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Music video "Power Trip" Harland's

Date post:19-Nov-2014
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  • 1. J.Cole Power Trip Music Video Analysis Harland Greenhill Fletcher

2. Types of videos Performance based music videos are when the artist is performing for the camera, usually bands would use footage of them playing concerts as it would give the audience a taste of one of their shows. A Narrative base video is another approach for the artist to take in which the video is not necessarily just the artist singing to the camera it relates to the words of the song and tells a story. The video I am analysing J. Cole Power Trip is definitely a narrative based video it is solely based on the narrative. Finally we have a concept based music video this involves a random or purposeful concept which is drawn upon within the video. They dont tend to have a structured storyline instead they tend to present an overall concept. 3. General Information Power trip is a song made by the American Hip hop artist J.Cole (Jermaine Cole). J.Cole himself produces the song although it features American singer songwriter Miguel. This particular song is made under the production companies Roc Nation and Columbia records. Roc Nation is an American entertainment company founded by Jay-Z. J.cole was the first artist signed by Jay-Z under Roc Nation with the album Cole world: The sideline story. 4. The Video The video itself is a continuation of a previous song dreams. The reason he did this sequel could be to keep the interest of his old fans while also broadening his audience with new material. J. Cole uses a narrative that is not too difficult to follow yet it could be said that there is complexity behind it typical of Goodwin's theory. The simplicity of the song and its narrative is obvious. From the repetition of the chorus the audience is able to draw conclusions about the narrative. Got me up all night constant drinking and love songs- a guy love struck over a girl. Having these words repeated throughout the song structures the story-line we are constantly reminded of his anxiety over the girl. 5. Throughout the video a range of shots are used in different situations, close ups, extreme close ups, two shots, mid shots, shot reverse shots, point of view shots and a few scenic pans. As an audience we see a number of close ups on J. Cole (meat shots) these act as a marketing technique whilst also submerging him into his key role in the story. The rest of the camera work largely centres around a third persons view taking a backseat viewing of the emerging journey through the story using a number of over the shoulder shots. While there are limited uses of extreme close ups these shots are important because theyre all reserved for J. Cole only and express his deeper feelings of emotion. Camera work 6. Camera work ext. Many interesting camera angles are used in the video for example whenever we see J. Cole in the club he isnt standing and appears at a lower angle to everyone else. He is often shown through a crowd of people or objects, appearing in the background he seems distant from everyone in the club. Within the initial club sequence we see girls body parts from noticeably high and low angles. This objectifies them providing a typical example of the Laura Mulveys theory of The Male Gaze. Initially we see a moving (panning) shot of a house as if driving past slowly from the front seat of a car. This moving shot gives the impression the house is being watched. 7. Camerawork ext. In the clip we see a few arcing shots used for example when we are introduced to Miguel the camera arcs around the door in a way that we are watching this individual. Continuing from this shot a tracking shot is used to follow his movements, there is no privacy for him it appears he is being followed at all times. 8. Editing Throughout the video we see the clip is cut to the beat of the music seen in Goodwin's theory. A number of the straight cuts are in time with the bass in the song. Whenever the chorus of the song is played we see the video cut to J. Cole in the club looking lost and out of place. Cutting rate of the video changes at different stages for example we see in the first 30seconds far less cuts as apposed to the last 30 the use of fast cutting relates to action in the crime they have committed. The slow cut rate is there when nothing is known to of happened we think they are just driving at first. 9. Editing ext. As J. Cole and his friend are driving we see that J. Cole imagines or sees this girl in the rear view mirror although she isnt in the back seat of the car. This would have been added in after the filming so is an example of an post production effect. All through the clip cross-cutting is used to jump between the action of one location to another. Especially towards the end when jumping from the club to the burying of Miguel we see many of these edits. 10. Mise en scene We see a clear divide between J. Cole (previous or want to be boyfriend) and Miguel (present boyfriend). Miguel is shown wearing a suit implying he is of a skilled profession doctor or accountant yet J. Cole is seen in a hat and hoodie he is represented as in formal and the audience presume he is lower status. There are 4 main locations in the video the house, the club , the car and the forest in connection with the journey. Each of these locations adopt a mood with them. First of all the club is well light there is drinks and girls it looks as though J. Coles friend is trying to cheer him up here. Additionally the house is set almost in black and white with almost no colour it seems that this is the root of his evil the reason for his pain. The mood felt within the car is quite calm and relaxed yet there is a down mood at the same time. Finally the last two settings are the forest and the journey both of which are not lighted apart from natural light with this being said they look as though the light is filtered out for a gloomy look to the clip. The lighting of all the settings amplifies the general mood that is represented. 11. Mise en scene ext. Overall the video has a dystopian feel about it as though he is headed to a dead end. It appears there is a bleak future ahead of them nothing good can come of the actions they have taken and J. Cole shows that he is aware of this. Towards the end of the clip whilst they bury Miguel the sun sets in the background and the audience see how the night club is related to the story it looks as though this all happened in one day. 12. Genre This song is a rap/hip hop song and we see common and uncommon features and conventions of this genre. For example it is unusual to see a rapper chasing after one single girl, girls are usually represented as disposable to them yet J. Cole idolizes this woman and only wants her so the video challenges typical rap conventions. At times in the lyrics he refers to asking for help which is also unusual because usually a rapper would prefer to do something alone and be too proud to ask for help this challenges the norm of a hip hop video. Alternatively we see him in a strip club with girls being objectified (Goodwins theory) although he is not in the action he sits at the side and obsesses over the one girl. A strip club is a typical location for a rap video with girls dancing around the artist. 13. Narrative When it comes to the narrative this story is very interesting the clip contains 3 different sideline stories. First of all we see J. Coles angst over the girl of his dreams in saying this I mean all the times we see J. Cole alone in the club just thinking about things and seeming distant. This first sideline story is represented as the most important throughout because no matter what else is happening we are reminded of this story. Additionally the second side story we are introduced to is the girls relationship with her boyfriend. Her relationship with the boyfriend (Miguel) is not shown for long in the video and it appears as though we should not focus on this too much. From the audiences point of view it feels like we should forget this side story and it seems as 14. Narrative ext. Third and finally we see the story of J. Coles everyday life for example hanging out with his friends in a club with girls, money and drinks. The two of them are pulled over by the cops during the car journey, typically rap and hip hop artists talk about the rivalry between them and police. There is a sense of irony that rappers would usually talk about being wrongly accused of crimes yet we later find out the two of them have in fact committed murder. 15. Narrative ext. The twist to the narrative comes at the end when all three of these sideline stories are drawn together the audience is shown that J. Cole and his friend have killed this woman's boyfriend and theyre burying him in a forest. A sense of tension builds in the story when we see this because sirens are heard and the editing becomes faster. The video in my opinion is both open structured and closed in ways. Firstly we know what has been done and the story is pulled together we make sense of it all, yet we are still left wondering if he will get caught for his crime. 16. Narrative ext. According to Andrew Goodwin's theory we see that this video is an amplification of the words because the lyrics show us he is heart broken or sad about a girl yet the video shows us that he is capable of killing someone to get her. Additionally the video is simply illustrated throughout with him saying got me up all night when he appears to be out late at night. Further more Roland Barthes theory of narrative codes is shown within. The main code linked to this video would be the enigma code because we are left wondering where the journey is headed and it isnt till the end that we actually find out what has happened. 17. Narrative ext. Moreover Tzvetan Todorovs theory of equilibrium is shown as the story progresses. Initially we see J. Cole in the club with his friends although he doesnt seem happy this is h

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