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Ben Morgan

Everybody Hurts REM Music Video Analysis


In the opening sequence of this music video for the song Everybody Hurts, it
starts off with an establishing shot from a low angle of a car and increasingly
moves further away showing a birds eye view of the road. At this moment in time
everyone seems to be worry free but within an instance we see hundreds of cars
at a standstill who are obviously stuck in traffic. This tells the audience that all of
these people are in the same position which links back to the lyrics and song title
as at some point in everyones lives they will suffer from pain. I can infer that
this song isnt just aimed at one target audience because many people from
various age categories would be able to relate and this is represented later on in
the video when shots with younger figures are displayed and the elderly. A visual
metaphor represented throughout is of long strenuous days where all youre
doing is sat doing nothing and this is shown through the use of a traffic jam. This
helps reinforce the meaning of the song as no one likes just sitting in traffic doing
nothing which tends to have a bad effect on the peoples days. It reminds people
they arent just the only ones who are put in a tricky situation and faces
struggles.
In this music video they have incorporated the band members meaning it is a
narrative music video however there are aspects which make it a concept video
due to the symbols in the video building up the meaning of the song. This is
effective due to the fact that a music videos aim is to sell the song and the artist
and by including the band members into this video it publicises them to their
target audience. However they have restricted how much we see of the band as
the shots that are shown to us are of their shoulders, side faces etc not making
them recognisable and the main focus of the video because they are trying to
focus on the moral of the song. It creates an enigma code due to the lack of
screen time they are shown.
As the song picks up in tempo the band members start to feature in the shots
more and more, gaining more screen time. We are shown a medium shot of the
protagonist getting out of his car in frustration and is the first to do this. I can
infer that he doing this to let his feelings that are inside him escape to the
outside world and relieve a bit of tension and stress that were on his shoulders.
Richard Dyers theory of star power was clearly demonstrated in this music video
and this was when the lead singer from REM gets out of his car and he starts to
perform which becomes part of the narrative with everyone replicating his
actions of leaving their cars and walks together down the road as a pack. This
yet again represents their unity and the lyrics signify this through the key word
everybody. Although the band has gained more screen time, the shots change
abruptly and are reduced in time scale to blend with the increase in tempo of the
song which reinforces the climax of the narrative. Once the tempo change has
become known, all of the band members are seen in a wide shot on a higher tier
to everyone else which implies their strength due to their relationship as they
can rise above any worries that may occur to any other individuals. The height
resembles their strength and willpower.

Ben Morgan
Within this music video an array of shots from different angles are accompanied
by a subtitle with a mixture of lyrics from the song or messages which link but
are either serious or humorous. By having this it gives the audience an
understanding into how they are feeling at that stage in the video and can show
the emotion through the phrases. For example, Silence is golden, Nobody can
see me., Stop Singing Stop Singing Stop Singing and Theyre going to miss
me. These subtitles keeps the viewers attention throughout due to the fact that
it puts a thought into their mind about what will happen when the rest of the
story is revealed later in the video. This is effective because it makes the music
video slightly more intriguing and interesting to watch whilst it will also become
popular due to the unique effect of the usage of the subtitles.
This music video had glimpses of being a concept video but the symbolic type
due to the constant religious references however they were very subtle. These
symbols included a figure of Jesus in the back of a car that was shown through a
close up, the man ripping pages out of the bible and letting them float away and
also the protagonist from the band lying on the bonnet of the car in the
crucification symbol. This illustrates to me that whatever pain people are put
through God is always there to help them through it every step of the way even if
they feel as though they cant take anymore and God will reward them for their
determination. As these symbols are subtle it could imply that God isnt very
obvious to everyone especially the ones who dont believe in religion however he
is always there nevertheless.
At the end of the music video it concludes by cutting to a news report after the
music had stopped. The camera is blurry and hand held making it realistic
showing the queue of cars that have been stranded by everyone after making a
statement. This added feature to the video makes it realistic due to the fact that
if this happened in this day and age the news would be straight on the case
filming about the event which makes this situation convincing. This is also
effective because it implies that if people come together and unite they can
make a threat to the outside world and have a huge impact.