Monday, 14 September 2009

CW - Product Analysis

Artist: Radiohead

Track: Just


I chose to analyse this track due to the simillarities in genre and style of the tracks both I and George have chosen to consider for producing a music video for. I therefore hope that analysing this video will stimulate ideas I had overseen before, and help me to better myself in creating and analysing this form of video.

The genre of the track is of indie-rock, or alternative music. Typical conventions of this genre, especially British alternative music videos, is a grimy look to the location, and dark lighting. This is evident in the track, especially in the opening. Here, a middle aged man is displayed wearing a grey robe, in a dark grey appartment, which is slightly saturated. This is not uncommon in alternative music videos, and gives dark, depressing connotations, due to lack of colour. This suits the meaning behind the lyrics and video, which are not entirely at disjuncture in this aspect. Other connventions evident are the performance pieces shown at different intervals during the video. This advertises the band as genuine, in how they can perform in reality. This is further enhanced by the realistic style and form of the video, denying the artificial look for the band. This makes the band feel easier to empathise with on a personal level, and gives a sense of verisimilitude. One example of the video not conforming to typical conventions of indie music videos, or any music video for that matter, is use of subtitles. This ensures that the viewer concentrates on the narrative instead of the music, and has a focused viewing of the video, but a passive viewing of the music. This is odd as it is the video that is being brought out, and not the music. It seems that the music is being advertised through the use of the video is a different way than others are. Here the video is the focal point, and the music is just in the background, so the music is advertised through riding the coat tails of the video. Instead of the music being the initial product. Another convention typical of indie bands is style of dress. This can include either bright, colourful and inventive costumes, or dark toned suits, and smart casual wear. Here the band dresses in smart casual wear. This is obvious as three members of the band are wearing dress shirts, the lead singer a tie, and one guitarist a blazer. This video conforms to typical conventions within this genre. It is however unconventional in the style of narrative, which is cut between the performance pieces, and eventually becomes part of the performance piece. This is due to the narrative being conceptual in basic form, which is rare in most videos. The video reinforces Goodwin's theory that music videos demonstrate geenre characteristics. For example, the performance piece of the band.

The lyrics are mostly aplified through the visuals. The meaning of the lyrics are unclear. A popular reading of the text is that it is about someone letting an abusive partner into their lives. My own reading of the text however is about the crippling and inescapable feeling of guilt, and how the choices you make in life are from where all your suffering comes from, which matches meanings taken from the lyrics in the chorus 'you do it to yourself, and that what really hurts' this states clearly, unlike the rest of the lyrics that the pain in life is caused by you, and that that is the worst part of it. Other lyrics confirming this theory are: 'Don't get my sympathy hanging out the 15th floor' This lyric reinforces the theory that the meaning to the lyrics are that all the bad things that happen to you are your own fault, and so, people in trouble, pain or, in the literal case of this particular line don't deserve sympathy. This line is illustrated literally in the video by the lead singer looking out of a high up window to the man laying on the floor. This part has a clearer link between lyrics and visuals to easier tie in the performance and the narrative together. This was done to show the bands belief in this philosophy, as Thom Yorke, the lead singer wrote the song. 'You've changed the locks three times, he still comes reeling through the door' In this line guilt and regret is metaphorically represented as 'he' and changing the locks, but 'him' still coming through the door shows that the guilt is inescapable and will always find you. This meaning is found in the video as the reason the man lies on the floor could be thathe will be better off lying on the floor, not going, making choices, and therefore making more oppotunities for regret. 'And soon he'll get to you, teach you how to get to purest hell' The meaning of this lyric is amplified by showing everyone lying on the floor at the end of the video, after finding this truth out from the man on the floor, as they also find out they are better off lying down, 'He'll get to you'. This line talks to the audience in a way that this applies to everyone, and that the realisation of everything being your own fault is the worst punishment of all. This line is also amplified, just as the others are, but there is a less direct illustration of this lyric in the lead singer's facial expression when saying 'hell' he construes his face to connote an anger or hellish expression.

