Introduction to Music, Fall 2017

Prof. Jake Cohen, Rutgers-Newark

Category: Blog Entry 2 (page 1 of 5)

Blog Post 2

The music video I want to talk about is Selfish by PnB Rock. (it’s a little explicit) Most people in recent years, in their music videos, tend to not express the lyrics of the song. However, although graphic, I feel like PnB Rock has really incorporated his identity throughout.

The song is about a guy who seems to not be ready to commit to the girl he likes. However, he still wants to claim her and wants her to stay loyal to him. He cannot stand seeing her talking to other guys or being with other people and he wants to be selfish with her. He loves her but does not want to give a label to what they have. He gets jealous but still knows he’s down for her like no one else can be.

The music video starts off with PnB sitting on the sidewalk with his boys and the girl he has his eyes on walks past them. He gets up to go talk to her and grabs her by the arm indicating that he has some sort of affection for her. Later in the video, we find out that the girl he has feelings for is actually a stripper. However, throughout this all, PnB is creating his identity by showing he is, in a way a player. He visits strip clubs with his boys often but since the moment he saw this girl, he only goes for her. He doesn’t like when other guys touch her or doesn’t like when she dances for other men.

This video is relatable to a lot of younger audiences today because a lot of the situation in the video is very common. Many times people want to be with someone but find it difficult to admit to their feelings or show they care for someone. People tend to want to stay in the so called “talking” stage. The artistic choice made in the video by PnB helps audiences indirectly relate to the song. In the video, PnB is shown to be attending private shows with a stripper but if when the lyrics are put into play, the audiences view it to be a love song. This song, according to the lyrics, hits a lot of modern day couples who find it hard to commit because of either their past or because they are just scared of giving themselves to someone.

blog 2

       The music video that I want to talk about is “Take me to Church” by Hozier. The song itself is full of meaning and the music video makes it become heavier and culturally relevant. In that video, the artist shows his position, which is against homophobia by creating a gloomy story about how a gay couple being hunted and tortured by gay-opposition groups.

       In the video, the artist creates the main theme of sadness and hopeless by making video black and white. The story is about a gay couple’s tragic experience. One of them is being tortured because of his sexual orientation by a group of people who wear the mask. He doesn’t have enough power to revolt them and it makes him hopeless. The color of the video, which is black and white definitely strengthens audience’s feeling and let people absorbed into the story. By doing this, the artist can persuade audiences that the group of LGBT is suffering a lot of unequal treatments and they need public to pay attention to their experience and get equal status for them.

        Also, the narrative mode that the artist used in this video helps him show his opinion, which is a fact that every LGBT couple may suffer unequal treatments even they do have a lot of wonderful experience. During the video, the artist uses flashbacks to intersperse scenes of torment and unequal treatments that they suffered to some lovely memory. However, scenes of their lovely memory are still a fraction of the whole story. The main part is still the torment and hunting that people did for them. The artist uses those scenes to let his music become heavier and culturally relevant since those are exactly what gay couples are suffering in the real world.

       Moreover, during the video, the artist uses the handheld to shoot and makes the scene become unstable and dynamic. Those scenes help the artist to create a tense atmosphere for the video and try to let audiences sense the same feeling that the gay couple has.


Blog Post 2// “I’m going back to the start”



Often, there is a distinctive event that occurs in our lives, or a mistake we made that causes us to wish we could go back in time and  do something differently.

Coldplay adeptly delineates this concept in their music video for the song “The Scientist”. The song is a ballad about trying to fathom the meaning of love in an effort to mend a broken relationship. This causes Chris Martin, the band’s lead singer, to realize that his only way of getting back a woman he loves after the mistakes he made might plausibly be by going back in time and beginning their relationship again with a clean slate. As much as he meticulously picks apart their relationship and analyzes it, he comes to the conclusion that although their relationship doesn’t make the most sense and might not be the best idea, parting ways would be more difficult.

The music video is both remarkable AND effectively delineates the majority of the song’s meaning due to its reverse chronology. It was literally filmed backwards so Chris Martin learned all of the lyrics of the song backwards, which I find extremely fascinating. Hence, the start of the video is a bit enigmatic when watching it for the first time because you are unable to understand why Martin is walking backwards through the motions of everyday life. When watching the end of the video, however, it is apparent that he and his significant other get into a car accident and he is the only survivor. Her death is key in this reverse chronology, though. The ONLY way Martin would be able to get her back is if he goes back to the beginning of the video, when she is alive. This also emphasizes his refusal to part ways and accept fate; the fact that their relationship is over. The relationship is broken completely, and I look at the video like he is picking up these broken pieces while going backwards to create a picture of how they used to be; happy. If you look at the ending of the video (which is the story’s beginning) happiness is evident. The pair is smiling and laughing as they drive toward the fate that awaits them… the end.


