Numb By Linkin Park
I have chosen to research this song and video as they are the embodiment of the sub-culture that is the main target audience for the ’emocore’ genre. This song seemingly calls out to those who are sick and tired of being told to conform to societal norms, either by their parents or peers. This is a very ’emo’ message to convey, as the target audience of emotionally troubled teens feel that they can relate to it in that they feel those around them try to force them into normality, not allowing them to express their emotional side.
This song allows for the conveyance of those emotions in a very powerful manner, with the singer verging on screaming the lyrics in the chorus, which is a popular feature of heavier ’emocore’ music. This idea is very much reflected in the lyrics with talk of expectations and ‘pressure’, also with the singer wanting to be ‘more like me and less like you’. The lyrical style is very personal; reading almost as if it is a letter to a parent or peer who the sender is trying to break away from.
Right from the very beginning of the video the main character in the narrative is depicted as being very isolated and alone, with the opening shots being of her alone in what appears to be a very empty city, as if she is the only one there, or she is alone in her own world. This issue is shown throughout the video both at home and at her school or college. She seems to use her art and creativity as an escape from this loneliness and as a way of letting out her stored up anger and other emotion, as is common for people belonging to the target audience of ’emocore’ music.
This song is easy for members of it’s target audience to relate to through this character, as many of them feel as though they are in the same situation. The editing is used to further enforce the idea of isolation, and of being on a different wavelength to everyone else around you when all of the action around her is sped up and sometimes blurred or taken out of focus, while she is left at normal speed, perhaps hinting at a feeling of her current situation getting her nowhere, while everyone around her lives out their normal and care free lives, not noticing her daily struggle. The final chorus sees this characters anger and repressed emotion come to a head as she lashes out at her own creative outlet for her emotion, throwing paint over her own artwork. At the very end she is shown running toward where the band have been playing, only to find them gone and for her to be left alone again to continue in her isolated existence.
The mise en scene for this video varies, with the narrative appearing to be a very normal school or college, with the main narrative character not being dressed hugely differently from other students, perhaps just taking slightly less care over her appearance. I believe this gives the video a certain generalisability, with the school’s location not mattering, allowing for audience members to further relate to the video, as it could be something they see happening in their own school.
The band shots take place in a what appear to be an empty church, which may be metaphorical in a sense, linking to the lack of faith in everything the narrative character feels, or may be a reference to parents of children like the narrative character, showing, along with other parts of the video, they are to blame too.
The camera work in this video includes a lot of movement, with many pan, crane and dolly shots, especially in band shots or shots that focus solely on the main narrative character. This may be to help convey the emotion with which the music is being played. It also shows the emotion of the main narrative character, with one crane shot moving down and briefly showing the cuts on her arm where she has self harmed, which is an act that is heavily associated with the ’emo’ subculture and ’emocore’ music.
The band shots are clear, giving the audience a clear image of the artist performing, so they can remember them, allowing for a persona to be built up alongside the music that the record company they are signed to can exploit to sell tickets to live shows etc. and make more money. Musically, the editing is similar to other music videos I have seen in that during the melodic verses, shots are often longer, where as in the choruses the editing is sped up, with shorter shots. Although, sometimes in this video instead of speed editing up, the use of speeding up everything except for the main narrative character is used to create a more dramatic effect to accompany the heavier chorus parts.
Things we may take from this video are the showing of the feeling of isolation in our main narrative character and possibly the ending where the main narrative character runs into the location of the band shots to find the place abandoned. We will also use a dolly to create panning shots like the ones used in this video whee possible.