There are links between the sound and visuals, in the way of change in speed and volume. At the beginning, the lead singer is shown walking in slow motion from the feet, then the cuts are made in increasing speed, to then show the singer's head slowly rise. This links with the sound rising in speed and volume, as the head finishes rising the track begins to slow again. Once sound is at normal speed again, shots become longer, and cuts happen less frequently. This is known as synaethesia. This links the visuals as less speed in the music creates less excitement in the viewer, and so longer shots are needed to fit the connotations of the sound.When the sound slows completely down at 'Holy cow' the cut is not made at the end of the line, and instead carries into the next one, which then cuts once the music becomes more eratic. This is to link with the note at the end of the line being carried on to the next line. In the last chorus, the sound becomes very eratic. This is displyed through the performance, as the band begins to through themselves around, and thrash about. This creates a chaotic connotation which ties with the eraticness of the sound. The last note of the chorus is also drawn out, with the camera tracking into the mans face to tie in with the narrative, and build the enigma of why the man is lying in the road. This draws out the intrigue. The music builds while the man is telling why he is lying down, the visuals match this by creating more intrigue by not subtitiling the man, and showing the reaction of the band. The music then reaches conclusion once everyone around the man is shown lying on the floor as well. The conclusive sound and conclusion to the narrative match each other.

This video could mainly be considered as art, while also advertising the band. This is why the music video is postmodern. The video presents challenging ideas, as to say all the suffering in your own personal world is created through your own choices,a nd how you interact with other people. This is a provocative, thought provoking idea, as the philosophy of the video makes it so that you cannot blame others for your faults or pains, and that this is the worst kind of pain possible, that you have created it for yourself, and so there is nowhere to hide from your regret and guilt. The video is however also an advertisement as it contains a performance piece of the band, displaying them as genuine musicians, and so this attribute of the band is commercially shown to the public from this product. The use of meat shots force a band image onto the audience. The fact that the product, or music video can be considered art in itself, can force the video to become advertisement, as the band is now conveyed as deep and thoughtful through the challenging ideas of the music video. Videos are postmodern as they are visual representations of sound, combining sound, art and advertisement. This is because the band needs to be advertised, but such a long advertisement must be entertaining and exciting, otherwise a wrong brand image will be created and viewers will lose interest, so art is created within the advert to entertain. The 'art' in the music video also advertises certain styles of living, clothes etc. Which again, combines art with advert.


Visual techniques are used at the end scene, a bird's eye view is used, while tracking right from the original man on the ground. Here, many more people are displyed lying on the ground. This depicts the sheer volume of people affected by what the man has said. It also displays the people as more insignificant, which is part of the message of the song and video. The bird's eye view is however shown after a middle angled meat shot of the band looking out of the window. This conveys that the band is more significant, and more powerful then the people below them. A low angled shot is used directly after a man trips over the man lying on the floor. The low angled mid-shot connotes that the man standing up is more in power than the man lying on the floor, who is consequently displayed in a middle angled mid-shot, so in comparison the man who fell over gives a more powerful impression. This is then further shown by the man who fell over, crouching over the other man. A lower angled shot is then used when the man starts to become angry. A very high angled extreme long shot is used to then show more people approaching the man lying on the floor, and higher depicts them as insignificant charachters. These characters are then, later, and quite contadictingly given low angled mid-shots to give the impression of importance and authority over the situation. Interestingly, the police officer is the only character to not be given a low angled mid-shot, despite having the obvious authority over the situation, he is instead displayed with a middle angled mid-shot, then a bird's eye view. Giving the impression of having less authority than the other characters in the video. This creates a ideological discourse on institutions having the power in society, and challenges the stereotypical view. At the beginning the camera tracks in to the back of the man who later lies on the ground. This establishes him as the main character to the audience. Throughout the narrative sequence of the video, a brown filter is used to connote a depressing, mundane feeling amongst the viewers. The video is also slightly saturated to give the same impression. These impressions tie in to the costumes of the people in the video. This is due to the people all wearing suits and uniforms associated to office jobs, which are stereotypically viewed as mundane and dull jobs. A blue filter is however used at the start of the video to help depict the man as depressed, and give a cold, sad feeling to the man's character. This inspires sympathy for the man, just as the characters later are sympathetic to the man. This gives a grander meaning to the video, and shows that the meaning is universal, including the audience. The saturation and brown filter was not used for the performance piece. This is because the performance piece has a energetic feel to it, and so the connotations of the filter would conflict with the synathesia of the performance in the chorus. It also advertises the band as brighter and seperate from the boringly depicted people. During editing only jump cuts are used during the middle and beginning due to the jarring effect it gives, and so coincides with the rythm and beat of the music to give a greater relationship between visuals and sound. However a fade is used at the end when everyone is laying down to join with the slow tracking shot. even though this gives a slowing effect for a relatively fast pace of this part of the song, it fades into a different shot with the rythm.
There are no intertextual references in this particular video. Nor were there any identifiable popular culture references. Perhaps pastiche is used in the difference between the crowd's and the band's costumes, due to the different styles (smart and casual) but also between the brown filter not being used for the band, making them seem younger in comparison. This produces pastiche in combination between two styles, times and ideologies, which are mixed and then brought together at the end as the band looks out the window. The meaning created through use of this makes the audience appeal more towards the band's apparent style and lifestyle through 'cult of youth and beauty'. And forces the corporate culture further from the viewer's appeal, due to the crowd embodying the negative associations of that lifestyle.


