Sunday, 21 August 2011

SP - Deconstruction: The Killers - Somebody Told Me

Artist: The Killers
Year: 2004
Audience: 15-24

"Somebody Told Me" is the debut single by American rock band The Killers. The song is featured on the group's debut album Hot Fuss and was written by Dave Keuning, Ronnie Vannucci Jr., Mark Stoermer and Brandon Flowers. Lead singer Brandon Flowers refers to this song as "Our most Vegas-influenced song on the album. Sin city, The Strip. It's where I grew up and of course it affects the songs I write. This song has a lot of sexual energy". When The Killers first started out, their music was little noticed by music-buyers and the media, which is why "Somebody Told Me" has been released twice in slightly different forms. The first, with the pink background cover, is the rarer version of the single as it was their first release of it; due to poor sales not as many were produced. When re-released, the cover-art sported a blue background colour and is the more common version of the single. The single peaked at #51 on the US Billboard Hot 100. In the UK it charted at #28 upon its first release in March 2004 becoming the band's first top 40 hit , it was then re-released in January 2005 and reached #3. In Australia, the song was ranked #4 on Triple J's Hottest 100 of 2004. In 2009 it was voted at Number 9 in UK radio station XFM's Top 100 songs of the decade. (Source: Wikipedia)

The Killers' Somebody Told Me is a completely performance based music video with no narrative or concept. The whole video is filled with footage of the band playing their instruments along with Brandon Flowers, the band's frontman lip syncing the lyrics to the song. It has quick takes of Brandon signing infront of a massive screen which is playing a video of the band playing. This is a very clever technique and it keeps the audience interested so its not just one continual shot of the band playing and him signing. Shot variation is a key code and convention of music videos. All of the time bands are trying to think of new ways to use simple techniques to the greatest effects. In this case it has worked really well and it is the first time i have ever seen this tehnique being used. 


The opening shot of the music video is of the big screen I have just been talking about. However when you first see the music video you cannot tell what it is. It is polysemic. It could even give off a different reading to what the wanted their audience to think it is which might not be intended. It is a very bright and rather strange start to a music video as all we see is this screen. The camera pans across it and it plays tricks on your eyes and makes a really interesting effect. The colours change as the angle of the camera moves across the big screen. It is only a 2-3 secoind shot but it is a really  attention-grabbing and bizarre start. 

This is the second shot in the music video. I thought i would point this out because I thought it was another interesting shot to start a music video with. Obviously we know who the song is by, but the fact the people are in darkness makes us wonder if it is the band or if the are some other random  people. We also do not know if these figures are shadows on the big screen or if they are just people hidden in the darkness. Another thing that strikes me about this shot are the colours. I strongly believe that there has been alo og thought going in to this. The light blue in the background contrasts with the blue and it gives of a spooky effect. To some up the first two shots are extremely interesting and original whitch i think is a good thing.

As it is a performance music video 90% of the shots are of the band playing but mainly the frontman lip-syncing. This is probably because everyone who wants to be in a band wants to be the frontman for variuos reasons. This could be because the fans, mainly female, always loves the frontman and amire them alot. Another reason could be because the frontman always get more attention than the other band members. Most of the shot throughout the music video are either short and sharp burts of the band members playing their instruments or longer takes of the frontman lip-syncing the lyrics to the song. These are all performance elements of the music video. Just like in many of the music videos i have deconstructed i have found that the majoriy of the shots used for these performance sections of any music video, and it is the same for this case music video, are medium shots and close ups. There are many reasons for this including that the audience want clear shots of their idols and heroes in the music video. Another reason is shot variation. If they get medium and close up shots for the frontman and the rest of the band playing it gives them more leeway to experiment with other shots for more interesting shots in the music video han just the band. It is essential that there is fast paced editing in music video but it is even more vital in completely performance based ones. It is very easy for an audience to get bored of watching the same old shot of the same old frontman and band playing. This is why fast paced editing is key. It keeps everyone interested. Another aspect of this video is the panning and low and high angle shot. There is alot of panning used in this video because it is another technique to keep everyone paying attention to whats happening. Having a panning shot of the band is much more eye catching than a still shot of the band. You could also say having a high or low angle shot is better than just a plain old medium shot of the band playing so it is important to use alot of variation in music videos.

With around 20 seconds to go in the music video it suddenly changes from nightime to daytime. After all of the medium and close up shots of the band playing and several cut shots away to the big screen with alot of different images coming up on it we finally have a completely different shot. We have an extreme long shot which reveals alot about the setting that the band are playing at. We see that they are playing in a very barren and deserted area. The contrast from a video filmed at night with the use of the light in the background from the big screen to a video filmed using natural light fom a sunrise is a great way to end the music video. 

Here is the music video Somebody Told Me by The Killers:

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