Analysis of ‘Judas’ by Lady Gaga music video using Andrew Goodwin’s music video theory By Grace Grier http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wagn8Wrmzuc
Goodwin’s 6 feature of music videos1. There is a relationship between music and visuals. The lyrics are represented with images. Goodwin believes this feature is used because of Synesthesia; a process when sensory impressions are carried from one sense to another. Whilst listening to music people often imagine images associated with the lyrics.2. The visuals used in music videos either illustrate, amplify or disjuncture the lyrics and music.3. Music videos demonstrate typical characteristics of the artist’s genre.4. Videos contain close ups of the artist and motifs and recognizable visual styles which are often demands of the record company.5. There are frequent references to the notion of looking and particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body.6. There are often intertexual references to a variety of other media forms e.g. films, TV programmes, other artists, other music videos.
Feature 1:The relationship between lyrics and visualsThere is evidence of this theory in the music video I am analyzing: ‘Judas’ by LadyGaga. The lyrics of the song are about how Lady Gaga can’t help falling in love withJudas. The song may be seen as a metaphor for Lady Gaga’s effort to do right whenshe is often tempted by evil and sin. There are many religious images and symbolismused throughout to visually illustrate the lyrics, for example the frequent motif of acrucifix. The image of Jesus is also seen throughout, as a visual reference to the songsthemes, with an actor wearing a crown of thorns.
The lyrics of the song are also presented visually in a more literal way through the presentation of the words themselves being shown in the video; the name ‘Judas’ is seen on the back of a leather jacket at many points in the video at the same time the word is sung. In the performance parts of the video Lady Gaga also creates a lyrical/ visual relationship by creating a heart shape with her hands as she sing the lyric: ‘I’m still in love with Judas baby’
2. There is a relationship between music andvisualsThe most obvious link between the music and visuals is the dance sections of the video that highlight and amplify the musical aspects of the song. For example the choreography is in time with the beat. Also the dancing and performance sections mostly occur in the chorus whilst the narrative aspects take place in the verses. This amplifies and adds to the significance of the choruses giving the video shape and pace. Dance routine during chorusThe editing of the video is in time with the beats in the music creating a relationship with the music and visuals. This is typical of Lady Gaga’s genre of pop.
3. Video demonstrates genre characteristicsLady Gaga and the song ‘Judas’ are in the genre of pop. The video demonstrates its genre through typical characteristics such a the glamorous representation of characters. Lady Gaga’s appearance in the video is very glamorous with perfected make up and extravagant outfits. This is typical of a pop video as in many pop videos the artists are often presented as beautiful images of perfection. The whole mise-en-scene of the video is also very dramatic for example the elaborate sets and quantity of actors. These aspects really label and identify the genre of the video as pop. One of Lady Gaga genre typically glamorous and extravagant outfits in the video.
Another major aspect of the pop genre is the theme of love, which is presented frequently in the video but most basically in the introduction of a love interest from the beginning of the video. The first few opening shots of the video use mid and close shots to introduce the male characters: Jesus and Judas and the way lady gaga is embracing Jesus and looking at Judas initiate a theme and narrative of love which is very genre typical. This shot shows Lady Gaga gazing at Judas. We know this as the next shot is of Judas.
The narrative to performance ratio is also typical of a pop video. There is equal amounts of each with lady gaga even singing in many of the narrative sections whilst acting. This is very typical of pop unlike other genres like Rock for example, with rock bands often focusing their videos on performance in order to recreate a live performance feel that appeals to their target audience. Lady gaga singing in a narrative/performa nce section of the video.
4. Close ups of artist and visual style motifs that are often demands of record label.The first image we see of Lady Gaga in the music video is a ECU shot of her face introducing her in a instantly recognizable way.Lady Gaga’s visual style is her constant original reinvention in the way she dresses and fundamentally looks. She is known for her original quirky and sometimes controversial style. This is presented both visually through her extravagant appearance but also through the religious motif and key theme in the video and song which may be seen as controversial.Another visual motif throughout the video is the colour red which is seen in props, setting and costume. This colour connotes ideas of love and passion (typical themes within the videos genre) but is also a colour worn by and used in Lady Gaga videos frequently. (For example. ‘Bad Romance’, ‘Alejandro’ and her infamous meat dress.
5. Frequent reference to the notion of lookingIn the video, Lady Gaga is definitely presented in a voyeuristic way. She is dressed in minimal clothing, for example a red bikini in, in many points of the video. The cinematography also presents Lady Gaga’s body in voyeuristic manner; in the screen shot seen below the flames and lights behind her body highlight and expose the shapes of her body and the way the light surrounds her draws the eye to her appearance.
The beginning of the video is seen in black and white except for Lady Gaga. She is presented in colour through special effects. This again draws the attention of the viewer and introduces the notion of looking.The biblical references in the video especially the way Gaga is presented as an almost spiritual and religious icon especially draw attention to her. This also reflects the nature of her fan dedicated fan base who many see as an highly influential figure. This point is communicated visually not just by the overall mise-en-scene but through the shots of Gaga and Jesus surronded by crowds often shot from low angles making them seem strong and important.
6. Intertextual ReferencesIn the ‘Judas’ video, there is a intertextual reference to films with the use of credits at the beginning. The title of the song is shown in the first shot. The title also shows a red cross sign, therefore introducing two major motifs of the video which I have mentioned earlier (religion and the colour red). This introduction makes the name and video generally recognizable. It is an effective marketing tool and frequently used motif in Lady Gaga’s videos. Many of Lady Gaga’s videos are up to 10 minutes long and are often viewed as short films. This has become a visual style for Lady Gaga’s artist image, so the use of the credits in this video is an intertextual link to her other videos creating a sense of artist image continuity.
Examples of film intertextual references in other Lady Gaga videos
The biker themed mise-en-scene of the video is an intertextual reference to music genres like rock and punk. The way this theme is intertwined with the pop typical conventions of the video make it original but still appealing to a pop target audience.The video continuously makes intertextual references to biblical stories and Christian beliefs both visually and lyrically. One clear example of this visual illustration is the representation of Jesus’ disciples as motor bikers (their names are seen on the back of their leather jackets). This intertextual representation is controversial and in some ways comical through the presentation of these religious, worshipped characters as rebellious bikers.
In conclusion, I have discovered that Lady Gaga’s music video for ‘Judas’ demonstrates the 6 features of Andrew Goodwin’s of a music video.There is relationship between the lyrics, music and visuals through the use of visual symbolism and representation that both illustrates and amplify.The video is typical of its genre but is also original and typical of Lady Gaga’s artist image through using visual motifs and controversial mise-en-scene and themes. (which are often demands of her record label and management)The video portrays Gaga in a very voyeuristic way and also references to the notion of looking frequently.And finally the video includes intertextual references to film, other music videos, other music genres and biblical stories.