The band are represented in a stereotypical indie band style. This is due to thier particualr style of dress that is supposed to seem unique and strange to the viewer, but is however actually quite common within alternative music videos. This approaches Dyer's paradox of the band seemingly ordinary but both extraordinary at the same time. Here the band is wearing white trainers, jeans and suit jackets/leather jackets or a black shirt. These seem as ordinary clothing to the viewer, and so are relateable to the audience. However jeans and white trainers and leather/suit jackets worn casually suggest rebellion, which is then hightened when one band member is wearing sunglasses, giving connotations of rebellion and unapproachableness. The performance also conforms to the paradox as the performance displays the members as talented musicians, and so makes the artist-audience relationship inaccessible, which then inspires the viewer to try to regain this relationship through continued consumption. The paradoxical opposite to this situation is maintained by the situation of the performance, which happens to be a run down unglamourous appartment. This directly conflicts with connotations and feeling produced by the performance. The situation forces connotations of normality and fiscal commonality. The extraordianry side of the band is also hightened by the brown filter not being used in the scenes they are present. This makes the band feel more vibrant and youthful, conforming to 'the cult of youth and beauty' therefore making thier status feel unapproachable to the audience. This style created for the band helps to sell them as a product due to thier seemingly artistic and original stylings. The audience wants to buy this sense as a product to show something about thier personality to make themselves seem unique, original and meaningful in the way they are. There are two age groups represented in this video. This is only a slight difference, but they are conveyed very differently. The younger demographic presented by the band displays a more vibrant and care free aspect of life, while the middle-aged people are displayed as boring and depressed people trapped in a corporate life. Therefore the auideience aspires to be the younger demographic, and so rejects the office lifestyle from the 'cult of youth and beauty' shown through the band. This creates a challenging ideological discourse on wealth equalling success and happiness that is conveyed in other genres. The lack of other ethnicities other than white suggest that corporate life is dominated by middle class white people, which fits with the stereotype and reinforces the common ideology that other ethnic groups are financially lower in comparison. More men than women were depicted in the video. This also fits the stereotype and reinforces the common ideology that men do the work and women stay at home to do housework. The institution present in the video is the police. A police officer is called over and tries to deal with the man, as the others in the crowd let him be in charge of the situation. This conveys the police officer as an authorititive figure which is stereotypical. However this is negated at the end of the video as he is also shown lying on the floor at the end of the video. This creates a challenging ideological discourse on the hierachy within society, as the police officer is shown to be in the same situation as everyone else. The video makes a statement upon corporate life, and how mundane and pointless it is as it becomes the same, day in and day out. This is done to appeal to a younger audience, as it displays problems that that demographic does not have to deal with just yet. And distances the band from this formal image created within the crowd. Making the band more relateable.


This text would be consumed at a focused viewing mode almost definitley. This is due to slow editing, slow paced narrative, containing subtitiles, and the complexity of the narrative. However, parts may be viewed ambiently, for example the performance sequences would be viewed ambiently without problem as it contains musical talent and contains faster editing and more aesthetically interesting shots, without complexity in meaning. Channels this would be viewed on would be the musical hits channels such as 'MTV', 'TMF' and 'The Hits' and other popular music channels, excluding those more aimed at R&B consumers. This piece would be more aimed at rock or alternative music stations due to its genre that conflicts heavily with such genres as rap, due to its oppositional ideologies concerning wealth and success. The record label would play a promotional role in this text. It would advertise the complexity of the messages in the text to create an enigmatic aura and attract consumers that enjoy this kind of entertainment. This video would be promoted as an art form to attract the correct demographic, which purposefully, is also the majority of the indie or alternative demographic. This creates a puzzle for audiences to figure out, and becomes a talking piece due to the cryptic ending, which further promotes the track.

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