Type of Music Video: Narrative & Performance Based
SYNOPSISOF THE MV
The video opens up with an establishing shot of Conan and Maggie Hu sitting on a bench in a park while holding their phones eagerly awaiting texts from their 'crushes'. We see that Conan doesn't recieve any texts while the Maggie who is licking her lollipop, joyfully views the countless messages that her crush has sent her causing Conan to feel bitter hence smashing her lollipop to the ground as it crumbles away in pieces.
Following, Conan enters into what seems like the hallway of a high school, after which he approaches a couple (Isabella Gago & Sterling Jones) seated at a table in a classroom/lunch hall exchanging love letters. He then proceeds to snatch the letter from the girl, tearing it up in a highly exaggerated manner. Parallel scenes of Conan jumping around in the hallway and in the lunch hall are seen.
We cut away to Conan in the school gym while he jumps around holding heart-shaped balloons in various shades of red and pink, followed by the next scene in a bathroom where we see a stall in which two people are present followed by a pan to the next stall in which we only one pair of feet, after which we're back to the gym.
In the next scene, Conan approaches a couple having a picnic and disrupts their date by throwing and smashing fruits causing them to run away. Again we see parallel cuts of the picnic and the gym. In the next scene, nine people, supposed 'kissing cult' are sitting in a circle in a classroom with the chairs rearranged around them. Various shots like extreme close-ups, close-ups and wide shot are used. After this, the hallway setting is revisited, followed by Conan approaching a lesbian couple with a bat only to smile at them and move on to the next scene to ruin another straight couple's date in a park. He takes the flowers from them and smashes them against the table, while cuts of the gym and hallway are also used to add a dynamic effect.
Lastly, Conan lies face-down out of frustration/exhaustion only to receive a text from his crush asking him if he wants to go out on a date to which he gleefully smiles while looking at the bouquet he destroyed.
i.e., Binary Opposites
Todorov's narrative theory suggests that all narratives follow a three part structure where they begin with equilibrium, where everything is balanced, progress as something comes along to disrupt that equilibrium, and finally reach a resolution, when equilibrium is restored or a new on is established
TYPE OF MUSIC VIDEO
The video is heavily based on linear narrative as it follows the theme of heartbreak and young love serving as an anti-love song for jaded souls. Various setting like a park, a school football field, a gym, a high school hallway, a classroom, a lunchroom and what seems to be a restaurant. The cinematic clip follows Gray lashing out against displays of love and romance. In his frustration, he decides to ruin high school dates, rip up valentines and pop heart-shaped balloons to release his anger.
In order to add a nature vibe and make audience feel more connected to the artist, Conan lip-syncs to the song as he dances along and jumps around, in the school hallway and the gym while he has balloons tied to his left hand.
Here's how the video follows the code and convention of a pop music video
The video contains a vibrant colour palette as it compliments the vibe and mood of the video
Young artist/actors are featured as the audiences themselves are young and can relate better
Hence viewers get more access to the performer's emotions and performance than they would during a concert or on stage
It features a narrative on the theme of young love with a lot of pop music videos are based on since its relatable for audiences everywhere
The artist, Gray, wears a vibrant coloured track suit
Tints/filters were added in order to add to the vibrance of the MV
High-key/Natural lights are used for the most part as the song itself is upbeat
There are lots of shots of Conan dancing/jumping around to add an energetic feel
The costume of the actors is very modern and an accurate represnataion of what young people wear
FOR PEOPLE THAT FEEL PRESSURED TO BE IN A RELATIONSHIP
Gray's "Crush Culture" serves as an anthem for loveless individuals who are fed up with watching romance happen from the sidelines.
In the video Conan makes his way through school hallways interrupting dates and intimate moments wherever he sees the. Ripping up love letters and throwing picnic food in the air, it's a camp and dramatic visualization of envy and teenage hormones. Subsequently, the video represents its ideology in a very skillful manner.
people who are bitter about other people dating
people whose crushes don't acknowledge them
people loving for love
Fans/followers of Conan Gray
main stream audience that would connect with the theme of the track
The song and hence the video were, according to Gray, is for people who have gotten so sick so of watching everyone around them falling in love to the point where when they notice people who are in love, they get so bitter that they just want to destroy every relationship in sight. Justified by the logic: 'since I couldn't be in love, no one can'. During the bridge Conan lip-syncs "I'm sick of the kissing cult", expressing his frustration and digust.
