Thursday, 23 August 2012

A lesson in narrative.

As much as it pains me to do this, I am going to discuss and berate the video to 'Payphone' by Maroon 5 ft. Wiz Khalifa. I am a huge Maroon 5 fan, and I have loved them for years, but lately I feel that they are making bad choices, bad songs and bad videos and they should feel extremely bad. For example, Payphone. Not only is this a bad song with repetitive lyrics which try to appear deep and meaningful, but it also has a bad music video. 

The general basis of the narrative is this: Adam Levine is at a payphone; FLASHBACK! Adam Levine and woman work in bank; bank gets robbed by the rest of Maroon 5 and a ridiculous amount of other people; Adam Levine and woman escape; Adam Levine leaves woman behind and gets pursued by police; Adam Levine escapes police; EXPLOSIONS; Wiz Khalifa stands by a fire (as if there isn't enough already there) and raps; Adam Levine goes to a payphone, bringing the thing nicely full-circle. This narrative may not sound bad, but when watched you realise it actually makes no sense, plus it has no relation to the song.

Right, so, here is my analysis:

Oh, hi, Adam Levine! What a nice long shot to get not just you, but the exploded car in the shot, too! Why are you throwing your phone away? Why are you standing next to a car on fire? Why are you all dirty? THIS IS INTERESTING, I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THIS INTRIGUING PLOT.

Oh, they're going back in time? That's cool, I guess this is like a Blood Brothers thing. Here are some nice establishing shots of a bank to establish location and character. This is the first thing wrong with the music video: THERE ARE 40 SECONDS OF NO MUSIC. All that we get for 40 seconds are shots of the banks and Adam Levine at a payphone by a fire. Don't worry, I didn't go on to YouTube and search for this video to hear the actual song, I wanted to watch shots of a bank and Adam Levine at a desk. Thanks a lot, guys.

Finally, the music kicks in and we once again see Adam Levine at a payphone, trying to call home; all of his change, he spends on you. The many close ups and midshots of Adam Levine in this damned phone box are the only shots of relevance to the lyrics, really, which is the second problem with this video. None of the rest of the video has any relevance whatsoever. I can't find any reference to bank robberies, explosions, being chased by the police or being stalked by Wiz Khalifa (don't worry, I'll get to it) in the lyrics.

Now that we've established Adam Levine's character as the nice and ordinary banker, we need to establish his love interest. The woman on the left is this love interest. However, as you can see in this shot, Adam Levine is staring up at her like 'oh, love me, woman whose name isn't established' and the woman is clearly not looking at him, staring straight ahead and going about her bankly business. REJECTION. This is the third problem of this video: CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT. I understand that there isn't much time to develop character in a music video, as there's only four or so minutes, but this is ridiculous. This, right here, is clear rejection (although, how she could ignore Adam Levine, I will never know). However, about a minute later (after the bank has been robbed): 


However, I will give it to her, she can take her shoes off bloody quickly.

This signal is given at around the 1:26 mark, and by 1:30, she's up and running and ready to go.  , even though she was wearing these shoes:

That's just not possible. I don't understand. I am in awe of her.

And that is where reality is suspended. Apart from the shoe thing, the rest of that was at least believable. Fourth problem: IT MAKES NO SENSE. So, the bank gets robbed by the rest of Maroon 5, but Adam Levine decides to go all Chuck Norris on these robbers. Whilst running away with the woman, the robbers start shooting at him. He and the woman avoid ALL THESE BULLETS. Now, I counted the amount of robbers in the room at any one point:

There were at least 6 robbers in that room when they try to escape. I find it hard to believe that SIX PEOPLE with automatic weapons couldn't hit two people, even if they were moving. You have to be a ridiculously bad shot. Also, there is at least one of them at near point-blank range, yet he can't hit them. WHAT KIND OF ROBBERS ARE YOU? WHY DO YOU EVEN HAVE A GUN IF YOU ARE THAT BAD A SHOT? 

And then, after Adam Levine and woman escape the bank, they are confronted by police. Adam Levine stole a gun from one of the robbers and so he drops it when he meets the police. Here is how this scene should have gone down:

Here is how it actually went down:

Adam Levine steals Wiz Khalifa's car and then EVERY POLICEMAN IN THE COUNTRY goes after Adam Levine, even though there is still a bank robbery in process... Reality: gone.

Then, Adam Levine drives the car and out of nowhere appears Wiz Khalifa:

Stalking Adam Levine. But does he come to reclaim his car? NO. He comes to stand by a fire and rap a little bit. Priorities, Wiz, you have them.

And there's lots of explosions, just for good measure.

So, overall, this video is irrelevant, meaningless and awful.


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