Wednesday, 3 August 2011

SP - Deconstruction: Queen - Don't Stop Me Now

Artist: Queen
Genre: Rock
Director: (Not given)
Year: 1979
Audience: Over 40's

"Don't Stop Me Now" is a song by English rock group Queen, featured on their 1978 album Jazz. Written by vocalist Freddie Mercury, it was recorded in August/September 1978 at Super Bear Studios in Berre-les-Alpes, France, and is the twelfth track on the album. A live version of the song features in the band's 1979 album Live Killers. The song also appears in the band's 1981 compilation album Greatest Hits, and in June 2011, as part of Queen's 40th anniversary celebrations, an old take of the song containing more guitar parts was included on the bonus EP of the re-released and remastered Jazz album. The single reached number 9 in the UK charts but only number 86 in the US. Viewed at the time of release as one of the lesser songs in the Queen canon, it was only performed live during 1979, with the last performance in the Crazy Tour. Despite this the song has grown in stature with time and has been popularised not only by consistent airplay, but by its use in advertisements, television programmes and films, and through cover versions. It has subsequently become one of Queen's most popular songs. It was the first single by Queen to be released on a cassette tape. Previously, each single was released on a Vinyl Record or 7". (Source: Wikipedia)

Queen's Don't Stop Me Now is a completely performance based music video with no narrative or concept. The whole video is footage of the band playing their instruments along with Freddie Mercury, the band's frontman lip syncing the lyrics to the song. It has long takes of Freddie Mercury signing infront of his band who are set up behind as if they are playing live to an audience. It is a typical setup which you expect to see when you go watch a band live. It is a very old school and very low budget music video which is all about the band but especially the frontman, with most of the shots focusing on him. This is very typical for this time period and was frequently used in music videos. This was probably because it saved alot of money having perfomance videos.

The first shot furthers my point even more. It is an extremely long take which is typical in this this music video. The shot lasts 30 seconds. About half way through the shot it starts zooming out to reveal he is playing the piano. The light is just on Freddie and there is a dark background behind him which suggests he is the main man in the group. This shot could just be to inspire all of their male fans to be just like him. Musically, the song is based around Mercury's piano playing, with John Deacon and Roger Taylor providing a bass guitar and drums backing track. The song also provides an example of Queen's trademark style of multitrack harmony vocals for the chorus lines. After this first shot there are quick cut shots to a very dark shot of another band member who is obviously in the dark background. This reiterates the point that Queen have a trademark style because when the lyrics "Don't stop me now" are sung it cuts to this shot of the other band member as they multitrack harmony vocals for the chorus lines.

I briefly talked about this earlier but this is the extreme long shot of the band in the orthodox setup you would expect when a band is playing live. The vocalist is obviously at the front and then just behind him and abit to the side we have the guitarit and bassist and a the very back but in an elevated postion we have he drummer. However the main talking point about this shot is the lighting. We only have lighting on the band but we have darkness aeverywhere else. We have a few coloured lights at the top of the shot and a few plain light behind the drummer but we dont get much clue of the setting of the music video. The band are obviuosly trying to get all of the focus on them.

Throughout the whole video there are very long takes like i said before of the band playing but mainly of the frontman lip-syncing. The majoriy of the shots used for the performance music video are medium shots and close ups. However this particular music video has a panning shot throughout the set-up of the band. The shot starts at one side of the band and it slowly moves across to the other side of he band. There is not much shot variety throughout the video because alot of the shots are very similar and some are even used more than once. The only bit of varaiation in the whole music video is an extreme close up of Freddie Mercury's mouth. However, just like most of the shots in this music video, it goes on for too long. It is also not a very interesting shot. Its not just shot variation that is lacking in this music video it is also quick paced editing. There are long takes and a lack of shots which results in slow feel to the video. The shots are all very shakey and not very still which gives it an amateur feel which might not be intended but works very well because it gives it a feel as if it is a live perormance and a real rock band style.

One of the key moments in the music video is the guitar solo. On the studio version of the song, Brian May's only guitar playing is in his guitar solo, but on live versions performed on the band's 1979 Jazz and Crazy tours, May would also play rhythm guitar throughout the rest of the song to give more of a rock feeling to it. The low angle shot gives a really nice angle to him playing the guitar. The lights above him also look good in this shot. However, like i have previously said, the shots are extremely long and this one is around 15 seconds.

Here is the music video Don't Stop Me Now by Queen

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