Magazine advert analysis for Nelly’s album “Nellyville”:

Nelly (Cornell Iral Haynes Jr) was first known for his presence in the American hip-hop group St Lunatics, formed in 1993; the band produced the hit “Gimme What You Got”. But in 2000 he started his solo career, releasing “County Grammar” as his debut album which soon become top of the US Billboard top 200.

Then on July 1st, 2002 Nelly’s second album NellyVille was released by a collaboration of Universal Records and Fo’ Reel record label. The single “Hot In Herre” was a number-one hit song featuring on the debut album which Nelly’s music style expressed his emotions about the neighbourhood where he came from as well as his view on his upcoming success.

The magazine advert for the album release of “Nellyville” by the rapper Nelly, is displayed directly below:

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Typography:

The simple black and white typography is effective in captivating the audience’s attention because the contrasting colours against the dusty effect background places an element of significance upon the text. Subsequently the audience will read the information; then being able to know the name of the album and it’s release date for them to go and pre-order it.

Also including the typography text that reads “Includes the single ‘Hot In Here'” the audience feel persuaded to buy the album since this released single may be appealing to them as they may like that particular song.

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The layout of the information is in an extremely easy-to-read format where it appears like there’s not a lot of information to read; so the audience will take in every detail from the poster rather than just skipping the page if there was lengthy sentences.

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The curly styled font choice indicates the genre of music on the album “Nellyville” because the typography appears like it’s almost been handwritten, suggesting an informal aspect to the advert. This then reflects the music Nelly creates as R&B songs conventionally express informal themes such as belonging to the sexual nature.

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In very small white print at the bottom of the poster, Nelly’s website link is attached so that audience can find more information about the artist if the were really interested in him from this magazine advertisement.

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(Ignore the yellow website link because this is the poster’s source)

Main Image:

The Rule Of Thirds has been utilised in the close up shot of the artist Nelly to enable the audience to see his emotionless facial expressions. In addition Nelly’s head is tilted to emphasise how he breaks the forth wall; which presents a direct connection between Nelly and the audience; suggestive of the loving relationship he has with his fans/supporters.

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However, the audience can alternatively depict Nelly’s glaring eyes signify his strong personality in terms of being an important figure in the music industry. Then as the audience’s focus is also sustained upon the white plaster on his cheek, the impression of Nelly being rebellious in the sense of being involved in violence and fighting is conveyed. Furthermore, supporting the idea and representation of the artist Nelly.

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Another iconic symbol associated to Nelly’s stage presence in the rap music industry is the black headband he wears. So including this in the shot ensures to the audience that Nelly’s music on this album is similar to his other songs he has created before; this being in terms of his sound/voice and subject matter being the same in the lyrical content.

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Colour scheme:

The faded light brown background adds a serious tone to the magazine advert; in which the audience are not confronted or distracted from the important information presented.

Moreover, the dirty looking edge of the poster uncovers the urban style of music the artist produces. Subsequently, the audience connote that Nelly has had a tough life in terms of going through so much to get to where he is now.

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A sense of familiarisation is exhibited through the fact that the audience can acknowledge how the album cover is reminiscent on the magazine advert. Therefore, allowing the audience to instantly relate to the poster and buy it when it’s due for release. But the album title isn’t in black print like on the actual album cover for the reason that the juxtaposition of white text over-layering the black draws the audience’s attention upon the play on wording of “Nellyville”. As a result, a lasting impact is created on the audience whereby they will remember the album’s name after reading the magazine advert. This means they will more than likely buy the album when it’s actually on display in a music store.

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Overall, the magazine advert for Nell’y album “Nellyville” uses several conventions including the features I have labelled below:

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References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelly

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nellyville

Analysis of Katy Perry “Teenage Dream” digipack:

American singer/songwriter Katy Perry (Katherine Hudson) became recognised by her hit single “I kissed a girl” in 2008 and from then on she has produced 5 studio albums. This includes her third album “Teenage Dreams” released on August 24th 2010; whereby five of the singles were placed at number one on the US Billboard charts.

The debut album “Teenage Dreams” incorporates a variety of music genres such as pop, disco, rock and hip-hop; expressing the key themes of love between teenagers, crazy partying and other topics that are relatable to her target audience.

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Katy Perry’s iconic pop star image stems from her food related and extremely bright clothes; such as her remarkable peppermint swirling dress.

This image below displays what the “Teenage Dream” digipack would look like from the outside view, as well as the interior design:

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The Front cover:

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The main image on the digipack’s front cover can be interpreted as sensual by the audience, for the reason that the long shot displays her nude lying down whilst parts of her body is covered up by the pink cloud. Therefore, the revealing shot attracts the Male Gaze which will then subsequently mean male audiences will buy the album and increase the sales of “Teenage Dreams”.

But also the provocative image of Katy Perry implies that the album is targeted at a much older audience being young adults. In addition the iconic logo of “Parental Advisory Explicit Content” reinforces how the audience will need to be aware that songs on this album may contain sexual references and possible swear words. This conforms to the audience’s expectation because artists in the pop industry feature explicit words in many of their songs.

Evidence of inter-texuality is presented through the imagery of the front cover being recognised by the audience as the album title “Teenage Dreams” has a music video which this shot was obtained from the footage recorded. Allowing the audience to gain a sense of familiarity is an important element in digipacks because it then means the product will more than likely be appealing to the audience and will buy it.

The back cover:

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The track playlist consists of red typography text to directly engage the audience’s attention towards the song titles on this particular album. For the reason that the bold colour choice of red contrasts against the light pastel pink shades of the background; the cloud ultimately being a representation of candy floss to add to the sweet theme.

Moreover, the colour scheme is continued on the back cover of the digipack through the use of red being a darker shade of pink, allowing the audience to denote the significance of this information and so pay close attention to the track list. The colour blue has been extended from the blue sky on the front cover, to informing the audience about the bonus CD included in this digipack on the back cover. The colour choice of blue symbolises serenity and innocence that can be inferred as a representation of Katy Perry. But the revealing image of her on the front cover juxtaposes this; suggestive of two sides to the artist her child-like nature and then her expressive side.

The letter “O” has been replaced by a circular red and white sweet, in which the audience connote as an indication to what the songs are about. So the treat signifies the sweet and positive subject matter in Katy Perry’s songs from the “Teenage Dreams” album. This conforms to the audiences expectation because an element of expressing the artist’s emotions of contentment in the lyrics of the songs in the pop music genre is extremely common. Therefore, the audience gain the impression of the style of music Katy Perry creates and if they like that type of music then they will go ahead and buy the album “Teenage Dreams”.

Then at the bottom of the back cover of the digipack, the names of all those involved in helping make the album such as the production teams are mentioned; although in a much smaller font, credit is still given to them as it forms a paragraph size text the audience will then focus on. The audience are also informed about finding alternative music, tour dates and albums belonging to Katy Perry through the logo of her record label and website address referenced in the bottom corner of the digipack. Furthermore, meaning that if the audience enjoy listening to her music they will want to know more information about the artists and could potentially become a fan who will go to see her perform. So including these logos on the back cover acts as source of information and guidance for the promotion of the artist.

The exterior of the panel:

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The use of a close up shot of Katy Perry establishes to the audience who the artist is and ensures they are aware of who has created the digipack they have brought. Therefore, supporting Andrew Goodwin’s theory of familiarisation for the audience about the music artist.

Also the audience can note the significance of the high angle shot, draws emphasis upon how she is not breaking the forth wall since her eyes do not directly look at the camera. This gives the impression that she is in fact dreaming, allowing the audience to acknowledge the link between the imagery and the album title being “Teenage Dreams”.

Her soft make up and curly hair creates a classy look; suggestive of how Katy Perry has two looks one being extravagant in terms of her fashion sense and then the other style being quite simple and elegant. Both representations of the artist offers a variety of audiences to connect to either style and thus feel a relationship with Katy Perry.

The Disks:

 

Moreover, the childish tone conveyed on the CDs juxtapose the provocative image on the front cover, indicating how Katy Perry’s music can be suited to a younger audience (teenagers) as well as adults.

