Sunday, 15 July 2012

Rock Video Analysis 2 - I Want It All

Continuing on from a previous post where I looked at Hardline's Takin' Me Down... here's the video for my favourite Queen song (tied with '39 and Stone Cold Crazy, but they don't have videos...)

So, let's look at how this video relates to Goodwin's music video theory then! In regards to screenshots, these do have a VEVO logo over them. Last time this was the case I was able to Photoshop them out; however this time there are significantly more affected, and my computer which has PS on it takes decades to load up. These will have to suffice.

1) Relationship between lyrics and visuals

As with the Takin' Me Down video, this is purely performance, so that fact tied with the rather vague meaning of the song makes it difficult to pick out examples of this. That being said, however, the "I want it all" lines in the chorus could be interpreted as a desire for a supreme status in one way or another; and at these moments we see a lot of cases where the camera is placed below the band (low angle shot) members, which could represent them being 'high up' -

2) Relationship between music and visuals

As I mentioned before, it's a performance video. This gives us the link between what we see and hear in that we can see the band miming the song on their instruments. There are a couple of things especially worth noting in this video - first is during the a cappella intro we see nothing but close side-on shots of the band member's faces as they are lip-syncing -

This is drawing all of the attention to the vocal harmonies, thus satisfying the relationship between the music and the visuals. Also, as with the Hardline video, we get lots of shots of Brain as he's playing his solo, thus emphasising the solo in the music.

3) Genre characteristics

The Hardline video was performance heavy. This video is performance heavy. Pretty much every rock video I've seen before has been performance heavy. I think it's fair to say one of the conventions of rock videos is that they are performance heavy.

As we can see above, a lot of focus is given to the guitar, though we're also seeing some attention given to the other rock instruments used (the bass and drums) - though nowhere near as much.

4) Close-ups/artist motifs

As seen earlier there are a lot of close-up shots of the band members, to help make their image more prominent throughout the video. It seems most of the attention in regards to image is given to Freddie and Brian - which is highlighted heavily in the vocal exchange part way into the song by showing nothing but close-ups of their faces during their lines -

No, that isn't bad cropping on my part, it's actually shown at a different resolution in the video. Possibly used as a deliberate effect to draw more attention towards them by leaving less white space at the side of the shot.

Brian is shown with the two things we automatically associate with Brian May - his Red Special and his awesome hair (Barthes' Mythologies, anyone?).

There's one point I specifically need to make in regards to the presentation of the artist - and that's that Freddie was really showing signs of his illness by this point - and it's clear that they've gone out of their way to try and hide this - particularly in the way they've employed really harsh halogen lighting to hide how pale his face was at the time. This also seems to be why a lot of the close-up shots of Freddie are shown in greyscale (which would be a recurring theme in a lot of later Queen videos) -

5) Emphasis on 'looking'/voyeurism

I can see no examples of voyeuristic treatment of females... as there are no women in the video. I'm also not seeing much use of 'looking' to engage the audience, outside of the part with Brian/Freddie during the vocal exchange part (for which I will not repost the images to avoid excessive load times...). Part of me is thinking this is part of Queen's image - they've always been shown as more of a whole, rounded theatrical act as opposed to a typical rock band, so it makes sense for them to be shown as a one-way performance.

6) Intertextual references

Again, I'm not seeing anything... possibly because it's entirely performance. The closest thing I can think of is the a cappella intro being filmed over a plain black background, similar to their own video for Bohemian Rhapsody.


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