Introduction• The music video I am analysing is Paradise by Coldplay, directed by Mat Whitecross. The video goes against a few points made by Andrew Goodwin in Dancing in the Distraction Factory although it still follows the conventions of a pop/rock music video, such as a live performance and having a relationship between the visuals and lyrics, but enacts the narrative in a quirky and comical way.
Lyrics and plot• The lyrics of the song talks about the subject wanting to find paradise in the world, which is amplified by the visuals which the music video shows. The visual images shows an elephant (the main singer, Chris Martin in costume) escaping from captivity before he is seen in London. This is expressed by the quick-cuts of the location in London, most predominantly the zoom-in to the London Underground sign, followed by the elephant’s journey to the train. Between the process of going down to the underground, there are jump cuts to the elephant busking in the station, moving distances from the lens of the screen whilst holding up the lyrics to the song simultaneously, replacing the absent lip-syncing.
Lyrics and plot• Whilst on the underground, the elephant goes to Heathrow airport and flies to an unknown location, where he later comes across three other elephants who look the same as him, playing instruments to make up the four-piece which they are known to be. As a result of this, it is clear that the lyrics of the song helps to describe the journey the band-mates have been on, comparing it to “paradise”. As well as amplifying the lyrics of the song, by the use of unique scenarios and cartoon like costumes, the music video has a comical feel which helps to widen their audience and break the typical rock music stereotype.
Editing• The video cuts to the beat of the music, most notably towards the end of the video. Here the band are performing live in front of a crowd, however they still have the elephant heads on and therefore only the instruments can be seen. Throughout the song, there are no quick cuts in the latter part however the first part of the song is quickly cut to show the chaos of the situation as the elephant tries to flee to his paradise. As a result of this, excitement builds for the main character as the viewers see the elephant leave captivity and search for a better life in the wild.
Costume• The use of costumes in the music video means that there are no close ups of the band-members faces. But due to the characters wearing friendly costumes, a rapport is still able to be created between the artists and the audience. Even though the band’s faces are absent, the use of live performances helps the audience to understand that the four elephants are Coldplay, and therefore although their faces cannot be seen – the true identity of the elephants are known. The unique video helps the marketing for the video, as no video would have the same comical values. But, the lyrics of the song are similar to other Coldplay songs. For example, the line “Every tear a waterfall” is almost identical to Coldplay’s hit song “Every teardrop is a waterfall”. This similarity is another factor which helps the fans of the band consolidate their understanding that the video is one of Coldplay’s without the artists featuring in it.
Mise-en-scene• Due to the use of cuddly costumes being used in the music video, Coldplay are steering away from the heavy beats of the image, whilst also making the notion of looking in a sexualised way very hard. As well as breaking this convention or key feature, no close-ups are performed in this video with the effect of the shot being felt, due to the covering over the performer’s faces. But, the long shots of the four members makes it clear to the audience that the elephants are the bandmates, despite not showing their faces.
Performance base• The video shows a mixture of performance, narrative based and live performances. The narrative tells the story of Coldplay joining as a band, going from busking in the streets in the narrative based, joining together as a four-piece band as shown in the music video performance, followed by the final shots of the elephants performing in a sell-out stadium concert which shows their climax as they reach “paradise” and therefore helps to consolidate the amplification of the lyrics.
Conclusion• Overall, the music video goes against many conventions of features of a rock music video but manage to use their fan base and reputation to their advantage. With the audience recognising their story as a narrative, as well as the intertextual references to other Coldplay songs, it is evident that despite the anonymity the characters are Coldplay.