Semiotics Of A Music Video
Artist: Sam Smith
Song: I'm Not The Only One
Director: Luke Monaghan
Premiered: 1st August 2014
This is a performance/ narrative based video.
- This video has a lot of illustration in terms of the lyrics. For example, when Sam Smith sings "denying every tear" the woman who is having the breakdown due to her husband cheating on her is literally wiping her tear away on the way to the alcohol store (alcohol is a form of escapism in her case; she is denying to stay in reality, also the fact that she looks perfect when her husband comes back means that she still wants to keep him; she would want to deny her tears in order to stay with him). Additionally, "you and me we made a vow, for better or for worse" is illustrated by the wife taking off her ring which links to this idea of the vows being made and him breaking them; this implies how upset she is. Finally, when Sam Smith sings "you've made me realise my deepest fears" & "I know I'm not the only one", this is amplified by the visuals of the woman not being his 'only one' (him cheating on her) & her reaction to it. This emphasises the emotion and mood of the song which in turn, emphasises the mood & emotion of Sam Smith's performance (& anchors the lyrics). The narrative is also made clear.
- It is important for the performance to be linked with the narrative and part of Sam Smith’s image is that he is emotive as his album “In The Lonely Hour” is all about unrequited love; he has to link with the narrative & his presence lets the audience know he has experienced what the woman has gone through. Sam Smith needs to have a consistent brand which he achieves in this video.
- There are 2 lines of action which emphasises the clear link between woman’s upset & the man's cheating habits; this anchors the lyrics. The colours of costume create character exposition also as the woman is fair and wears white clothes (costume) in light lighting; she has angelic/ innocent characteristics compared to the low-key lighting in the pub toilets and dark clothed sinful man who is cheating on her.
- Sam Smith has low-key lighting on him during his performance which connotes that his mood is also (the woman's as well) dark which anchors the narrative.
- Sam smith is present at the bar where the man is; in same location which links to the story-line; the background to where he is singing has red (the colour of sin). The link that confirms Sam Smith is at the bar is the shot-reverse-shot between Sam Smith performing and the cheat-husband with the 'other woman'.
- In terms of star quality, Sam Smith isn't necessarily sensual himself but the narrative of this music video involves sensual scenes (when the man is cheating with the other woman in the bar toilets) which consists of low-key lighting & sensual non-verbal language; his video has sexual connotations.
- Also, in terms of star quality, Sam Smith doesn't really conform to many other of the values such as anger, rebellion or disregard for social values. However, the star quality talent is present as Sam Smith is performing which means that the audience know he is the one singing which showcases & emphasises his talent.
- The song is slow & so is the performance; the camera doesn't move around too much (in terms of the speed of the panning) & Sam Smith's non-verbal language is calm & not manic.
- Also, the fact that Sam Smith is performing in a bar & to Sam Smith, the man and the woman he is cheating on his wife with are just a couple; this implies how no one would know & how sad it is that no one would notice (which could suggest it's high frequency; this adds to the emotive mood of romantic-sadness).
- In terms of stars influencing cultural thinking, this is quite an old-fashioned music video in a cultural and feminist way of thinking as the man is out during the day whilst the woman stays at home; this reinforces a residual ideology of woman being 'couped' up. The wife at home also tries to loo perfect and prepares herself for her husband; this makes it seem her worth is based on her looks which could support an emergent ideology of a woman's worth being based on what she looks like; this implies that the man objectifies her (which is sexism & encourages voyeurism) & suggest that she works hard to impress him but he doesn't try hard for her; there is an unbalance. However, this video implies that this situation is wrong due to the negative representation of this situation.
I learnt from this analysis that colour & lighting influences the mood of the performance & says a lot about the character a great deal; whatever mood we want to convey in the Lorde song can be translated through the use of colour & lighting. For example, if we wanted a dark mood we would have dark colours & low-key lighting. Also, if we want performance in our video it has to link with the narrative; location & mood (could potentially have performer amongst the narrative; in the same location). Additionally, close-up shots should be made on the main character as the 'meat' of the video is important for non-verbal language to be convey which further contributes to the mood.