Compare the debut (or a very early) music video of a long-running and successful band, with a recently released video. The two videos must be at least 10 years apart.
Both the videos that I have chosen are from Metallica’s DVD titled ‘The Videos, 1984 – 2004.’ Metallica are a heavy metal band and are now icons of the genre. Their earlier albums had made them legends, but in their most recent album, St. Anger (2003), their image had changed completely. They changed their genre from heavy metal to a more hard rock band.
Video 1: ENTER SANDMAN (1991)
The plot of the music video directly relates to the theme of the song and combines shots of the band playing with images of a child having nightmares. The video has a dark and gloomy mood; matching the song, and there is a constant fear of something popping out and scaring you. The narrative suits the sludgy music and James Hetfield’s twisted lullaby lyrics. The lyrics are malicious and the song even includes a small prayer from the child. While the child is praying, the ‘Sandman’ is watching the child.
In the first scene, a child is seen sleeping on his bed in his bedroom. Using lightning effects, the ‘Sandman’, fades in gradually into a close up shot. The lighting gets dimmer as the song progresses. The video keep changing shots from the band playing the song, to the kid having a nightmare.
In the shots of the band playing, the band all have long and messy hair which they use to head bang; they act very aggressive and powerful. There are a lot of close up shots on the vocalist, but low angled shots on the guitaring. The singer has a very high pitched voice in contrast to the heavy guitaring. They are all dressed in black, matching with the night.
In the shots of the child’s nightmare, the child falls from a building or drowns under water or is being chased by a truck. In the last scene of the video, the child falls from a mountain after being chased by the truck and dies a tragic death. A perfect end to the dark and evil song.
Video 2: St. Anger (2003)
The video was shot outdoors, in San Quentin State Prison, California. The video combines the band playing in different areas of the prison and also comprises of flashbacks of the bad deeds of the inmates that led them into prison. Hundreds of enthusiastic inmates were also included in the video.
The strong and powerful lyrics are controlling the song. Lyrically, the song deals with controlling anger and channeling it into positive energy. The singer has a high pitched voice, but the backing vocals are really low.
There are no lighting effects used as such, as the video is shot outdoors. The camera angles keep changing at the climax of each verse. It goes from a high angle view to a low angle view, and then into a close up of each band member.
The narrative is matching the lyrics perfectly. One scene shows an inmate killing someone, by shooting them on their head, while the lyrics are going: ‘I’m madly in anger with you!!’ The next scene moves back into the prison, and shows the life of the inmates and lyrics are ‘I hit the light on these dark sets.’
The band plays in different areas of the prison. While playing inside the prison, all the inmates inside their cells are cheering the band on. Lighting inside the prison is a bit dim and contrasts with the rest of the video. The band all has short and near hair and they have changed the bass player.
The band has its appearance as a whole. No longer with the long and messy hair, they all have short and nicely kept hair. No longer did the band wear all black clothes.
The music was controlling Enter Sandman; however, the lyrics controlled St. Anger. There wasn’t a guitar solo in St. Anger. The whole musical genre has changed from Heavy Metal to ‘Punkish Rock.’
One member of the band has also been changed, the bassist. The bass in St. Anger can’t be heard at all, while, in Enter Sandman, the bass is probably the most important instrument.
The lyrics have changed, as well as the way the song in sung. The anger can be seen in Enter Sandman, but the strong lyrics from St. Anger are not being sung with the same FURY.
A sense of happiness can be seen from St. Anger, which was not seen in Enter Sandman. Enter Sandman was just a gloomy metal ballad with dark lyrics, and the change from that into a more happy Punk song is a dramatic change.