Tuesday, 23 August 2011

SP - Deconstruction: Linkin Park - Numb

Artist: Linkin Park
Song: Numb
Genre: Nu Metal
Director: Joe Hahn
Year: 2003
Audience: 15-24

"Numb" is a song by rock band Linkin Park. It was released as the third single from their second studio album, Meteora and is listed as the final track on the record. One of Linkin Park's most well known and critically acclaimed songs, "Numb" topped the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart for 12 weeks. The song spent six weeks at the top of the chart in 2003 and six weeks in 2004, making it the only song in history to be the most successful song of the year on the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart for two years. The song also spent three weeks atop the Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart and peaked at #11 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song was later combined with Jay-Z's song "Encore" to create "Numb/Encore", a massive hit for both artists which was featured on the album Collision Course and earned them the Grammy Award for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration. "Numb" was ranked #95 on Rhapsody's list of the Top 100 Tracks of the Decade. In January 2011, "Numb" was released in a Linkin Park DLC pack for Rock Band 3. (Source: Wikipedia)

Linkin Park's Numb is a mixture of both a performance based and a narrative based music video. The performnce element features all of the way through the music video as it contains footage of the band playing their instruments and the bands frontman, Chester Bennington, lip-syncing the lyrics to the song. However some of the music video is a narrative based idea as the video follows the domestic and social problems faced during a day in the life of an unpopular outcast young female student. What tells us that it is not a concept music video and it is a narrative idea is that the lyrics do fit in with what the actors are doing. It is not a completely random idea that they have though of. The music video has a storyline to it and it is centred around this girl and the lyrics mirror what she is doing in the video. 

The music video was directed by Joe Hahn and one of the first shots of the music video is an establishing shot of a city. I have found out that this particular shot is actually of Prague in the Czech Republic. I have also found out that as are all of the outdoor scenes. However the indoor scenes of the music video are set in a cathedral. Again the cathedral is set in Prague. This shot is put at the very start because it is giving us the information of where the music video is actually set. This is very useful and is usually used at the start of films but it can be used at the begining of muic vidoes, just like this one.

There are sections of narrative elements in this music video and it is featured around this girl. The girl spends much of her time drawing pictures which is a reference to the song "Drawing," which was a demo for the song "Breaking The Habit" another song on the album, revealing that she probably has dreams of becoming an artist. She is largely shunned and ridiculed at school, considering that when she is told off by the teacher for drawing in class everybody laughs at her and teases her, when she trips on the stairs nobody stops to help her up, and that when she tries to join a group of girls at a lunch table they immediately get up and leave, referencing "Somewhere I Belong", another song on the album. Also, there is a scene where her mother is ridiculing her for not being the daughter she wanted, a reference to the song "Nobody's Listening", another song on the album. There are also self-inflicted cut marks on her arms, which actually say "NUMB" - the title of the song. In the end of the video, she is shown sitting in her room, as she ties up her hair with a paintbrush, and throws paint at a canvas in anger. At the end, she runs into the church that the band was playing in, almost as if she heard them, only to find the church left behind empty.

The majority of the music video is of shots of the band playing their instruments but mainly of the frontman lip-syncing. Throughout the whole video there are alot of single shots of Chester Bennington lip-syncing but also single shots of the drummer etc. These are all examples of the performance elements of the music video. The majoriy of the shots used for these performance sections of the music video are medium shots and close ups. However there is some variation such as panning shots and a high angle shot for example. This is because they want a variety of shots throughout the whole video and the narrative sections mainly use more extreme long shots and long shots for example. More is happening in the narrative sections so they need to be using more unorthordox shots rather than close ups and medium shots. Fast paced editing is a common code and convention in  music videos and this is the case in Linkin Park's Numb especially in the chorus. This is because the chorus is a much quicker and heavier part than others. This affects the pace of editing in this music video.

One of the main features of the music video is when the girl is in real time but everything around her is quickened up. Everything is in the background is blurred because it has been quickened up. This makes the girl even more isolated and alone because again she is different. This is one of the best effects i have seen in all the music videos i have deconstructed so far. It is used quite alot in this music video and every time in the narrative sections. It is used when she is at school and when she is at home.It is an extremely proffesional effect and works really well in this music video.

Here is the music video Numb by Linkin Park 


  1. you've got to ensure when you write 'from wiki' that its made into a specific link

  2. and, in general, use quote tool to indent quotes + change font (don't here if it mucks up layout)


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