Even the design of the CDs support the recurring theme of sweets and treats through the lollipop and doughnut imagery on the disks itself, as well as the cup cake background of the panel where the CDs are attached. Furthermore, the colourful imagery is attractive and appealing to the target audience, which again conforms to the pop genre conventions as the brightness of the colours symbolise the style of music created.

Conventionally, the name of the artist is presented on the CD, but since Katy Perry has subverted this, the audience infer that because she is an established artist in the music industry, there is no need to have her name on all of her creations like the disk itself.

The inside panels:

Through the same subject matter being Katy Perry in each shot, the audience’s attention is sustained upon wanting to see more on what the artist is about and her representation.

Which the black background on all folds of the inside of the digipack, reveals Katy Perry’s eccentric outfit choice. The medium long shot allows the audience to focus on her early 19th century look of a tight/corset silver dress with a crown and necklace made from various sweets. The vintage style conveys how Katy Perry stands for difference and is an artist who is rather outgoing in terms of their extraordinary fashion sense.

As a result, the audience connote the symbolism of how Katy Perry is representing herself as a queen through the crown on her head, depicts her presence as the top pop star in the music industry. Therefore, the audience feel excited and persuaded to listen to the album to see how amazing she really is.

The attached booklet:

The use of a curly styled typography text utilised in the booklet that is contained within the digipack, uncovers an aspect which reflects the pop music genre. This can be connoted as the bright colours reflect the exultant joy the audience will feel when listening to the album. As pop music is conventionally known by the state of content with life the artist shares with the audience through their music.

Plus the candy cane designed border creates an illusive look on the page; suggestive of a dream like-state that allows the audience to connect back to the album title being “Teenage Dreams”.

Overall, the use of a colour scheme recurring throughout the Digipack “Teenage Dreams” emphasises the iconography that represents Katy Perry as a well known pop star. As well as, the colour choice of pink and the feminine effects portray the target audience as stereotypically female; whilst the main image appeals to the Male Gaze so demonstrating how Katy Perry’s music attracts both genders.

References:

https://www.discogs.com/Katy-Perry-Teenage-Dream/release/2421813

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Katy_Perry

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teenage_Dream_(Katy_Perry_album)

 

Analysis of Rae Sremmurd “Black Beatles” music video:

Rae Sremmurd is an American Hip-hop music duo consisting of two brothers Swae lee and Slim Jxmmi. The record deal Mike Will Made It was signed by them in 2013, then two years later Rae Sremmurd released their first debut album “Sremm Life”; which featured pop artist Nicki Minaj and rapper Young Thug. The following year in 2016 “Sremm Life 2” was released and arguably the most successful song of theirs called “Black Beatles” was soon made into a single. As “Black Beatles” reached the top number one spot on the US Billboard Hot 100; giving featuring artist Gucci Mane his first number one as well as.

In just a month later, the song became associated to the #MannequinChallenge where people would stand still as though they are mannequins until the beat drops; this then developed into a viral trend on social media platforms such as Twitter, celebrities included!

 The music video starts with the introducing instrumental of a key board playing, with a long shot that displays a sign which is usually positioned outside the place the music concert is held, as a source of information. So the rapid camera zoom allows the audience to focus upon reading “Black Beatles” and subsequently acknowledging the title of the track created by the artists Rae Sremmurd.

Then a jump cut diverts the audience’s attention to a medium close up shot of two young women screaming with pure excitement as if to suggest the style of this music video will be heavily performance based. The audience can denote the women are in the crowd waiting for Rae Sremmurd to come on stage and perform their hit single “Black Beatles”.

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Several short shot duration of extreme close ups reveal the crowd’s hands waving frantically to portray to the audience their emotions of pure anticipation and excitement when waiting to see their favourite artist perform live on stage. As a result the audience then become captivated in the music video because they have yet to see the hip-hop duo Rae Sremmurd and feel a sense of tension rising. But then in a long shot, the artists are preparing their set by Swae lee lifting up his guitar to signify that he will be on stage shortly.

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However before they are on stage, in the intro of the song the names of the three record labels the artists belong to are mentioned in a whispering sound effect. This reduces the focus off of the actual soundtrack music as well as ensuring the audience remain fascinated by the visuals displayed onscreen.

For instance the following line “I sent flowers, but you said you didn’t receive em’ But you said you didn’t need em” is a direct link to The Beatles classic rock song “Hello Little Girl”; in which the visuals feature a close up shot of Swae Lee singing with the next shot displaying a bunch of pink flowers. As the Rule Of Thirds technique has been utilised through the flowers being positioned in the left corner of the screen, the audience’s eyes naturally look at them and the symbolism of the flowers as a gift to a girl, connotes the themes of love and friendships.

Then at 0:26 the beat of the drums drops and the first line of the chorus is sung by Swae lee; the live atmosphere is captured in a variety of shots such as the wide angle shot exhibiting both Swae lee and Slim Jxmmi on stage whilst the crowd, in the reaction seem to also be enjoying themselves. For the reason that the medium close up shot allows the audience to see the faces of each person at the front row of the concert; all of their facial expressions include their brightly lit smiles, exerting their inner happiness. Therefore, the shot reverse shot gives the audience the impression that the energy level when at a Rae Sremmurd concert is high and as a result the audience feel almost certain that they will to want to experience the vibrant atmosphere. In addition the green background lighting reinforces the idea of exuberance Rae Sremmurd possess as the colour green symbolises energy and liveliness.

Next, the rapid camera zoom from a long shot uncovering Swae lee singing with the microphone whilst the crowd release their energy through dancing transitions to the audience’s focus being sustained upon the microphone itself in a close up shot. The audience can connote that the liveliness the crowd are enduring comes all down to the voice of the artist Swae Lee and the music he creates. As a result, the audience are enticed to see Rae Sremmurd live; purely based on the fact that their concerts look extremely enjoyable for them to go to.

This shot displayed below gives the impression to the audience that Rae Sremmurd have a supportive fan base because of the multiple hand-made signs visible in the medium close up shot. The fact that the one which reads “Sremm life” is centre-framed suggests to the audience the name of their albums released is widely popular among several people. So acting as a form of marketing because the audience may like the “Black Beatles” song and will go to listen/buy the album out of pure interest if they are not familiar with Rae Sremmurd; meaning they will soon become fans of the artists.

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The long shot which uncovers Rae Sremmurd and a group of others walking across the road can instantly be referred to a reflection of the iconic album cover of The Beatles who was pictured walking across the Zebra crossing on Abbey Road. Furthermore, the audience can sense the link between the lyrical content, as the song is about how Rae Sremmurd compare their success in the music industry to the band The Beatles, to visually displaying this comparison.

The use of a sudden jump cut to a medium long shot of Swae Lee in a stylish black and white checked suit demonstrates how much he has been influenced by the style of the one of the Greatest bands- The Beatles. Also later in the video Swae lee wears circular glasses that can easily be associated to the iconic look of John Lennon who was in The Beatles; he began wearing them in 1996 and since then, the glasses became his signature look. So following the line “Rockin’ John Lennon lenses” the music video does then in fact illustrate exactly this.

Moreover, the cut to a medium long shot reveals the front view of a vintage style car; which the audience can infer from the lyrics that the “cream seats in the Regal” is illustrated by the 1973 American Buick Regal car. Subsequently, the audience acknowledge that exhibiting material possessions which signify the artists wealth is a common convention within the hip-hop music industry.

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At 1:17 the audience can infer that the music video for “Black Beatles” follows the conventions of the rock music genre because the wide angle shot of Swae lee smashing the guitar against a Tv screen is displayed. But before the guitar hits it a sudden jump cut transitions the shot to a much closer shot of the screen as the guitar smashes into several pieces. Conventionally, the audience can note rock artists do this to exert their inner emotions of burning excitement when performing; so Rae Sremmurd are subverting the hip-hop genre they are associated to. For the reason the audience sense they may be beginning to branch out into different styles so that their fan base gets wider as well as having great interest into rock conventions expressed throughout the music video.

