Analysing 30 Seconds to Mars' 'Up In The Air' using Goodwin's Theories
Andrew Goodwin identified 6 key features
that made music videos more professional
and made them more appealing to a wider
audience in his book „Dancing in the
Music videos demonstrate genre
2. There is a relationship between the lyrics
3. There is a relationship between the music
4. 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.
5. There is a particularly voyeuristic treatment
of the female body
6. There is often intertextual reference (to
films, TV programmes, other music videos
A music video in the rock genre
I will be looking at 6
different frames from
the music video Up In
The Air by 30 Second
To Mars and exploring
the key features that
Goodwin talks about
in his theory.
1. Demonstrating genre
The genre of music is clearly shown from the start of the video when the drummer is seen playing. This establishes
the performance genre of music video that is very commonly seen in rock music videos. Throughout the video there
are alternations between the performance shots and the narrative.
When looking at location, we notice that it has been filmed at a warehouse, which is a very typical location for the
genre. It is not apparent in the still, but in other shots you can see that it is very large and empty, again fitting in with
the genre and creating a sense of seriousness and depth.
Low key lighting creates a gritty effect and together with the location, establishes the genre.
Costumes used for the band are quite dark and very casual. The drummer is wearing a black leather jacket giving him
an edgy look while his facial hair and tied up long hair make him look mature.
2. A relationship between the
lyrics and visuals
This music video amplifies the visuals. This when the images shown add an extra layer of
meaning to the lyrics, allowing the audience to develop their own interpretation of the
The singer, Jaret Leto said that this song was about "getting to a point in your life where
you're ready to let go and move on and become the better version of yourself, the selfactualized version of yourself.” So from this still we can see that beyond this rainbow army
and the use of paint instead of bullets, there is a call to make art instead of war.
The lyrics at this point in the song are saying “ Take no more, take no more, take no
more…” as if you are letting go of the past and you are “Taking no more” of whatever
caused you pain before, therefore moving on.
3. A relationship between music
As the song‟s tempo accelerates, the cuts and frame time accelerate to go in sync
with the beat of the music.
In the beginning of the song, there is a reference to their album title
“Love, Lust, Faith and Dreams”. Each word is said after 4 beats in between.
Mirroring this, the visuals show the words after every 4 beats when the word is said
showing a strong connection between the editing and the music.
4. Demands of the Record
Jared Leto is seen topless in this shot. However, he is not being represented as the
stereotypical „hot‟ male that attracts females. Instead his bizarre movements represents
him as an artistic musician; he is seen as quirky and different.
Regardless, Leto being topless is also used to attract a female audience and subliminally
acts as a marketing tool for the band.
His movements in this shot also make it clear for the audience to see his tattoo with the
logo of the band, so that the association is made more clear and so that the link is drilled
into the people.
5. Voyeuristic treatment of the
The sexual icon Dita Von Teese, a famous burlesque dancer, was chosen to participate in this music video. In
this shot she is riding a pink mechanical bull while erotically dancing, giving sexual connotations.
The high angle shot gives the viewer a better angle to see her position and further objectifies her.
The use of a bull acts as a male representation; as she is riding him , she is in control.
Voyeurism is used to objectify women so that a male audience is attracted into the target audience and
therefore expanding the amount of people viewing it. This could also attract females as they aspire to be like
her and idolise her.
Because Von Teese is a famous sexual icon, the audience will know what to expect if they know that she is in it
or they see her face when watching it.
6. Intertextual reference
This music video is completely made up of intertextual referencing, with iconic symbols in
fashion, art, gymnastics and even some movie references.
This particular reference is to the Olympics with the famous gymnast McKayla Maroney.
The use of these iconic symbols of such a wide variety of disciplines, will attract a large
audience. People who follow Maroney or know about her, will be interested in seeing the
video. Or maybe simply people who have an interest in gymnastics, art or fashion, will
want to watch this video because of the amount of modern cultural references that have