Monday, 10 November 2014

GW: Digipak Deconstruction

Amy Winehouse- Back to Black



  • Amy Winehouse's music was considered a combination of Jazz, Blues and R&B, and her popularity meant she entered the world of pop music with her alternative sound ( just like Lorde has done). The genre is emanated through the grungy, underground backdrop, connoting a commonly subversive/ moody sound.
  • Winehouse's appearance is alternative, retro inspired, as her music is- wearing slightly quirky clothing and winged eyeliner.
  • Colours are quite naturalistic, suggesting that she is amongst normality or of the people... the cold lighting demonstrates the lack of joy and warmth within the music of her genre.
Media Language
  • The artist is in accordance with the rule of thirds, centred in the frame, showing her prevalence
  • Her body language is somewhat confrontational, as she is looking into the camera and leant forward slightly, this connotes a level of power and suggests that she is directly addressing her audience within the album. Winehouse is very present (Dyer's star image, addresses one side of the paradox). This is juxtaposed by the fact she is slightly slumped and touching her hands together, which connotes a level of insecurity and gives some humanity to the character.  This element also links to her meta-narrative as a very troubled young woman.
  • The colder lighting is suggestive of a more melancholic stance.
  • The typography used on the album is slightly unusual, with a semi-3D artistic font, thus implying that the artist is somewhat unusual herself. The name is in a much larger font, highlighting the importance of Winehouse herself, and connoting that SHE is more important than the music adding to star image, his also links to the larger than life depiction of Amy Winehouse, who, at the time, was often in headlines and harassed by the media.
  • The prevalence of the name also suggests that she is a powerful woman, in contrast to the somewhat residual ideology of women being weak and vulnerable.
  • Her iconic beehive is missing in this.
  • The album title itself 'Back to Black' (the track of this name was also released as a single) has heavy connotations in her meta-narrative. The phrase references the fact that she had been through a break up with her boyfriend, Blake, who had gone back to his ex, whilst she, heartbroken, went back to 'black' meaning drink, drugs and an eating disorder. This devastatingly difficult story was key within what made Winehouse such an interesting, poignant artist, it was referenced in her whole career. Today, the late Amy Winehouse is still intrinsically linked with this sort of destructive lifestyle, having had the media follow the story throughout her high profile career and having a tragic death thought to be due to her excessive lifestyle. Just her presence sells her product, as the consumer is so interested in discovering the artist and getting to know them and their story, as is put forward in Dyer's theory of Star Image.

Institution and Audience

  • This is a very simple digipak, designed to attract a wide variety of consumers, as she was popular among different reams of people. It would especially appeal to young people, probably in their twenties who have links to sub-culture and a more subversive attitude- though it was also popular amongst teenage girls who liked to sing as if they understood what was going on in the singer's mind and often copied elements of her style.

Link to Lorde
  • Lorde is also considered to be an innovative popular artist bringing an interesting sound to the charts and so would appeal just as widely as Winehouse.
  • The meta-narrative of Lorde is in high contrast to this artist, as she is cited as saying that she won't get into drugs because of her 'normal upbringing', so she may have a slightly cleaner overall image, whilst keeping alternative fashion within the image e.g. winged eyeliner.
  • Both woman are household names, and so the prevalence of name should transfer over easily, as well as the idea of some level of female empowerment- standing out more and making a name for themselves in a currently male-dominated industry.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent analysis at level 4 - perceptive and well informed by context and critical theory. What do you think the background image of blackboard signifies in this context?