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Music Video Analysis
Sep 14, 2017 in Description
The videos chosen for the analysis are Not afraid of the American rap-singer Eminem, and a fans' parody called I am Afraid. While Eminem's s video is aimed at amplifying the encouraging effect of the song, his fans opted for irony, sarcasm and entertainment.
The main idea of Eminem's video is to show that he has a strong spirit and is capable of facing any challenge. He also addresses those going through hard times, and he wants to support them saying that if he coped with the difficulties, anyone else can, "We'll walk this world together through the storm / Whatever weather, cold or warm" (Eminem). While making the parody, the fans were seemingly trying to achieve the result contrary to that of Eminem's. The title of their song speaks for itself. Their primary purpose is to show that the main character is scared of everything and this is he who needs help: "I am afraid to be a man / Everybody must hold my hand" (I am Afraid). The singer in the parody looks much like Eminem and he is imitating his singing manner which is very peculiar. The character in I am Afraid is masculine, because the song is based on gender roles stereotypes. For example, the man there does not like fishing which is considered to be an activity for men because he thinks worms are disgusting: "I won't touch worms for fishing" (I am Afraid). Meanwhile, Eminem's lyrics are appropriate both for men and women.
Eminem is in a closed, dark room with no windows which is ruined in the end of the video and he is open to the sunlight. The man in the parody is also placed into a dark room, but he stays there, because he is afraid of people and any dangers he might be exposed to. He says he promised himself to never leave his room again after he saw a ghost. Eminem's character becomes a superhero closer to the end of the video — he frees himself and flies above the precipice. In such a way he demonstrates his outstanding ability to overcome difficulties and cope with every challenge. In a fan made video, however, the main character is obviously a coward. While Eminem is acquiring the abilities of a hero, this man fails to demonstrate basic human strengths and admits being called a "Super Wuss." The parody includes many of the most popular human fears: spiders, storms, horror films, funerals, ghosts etc. He admits having a "phobia of phobia" and says he panics when talking to people: "Holler if you still can't talk to girls on the phone" (I am Afraid). Eminem, on the other hand, is exposed to such dangers as extreme height or fast cars, he walks on the streets full of people and enjoys the sun. Both characters experience real human emotions, but in the parody, they are considerably exaggerated.
In both music videos, the main characters leave their refuges and explore the world around them. However, for Eminem this was a goal of the whole video — he destroys a brick wall with his bare hands and goes outside. In the parody, on the other hand, the man is so frightened by nature and people that he can no longer be outside. As to other people in the videos, they also play different roles. In the parody, there are many other characters: a teacher, therapist and schoolmates - but they all make the man panic. In I'm not Afraid, Eminem is the only main character, and other people there function rather as background. Nevertheless, when he meets them, his reaction is realistic. Interestingly, there is a moment in the video when he is going in the opposite direction, and in such a way he makes an accent on his determination and ability to achieve his goals even if there is no one to support him.
I am Afraid appears to be much more realistic than the original version. In fact, everything that Eminem does in his video could be characterized as walking, standing and flying. Unlike him, the parodist performs numerous tasks — he is swimming, using his computer, jumping, fishing and so on. To perform a realistic demonstration of fear, the man in I am Afraid is trembling, perspiring and repeatedly wets himself. Therefore, both characters look like real persons, but some of their features are vastly exaggerated — the original video makes Eminem look too brave and strong, while the parodist's fear transforms him into a psychopath.
Both men change their clothes throughout the videos. Interestingly, although Eminem is a rapper, his style is slightly different from that of his colleagues. For instance, he does not have a usual cap, and the only accessories he is wearing are a small silver cross on a chain, a silver bracelet and a watch which is surprising, for usually, rappers have quite a few golden chains with strikingly big crosses on their necks. His clothes are dark and are more comfortable than trendy. However, one can notice a few close-ups of his expensive Nike sneakers. His appearance corresponds to the lyrics, because he looks like an ordinary person, and he is trying to say that he in fact is just like everyone else — a man who has a troubled past but is hoping to have a bright future. This helps him make the audience feel sympathetic and believe his words.
The man in the parody has more clothes, because his character appears in a bigger number of different life situations. In the very beginning, he is wearing a white undershirt and some pants — an outfit usually worn by many men at home. His clothes correspond to the activities he is involved in. There is a moment when he is in an undershirt, shirt and pants and has big round glasses — to parody a style of a typical "nerd." When he speaks of ghosts, he is covered with a bright blanket for children, which helps show the extent to which the situation is absurd. It is worth mentioning that, unlike Eminem, he is wearing caps, because it seems to be the basic accessory of every rapper. Generally, the parody represents an ordinary man in different life situations and the clothes are chosen successfully. Apart from that, each costume is elaborated according to the stereotypes about the character which is being parodied.
As to the design, the original version of the video is more sophisticated in terms of computer graphics. Since Eminem is a superman, there are a few fantastic moments when he does certain stunts. For instance, he stands on the edge of a skyscraper's roof and sings his song. He also falls off the precipice and, as it has already been mentioned, he flies. He also finds himself in a mirror room which obviously symbolizes his previous confusion and worries: "I've had enough, now I'm so fed up" (Eminem). Such scenes make Eminem look exceptionally brave and amplify the effect of his lyrics - he is not afraid of hardships: "No if, ands, or buts" (Eminem). I am Afraid, on the other hand, changes a bigger number of settings: river, school, therapist's room, bathroom, etc. Such strategy shows how a man can be scared of ordinary situations of everyday life.
The target audience of the videos is similar. Eminem addresses both his fans and people who do not like his work. He also talks to everyone who feels like he or she has "been down the same road" (Eminem). Thus, the video makers were trying to appeal to as many viewers as possible. The parody is obviously made for those who know who Eminem is and are familiar with the song. In addition, its target audience is probably mostly teenagers, because it contains a number of jokes characteristic of young people. Unlike Not Afraid, the parody was made to have fun and satirize some of human vices, not to attract bigger audience.
To sum up, the purposes of these two videos are different. The original version is made to appeal the biggest audience possible, and the parody is aimed at mocking human phobias. While Eminem shows confidence and excitement about his future, the parodist is scared all the time. The main characters, design, costumes and the events of both videos are chosen successfully and maximize the effect they have on the viewers.