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Then “Black Beatles” conforms to performance based music video as shots that are used are conventionally repeated throughout. For instance the low angle shot of both Swae lee and Slim Jxmmi as they play the solo guitar, reinforces their presence as significant artists within the hip-hop genre and soon to be in a hybridised rock music industry. This is connoted by the audience through the low angle shot emphasising the guitarist striking pose on stage as the guitar appears to frame the shot; since it’s the central point of focus.

The shot of Slim Jxmmi running through the crowd as he approaches his tour mini bus is repeated before a cut occurs to reveal the featuring artist Gucci Mane who raps on the track “Black Beatles”. The edit is very subtle as it appears to the audience that the two artists blend together because they are both centre framed; which signifies their importance is equally the same. But also, as they produced song together, the good connection between the artists is uncovered on stage as both share the positive atmosphere with the crowd, who evidently enjoy their performance.

During Gucci Mane’s rap, a close up shot of his hands where the glistening gold jewellery and watch is highlighted through the high key lighting. The audience connote the gold signifies the artist’s wealth which is conforming to the audience’s expectation because typically in the rap genre, money is focused upon through their possessions being the main theme expressed in the music video. Furthermore, to support this is the fact that the audience’s attention is sustained upon the gold surrounding Gucci Mane throughout his verse in the song; such as the close up shot of his custom made golden classes as well as his reflection in a gold framed mirror. Subsequently, the audience are made to feel like Gucci Mane has a lot of money from his job being a rapper; this meaning that he is clearly successful in creating music which people love and buy. So the audience’s interest in his feature in the song has stemmed to a point where they might begin to listen to his music much more.

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As Gucci Mane’s verse draws to an end, the camera pans from a medium close up shot of his last line from his rap to a medium close up shot of Swae lee beginning the chorus. The use of a hand held camera results in the audience feeling a direct connection to the music video as if they are there watching the artists live on stage. As a result, the audience’s tension and enthusiasm rises when watching and leaves them feeling captivated by the realistic visuals displayed onscreen.

After a series of intercutting shots of a variety of medium close ups of Slim Jxmmi during his verse of “Black Beatles”, slow motion editing effect has been utilised in the music video on both artists in Rae Sremmurd. For instance the iconic hair flip when playing a musical instrument like the guitar; this is so that emphasis is created on how much emotion Swae lee feels when performing. This is an aspect which will appeal to many audience members because knowing the dedication and hard work in action entices them to go an actually feel like it themselves. Moreover, Slim Jxmmi breaks the forth wall in the close up shot as he plays the guitar with the iconic guitarist face of putting his tongue out. The audience are directly addressed and view his actions as another typical convention to the rock genre Rae Sremmurd may be attempting to associate with.

Further reinforced through the short shot duration, still in slow motion of Swae lee lifting his guitar up in the air. The audience find this rather empowering because the low angle shot signifies and places power upon Swae lee as well as the above lighting draws focus into this distinct guitarist pose. Therefore, the audience can acknowledge that the video is soon ending because often musicians hold their instruments up when their performance/time on stage is ending.

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The rapid camera zoom out to uncover a wide angle shot, exemplifies the enegetic atmosphere of Rae Sremmurd’s performance. Plus creating focus for the audience on the silhouette of the crowd’s hands waving around as they dance for the last time before the song finishes.

Then for one of the last beat drops in the song “Black Beatles” the synchronous sound of the drums is reflected through a wide shot of Slim Jxmmi smashing his guitar against another TV screen. The repetition of events highlights how this particular song of Rae Sremmurd’s can also be classified as a hybrid of hip-hop and rock through the visuals conveying conventions associated to both styles of music.

Next, the pair are displayed in a two shot as they walk away together after taking off their guitars. As they are in the foreground the audience’s attention is maintained upon watching the figures onscreen; whilst the long shot duration also allows the audience to notice that they were not only performing inside a concert hall, but on a roof top. In the background the outline of modern buildings is presented and the use of the natural lighting, indicates how the duo can perform peaceful songs as well as due to the brightness of the white setting conveying tranquillity.

To end the music video is a birds eye view shot of Swae Lee running off the stage to meet with Slim Jxmmi at the edge of a rail, before the shot is soon cut off. This leaves a lasting impact on the audience because they are left only knowing that the two artists walk off together and that is that.

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Soon followed by a black screen, the music video has conventionally been ended and the audience feel a sense of relief as all the energy and excitement form the visuals has come to an end. The audience can connote their feelings are similar to the aftermath of an actual concert where you almost feel upset that your time has ultimately been finished when the artists walk off stage.

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Overall, the main editing technique used for Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” music video consists of montage editing displaying a variety of the duo’s performance at a concert, rehearsals and behind the scenes footage where the audience see them messing around together. Significantly to note is how the pace of the editing is slow during the chorus of the song when the music tempo is rather downbeat, in comparison to the verses with rap. As then in a fast editing pace, cutting to the beat occurs to mirror the upbeat tempo of music.

Furthermore, the performance style music video subverts the audience’s expectation for the reason that this style is conventionally used in the rock genre,as several rock stars use it to exhibit their energetic performance and stage presence. Although Rae Sremmurd create hip-hop tracks, their video for “Black Beatles” combines elements of this genre through the mise-en-scene; whilst utilising the rock genre conventions in terms of the iconography.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rae_Sremmurd

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Beatles

https://genius.com/Rae-sremmurd-black-beatles-lyrics

 

Digipack analysis of Lana Del Ray’s “Born To Die”:

Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, goes by the name of Lana Del Rey a widely known American singer/songwriter and model in the music industry. In which her music involves styles of indie rock, hip-hop as well as trip-hop; her vocal ability is exemplified through her ability to transition from a high pitch sound, to quite a jazzy low vocal range.

But her first established appearance and breakthrough song was her 2012 single “Video Games” whereby the music video gained extensive attention and soon became a viral hit. This then lead to her release of her second debut album “Born To Die” in January 2012; also being a success since it reached #2 on the US Billboard 200. The album was released by a collaboration of record labels such as Stranger, Interscope and Polydor; Lana Del Rey had co-produced many of the tracks with various styled producers like Jeff Bhasker and Justin Parker.

Lana Del Rey said in the GQ magazine in September 2012: “A great deal of what I wrote on Born To Die is about these wilderness years.” (referring to her times of suffering from alcoholism at a very young age). The emotive lyrical content captivates her target audience as the key themes explored include tragic romance and the effects of melancholy upon herself; her fans can also relate to this, through their own personal experiences.

Front cover:

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A most commonly used feature on digipacks is a medium close up shot in which the artist is centre framed; for the reason that it will enable the audience to recognise the musician’s face. The medium close up emphasises the high key lighting that is effectively used to highlight the symbolism of the pastel colours of blue and white representing positive connotations of peacefulness and contentment. Subsequently, the audience can infer the relaxing atmosphere reflects the tone/style of music Lana Del Rey makes.

Within the shot, she breaks the forth wall to directly address the audience and as a result a sense of connection between the artists herself and the audience is created. But also the audience focus upon her 1940’s influenced hairstyle as her curly hair gives the impression that she is a trendy artist because her vintage look is the attraction of her target audience. So her classy look, has then become a recognised iconic symbol to her identity. The element of costume, hair and make-up conforms to the representation of femininity through the fact that she seems naturally beautiful by having minimal make-up on and little editing effects utilised.

However, the refreshing imagery of the summer sunshine juxtaposes the underlying tones of sadness and possibly heartbreak through Lana Del Rey’s emotionless look. As this is suggestive of the album following her story about hiding her true feelings to do with over-riding issues that may be effecting her.

The large, bold-white typography text of the artist’s name almost instantly captivates the audience’s attention as it spreads across the entire front page; a typical convention on a digipack. The audience can denote that as “Lana Del Rey” is the largest form of typography text on the front cover of the album, this has intentionally been done to reinforce the star’s image since this is in fact her first debut album where the audience will need to remember who exactly it is.

The colour theme is connected at the bottom of the front cover because the blue typography that reads the album title “Born To Die” contrasts to Lana Del Rey’s white blouse; indicating that this detail is the primary focus aimed at the audience. Moreover, the same font type of block capitalised letters is used on the album title and the artist’s name to uncover a sense of consistency for the audience.