Conan tactfully shows the different types of high-school couples in his self-directed video, being more than mindful to represent a lesbian couple as well. It is also quite noticable that, although he crashed and ruins all the straight couples dates, he does not bother the lesbian couple as they sit in a restaurant style setting, perhaps to show his support for the community and acknowledge the hardships they face.
An Asian actress, Maggie Hu, is also featured in the narrative while Gray himself is of Irish-Japanese heritage.
The balloons could be a symbol of how fragile love and relationship can be and the care we need to give it so that it doesn't wither out.
At one, Gray bursts the balloons by stabbing them with a knife representing how he's so infuriated that he doesn't care about other peoples feeling.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN LYRICS AND VISUALS
As the video is strongly based on narrative, the lyrics share a strong connection with the visuals. This evidant from the start of the video as Conan and Maggie sit on the bence holding their phone. Conan sings 'My god don't look at your phone/No one's gonna call you/Quit checking your volume' as he lowers his phone in disappointment from not receiving an texts. Another example is during the chorus when Conan lip-sync 'Crush culture makes me wanna spill my guts' as he agressively hurls fruits across the field.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MUSIC AND VISUALS
Visuals are complimented by well timed editing that matches the tempo of the track. Slow parts like the intro and the bridge have slowly-paced variation in camera shots/angles with less shaky movement, while fast-paced/upbeat parts like the chorus show cuts between two or more scenes at a quick pace in time wth the beat.
NOTION OF LOOKING & ARTIST CLOSE-UPS
While there are few close-ups of the artist, less than the norm, notion of looking is quite prominantly showed. This might be due to the fact that either considering the fact that Gray himself directed, there weren't much demands of record label or simply because instead of closeups, we see varaitaion of medium to long cut during the hallway and gym scene giving audiences plenty of access/familiarity with the artist.
Notion of looking is quite vital in the narrative as the viewers a personal connection to Gray as goes around wrenching havoc.
Use of blue vs red makes the narrative quite interesting and visually pleasing.
SVEN E CARLSON
Action vs Rest
The video contains 'Televison Bard' aesthetics as the storyteller gives us a very clear image of whats happening around him instead of using abstract setting. This type of videos are easily relate and the most popular as they are easy to understand and decode for the audience
Narrative and performance share a strong relationship. The performance serves to connect to the audience and create a direct relationship between them and the viewers, so that they can relate better to the story. This allows greater exposure for the artist.
The MV is full of cliche imagery e.g., tearing of the love letter, the bathroom scene where we see a shot of two pair of feet one of with rise to their toes indicating that two people are having an intimate moment, the smashing of the the bouquet and lollipop in frustration to name a few.
The video partially contains TV Commercial Aesthetics as there is little to no closeups of the artist but medium close-up/light on performer is present.
MORE ACCESS TO PERFORMER
Fans/viewers get more access to the performance then they would get a chance at a concert/award show etc. Notion of looking and the dance/jumping around makes the video more expressive and hence more relatable. Not only do they get to see the artist talent, they also get the artist's visuals.
FROM VARIOUS SOURCES
Fans/viewers get more access to the performance then they would get a chance at a concert/award show etc. Notion of looking and the dance/jumping around makes the video more expressive and hence more relatable.
Closeup of the phone followed by shot reverse medium closeup of Gray
Over-the-shoulder Shot followed by wide shot in rule of thirds
High Angle Shot
Two Shot followed by Over-the-shoulder Shot followed by Mid-long Shot
Camera movement is mostly handheld with panning etc
Natural lighting is used for the most part as key lighting and in some scenes as back-lights, giving the video not only more realistic and hence a relatable atmosphere, but also adding a muted golden undertone. Scenes shot outdoor have a completely natural look with high-key lighting to add to the upbeat mood of the song. Scenes shot indoors also have high-key lighting save for the classroom 'kissing cult' scene, where the lights are low-key in order to compliment the song's slow beats and to give the feel of some sort of ritual being performed, while scenes like the gym and the school halls are high-key as they take up majority of the screen time and hence maintain the colour aesthetics of the video.
A blue-ish tint/filter is added along with an increase in the vibrancy of the colours like blue and red, with addition to a softness in lights to give a video a vintage 80's feel.
Besides this, skillful editing allows the visuals to be well-timed and well-aligned with the beat of the song. Fast-paced editing takes over the chorus while we have little variation and stable movement during the pre-chorus and bridge.