Blog Entry #2

The video I chose is Beyonce’s ” Formation.” Although it can be categorized as a recent music video/song, the message it conveys through its imagery can be connected to not only recent issues, but old ones as well. The video itself does not focus on just one particular scene that’s been acted out. Instead, Beyonce relied on creativity to merge different scenarios within one single video. One of the parts from the video that strongly relate to the lyrics, is when a group of African American women are presented, along with Beyonce’s daughter, with their natural hair. As Beyonce states, “I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros, I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils” when referring to her cultural roots. The part where the women are shown with the natural hair as Beyoncé sings these lines is one of the strongest messages the singer delivers through her music video. Here, she’s encouraging young black women to embrace their African features instead of feeling ashamed by them. Nowadays, African American women feel the need to conceal their heritage behind a mask that’s deemed just “ right “ to fit society’s beauty standards. Beyonce, with these group of women, is letting her black female audience know that all are beautiful just the way they are — there’s no need to have perfectly groomed hair to fit into such category.

Aside from her beauty standard message, Beyonce utilizes a strong and recurring theme  that’s seen throughout the entire video. The theme is based on her advocacy towards the Black Lives Matter movement. There are moments in the video when we can see a little boy dancing in front of a wall of police officers. The minute I saw this part, images from the 2014 Ferguson protests flashed through my mind. At the time, African Americans were protesting for the black lives that were taken in a cruel manner. It not only resembles the aftermath of the deaths, but the occurrence of the deaths as well. In other words, what took place before the murdering of innocent black individuals. We can see the writing on a wall which reads, “Don’t shoot” in regards to what black people chanted as they protested. It’s also a reference of how Mike Brown died, for right before he was shot to death, he had his arms up in surrender. Going back to the wall of officers, Beyonce simply is telling her viewers that police brutality should be stopped, because, as shown in the video, sometimes the individual is not doing anything harmful (e.g the dancing), but that still does not stop the officers from committing a crime.

Clearly, through the song and music video, Beyonce is embracing her roots as well as demonstrating her stance in the police brutality issue. As an emphasis to her position, she closes the video with her standing on top of a police car as it drowns, as if saying “I don’t support their violent crimes and excuses to kill innocent black individuals.”

Blog Post 2

In the music video “Thunder” by imagine dragons the artist creates an identity by making the music video black and white and during the video we see the same people over and over again  almost like clones also the same cars, but the song is about being different and standing out and conquering your dream no matter what someone says so what they do is in the beginning they have color beams and then some kind of aliens appear and then through out the song they are exploring and looking around being different and by the end we see colored fireworks but the city is still in black and white expressing that people are different and they achieved what they wanted to do even if the haters try to let you down but the world likes conformity and not change thats why its still black and white. I say that there is parallels between the form and the video, “Thunder” is in a AAB form and in the music video during the A’s we the artist singing the lyrics and some glimpse of the aliens dancing but when it gets to the B or Chorus then we see the Aliens dancing away showing their different talents and moves but when we see the artist they are getting cloned over and over showing that they are all one in the same. I really don’t know why the artist made the video black and white but with weird aliens just dancing around while they are getting cloned, like yes its about being different and standing out there is some sort of aspect to that but the video really docent have a connection with the lyrics being told, but maybe they chose to go in this direction because from the other songs I’ve heard from them and videos I saw form this album they all look pretty similar but maybe the artist just made it this way because they wanted to look different and standout from everyone else. With the song and video I think the artist is trying to make point because in the first verse of the song they start off with

“Just a young gun with a quick fuse I was uptight, wanna let loose I was dreaming of bigger things and Wanna leave my old life behind”

The point they are trying to make with the song is in dreaming different or maybe being different is not bad even if others try to pull you down and make fun of you because you will get there with the hard work and determination you have because at the end of the song he says that he made it singing on stages while the people rejected him are clapping away at his concert or watching his videos. This is definitely a social put because kids at a such a young age dream about being astronauts, musician or something extraordinary like a archeologist but they always get made fun of if its not cool or people tell them you can do that, thats what girls do or thats what boys do and then they end up not chasing that dream because its been crushed but the song is trying to say no don’t let anyone tell you other wise if you want to be that go for it because by the end you’ll be the one that is happy and if you do fall just get back up and keep going. Thats why I think its a social point chasing your dreams and trying to achieve them.