Inside booklet:

Furthermore a sense of cohesion and consistency is exemplified through the inside booklet utilising the same bold font, but in black print. This attracts the most attention from the audience, then the lyrics behind each song displayed in a much smaller print directly underneath the track name.

The colour scheme used is mainly white in the background of the page, apart from the areas with patches of blood. The audience connote this as a representation of Lana Del Rey pouring her heart into creating these touching songs through referencing to her personal experiences within various songs on the album. Therefore, suggesting an element of audience gratification by the meaning in the lyrical content of Lana Del Rey’s songs appealing to several people who will then go and buy the album.

The album disk:

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When the audience open the digipack and look at the middle section, the red roses appear out of the edges of the white disk. The colour choice exerts binary opposition through the fact that the pale white background allows the audience to connote innocence linking to the same theme expressed on the digipack’s front cover. Whereas the darkness of the red shadings of the roses represent the connotations of danger being linked to passion and romance. As a result, the audience can infer that Lana Del Rey’s songs have a romantic element whilst having subtle, underlying tones of darkness within the meanings to the songs on this particular album. Furthermore, demonstrating how the iconography exemplified in digipacks as a whole, often cover a variety of themes the music artist associates with.

Back cover:

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The album follows the conventions of digipacks by including the artist’s name and album title along the spine. This allows the audience to be able to see the information presented to them, when positioned on the shelf in a music store.

The repetition of the colours blue and white is sustained on the back cover of “Born To Die” as well as the same, simple font type used for the typography text reading the track listing. Furthermore, exhibiting to the audience how the font acts as an iconic symbol associated to the artist Lana Del Rey. However, the idea of blue connoting peace contrasts to the meaning behind the track titles; for instance “Dark Paradise” almost makes the audience feel a sense of ominosity to be conveyed in the song. This results in the audience’s interest in the album growing to a point where they are almost certain they will buy the album to listen to the powerful words sung by Lana Del Rey about sensitive topics such as death.

As the text and bar-code is centre aligned with no image on the back cover, the audience sense an aspect of professionalism; suggestive of the artist Lana Del Rey being rather classy. Which supports the images used on the inside panel of the digipack. Plus the audience are informed of the associates to Lana Del Rey through the presentation of information about the record label and institutions belonging to the artist mentioned at the bottom of the back cover.

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Overall, the basic colour scheme creates no distraction from the iconography of the artist; the significance of these themes explored in the album are presented as a result. As well as, the natural tone used throughout the digipack conveys a sense of realism applying to a characteristic and representation of Lana Del Rey’s unique style as an artist in the Indie music industry.

References:

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_to_Die

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Born_to_Die

https://www.discogs.com/Lana-Del-Rey-Born-To-Die/release/9496819

Delilah album magazine advert:

At the age of just seventeen, singer/songwriter Paloma Ayana Stoecker was signed to the major record label Atlantic Records. She collaborated with the electronic English duo Chase and Status releasing the single “Time” in April 2011 which arguably made her gain a wider fan base. So later that year “Go” was her solo single available for digital download; also featuring on her debut album “From The Roots Up” in 2012. This studio album was placed at #5 in the UK Albums Charts as Delilah was seen by many as the one who co-produced the soulful and exceptionally hybridised R&B and trip-hop songs.

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This page was found in a variety of magazines, including one of the last pages of in a Q magazine, British monthly magazine publication.

The design is significant for the reason that the simplicity nature of the album release magazine advert reflects the soulful and acoustic contemporary R&B music Delilah creates. All of which conforms to the audience’s expectation as she is regarded by many as an individual with difference and uniqueness in comparison to other artists in the music industry.

The colour scheme of the magazine advertisement: 

There’s a professional and sophisticated look about the page due to the colour choice of a black and white background; reflecting the genre/style of music (R&B) Delilah has created on the album. But also the contrasting colours heightens a sense of mysteriousness to the audience because only two colours is used in the background, meaning that there isn’t any distraction from the foreground image.

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Furthermore, within the outlined triangle shape, the gradient of colours can visibly be seen allowing the audience to denote their attention is sustained upon the lighter shades of grey converging to the medium close up shot of Delilah.

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The typography text of the name of artist/album:

The audience’s primary point of attention is placed on the white typography text of Delilah’s name because of the bold colour contrasting the background and being in large font. Which the recurring font theme is used throughout the magazine advert adds a sense of consistency and cohesion between the album cover itself and the magazine advert. This means the audience would become familiar with the artist through recognising an element they had seen before.

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Although, the artist’s name is in a different font, the audience can connote Delilah is one of a kind as she is in fact different to other artists in the music genre uncovered through her having what appears to seem like her own logo.

The album title is positioned directly underneath the logo which reads “From The Roots Up” in a much smaller soft font. This creates a similar effect to the typography text of the album release date that’s also positioned beneath something; which is the picture to enable the audience to read the key piece of information because they will look at the image, then their eyes will naturally read the album release date soon after.

Plus, the short syntax of “The album- out now” directly informs the audience in a straight to the point way so they will more likely remember this. A lasting impact is created on the audience as well as, through the use of a clause, denoting a brief pause between the details, exerting a rather direct tone. As if to portray that this is one piece of important information the audience must take away from reading this magazine advert. Which the date of release is in fact a significant convention to be included.

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The main image used on the magazine advert:

Delilah is centre framed within the image to signify how she is intentionally been made to be the central focus of the poster. Therefore allowing the audience to interpret the iconography and meaning being conveyed to them. For instance the single medium close up shot displays the artist Delilah, representing an image of women and their beauty. She is wearing no clothes, linking to Laura Mulvey’s theory about the “Male Gaze”. The use of above lighting creates a glowing effect to her skin which draws attention to her body. This will subsequently catch men’s eyes if they were to flick through this magazine and glimpse at this particular page. Furthermore, demonstrating the purpose of this chosen design was to attract a larger number of audience members who will soon become fans of her music and will purchase the album when it’s due to release.

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However she has tattoos, subverting the stereotypical representation of women who’s femininity is associated to delicacy and purity, whereas tattoos hold the symbolism of strength being regarded as a stereotype for men. Therefore, the audience can connote Delilah is commenting on how tattoos are a work of art and a form of expression both genders should equally be able to have. The editing effects used on the flower tattoos creates an almost vibrant feel to the poster; which generates and highlights an eye-catching element to the poster.

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The ends of Delilah’s hair is dipped in white connecting to the colour scheme as well as to the title of the album “From The Roots Up” metaphorically implying she is developing as an artist. She also appears to look edgy through her holding up her long ponytail, allowing the audience to then be able to see her tattoos and body as a result. Therefore, suggesting she is a bold artist who isn’t afraid to share her beliefs and thoughts about particular ideas; reflecting the style of music she hopes to aim to her target audience.

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The critics rating on the magazine advertisement:

A conventional advertising feature is the inclusion of the album’s review through various star ratings at the bottom of the poster. This exemplifies the success and popularity of “From The Roots Up”. Arguably influencing the audience to go and buy the album as they feel persuaded by the positive comments of others/critics.

The stars in particular stand out from the background because the bold, white filled shapes contrast to the darkness of the background, emphasising how several people have enjoyed listening to the music on this specific album.

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In addition, with the reference to well known print publications such as The Daily Telegraph and The Guardian, people who regularly read them will strongly be persuaded to go and buy the album as they trust the opinions stated by the critics of the publications they have a connection to.

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Minimal information is included on the magazine advert for Delilah’s album release, hence why a website link address is referenced in the bottom left hand corner of the page. Subsequently, the audience are informed of where they will be able to find out more details about the album “From The Roots Up”, the artist herself and her upcoming tour dates.

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The record label logo of the music artist Delilah:

Conventionally the logo for the record label which the artist belongs to is included within the magazine advert for the album release. So for Delilah, the Atlantic Records logo is placed in the bottom right hand corner; as it’s quite small, very little focus is created upon it. As a result, the audience’s attention isn’t taken off of the significant details such as the message wanting to be conveyed about her as an artist, as well as the album’s success so far.

