Taylor Swift – We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together
There a different narrative theorists who came up with different approaches to the structure of videos.Propp analyzed folk tales and developed a theory that within each narrative there are a set of stockcharacters, which reappear in every storyline. These roles are:HeroPrincessHelperFalse HeroDispatcherFatherVillainDonorLevi Strauss’ theory dictated that in every media text there are binary oppositions. This is when you havetwo things which are the complete opposite. For example, love and hate, rich and poor. The audiencesubsequently are aware of who they should side with.Barthes was a French semiologist who identified 5 different codes which a narrative uses to catch theaudiences attention. These are:The enigma code – the audience is intrigued by the need to solve a problem.The action code – the audience is excited by the need to resolve a problem.The semantic code – the audience is directed towards an additional meaning by way of connotation.The symbolic code – the audience assumes that a character dressed in black is evil or menacing and formsexpectations of his/her behavior on this basis.The cultural code – the audience derives meaning in a text from shared cultural knowledge about the waythe world works.Todorov’s theory states that in a media text there are five stages.Original equilibrium Disruption Recognition Attempt to restore New Equilibrium
The video starts off straight awaydemonstrating Propp’s theory of therebeing a hero. Taylor Swift is shown asthe hero in this music video, we cantell this as an audience by the factthat she is recognizable as theartist/singer through the use of closeups.
The music video also has aspects of Levi-Strauss’s theory which is binaryopposition. We can see that there is love and hate throughout the music videoand this makes it recognizable to the audience on who they should side with.There is also binary opposition of different environments – her in avintage/trendy style apartment and him in a ‘downtown’ bar. Thisdemonstrates that they are two different people and aren’t right together.
Barthes theory can be applied to themusic video as well as it follows thecultural code in that the audiencecan relate to the girl going through abreak up as it is typical for the 21stcentury. How she is looking througha window thinking about thebreakup at the beginning is typical.This is typical to the genre as mostartists in the same genre will singabout boys/breakups. It makes theaudience feel as though they canrelate.It also has the symbolic code in themusic video. The ‘ex boyfriend’ isalways in darker clothes than Taylor,also he is in darker clothes/lighting.This mise-en-scene makes theaudience see him as evil and sideagainst him.