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Paramore – ‘Now’ Video Analysis Essay

1. Are there any generic conventions? (eg stage performance in a metal video, dance rotine for a boyband, cutting to the beat) Are there any conventions from other genres?

This video is not very generic of the genre of rock music. In comparison to other Paramore videos there isn’t an element of stage performance in a studio or any instruments involved. In most of their old videos they have been in a concert style set-up studio or location miming along to a ballad with bright lights and colorful writing whilst minor storylines happen around them.

Instead this video is set in a battlefield filled with dirty- clothed enemies, dust and rotten vegetation, making them the storyline. This has often been done in pop music videos such as ‘Battlefield by Jordin Sparks’ and ‘Jar Of Hearts by Christina Perri”. In a previous Paramore video for ‘crushcrushcrush’ they were in a similar dusty setting miming along to the song and allowing people to smash up their attire. I feel that as the band have a fresh start and begin to produce more mainstream music their videos will become less stereotypical of rock music and the band’s previous self.

I feel that this video has some elements of pop music, using smoke bombs and colour powder

One thing that is often seen in a rock video is the use of violence and gore/blood. In this video there is violence on the battle field but instead of using blood they replace it with coloured paint powder. I believe this is for many reasons, one to make it more light hearted but also to show the band’s old stereotype disappearing and new beginnings being released.

2. Describe the style of this music video. What effect does it have? A sense of arrogance has been created from the start of the video; he is looking into the lens of the camera as if he was looking into the viewer’s eyes with a blank facial expression and ignoring all the chaos and drama behind him. This goes with the lyrics “That’s no good to me, I don’t need nobody” which provokes the idea of him telling us he doesn’t need everything going on or anyone else around him, just his microphone and himself.

The camera work mainly focuses on him allowing him to be the main area in the video and be the star. It’s fun and upbeat like the song and the style of the video seems new and something never seen before which refelects his music. The video uses stopmotion animation which is created by using thousands of individual images and playing them together slower than the normal video camera frame rate to add a cool effect. This allows objects in the video to have personalities and be able to move by themselves. It also looks really cool where his t shirt flicks through colours whilst his miming is still in time. I think they did this to show he is what he is no matter what he looks like he can still be a rapper.

3. Do the visuals illustrate, amplify or offer disjuncture with the lyrics? How does this work and what do the visuals add?

Cut to beat

It’s anarchy, with strange figures attacking each-other with batons. This indicates that the enemy are in fact riot police which the band have strong ties with, their second album was named ‘Riot!’ due to the way the creative energy during the album’s creation seemed to burst out of them uncontrollably. I think this is clever because six years later, where instead of helping to strengthen the band and their relationship with their fans, a riot is threatening to tear it all apart after original band members leaving.

Powdered smoke

The powdered smoke could represent a number of things: creativity, life, love, or more literally, the blood of the allies that has been spilt during this fierce battle. If you want it’s intended meaning, director Daniel Cloud Campos wrote this message on his instagram below a photo of silhouettes in the smoke: “Smoke of love. Toxic to those who have hate in their hearts.” Daniel Cloud Campos wanted it to represent love, but really, it could symbolise anything, as long as it’s positive.

4. How are the performers represented?

From the very opening shot, we are presented with two opposing forces: Paramore represented by singer Hayley alone and the Captain. This shows that she is powerful and strong. A grenade is thrown causing an explosion knocking her unconscious; she lies there not making an effort to move allowing people to get hurt around her. This shows that she is reckless and feisty going along with the lyrics “don’t try to take this from me, don’t try to take this from me”. Her band mate runs over to help her up; she grabs his arm but dashes off before she gets to her feet as another band member tackles riot police to the ground. This shows unity, which is key to the song as it was written about to past members leaving and how Paramore will continue on to produce music.

The enemy turns his attention on Hayley, who is still in a vulnerable state on the ground. She doesn’t want to fight him. She just looks up at him in despondency. He sees how vulnerable she is, and seems to appreciate the way that she chooses not to fight back, slowly lowering his baton, no longer wanting to threaten her. Her peer tackles the enemy, just in case he changes his mind. He also helps pick her up. She wouldn’t be standing right now if it weren’t for band mates, this also goes with the theme of the song. The idea of the three of them taking on the whole riot squad alone is an analogy of them taking on the music industry as a trio with no drummer, coinciding with the lyrics “if there’s a future we want it now”.

She looks hurt and confused by the chaos happening around her. She spots the Captain from across the battlefield, and begins to walk towards him, not consumed by hatred or vengeance. She is calm and collected. Despite explosions and savage beatings getting really violent and bloody feet away from her, she doesn’t flinch. She knows what she has to do to stop the fighting, and sets about to do it. This represents her feistiness, linking with the lyrics “I’m bringing my sinking ship back to the shore”. The boys try to fight off people in her way, filling the air with coloured powder and smoke.

Hayley gets hit on the back of the head with such force that it brings her to her knees. But it’s not an expression of physical pain that is spread on her face it’s more emotional. It looks like she can’t take anymore, she looks around nervously in an attempt to find her bandmates, who just stare at her helplessly, not knowing how to help or fight back. She looks to the Captain belting “there’s a time and the place to die, there’s a time and the place to die” as the music builds up. She runs to towards him shouting “and this aint it”, her band members begin to restrain reaching out to her crying that she comes back. All of this shows independence of her and how she will continue to achieve in her career. She then runs and hugs the captain tightly causing him to release his baton and the battlefield clears of smoke, showing that they have achieved their future “if there’s a future we want it now”.

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