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Overall, the audience will naturally locate the central point of focus which in this case, is the name of the artist at the top of the page and their eyes will follow down the page. There is no distraction points since the reader does not have to locate different pieces of information scattered around the page; as they layout is in an extremely easy to read format.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delilah_(musician)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/From_the_Roots_Up

Analysis of Dave “Wanna Know” music video:

Santan Dave is a 19 year old rapper from Streatham, in South London who first become known from his debut song “JKL + HYD” released on YouTube with 1.6 million views. He is mainly recognised as a versatile rapper covering topics he is passionate about in the genre of hip-hop and grime music.

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The front cover art of Six Paths, the first EP by Santan Dave:

In 2016 Santan Dave released his Six Paths EP on his self-release label, which features six tracks and the single “Wanna Know” which instantly became a catchy hit. But not only for that reason, but also because his depth as a young writer revealed through his gift in creating lyrical content made him be regarded as one of the realist musicians.

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Santan Dave has also collaborated with grime MC AJ Tracey creating the track “Thiago Silva”.

The spectacular visuals with the location/setting of foreign buildings present in nearly every shot, reinforces Dave’s soon presence overseas as he could potentially become a global success due to his meaningful lyrical content. The music video for “Wanna Know” directed by LX can be viewed below:

The establishing extreme long shot which opens the the music video to a picturesque location of what appears to be people at a port during a beautiful sunset. The shallow depth of field draws the audience’s attention to focus upon the typography text which reads “A soundtrack prod by 169 X Fraser T Smith”. This is to signify the importance of these details, being information about the production of the hit single; which in turn gives recognition to those who had made the instrumental track behind “Wanna Know”.

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The silence is then interrupted by the sound effect of a beep as the cut directs to a black screen with bold white typography text of the name of the artist positioned above the track title in a combination of colours: green, white and red. The audience can connote because the text is not only centre framed, but centre of attention, the audience have an expectation that the video’s visuals will be focus on Santan Dave. 2017-07-24 (1)

After a very short shot duration, the typography fades to black and then light wipe edit effect is used to uncover a low angle shot of two buildings and the brightness of the sun framed in the left quadrant. The audience infer that the music video is starting which is supported by the shot reaching a full screen and the non diegetic music begins simultaneously.

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Also soon after this, the editing effects used match the soundtrack as the glitching of what the audience can interpret as a medium long shot of a canal with grey buildings directly beside it. Although a quick shot duration is used, the audience can note the iconic symbol of the Italian architecture and building designs convey the location of the music video being set/filmed in Italy. Therefore, suggesting the song Wanna Know contains an element of love as this emotion is associated to the city of Venice in Italy.

Then the use of superimposition and a glitching effect marks a point of emphasis on the meaning behind the lyrical content for the reason that the brightness of the colour green captures the audience’s attention. Which supports the lyrics of how Dave “was selling green” the slang meaning Marijuana in order to make money; but he now makes money through creating music, something he loves and wholeheartedly enjoys.

A form of marketing is exemplified in the music video as Nike have clearly sponsored Dave through the various medium close up shots of grey Nike trainers, the sports socks and the navy/black tracksuits. Due to logo being directly visible, centre framed in every one of these shots, the audience to focus upon it and almost feel persuaded in a way to buy the items if they like what they are being shown in the video.

Evidence of cutting to the beat occurs with the border edit displaying a long shot of an Italian monumental building to a sudden jump cut diverting the audience’s attention to a full screen image of the beauty in it’s design. Therefore,the music video is supported by the lyrics “cause all my man are running to the money ” as the visuals create nice imagery to reflect the meaning conveying the lyrics of Dave now understanding how to balance his lifestyle because in his past he had many struggles and issues.

Then after a series of short shot duration during the chorus of the song, the tempo of the music continues to be fast in rhythm linking to the next medium close up shot of Dave looking out to see. This only being clear after jump cuts transition the close up to a medium long shot in which the background of a cliff and the beach can be seen. Furthermore suggesting that the chorus is ending and the next verse is to follow after.

Two different shots are linked together through the artist Dave’s hand gesture appearing as though he is searching for someone; with reference to the lyrics the audience can infer he is in fact looking for a new girlfriend. For the reason that he noticed several girls will only want to be with him now that he is making big money and will use him for fame. This creates an element of sympathy for the audience because Dave is addressing an issue that has clearly affected him in the past and potentially up to this day had a lasting impact on him.

But also Santan Dave uses his rap in the second verse to mention how his popularity is rising within the rap scene through the reference to “Prada boy retired, I don’t rock designer clothes”. The audience denote that Dave referring to himself in third person indicates how he no longer relies on designer labels to signify his self worth in the music industry. As there is much more to him and to life rather than being narrowed to showing off personal wealth and belongings. The glitch effect enables the audience to see the shop that he went by the nick name of (Prada boy) over layering the close up shot of Dave lip syncing to the music; so that the audience can visually see the connection between the two.

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The audience connote the theme of danger and protection uncovered through the lyrical content of “Guys have got five times five times five, that will send you to the sky”being amplified through the camera tilt of a medium close up shot of Dave breaking the forth wall as he raises his hand. This hand gesture of pointing to the sky reveals how not all people mean good as some people get sent to prison for life (125 years) for murdering good people but they will go to Heaven.

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Near the end of the music video the central focus is sustained upon Dave and the group of his friends travelling around Venice in a historical and cultural way by riding a Gondola (boat) through the Venetian canals. The camera pan from locals sitting by the bridge to Dave with his friends demonstrates how he can be seen as an emerging artist because of his talent being exhibited through reaching a wider audience in the music video. Since the people displayed in the long shot can be seen dancing to the music/song.

Then the shot reverse shot displays Dave dancing with his friends to a medium close up shot of a smaller group dancing on the Gondola, cutting back to them dancing in the street. The repetition of this throughout the music video indicates how their dancing and messing around with each other has become an iconic sign in which the audience will remember the song due to the visuals in the music video. Therefore, suggesting that the main purpose for Dave’s “Wanna Know” video is to sell the song to the audience in the sense of allowing them to remember certain elements of it due to their pure interest when watching it.

The extreme long shot of a narrow Italian street view fades to black allowing the audience to denote this edit as a signification for the ending of the music video. This also links to the melodic sound style drawing to a close as the shot fades out.

But then a cut occurs transitioning the audience’s attention to the final bridge of the song being the guitar solo which becomes prominent in the ending of the video. In particular the instrumental matches the visuals onscreen where Dave is pretending to play the guitar exemplified through his hand gestures mimicking a guitarist’s actions. The audience feel a sense of happiness being conveyed through the various two shots of Dave and his friend in the white football top because they are clearly enjoying each other’s company by dancing and joking together. This suggests a characteristic of Dave who does not take himself to seriously in the music industry.

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The audience note how Dave’s voice in the hook of the song is in a very different style compared to his rap, but both perfectly suit the beat of “Wanna Know”. So in the final close up shot of Dave pulling gang signs to the camera appears in slow motion connecting to the tempo of the soundtrack decreasing gradually. Then the music fades out simultaneously with the camera pan to Dave’s face soon fading to a black screen.

However, onscreen the typography text remains which is of his name being displayed again, like at start of the video to reveal to the audience that it is in fact Dave’s effort and dedication in producing touching music. Therefore, implying a reason to why he is a recognised artist in the music industry since he has done a feature with the most well known Canadian singer/rapper Drake in 2016.

In addition, the colour choice of green, white and red conveys the presence of the Italian flag; used to reinforce the location the video was filmed in as well as demonstrating how Dave and his friends travelled to Italy in order to create these fantastic visuals.

 

The audience pay very little attention to the Director’s name for the reason that the short duration being only 3 seconds of the typography text fading to black, they focus on Dave and the title of the song more than the Director’s initials. Plus, the white typography of “Directed by LX” is in small print placed at the bottom of the screen suggesting that the the Director is not wanting to have as much attention for his creation.

