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Music Video Deconstruction - The Ramones


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A deconstruction of the music video Poison Heart by The Ramones.

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Music Video Deconstruction - The Ramones

  1. 1. Music Video Deconstruction Poison Heart – The Ramones (1992, Radioactive Records)
  2. 2. Goodwin‟s First Feature “Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics (eg stage performance in metal video, dance routine for boy/girl band).” This video obeys this rule well, as the generic video for punk-rock bands are performance based, but The Ramones also use an injection of story based elements to back this up. The dark setup of the lighting connotes the idea of the band being slightly darker than some, which is another common stereotype.
  3. 3. The Second Feature “There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals (either illustrative, amplifying or contradicting).” The song talks of „everybody having a poisoned heart‟, whilst the narrative within the video focuses on a small boy being corrupted from the path of God by a strange demonic looking figure (here). This illustrates the idea of the lyrics, and the use of the young boy connotes that innocence is easily corrupted when we are little, giving the song more of a message to it. The repetition of the chorus is often accompanied with shots of the narrative sections of the video, allowing it to play alongside, or amplify, the lyrics.
  4. 4. The Third Feature “There is a relationship between music and visuals (whether illustrative, amplifying or contradicting).” The flashing light in the video corresponds to the music to amplify the guitar and drums. This is denoted by the way the light flashes on beat with the drums sometimes, or whenever the guitarist performs a certain riff (see 0:24-0:26 in the video, or next slide). When the chorus or other enthusiastic playing kicks in, the video often illustrates this with showing more action on-screen in the narrative, either with the young boy struggling or the demon-like creature fighting back or lashing out. This reflects the beat of the music and makes the video seem more aesthetically pleasing.
  5. 5. 0:43 (Demonic Figure)0:24-0:26, bandmember 0:19, religious imagery in crosses, priest etc. 0:15, band member close-up
  6. 6. The Fourth Feature “The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close-ups of the artist and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work (a visual style).” There are lots of close-ups of the band themselves (here), despite the dark backlighting. These shots are mostly of their faces or instruments, highlighting the popularity of certain brands or showing the viewer what the band looks like, perhaps to promote certain fashion ideas. The song is taken from the album “Mondo Bizarro” (1992), which has a strange album cover that relates to the video in that it uses the same sort of colours and has the same connotations of „crazy‟ behaviour or attitudes.
  7. 7. The Fifth Feature “There is frequently reference to the notion of looking (screens within screens, telescopes, etc.) and/or particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body.” The idea of the demon watching the little boy or following him follows this rule, and connotes an unsavoury feeling about the character. The band also seem to „watch‟ the narrative sections sometimes, though this could just be because of certain editing techniques such as the eyeline match.
  8. 8. The Final Feature “There is often intertextual reference (to films, TV programmes, other music videos, etc.)” The video gives as lot of denotations towards religion, (here), possibly the catholic religion, with the use of crosses, the priest and the demon-like character, connoting a right and wrong style ideal within the video. It is possible that the video also relates to the film Pet Semetery II directed by Mary Lambert, as it was used in this film. However, without watching the film, the intertextual references are hard to pick up on completely.
  9. 9. The Video As A Whole Overall, the video is stereotypically mostly performance-based, although it does contain an interesting narrative that prevents the video from being boring. The use of shots of the band promote the band themselves and the ideas of mystery and unique ideas are denoted heavily with the bizarrely staged narrative creating an almost uncomfortable feeling in the audience. This is very generic of punk-rock bands that wanted to stand out and be a little bit different.