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Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in Music Videos from Past and Present

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Genre is defined as typical rhetorical ways of responding to a situation that repeatedly occurs within a scene. To help better understand that a scene is a place in which communication happens among groups of people with some shared objectives. Lastly, a situation are various rhetorical interactions happening within a scene, involving participants, subject, setting, and purposes. To further analyze genre, we look to music videos, which is when an artist creates a short film to go along with the lyrics of this song. I wanted to have three music videos that cover a wide range of different strategies, so I selected music videos from the eighties, nineties, and two thousand. One of the most iconic music videos of all-time “Thriller”, by Michael Jackson was my first selection. For my second song I decided on “Under The Bridge”, by The Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and lastly, I went with “Feel Good Inc.”, by the “Gorillaz” which is another piece that differs from the others. To understand genre better, we must compare and contrast various kinds of music videos and depict their strengths and weaknesses as well as patterns within one another. Music videos are a huge part of the music industry today they help express the artists message hidden behind the lyrics.

An artist makes a music video to further connect with their fans as if they are giving a final thank you or goodbye to the track, this also creates another outlet for their music to gain more fame and money. Music videos are usually released after a song has been available to a consumer. Many say the reasoning behind this is to spark additional interest in a track when it’s audiences enjoyment begins to fade. Rhetorical situations deal with forms of communication in which someone wants to either persuade, inform, or instruct on a topic. In music videos, it’s responsibility is to mostly inform the consumer of the subjects in the song as well as the deeper meaning behind the lyrics. Many different rhetorical strategies are used in these videos such as emotional, ethical, and logical that assist in persuading the audience of their views. A strategy I found on one of my examples was the use of emotions to persuade the audience. “Thriller” is a great example of this as the video strikes fear in it’s viewers through the use of eerie music, suspenseful scenes, and jumpscares. Michael Jackson wanted to really “thrill” his crowd with this song, which he was successful with this as his music video became an icon around the world and will always be remembered as a Halloween classic. Rhetorical strategies can be found everywhere in music videos from past and present.

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The persona created is very important to the artist as they want their audience to perceive them in a certain way. Music videos are made to build up ones image along with their music. A great example of this is the Gorillaz. The Gorillaz are an animated band that wants to portray themselves as rebellious with intentions to educate their audience on issues in America. Their highly recognized song “Feel Good Inc.” represents the evilness of consumerism and how it affects our population. The bands music video depicts how greed and pleasure leads us astray, they want their message to reach the public through their lyrics and music videos. The audience is invited to join this rebellion against consumerism the band was to inform their audience of this issue and overall does a great job of it. Another great example from an article I found is, “A video connects an artist and a listener, as well as connecting a listener to an audience. In many ways, they are an important medium for contemporary pop culture and technology.” (Boardman 2016) Language is extremely important when relating to rhetorical strategies in music it is what ultimately gets the artist's message across, with the use of a certain tone, one can express the significance of the issue. With my three examples I became aware of many similarities and differences. First and foremost each music video was formatted and constructed very similarly. Each began with an intro, had a main focal point, and then concluded. Each music video contained each band member with other guest stars. I found that each music video jumps around from each scene and contanly changed its setting. This was very effective in keeping me engaged in the music and story behind the video. In terms of style and tone, each video gave off the impression that pertained to the artists views. Each video gave off a unique vibe with a particular message. Another interesting fact I discovered in comparing these examples was the rhetorical appeals. Each song offered a different persuasion method to explain the meaning behind the track. Before doing this assignment I never fully understood how artists convince their audience, as someone who is intrigued by the music industry I found this all to be extremely informative.

To summarize what I have learned, music videos contain many facets of English literature within them. They are the basis of instructing audiences on social issues as well as deeper meaning behind songs. Without music videos I feel like the world would not be as informed as they are, it is a very important aspect of our generation. They help us connect with our artists while even learning along the way. Each genre of music offers a different route for one to take, with there being many to choose from one can always find a place where they can feel comfortable. “Music videos are still an important jumping-off point for directors to hone and explore their creativity. They give young talent an opportunity to break into different areas of the film industry — they are still very much a way in. The media still look at music videos for discovering new talent, and those ideas are then applied to so many other things.” (Boardman 2016) While searching for my examples I came across an article that explains how video is the most effective form of persuasion. The article states, “While video is effective at maintaining the attention of your viewers, its biggest advantage lies in its ability to transfer information more quickly and with higher emotional appeal.” (Krieg 2017) I can attest to this since I consume information much better through videos rather than a book or a teacher. The article gives three facts that show how videos process faster in ones brain than other forms of information. First, ninety percent of the information that is transmitted to the brain is visual, so seeing is learning when it comes down to it. Another fact the piece gives is video information is processed by the brain sixty thousand times faster than text. Lastly, website visitors are eighty five percent more likely to buy after watching a product video. So all-around people learn faster when watching a video. Music videos are an important part of our society that will continue to provide a positive outlook on society.

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Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in Music Videos from Past and Present. (2022, July 14). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 4, 2024, from
“Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in Music Videos from Past and Present.” Edubirdie, 14 Jul. 2022,
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Analysis of Rhetorical Strategies in Music Videos from Past and Present [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 14 [cited 2024 Mar 4]. Available from:
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