The music artist Santan Dave creates a strong presence in the UK rap scene through exhibiting his difference in comparison to other rappers. The audience can infer that conventionally UK rappers make references to drugs, alcohol and violence in their music and their videos reflect these ideas. But Dave’s unique style is exemplified through the lyrical content being displayed in a amplifying way. As music video theorist Andrew Goodwin stated that lyrics of songs are represented through the visuals and “Wanna Know” can be classified as an amplification. For the reason that the idea of Dave acknowledging the issues with his success in terms of girls using him for money, when all that truly matters is surrounding himself with his friends who are more like his brothers. Dave exaggerates this idea through the video heavily based around his group having fun on a holiday trip to Venice, Italy through parallel editing techniques used.

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dave_(rapper)

https://genius.com/10716231

https://www.famousbirthdays.com/people/santan-dave.html

 

Analysis of “Blueprint 3” magazine advert:

Shawn Corey Carter formerly known as Jay Z is one of the best selling musicians of all time. The American hip-hop artist has produced 13 studio albums including Blueprint 3 released in September 2009. This was deemed a success as MTV ranked Blueprint 3 as 7th best album of the year.

Jay Z has also founded his own company named Roc Nation as a music, film and production company as well as a distributor to a variety of musical artists such as:

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Big Sean

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Rihanna

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DJ Khaled

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Omarion

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Lil Wayne

The interesting design of Jay Z Blueprint 3 album release advert uncovers a way in which the viewer feel as if they want to see the meaning behind the iconography conveyed in the magazine poster.

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Typography:

The artist’s name for this magazine advert is positioned at the top of the page so that focus is sustained upon his importance through the emphasis created by the contrast between the white background and his capitalised name. Therefore, conveying the importance of the information. Plus the audience can infer that a form of promotion is used because “Jay Z” is the largest typography text on display; directly informing the those who may not be aware of the artist who’s particular album this is.

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Then directly under the main image another font style is utilised to exhibit the name of the album called Blueprint 3. As the typography is in an easy to read font that is not bold like the other text used on the page, the audience can denote that this information is less significant in comparison to the other pieces.

In addition, the official website address belonging to Jay Z is placed at bottom of the advert and in small print to suggest little attention from the audience must be payed to it. Furthermore, including the website generates profit for the artist because his fanbase will subsequently extend in numbers as new audiences who pay close attention to the detail placed on the advert page will become interested in knowing more about him. So the web url informs and directs the audience to where his other creations and products can be found such as his own merchandise.

The release date of Blueprint 3″  is written in numerical format (date/month/year) to generate the audience’s interest as they will more likely be able to remember this informal layout. Therefore, signifying the target audience of Jay Z’s music is open for all ages to enjoy hi hip-hop tracks.

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Then underneath the release date is the logo of Jay Z’s record label Rocnation being incorporated into the colour scheme through the colour of red and black being prominent. The promotion of the brand label displayed at the bottom of the advert indicates how Jay Z is supported by his powerful company and suggests that the album has the potential to be regarded as successful in the music industry. But also the audience may feel that since they have recognised the company from the logo and they enjoy listening to artists who are signed to it, they could potentially like Jay Z’s album. So in this sense the audience will go and buy the album to listen to a possible new favourite artist.

However, overall the little amount of typography text on the magazine advert uncovers how Jay Z is an established artist who does not need to include any other information about the album such as who features on it because he is a well known icon.

Colour choice:

The theme throughout the magazine advertisement for the album release of Jay Z’s Blueprint 3 utilises the colours red, white and black to create a bold aspect in which the audience remain captivated when observing the page.

For instance the colour choice of white allows the audience to connote the symbolism of originality; this being a reference to the album being one of a kind for the talented music artist Jay Z.

The use of negative connotations through the colour red represents the themes of violence and aggression typically associated to subjects covered in the lyrical content of the hip-hop genre.

Image:

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The front cover of the album is used by being transformed into an elongated version to create the foreground of the magazine advert. As a result a sense of consistency is demonstrated in the sense that the audience would have seen the front cover beforehand and remember the album, then will go ahead and buy it when it’s on release.

Arguably the audience can infer the high key lighting draws focus to the collection of a variety of piled up musical instruments such as a keyboard visible at the top of the page. The abstract image gives a rather busy feel to the advert since it looks extremely clustered. Then as the image is positioned centre framed, focus is drawn upon the CD cover and emphasises the iconography for the audience to connote that Jay Z’s music will have an upbeat tempo/rhythm.

The audience can denote the three parallel lines support the idea of the title of the album being Blueprint 3. But the bright red colour of the lines are eye catching for the reason that Jay Z’s success within the music industry is highlighted; to indicate how he is able to release more than one edition of Blueprint (the first in 2001, the second in 2002 and the thrid in 2009).

Overall, the simplicity nature of this particular magazine advert for Jay Z’s Blueprint 3 effectively captivates the audience’s attention through the contrast exemplified in the colour themes. Although conforming to very few conventions of the rap genre, the main intention for Jay Z is to gain a wider audience through the attempt to convey a message of this album being better than any other one he has created.

Rihanna Talk That Talk Digi-pack analysis:

Orignally from Barbados, Rihanna is a singer songwriter creating successful music in the style of :

  • Pop music
  • Hip hop
  • Contemporary R&B
  • Reggae

In which she is mainly recognised as a Pop icon through her global breakthrough single being “Umbrella” released in 2007;but also experiments by covering other types in her music. For instance her first debut album “Music Of The Sun” explored her Caribbean roots through dancehall and reggae lyrical content being exhibited. Then over time after changing her record label from Left Def Jam to signing with Rock Nation (famous Jay Z’s label), her music style become more evident of a wider variety of music genres.

But in November 2011 when Rihanna was still signed to Def Jam recordings, her Talk That Talk album was released incorporating little dancehall conventions and more romantic lyrics and themes explored. Also within the first week of it’s release, Talk That Talk made the top 3 in the US Billboard 2000; so arguably it’s deemed as a success.

6 panel CD Digi Tray Pack for 1 disc, tray in middle

The image below is of the front cover for Rihanna’s digipak:

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The medium close up shot exerts her femininity through the symbolism of the high key lighting connoting beauty; whilst emphasising her significance as she is in the foreground of the shot, contrasting to the dark black background. This draws the audience’s attention to the simplistic nature of her make-up which reflects her soft tone music that does in fact subvert the audience’s attention because she is regarded as a pop artist meaning that bright colours would have been considered and expressed in her makeup. Rihanna breaks the forth wall indicating a direct presence to convey how the songs on the album will uncover stories about her life since she appears as though she is talking, through her facial expressions of an open mouth. Therefore, the audience sense a direct link between the cinematography and the album title being “Talk that talk”. But more focus is added to Rihanna in the close up shot of her due to the title of the album positioned at the bottom of the front cover and in small black print, in which attention isn’t particularly placed upon it for these very reasons. Also as she is already a well established artist in the music industry, through having 14 number one singles in the Billboard Hot 100, her full name is not needed hence why her brand logo “R” is utilized. As a result, the graffiti looking symbol “R” would be familiar to her fans for the reason that her previous album was called ” R Rated”; denoting a running theme of her music being contemporary urban/R&B. In addition, the logo of parental advisory content demonstrates her music contains explicit language or references; signifying her target audience is young adults/teenagers because this appeals most to that specific age group.

Then the images below display the inside covers/booklet of the digipak:

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Furthermore, the audience acknowledge how it’s conventional for digipacks to use a colour scheme as the choice of black and white acts as a recurring theme throughout. For instance the main idea conveyed is the dark and lifeless nature which is unusual for Rihanna who is known as a pop music icon; because the audience would infer that in the pop genre usually bright colours are used to connote positive energy. As this enables a reflection of the main mood aimed to be shared through the artist’s uptempo music. However, the dark approach results in the audience interpreting Rihanna attempting to cover a wider variety of music styles such as the rock genre because the black and white colour choice is conventional to the dark content of rock music.

The audience are attracted to these pictures because the setting appears to be a photo shoot, representing her as a model rather than just a music artist. It’s significant to note that her provocative clothing in the medium close up shot revealing a netted blouse suggests she isn’t afraid of what people think about her and exhibits her blase attitude. Within a page of the booklet attached to the digipak is a long shot of Rihanna standing in front of her album title made to look like newspaper cuttings. The illustration provides the audience about what Rihanna can offer in her songs because the typography in a newspaper style indicates she is an artist who will tell a story in her music. Subsequently, the audience can expect to see narrative style music videos to be released soon after the album “Talk That Talk” to visually convey the meaning behind her songs.

