Music videos are so 80s/90s, right? They belong with the era when MTV screened wall-to-wall vids instead of 'reality' TV? Try telling that to the millions who bought Gangnam Style; were they really simply loving the music? 1.6bn (and still climbing) have viewed the video on YT, not to mention the many re-makes (school eg, eg2), viral ads + celeb link-ups (even political protest in Seoul) - and it doesn't matter how legit it is, this nightmare for daydream Beliebers is making a lot of money, even from the parodies + dislikes. All this for a simple dance track that wouldn't have sounded out of place in 1990 ... but had a fun vid. This meme itself was soon displaced by the Harlem Shake. Music vids even cause diseases it seems!
This blog explores every aspect of this most postmodern of media formats, including other print-based promo tools used by the industry, its fast-changing nature, + how fans/audiences create/interact. Posts are primarily written with Media students/educators in mind. Please acknowledge the blog author if using any resources from this blog - Mr Dave Burrowes

Sunday, 10 April 2016

UGC-style self mash-up: Depeche Mode's Martyr

I wasn't so sure myself if this was UGC or official, but apparently, yes, it is the 'real' deal!
A short post this one...
Its not the first time I've used Depeche Mode to exemplify postmodernism (or layering for that matter!) ... and, okay, I'm a fan so I'm more inclined to note what they do

But ... this is a great example of a band - amongst the world's highest selling, who have been selling global stadia for decades now - using something that has the look of a fan-made video, or UGC, as an official release.

This video, taking the idea Guns n' Roses used for a series of videos from the Use Your Illusions albums' videos (self-referencing; using clips from earlier videos within the latest video, and thus playing with the idea of the gaze as something the band as much as the audience engage in) to its outer edges is ... exemplary postmodern fare.

I'm going to quote a fragment of a post on the ProdEval blog here:
Strinati's (1995) 5 Key Features of Postmodernism
The following notes are based on the relevant chapter in Dan Laughey's Key Themes in Media Theory, a very useful book as regards the exam...
The concept of postmodernism denies definition to some extent, but Dominic Strinati outlined 5 key characteristics in 1995 that are often cited:

  1. Breakdown of the distinction between culture and society
  2. An emphasis on style over substance
  3. Breakdown of the distinction between high art and popular culture
  4. Confusions over time and space
  5. Decline of metanarratives ['grand theories such as Marxism, Christianity and ... modernism have lost their currency for modern societies']*
*quoted from pp. 147-148
There's a lot more on the full post.

What have Mode done here?

An emphasis on style over substance - arguably. Its a hugely clever video though, finding passages from past videos and cutting them to successfully create the impression of lipsynching.
Confusions over time and space - this video uses snippets from videos from 1981!
Strinati's definition doesn't specifically mention irony - a good indication of the difficulty in defining this much-explored concept! - but the use of clumsy 80s-style kaleidoscope effects is an ironic nod to the history of the band, electro-pop pioneers.

Not their best, but intriguing and a nice insight into the long career of a band responsible for some of the finest music videos ever created!

And there's more, as an execrable Irish comic once said...

It seems this video may have been inspired by a fan-made video for John the Revelator, posted in 2011 (Martyr was posted in 2012) - embedding is disabled, but its also included in my Depeche Mode Playlist.

As ever, feel free to pass on comments/suggestions.

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