Band: Cage and the Elephant
Song: “Ain’t no Rest for the
Total Shots: 147 Separate Shots
Cage and the Elephant is a indie rock band who are known for creating very
unique songs that often explore strange and normally untouched themes. The
specific song I went for this time was their song “Ain’t no Rest for the Wicked”.
The song itself is about how the hardship of life can make people actions that
may be deemed socially unacceptable hence the popular saying “no rest for the
Moving onto the video itself it has a very disjointed appearance and editing style.
The entire video has a old film reel filter placed on top of it and we often see the
sides of the film on the video or even the film itself burring up. Using this filter
makes the video seem dirtier and disjointed as if somebody had hastily cut the
film together and it creates this almost dizzying sense, as we feel confused just as
the main singer looks like in the video.
The video itself does fall to some of the genre and general music video
conventions. During the chorus when the tempo of the song speeds up we
suddenly see a massive increase in the amount of cuts and edits used. This
amplifies the message of the music and creates a harmony between the two
mediums as when the temp increases so does the edits. It gives the video a great
sense of pace and makes the audience feel like they are going on some form of
journey with the narrative of the video.
Throughout the video we also see many close up and medium close up shots of
just the lead singer of the band walking along a road. This is probably some input
from the record label, as they would prefer to create a brand around the lead
singer who is obviously the main aspect of any band hence the alternative name
“The Frontman”. That said there are plenty of quick cuts to the other band
members playing their respective instruments, which in itself is a genre
convention of the rock/indie genre as they often show the artists playing their
instruments on screen along with the audio. This again gets the band’s image out
there and helps the audience to identify them, which then makes it easier to sell
the bands content and merchandise.
Linking back to this idea of narrative mentioned earlier. Here we have a non-
chronological story told during the course of the song. We start out with the
band members in what appears to be a crashed car. We then flashback to when
they were driving around and getting into trouble. We see various cut-always to
women dressed in “nightlife” clothing and this again lends itself to voyeuristic
tendencies. The rock/indie genre is very popular with the male audience so it
isn’t out of the ordinary to see women barely clothed or in sexy poses as this is a
form of pandering to that particular focus group. Back to the narrative; the
editing style itself is very elliptical and it often jumps from one situation to
another and then back to the previous scene and this again creates a sense of the
narrative being some from of rush and a lot happens within a short time. It also
creates a very detached vibe as it feels like the band are staggering from want
situation to another almost like a drunken night out which again is a convention
of the rock genre.
So for an indie band they do play a lot towards the general tropes of the rock
genre band but they also do it in a strange and unique manner. We rarely see
music videos with such high levels of complex editing and narratives told in such
a dis-jointed manner. That itself though is very much an indie trope as those
types of bands tend to be a lot more unique compared to others.