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A music video must have a look, and it must have a style. The actors in it should have a style. I call them actors because the singers and models in the video are in a setting. It may be a synthetic or manmade setting although the setting is made as real as possible. However it is still synthetic. And there is a mood in the video too! The mood is created through the scenographic mix, which is the mix of setting and costume or dress. Whatever about the intricacies of costume, there are the intricacies in setting too. For example, the setting has time and space. It may be at night or afternoon. Maybe the time doesn’t matter but let us look at a music video as an example where the time is important. This is Marc Almond and Gene Pitney’s 1980s song ‘Something’s got a hold of my heart’.
The night is important for the overall setting in ‘Something’s got a hold of my heart’. The night is where things happen and when people go out and enjoy themselves ; when they dance and sing. Note that there is a ‘where’ and a ‘when’. The night is a setting in itself. One can ask then how the night is represented in ‘Something’s got a hold of my heart’. See the beginning! A red limousine enters into a side street. Or one can say that the red limousine enters into shining lights in a rain-soaked street. The street too is in the entertainment area of theatre and nightclubs.
This sets up a setting but it doesn’t automatically set up a mood. However in some way this beginning sets up the purpose of the video. For there is a purpose! There is a type of ‘impetus’ and ‘meaning’ which carries the video forward. Yes there is purpose and maybe it comes from the entrance of the limousine. Overall the music is certainly what carries the video. The music is central. That is what can’t be overlooked, the fantastic sway and rush of the music. However the video in itself has purpose too.
There is a certain deception at first sight about the entrance of the red limousine. What is the red limousine? It is not clear. Maybe it is the edgy red which matters. However, what matters is that Marc Almond then enters behind the limousine; this limousine, which has a theatre-red color about it, and this limo attracts us too. Its color is edgy and stylish. Against the rainy side street, the ‘red’ gives a purpose to the opening scenes. For it is not just the limousine that attracts us. It is the ‘red’ and this ‘red’ will later appear in Pitney’s bow-tie as well as his large waistband. So there is a purpose and there is also irrevocable movement forward. The music helps but the color, the edginess help the video forward.
What is style? Is it in this video? Is it created? Or is it something that Marc Almond and Gene Pitney have as performers and what about the third figure in the video, the exotic dancer/performer. Does she have style as seen through the video? Because of the sophistication of the modern age, the new millennium, style is something taken for granted and replicated like a machine process but it can be something artistic too. Look at the music video for Almond and Pitney’s version of ‘Something’s got a hold of my heart’. This video has style. What do we mean? It is the cinematography, the lighting and the style whether dress or posture of Almond and Pitney. There is a humanity also about the video which is difficult to reproduce and imitate.
The video has style and the three main characters especially Almond and Pitney, because of their longer screen time, have their style. Almond and Pitney seem to have chosen their own individual look. How? One can say they have done this through an edginess in their dress which is effected through color.
Looking at ‘Something’s got a hold on my heart’, what are its elements or parts? You have a personality for the video- you have a look. You have the atmosphere and you want professionalism too maybe a classic element! Or maybe more! And you want style, poise and more, and you want the singers and the models if any, to have style and poise. What kind of video would you create for ‘Something’s got a hold of my heart’? Maybe a video shot at night?
Suppose it is the night then.. and the music is ‘Something’s got a hold of my heart.’ Pitney has a look; the red tie is part of it and Almond has his look, the leather jacket is part of it. There is Pitney’s the white tuxedo, the black shirt. There is also the high waist of Almond and the black heavy woollen cowl. This is a casual look; but it is sophisticated because of the apparent choice of Almond to wear this as well as Pitney’s apparent choice to create his own look and style. This aids in creating the video’s overall style.
Almond is all in black in most of the video. The jacket is pulled back. He wears a ‘separate’ look, jacket, jeans and woollen cowl. There is the fabric mix also, wool, leather and a silver buckle belt on his high waisted trousers. But there is no emphasis anywhere to anywhere in particular and this is striking. There is a structured look!
There are elements that help to create the structure. Then there is the red limousine which reappears. Red is one of the colors of the video. There is the limousine, the lights, as well as Pitney’s wide red band. There is Pitney’s lapel which is pointed in an edgy way. There is Pitney’s white tuxedo against black and then against red. White against black against red. There is something very pointed and edgy in Pitney’s dress. The lapel is accenting the style. The black shirt is edgy and the red tie and band even more so. This is Pitney’s style and it is an edgy one which is an essential part of the edginess of the video.
So the limousine enters and then Almond with his leather jacket pushed back to reveal a man’s woollen high cowl. There are the bright lights. They shine; they don’t just glitter. There is always motion too and motion is not in one direction. There is the progress of the night. It is a human night with rich edgy colors. Then there are the clothes, the actors, Almond and Pitney or the human element. And this human element comes through in their distinctive edgy looks. and the clothes are ‘human’ they are chosen for the personal look! Pitney’s red belt captures an overall mood in the video and adds to the color and the overall ‘personal look’ of the video.
Both men have good figures for clothes. Their clothes do not cling to them and they seem to have chosen clothes for their color, structure and style rather than to emphasise body shape. The silhouette though is still there. It is an elegant man’s silhouette which has a different effect in both, Pitney and Almond.
There is a high design quality in the clothes as well as high color correlation. There is also structure and uniformity. Both Pitney and Almond have a formal look as well as certain uniformity and balance in their look; they correlate with each other despite the fact that they are strong individual personalities. They have individual styles but both styles balance each other.
I believe that Pitney’s choice of collar and the under collar/lapel has an edginess which is also important. The jacket/collar/trousers combination is important. It is noticeable also that Almond wears waist length jacket and Pitney hip length jacket; the old style performer against the new. This is strange but it emphasises a certain look and creates the style of the video.
write by Nicole Putt