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Challenging Goodwins Theory of Music

Videos Lorde Tennis Court


Billy Clayton
Goodwins Theory
Writing in Dancing in the Distraction Factory (1992), Andrew Goodwin
came up with a six-part theory that demonstrates what music videos
generally if not always include; this is made up of:
1. Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics e.g stage performance
for a metal/rock video, choreography for boy/girl band.
2. There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals either illustrative,
amplifying or contradicting.
3. There is a relationship between music and visuals either illustrative,
amplifying or contradicting.
4. The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close-
ups of the artist documenting their image.
5. There is frequently reference to notion of looking voyeurism
objectification of the female body.
6. There are often intertextual references to other pieces of media e.g t.v,
film, other music videos.

Lorde Tennis Court
Lorde is a seventeen year old singer-songwriter from New Zealand who
rose to fame in summer 2013 with her highly anticipated debut single
Royals. Tennis Court, her albums official second single is accompanied
by a music video that I believe challenges the statements made in
Goodwins theory and singles itself out as a unique piece of modern media.
The video was released in June 2013 and directed by Joel Kefali. It was
filmed as a one-shot video, with the single take lasting the entire 3:21,
equal to the length of the track itself and notably breaks some of the ideas
suggested by Goodwin in his theory.
Music Video
The first point of Goodwins theory is Music videos demonstrate genre
characteristics. Lordes music is considered to be Indie-Alternative pop, and unlike
most music videos from this genre, for example Sky Ferreiras Youre Not The One
(pictured in the centre), Lordes video does not contain multiple locations such as
clubs/bars, bedrooms or instrument-based performances, but instead, it is located in
a minimal black room with a spotlight behind her throughout the entire video. Not
only this, but it is filmed in one singular shot, emphasising the use of one specific
location displayed through one angle.

The next point in Goodwins theory states There is a relationship between lyrics and
visuals. Lorde describes Tennis Court to be about her journey from day-to-day
school life in New Zealand to signing her record deal and acknowledging her new
found fame. Whilst other music videos such as Avril Lavignes Mobile (pictured far
right) covers the same topic of signing a record deal and gaining world wide
recognition, it displays visuals of multiple road signs and highways reflecting her
journey, Lordes video focuses primarily on her sat silently in a black room, plain
and unreflective of the busy and overwhelming process of becoming a famous artist.
Music Video
The next part of Goodwins theory states There is a relationship between
music and visuals. Unlike the vast majority of modern music videos, there
is no lip-syncing featured in this video except for the singular Yeahs at the
end of each verse. This goes against a very popular device of music videos
and perhaps confuses the audience when they view it, triggering them to
consider whether she is in fact the actual singer, hence making it a unique
piece.

Music Video
Another part of Goodwins theory states The demands of the record label will include
the need for lots of close ups of the artist and the artists may develop a visual style that
recurs across their work. The music video for Tennis Court challenges the popular
record label demand as it uses one singular shot throughout displaying Lordes piercing
stare at the camera whilst wearing black contact lenses, black lipstick and a fishnet
shirt, making her appear alien-like and unusual, going against the typical formula of
presenting a young female to be visually appealing. This idea is enhanced when paying
attention to the fact that her Royals music video had to be re-edited for the US release
to include over twice the amount of shots of Lorde herself as there were too many shots
prioritising location and mise-en-scene, for example close ups of televisions and pools
being replaced with close ups of her face, allowing her to be more easily accepted into
modern US pop culture where image is highly valued.