Blog post 2


It is so interesting going back to watch music videos of songs that are throwbacks. I know some of the songs I looked up lyrically but looking at the music video was different. Using video, Owl City constructs the identity of being creative individual who loves to imagine. It shows that he never stops dreaming. It is said that this song came to him when he was up late one night, unable to sleep. This song came out in 2009 and was immediately a hit. Owl City was somehow able to create catchy lyrics, and put it on a beat that tons of people liked.


I feel like Owl City made this choice in the video to make the video fun and tell a story. Everything about the video seemed magical, from the toys turning on, to robots coming alive. You see this the most at the chorus. When he is singing “I’d like to make myself believe…”, toy trains are moving along the train track, toy robots are flashing lights, and the toy plane prepares to take flight. As these inanimate objects came alive, the lyrics come alive. I don’t think the artist is trying to prove a point or make a point. I honestly don’t think he is making some kind of social/political statement. The song is very catchy and went platinum six times. This pushes me to never stop believing because sometimes the best things came come out of sleepless nights.

Blog 2

The music video starts with refugees sitting together listening to the radio. The thing that I love is that they are from all over the place and all look different. What unites them is their struggle as immigrants. The way that the media and the recent light in politics given to immigrants paints a stereotype of all immigrants being job stealing Mexicans.
The first artist in this song starts with K’naan whom is Canadian, so from the very beginning they are breaking the stereotype that had been given by the media. He talks about what struggle that he had as an immigrant and when the chorus begins the video moves into a room that has sowing machines which resembles a factory. This factory, which ironically enough is where the American flags are made, is filled with immigrants which are getting underpaid and overworked. That is when Snow the Product comes in raping in both Spanish and English which in my opinion really helps to push her point across. She was born in the united states but having Mexican parents she raps to stand up for people who, like her parents, get walked all over because they are “illegal”. The video shows workers on a farm where immigrants are hired for around $4 an hour and work long hours but only paid for 8.
There is a pause between Snow the Product and Riz MC where there are people on a train and they all look the same but they have all been bared with a black line because immigrants not only live in the background but they also are barred from certain things. Riz MC is from London and his parents are originally from Pakistan. When his part of the song comes on they have a scene where war seems to be occurring and how some man found a child under a rock and seeks shelter and happens to find the other immigrants that are seeking refuge. When he finishes the people on the train unite and take the bars off their eyes in a symbol of willingness to fight.
Residente finishes the song by saying that immigrants will get here by land, water, jumping walls, or floating on rafts. This is a reference to the plans the president has for building a wall on the southern border. While he raps the video is of Ice agents raiding the place where all the immigrants had taken refuge at the beginning. He talks about how they can fit the entire house in a suitcase because many times they have to leave everything due to the fear of being caught, while the refugees are putting their few belongings in a bag and trying to escape ICE agents. The video ends with the people that escaped looking down as ICE men manhandle the people that they caught and hand cuffed. The story line of this music video really emphasized the lyrics and really helped to bring their point home.
I really loved this music video because it comes to educate its audience about what immigrants are really doing and going through today. Even within the immigrant community there is a lot of racism. This music video’s message is saying that even though every immigrant may not be going through the same exact struggle, they must unite to fight. They are all going to end up in the same situation with ICE. My parents are immigrants and I identify with that community.

(Subtitles are in English)

Post 2

Before I begin to speak about this particular song and music video, this artist, Lady Gaga, I believe has brought such a different tone  to the music industry. I think Lady Gaga radiates with talent in every song, concert, music video etc she is involved in or song she writes herself. Her music can be listened  to by anyone, from any walks of life. In her song, “Born this Way,” she showcases how you should be proud of who you are and love yourself. I feel like I can relate to a lot of her music and core meaning behind it. She has such a wide array of genres of music, from heart wrenching emotional songs to more upbeat ones, she is truly inspirational.

After being a Lady Gaga fan for some years now, when she came out with the song, “Till It Happens To You,” in 2015, I listened to it very briefly because I couldn’t really understand the meaning behind it after listening to it a couple times. But finally when the music video came out, that all seemed to change.

WARNING: This video can be very graphic and can be emotionally unsettling for some people. They even tell you that right in the beginning, but it reflects what really goes happens on college campuses.

