. The screen grab demonstrates this.
Musical/Lyrical relationship The editing also matches the beat and tempo of the song. When the song reaches it’s climax, lights are seen to be flashing and editing becomes faster paced. From these screen grabs, we can see that in the space of just a few seconds, the video has been edited several times. This give the audience a feeling of desperation. When I watch this myself, I get the feeling as if I’m short of breath. The editing here is not in time with the tempo of the music here. This is contrary to Goodwin’s theory.
This video is so much different to the others. It goes against ,any of Goodwin's Principal concepts. Although, it conforms to many too.
Closer is an R n B track taken from Neyo’s smash hit album, “Year of the Gentleman”. Throughout the video, lyrics are featured directly in the video, which is very unusual. Although, it features some choreographed dance routines which are commonplace in today’s R n B videos
This video actually features lyrics from the song directly. Throughout the video, certain lyrics from the song appear in the video alongside the central character. For example, the song title “Closer”, features several times. Although this is done, I can’t help but think, why? It doesn’t add to any emotion, but I like the way they have done this.
There is no specific link between the lyrics and video itself. However, the fast paced editing would suggest that from the lyrics “ I just can’t stop” , would suggest why the editing is so fact paced. In the space of a few short seconds, the amount of cuts and edits is colossal. The screen grabs demonstrate this.
True to the commercial r n b music video, choreographed dance routines are featured. Goodwin claims that this adds to the characters star persona and enhances the stage performance. In many videos of this genre, dance routines are common.
Further to this, various close up shots are used again to enhance the characters’ star persona. For example, Lady GaGa in Pokerface has many close up shots to emphasise her face make up. This is common in many of today's music videos. In this video neyo has many face shots whilst maintaining eye-contact with the audience.
This music video has explicit sexual undertones. The personification of women conforms to both Goodwin’s theory and that of Laura Mulvey. Women are largely blacked-out and their silhouettes are only on display. This is sexual as it outlines their body, as if they are totally naked.
As Goodwin states, the use of various props allow the richness of the genre of music to be conveyed throughout the video. The video features motorbikes and expensive clothes which may symbolise wealth and affluence. There is no bling in this video but it would seem the way the characters are dressed and painted, it suggests wealth.