a story in 3:41

before i get my butt to work, i thought i’d blog about something a bit different.

when you think of stories, you think of books. then, movies, probably. but there’s also music videos. all three are just different mediums of expression. music videos pretty much get the shaft, though, since they (usually) have a much shorter run time. which means instead of 300 pages or 2 hours to effectively convey a story, they get about 4 minutes. personally, i love music videos that go beyond the typical concert scenes, or the montage of blurred images that add up to not much more.

my book DUALED deals with the theme of conflict, both internal and external. so when i saw the video for adam lambert’s better than i know myself, i couldn’t miss that same theme at the heart of it–of conflict, of duality. sure, a lot of it’s very OTT, but when you only get a few minutes to play up a theme and really drive it home, you can’t be wimpy about it. i ended up with 80,000 words for DUALED. director ray kay has about 3 minutes, 41 seconds. and in that time, he manages to fit in so many instances/symbols/images of duality.

1. dark adam vs zen adam
2. heavy makeup vs going barefaced
3. cold/black/blue tones vs warm/sunny/earth tones
4. jagged screen edges vs. smooth screen edges
5. leather jacket vs cuddly cardigan
6. single bed for one vs double bed for two
7. branches and skulls vs green plants
8. tequila vs tea
9. destroys books vs reading books
10. makes a mess vs sweeping, making the bed
11. overwrought expressions vs serene meditation
12. playing with fire vs playing chess
13. wasting oxygen vs needing oxygen

i love this video. it’s multi-layered, well-thought out, and took what could have easily been just another romance theme and spun it into something different. how in the end, dark adam has to accept the existence of zen adam to survive. the fact that adam lambert himself as an artist can be very polarizing also fits the theme of duality so well. plus, i think i tweeted about how this song has been stuck in my head these last few days, and i’ve pinned it on my music board, so i figured i might as well go and blog about it, too.

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9 thoughts on “a story in 3:41

  1. Elsie, thanks for posting such a creative topic. You know, I’ve never thought much about music videos as storytelling, but you’re absolutely right. I love seeing how all these different mediums convey similar stories and ideas. Have you seen the video for Coldplay’s Paradise? I love that song, and the video tells a great story.

    • Hi Megan! Fancy seeing you here ;) I love how music videos can be mini-movies or a short story. Yep, I love the Paradise video, it’s different and quirky and definitely telling a story. Thanks for stopping by!

  2. PS…I didn’t know you could post music videos to Pinterest! There goes my afternoon :)

  3. Great post! I think visuals are how all my stories start, like frames of a music video that I need to coerce into something more.

    • Hiya Mindy! Yep, I love how ideas can spring up from just a picture, or a song. A lot of the time, they end up being radically different from what you started out with, but it all starts from somewhere. Thanks for the comment!

  4. Elsie, I’m scared to press play. I don’t know if I can bear having an Adam song stuck in my head. He’s got this awesome Robert Smith vibe going on, visually, but then he opens his mouth and he sounds very…not Robert Smith.*

    *Yes. Robert Smith. The Cure. I had a goth girl phase in college. I left behind the black (well, some of it) but not The Cure. Disintegration is the best album ever.

    • Hi April! I think the music we listen to during those years stick around for longer, anyhow. I was never into The Cure (grunge was my thing), but I think I’m one of the few. I loved how Smith would wear his lipstick, though. Thanks for the comment!

  5. [...] more random stuff: i blogged about the duality (see what i did there?) of this adam lambert video a bit ago. the song’s still a total ear [...]

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