The CD disk itself:

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Including the newspaper style format on the CD connects the chosen black and white colouring used on the front and inside of the digipak, as well as incorporating an old fashioned feel to the album. Moreover, Rihanna’s name is displayed through appearing like a headline in which the audience connote that she is an iconic symbol who regularly makes a presence in the media by having several news articles published about her.

The back cover of the digipak for “Talk That Talk”:

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The track list uses red typography text as the only element of colour evident in this digipack; adding a component of uniqueness to the digipack design since both the front cover and inside followed a black and white effect. This is then suggestive of her conforming to the style of music she creates being pop music for the reason that bright and bold colours are associated with several positive connotations. The audience connote the colour red symbolises love and passion hinting towards the style of music she creates is classified as pop because the lyrical content based around relationships is a typical convention. However, the track list does not cover the large image drawing emphasis to the iconography and although red is an extremely eye catching colour when contrasted against the black and white theme, Rihanna remains centre of attention. This is exemplified through the mode of address being direct (breaking the forth wall). Subsequently the audience are given the impression that she is an artist who must be watched as in the future she has the potential to become even more successful; this album perhaps being the one reason to do so.

Her pose and stern facial expression within the long shot connotes her powerful status, suggestive of a characteristic belonging to the artist. The production details are in very small print giving the impression that little attention from the audience needs to be paid to the copyright information and production team of Rihanna’s work.

The mise-en-scene in terms of costume she wears… reflects the trends and fashion associated with the pop genre as Rihanna gained a reputation for her unusual clothing; in which her fashion sense inspires her female audience members to embrace their beauty. But arguably her revealing outfit (ripped denim shorts) attracts the “male gaze” as Laura Mulvey refers to women in the media being sexualised for male pleasure. Further supporting this is Rihanna’s body language uncovering her sexual nature as the audience are made to focus upon her provocative clothing.

A sense of juxtaposition is highlighted for the reason that the front cover of the digipak conveys a more stereotypical view of feminism through a high key lit medium close up shot. Whereas the back cover is much more contrasting due to the iconography resembling traits not associated to femininity at all; like a woman’s rebellious side.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rihanna

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk_That_Talk

https://www.discogs.com/Rihanna-Talk-That-Talk/master/386672

Film Review Of The Usual Suspects (with spoilers!)

This film is a widely recognised crime thriller containing a suspenseful plot twist regarding cinematic history; American film director Bryan Singer has created an exceptional film that leaves the audience intrigued to see what the outcome is…

The Usual Suspects cast features:

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Kevin Spacey as Verbal

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Stephen Baldwin as McManus

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Gabriel Byrne as Keaton

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Benicio del toro as Fenster

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Kevin Pollak as Hockney

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Chaz Palminteri as Special agent Dave Kujan

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Pete Postlewaithe as Kobayashi

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Giancarlo Esposito as FBI agent Jack Baer

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Suzy Amis as Eddy Finneran

Beginning the film is the scene where a boat is on fire and 27 bodies are discovered through a police a investigation to find who the culprits are. Then through a flashback character “Verbal” describes how he and four other men were previously questioned in a New York police station due to them being the usual suspects for crimes including this hijacked truck offence. All of the men undergo tense interrogation by police agent “Dave Kujan” but none of them own up to their supposed criminal offence and later decide to team up to seek revenge for the corrupt police force. After their release they are contacted by a man called” Kobayashi” who represents the renowned global criminal “Keyser”; they are assigned a job to invade an Argentinean boat with a large net worth of drugs (cocaine).

Back into the present day as “Verbal” is being questioned by police agent “Dave Kujan”, he reveals the story “Keyser” murdered his own family during an attack by Hungarian criminals, also murdering them too. Soon after he went undercover, never to be seen or heard of again; only using other people to complete his business. “Verbal” explains how their ship attack was carried out killing many other criminals since they were emotionally blackmailed by “Kobayashi” through using threatening to harm their loved ones if they didn’t do as he was told by “Keyser”. Although, they didn’t find any drugs and “Mcmanus” and “Hockney” were murdered by an anonymous man, Verbal exclaimed he saw the man who must of been “Keyser” kill “Keaton” as well as. However, “Dave Kujan” does not believe “Verbal” and insists “Keaton” is in fact the so called “Keyser” as “Verbal” had informed him that it was all “Keaton’s” idea from the start.

Therefore, “Verbal” is released on bail and slowly begins to leave the police station but it is not until moments later that “Dave Kujan” draws evidence from the police pin board and the police artist’s image “Jack Baer” retrieves from a surviving victim, turns out to be the face belonging to “Verbal”. This directly indicates that”Verbal” had simply made up this entire story and is the mastermind behind “Keyser”.

Whilst “Dave Kujan” attempts to run outside to find and arrest “Verbal”, “Verbal” is pictured walking with his limp which suddenly disappears along with flexing his meant to be paralysed hand. He then jumps into a car who has “Kobayashi” inside waiting for his return; signifying the end to a bemusing narrative where “Verbal” is actually the supposed “Keyser”.

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I absolutely love the ending quote by Kevin Spacey for the reason that the film centres around trust and subsequently the audience’s ability to identify who is who in terms of the antagonist when confronted with a disabled person that would not usually be addressed as this being truthful or not.

I believe the cinematography is exceptional in the sense that the multiple use of close up shots during the interrogation scene really captures the audience’s desire to know the antagonist’s name. For the reason that the depth of field maintains focus on the character Verbal and the police agent Dave Kunjan when in a tense conversation; as the shot duration extends over a period of 20+ seconds, the audience feel the suspense will reach a limit where Verbal will either confess details about Keyser or uncover what had occurred. Neither of the two expectations from the audience happen, exemplifying another way the film constructs what Roland Barthes describes as the Hermenuetic and Proairetic code due to the tension developing within the film narrative.

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In addition the camera zoom is effective throughout this scene as from a long shot to close up shot of agent Dave Kunjan pressurising Verbal makes the audience feel sympathetic towards Verbal because he appears in this moment of time, a vulnerable person under the very demanding and influential police force. I find it’s significant to note how he conforms to the stereotypical role of a person with a disability, since the agent consistently refers to him as a “cripple” and he plays up to gain the audience’s pity for him; so they would not for a minute question he could perhaps be the criminal.

But also the fact that the men can be viewed as innocent by the audience at the very start of the film through the theme suggestions of police corruption in the voice-over as the narrator describes how the police would investigate each one of the suspects individually to “see which one would slip up”. I find the voice-over adds an element of realism to the film, resulting in the audience feeling as though this happens on a day to day basis in the actual police force.

Furthermore, the high key lighting used during each of the “suspects” interrogations symbolises their innocence as evidence of three point lighting with the back lighting in particular, emphasising the characters presence in a darkly lit police station; this signifying the corruption of the American police. But it is not until the ending when the plot unfolds because the character “Verbal” is in fact the culprit to the crime and is portrayed throughout the film as an innocent disabled man.

I can deduce that The Usual Suspects is inspired by 1950’s film noirs as they used the black and white cinematography to intensify the contrast and the use of shadows were heightened as a result. Moreover, the iconography exemplifies the themes of lies and deception being central to the plot/narrative; director Bryan Singer takes on board the conventions and characteristics of film noir to produce a neo noir in the sense of the first scene beginning with low-key lighting. The shadows created in the dark lit set draw attention to the bright orange colour of the fire flames; the audience can connote fire symbolises the theme of danger. As a result, the film interrupts the audience’s calm nature due to being directly introduced to the action where the details will later be revealed in the film. Through the silence and non-diegetic sounds of the lighting of a match, the audience gain a sense of ominosity as though the men on the burning ship have very little chance of survival. In contrast to the extreme close up shot of the antagonist’s golden watch which signifys wealth and subsequently has the power in this situation; demonstrating his character’s state of being a fearful crime-lord known as “Keyser”. Also the fact that sound effects of gun shots and then the massive explosion at the end conforms to the conventions of the thriller genre as crime, violence and the binary opposition between the antagonist and protagonist leading to conflicted is exhibited.