This is song is a rock ballad which describes the aftermath of trauma, in this instant, it is about rape. Lady Gaga expresses that someone keeps telling her, “It gets better, you will be fine.” Her response to this is in an irate tone, “How the hell would you know?” The song expresses that certain things have to be experienced for to understand. Lady Gaga’s voice really highlights her talent with some a somber subject, she comes off with such booming and dramatic trauma especially in the chorus.  Lady Gaga has never shied away from telling her fans what emotional battles she was fighting even though you could tell through her music.

The video takes place on a college delivery with three different campus, one girl doing homework, another girl coming out of the shower who I believe is a lesbian and two friends going to a party. As the music video switches from each scenario throughout the music video, you see each girl get approached by a man and forcibly sexually assaulted. In the first two scenes, you see the two girls trying to push the men away from them as tears stream down their face. In the third scenario, you see the woman get drugged and raped and her friend didn’t do anything about it. After this raw moment, I wanted to immediately just the music video off. We all hear about rape and sexual assault but we never really think it’s going to happen to us. In this video, Lady Gaga expresses how this is something so real on college campuses especially. After the sexual assault moment, you have all the women trying to grieve and find peace within themselves and then finding solace in friendship. The video is shot in black and white and the women expresses their feelings by writing on themselves in marker. One for example, was “I am worthless.”

Towards the end of the music video, there is a sense of unity between all the ladies as they are come together to come to terms about their sexual assault. At the end of the music video, the text, “One in 5  college women will be sexually assaulted this year until something changes.” for those who need it, the National Sexual Assault Hotline number. This music video captures the raw images of what someone goes through when they are sexually assaulted. Lady Gaga has spoked by her sexual assault by her record producer and has touched on other political bent her music for advocacy for LGBTQ and bullying. This video definitely highlights that this is a seriously problem and we need to do something about it.


Blog Post 2

Sam Smith Music Video- “Stay With Me”

Sam Smith’s song  is “Stay With Me” is a song about him meeting someone and wanting them to stay.  The video starts out with showing the neighborhood of the house that he is coming out from.  It’s done to show a brief introduction to his surroundings. Then he starts walking down the street and singing as if it is his thoughts right after he leaves the house. There is struggle within himself. He is talking out the situation and what happened the night before in the lyrics. As he is walking down the street, there is no one around. The video reflects that he is feeling lonely and walking down a street alone with no one around. He knows it is not love but he cannot accept that it is just a one-night stand. He just wants that person to comfort him him even though it is not going to mean anything he just wants to feel comforted. He feels lonely and just needed to be with someone. He has tried this before but he is just not planning it right because he still needs someone with him. He knows he needs someone in his life but he is aware that these feelings are not the right feelings.

I noticed that in the background, the backup singers almost sound like gospel singers. It almost feels like it is done to infer a funeral mourning the on night stand he had. The gospel music is done to show that that person will never be seen again. He is trying to express that this person ‘dead’ him.  Also the backup singers were all wearing  black. Also there is a part of the video were he is standing in front of all the backup singers and it resembles a preacher facing his people.  I think in reality Sam Smith might have really felt lonely and maybe heartbroken. You can hear sadness in the song especially when he says “Stay with me, ’cause you’re all I need”. Although not true for his one-night stand, it might reflect his real life interactions.

Relationships in themselves are hard but also being apart of the LGBT community sets societal pressure on top of you. Sam Smith is expressing his battle with having someone to stay with. Nowadays people view relationships as something crucial and not being in a relationship is looked down upon. Saying “stay with me ’cause you’re all I need” shows how I portent it is for someone to be with him for his self satisfaction. But on top of all that he is battling stereotypes about homosexual relationships in today’s society. He successfully transfers that feeling of loneliness to the viewer which helps establish a personal connection no matter what your orientation is.


Blog Entry 2

Shakira puts her identity in this video by dressing like a belly dancer because in her childhood she was taught belly dance, she identifies lot with it until this day. Also, including traditional clothing from Colombia which is where she is from, to be more specific is when she is dress all white along with other women. You can see that this song represents part of her because even in the lyrics she mixes her first language, Spanish with English. When she is singing some lyrics refer to what is happening in the video for instance when it says “Reading the signs of my body (uno, dos, tres, cuatro)”  Shakira makes her famous moves with her hips.  Also when Jean says “Señorita,
Feel the conga, let me see you move like you come from Colombia” Shakira appears in the video wearing traditional clothes for a traditional dance.  Shakira makes this particular choices to give the song and video a signature of her; which is her dancing, showing off her moves and roots. Shakira is trying to say that when she likes a song her body feels it and makes her wanna dance.  This a song that you can dance to, Shakira is trying to make people dance to her song. She wants to make others feel the urge to move their bodies.


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