Madonna’s track Hung up was stimulated by the
1970s disco era, thus her music video displays the
conventions of a disco/dance genre:
• Dance routines and largely performance based but
have some narrative.
• Male gaze or female gaze. (Laura Mulvey theory)
• Bright lighting and very colourful scenes.
• Range in camera shots.
All these are evident in Madonna’s music video and so
are typical of the disco genre.
• At the start, bright lights flicker on and this kind of lighting is certainly
typical for the dance/disco genre. Subsequently, she begins to dance in the
isolated studio in solitude, wearing a pink leotard with high stilettos, which
is typical clothing for the disco era. The mise en scene here is also
significant in terms of representation; it represents Madonna as being
feminine, as well as sexualising her, making her look seductive which
promotes her star image.
• The choreography of the music video too resembles the moves in the
1970s, films such as ‘Saturday night fever’ display this, such as rolling her
hands in circular motion.
• The radio also flickers with various colourful lights,
which adds to the light-hearted tone of the track. The viewer gets a sense
that although Madonna is getting over a guy; she is trying not to let that get
in the way of her mood.
• There are various different shots of the artist, from
long shots to close ups, giving the video its music video
quality and makes it more exciting. There are also
different angles; the low angles in the video represent
Madonna as being influential and important, exerting a
kind of power over the audience.
• The different angles of Madonna’s body also sexualizes
her. There are shots which are focussed on her thighs
to shots which are focussed on her upper body.
Therefore, it makes her accessible to a male audience
• There are cross cuts between Madonna dancing in the studio to the actors
dancing and free running in the outside world. Outside it is sunny and
seemingly there is a whole community of people dancing together, thus the
cut back to Madonna in the studio is important as the two different
locations are juxtaposed in a way which highlights Madonna’s isolation.
• Here, the viewer could interpret that Madonna is secluded; Even though
she claims to be ready to move on from the guy,she may not be as strong as
she suggests. The music video then takes a drastic turn and we see a
progression in Madonna’s character, slowly reaching to this independence
that she claims to have shortly after she says ‘I’m done/ I am hanging up on
you’. She leaves the studio with a change in attire, wearing a tight leather
jacket with jeans, walking directly towards the camera, conveying her
confidence. It is also typical for the main star to change costume in music
videos, especially in pop, dance and disco genres.
• There are also various quick shots capturing all parts of Madonna’s body,
which supports the male gaze theory by LAURA MULVEY. The camera does
in fact put us as the viewer into the perspective of a heterosexual man.
• This is typical of music videos, for it promotes the image of the star.
Examples of male gaze
The front view, back view and side view of
Madonna gives a feel as though a male
spectator is watching her. Especially the low
angle in the top left corner only shows her
body which sexualizes and objectifies her,
supporting the male gaze theory by Laura
• There is then yet another change in location, which is common in
many music videos. She now meets the rest of the people in what
appears to be a disco with red lights and glowing white circles
prancing around the room and a strobe light (flashing lights),
giving a disco vibe. The music slows down at this moment so
simultaneously the cameras also goes onto slow motion, which
conveys the dance moves more clearly. It also captures and
dramatizes the intense moment, where Madonna has seemingly
moved on for she is getting close to another guy. When the beat
quickens again to its fast tempo, it is also reflected in the camera-
work, for there is a return to normal motion and Madonna
dancing amongst a large crowd, fulfilling each and every moment.
Unlike the beginning, she is now dancing within the community,
which shows how she is not alone in this process. All the dancers
at this point begin doing the same choreography as Madonna.
The fact that the viewer sees the actors in the video dancing and
feeling the beat encourages them to also get up and dance.
Therefore, the choreography in this disco genre is important in
promoting the artist and the song as such songs would be played
in discos or in clubs.
• Reoccurring theme of time being wasted.
• Shown through mise-en-scene. There is a road
sign saying ‘SLOW’. We then see a cut to a
man working in the restaurant looking at the
clock, suggesting that he is wasting his time.