I consider the circular narrative has great significance because about two thirds of the way through the film the audience are drawn to the revelation of whether the suspects had committed the crime. The tracking shot and camera panning as it goes up over building roof leads to a high angle shot of the boat where the deaths occurred;the suspects are in the shadows indicating their involvement in these deaths.

The pure intensity would not be created if the film followed a linear narrative as personally speaking I would not feel intrigued to see the revelation behind who the mysterious “Keyser” actually is. In which I strongly enjoyed the parallel editing in the present for when the detectives try to solve the case by interrogating suspects and then flashbacks occur when the plot is triggered to the crime committed.

Although the ending is clear because I had thought what if “Verbal” was hiding the truth since seeing this happen in modern films today which had used screenwriter Christopher McQuarrie’s idea. Therefore, if I had not watched previous films that used and recreated this then I would find the ending clever in the sense of how the truth is uncovered through the high angle shot of Verbal’s feet as he walks along the path. The audience watch in pure anticipation because the voiceover informs them of the previous interrogation conversation where Dave Kujan demands he learnt on his “first day of the job how to spot a murderer”. But it’s ironic as Verbal is displayed as no longer having a physical disability and getting away with murder through acting as though he does. Which the non-diegetic soft background music of whistling when the camera rotationally pans around the window of the car, Kobayashi can be seen next to Verbal; indicating these two characters were in fact working together and thus escape from any form of punishment. Then the camera gradually pans to the right, increasing in sync with the tempo of the music to police agent Dave Kunjan looking around with confused facial expressions to see if he can locate Verbal. I feel like this signifies how police corruption is similar to the criminals actions as both may appear as innocent when truly they are not what they expect.

Overall, I would rate this film 4/5 stars because I was expecting more of the thriller conventions such as pure anticipation throughout watching the film, since I believe this only picked up near the end of the film.

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Textual Analysis of Paigey Cakey Pattern Music Video:

Paige Meade is an East London rapper/singer known by her stage name of Paigey Cakey within the Hip-hop and grime music industry. Her album and mix tape releases including The First Page (2012), The Right Paige (2014), and Red Velvet (2016) demonstrate her musical talent of telling stories about London life through her enthralling rhymes. In addition, her young age works well with the fact that she is popular among her target audience being young teenagers as she directly influences them through her impressive lyrical content as well as the visuals created in her music videos captivate their attention.

For instance Paigey Cakey’s 2016 hit single “Pattern” has a music video that is particularly compelling through the use of the fragmented narrative:

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The music video begins with a black screen which the audience attention is soon interrupted and directed to an inset editing effect of a linear wipe transition first uncovering a birds eye view shot of a street. At first the bold white typography text captures the most focus from the audience due to being in capitalised font and positioned in the centre of the shot. As a result, the information about the name of the song, artist and production name is signified as pieces of important detail. But then as the shot duration extends over a period of 9 second, the audience become focused upon a car travelling along the street in the same shot, suggesting that Paigey Cakey is inside the vehicle and will soon be introduced into the music video itself after following her name being visible on screen.

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The non-diegetic soundtrack music becomes quite repetitive as no lyrical content is yet used, demonstrating a rather long length intro to the song before the first verse begins. So the next medium close up shot after a cut is of the front view looking towards an old fashioned car; reflecting how although Paigey Cakey is a grime MC, she is trendy in the sense of having a vintage style appearance.

Subsequent to this is the sudden establishment of the artist’s record label through the non-diegetic sound of “Finatix” being mentioned and thus influencing the second use of a linear wipe transition. The long shot revealed informs the audience of the genre of music (rap) for the reason that the location set where Paigey Cakey and two other girls are positioned is in front of a graffiti covered wall; the audience inferring this form of vandalism to a convention of the rap genre. Whereas, in this music video the audience gain the impression that the graffiti is like a background set through the use of bright yellow and blue colouring connoting optimism and calming themes.

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Evidence of cutting to the beat then occurs as the tempo of the music begins to increase in sync with the first verse starting; Paigey Cakey is displayed through a series of colourful glitches seen onscreen which jump cut from one medium close up shot to the next. Conventionally inferring these editing effects are standard visuals present in UK rap music for the reason that it adds an element of interest for the audience instead of just using a simple cut. Therefore, the colour choice of a rainbow captivates the audience resulting in them wanting to keep watch the music video.

The screen shake effect transitions an unclear shot (out of focus) to a focused shot for the audience to denote Paigey Cakey is walking to her car. The leading lines technique is significant in the extreme long shot because the camera is positioned on the ground, so that the audience are drawn towards following the white car park markings to the principle subject being the car. Although the audience are not yet aware of the symbolism of the car, their previous view of the old fashioned car reflecting the artist’s trendy clothing is thus reinforced. But also, the audience are enthralled to see later in the music video what will occur with Paigey Cakey and the car since emphasis is placed upon this prop through the long shot duration.

Moreover, the audience sense that another cinematography technique is incorporated within Paigey Cakey’s music video for the reason that the inter-cutting of shots not only introduce new locations to the audience, but the artist being center framed in each one reflects her stage presence. Paigey Cakey’s director has specifically chosen to break the Rule Of Thirds to bring the audience’s engagement towards her instead of the background setting which is not as significant. For instance the location is simply in front of a rusty garage door, appearing rather run down; adding to the urban theme in the music video but not necessarily significant.

She in fact maintains the audience’s attention upon her dancing as wells as lip syncing to the music through the first person mode of address as she breaks the forth wall. The audience are enticed by her unique dance moves, that is evidently not choreographed since in the long shot a group of her friends are in the background dancing and doing their own thing.

After the chorus featuring several inter-cutting shots of Paigey Cakey dancing, the audience denote the match cut is influenced through the lyrical content of “Iv’e got hella friends like I’m Ben 10” whereby two medium close up shots display her holding up both her hands to signify the number ten. As a result the audience connote that the montage style of the music video is now connected to form a sense of parallelism between two scenes, one taking place at a train station stop, the other inside her car. This suggests that Paigey Cakey is well known figure/artist from her home town Hackney exemplified through her positioned in front of the train stop reading “Hackney Wick”; demonstrating how she is one of few female MC’s that are successfully known.

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However, at 2:12 the previous uptempo music transitions to a much slower paced ending instrumentals which the audience infer through the supporting editing effects seeming like a broken TV screen.  The crackling sounds mirror the visuals on the screen as exemplified in the glitching pink and green colours over layering the long shot of the car framed to the left onscreen. Furthermore, the song is beginning to end through this being conveyed to the audience who subsequently act as interested in seeing how the video will end.

The audience’s focus on the car throughout watching the music video has been building up tension due to the several short shot duration; it’s not until the very end the car’s significance is revealed. The cross cutting of a birds eye view shot of the car skidding in circles, or also known as “Doughnut driving”, with medium close up shots of Paigey Cakey gives the impression that she is the one driving and doesn’t care about taking any risks. This signifies to the audience that she is an artist that gives off great energy in her dancing performance style; indicating that her live concerts will have an exciting atmosphere. As a result, viewers will be enticed to see her in the future and may potentially buy tickets to do so.

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In addition, as the video draws to an end, the reinforcement of a colourful glitch editing effect used displays a similar birds eye view shot of the street pictured at the beginning of the music video. This uncovers a circular narrative as the video ends similarly to how it began despite montage editing being utilized. Then a sudden jump cut diverts the audience’s attention to the car, with a gradual camera zoom in to the car driving away. But before the car can be seen to travel offscreen, a linear wipe transition occurs as the music fades out and a black screen replaces the shot.The audience are made to feel like the edit used is for the reason that naturally the audience’s eyes follow movement and the wipe edit reflects the eyelids closing; signifying the finale to the music video.

Overall, Paigey Cakey’s music video for “Pattern” uncovers the rap artists’ talented use of cinematography to portray meaning that establishes her genre of music as well as effectively conveying her impressive lyrical content with her Jamaican/British accent being shown through the disjuncture style visuals.

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