Music Video – The Day I Died – Just Jackhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wmkcwoomOcoThe music video which I have chosen to word process a semiotic analysis of is Just Jack – The day I died. The music video is not aimed at any particular audience, as it is aimed at everyone. The story is of a father and his family, going to work, eating his lunch, taking the bus and going to the shop. It is about normal people living and working, which is why it addresses the majority of the audience as they can relate to it.
The camera commences with an extreme close-up of a male laid on his pillow who is the main protagonist in the storyline of the music video. Initially the shot is slightly blurred, and then the camera pulls into focus, revealing a smile on the face of the man as soon as he wakes up. This is important as the repeated chorus throughout the song is, ‘the day I died was the best day of my life’, and therefore he must be presented as being happy during the entire day. As the man proceeds with his day, we are shown him walking down a road which appears to be in a busy city such as London. There is briefly a crowd shot and the man is walking forwards towards the camera, whereas all other people in the shot are walking the opposite way. The rule of thirds is used, with the protagonist in the centre and there is a pull focus on him. These three aspects of editing ensure that the audience concentrates just on the man person, which is moreover important as he is smiling, connoting that he is happy and enjoying his day.
When he is walking down a street, he stops as he sees a man sat on the floor painting a large earth on the pavement. As he stands at the top of the earth, it reflects the saying, ‘on top of the world’, which implies that somebody is happier than they have ever been. The clip is synchronising with the repeated chorus ‘the best day of my life’, which makes the ending of the video upsetting. There is then an insert shot of the man’s hand which has some coins in, and throws the money in front of the artist on the ground. By donating some of his money to him, this presents the man as being generous and kind. As he approaches his work building and is stood at the door, there is another man on the ground with a box of possessions picking up something that he has dropped. As it is a music video there is no dialogue, however there is a close-up of the man’s face which reveals angered expressions and appears very unhappy, which helps us to understand the storyline of the video. The lyrics then tell us that the other man was a colleague who has been fired, however the main character as pleased as he disliked him and now has the opportunity of promotion in the future. As his colleague is knelt down, there is a high-angle shot of him, which is juxtaposed against the low-angle shot of the main character. The high-angle shot represents the colleague as being submissive, and the low-angle shot represents the protagonist as being dominant and a better person than his colleague.
Throughout the video the weather is very sunny, bright and appears to be warm, which reflects the happy mood of the protagonist. However towards the end when he exits the shop, the weather has suddenly turned dull and dark, which implies that something sinister is going to happen, creating suspense.
At the end we see blood on the man’s head as he collapses and a paramedic signals that he has just died. We are not actually shown what kills the man, however the lyrics work together and explain that ‘he never saw that taxi’.
At the beginning of the video, we can see his two children and his wife eating breakfast in their kitchen. Subtly, we are shown his son sat at the table playing with toy cars, as he imitates a car crashing and an ambulance driving over to the scene. Moreover, the camera pull focuses on the ambulance, signifying that this is the most significant thing in the shot. Therefore right at the opening of the video we are given a hint of what will occur to his dad which creates suspense and makes the viewer want to carry on watching it.
There are a few stereo-typical representations of things in the video which help the audience to immediately acknowledge what they are (Stuart Hall 1980). The bus that the man runs for is a red double-decker which is a stereotypical version of what buses are, even though these are mainly only used in London which is just one city in England. Furthermore, we understand that the two people at the end which try to help the man when he falls are paramedics, as their costumes are green trousers, with a white shirt and a stethoscope around their necks.
As he is in the shop purchasing ‘twenty ciggies and a six-pack’, there is a medium close up as when he leaves the counter, he waves and smiles at the two workers of the shop. This emphasises that he is a nice person, making it more upsetting when he dies at the end.
Towards the end as he walks out of the shop, there is an extreme close-up of the man’s face which displays his confusion and he does not appear to understand what is happening. This is the first time in the video that he is presented as being unhappy, and this is reflects by the sudden change in dark surroundings, which foreshadows that something bad is about to occur. As he falls to the ground dying on the pavement, there is then a montage of images of his children and his wife which are anchored by the lyrics ‘my friends and my kids and my wife’.
In the majority of music videos we are at some intervals shown the singer/singers of the song performing it; however in this video we are not shown the band. This is the most predominant non-generic element of the video.