Riptide music video


This set text is a music video for the song Riptide by Vance Joy.

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Vance Joy is an Australian singer-songwriter signed to Atlantic records (a subsidiary of major label, Warner). His music can be categorised as fitting into indie folk-pop genre.  

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The video uses montage editing. There are a wide range of contrasting shots that are juxtaposed to convey a large amount of information. The editing together of the images invites audience interpretation. For example, there is a sequence where a male and female turn their heads to look at something off screen and then the next shot shows a pile of dollar bills. The audience are being asked to make connections through this use of montage.

The lyrics reflect what is being seen on the screen. For example, ‘I was scared of dentists’ shows a woman wearing a mouth piece and ‘And they come unstuck’ shows a woman untying herself from a tree.

For the most part, the video rejects a clearly defined narrative.

There is reference to the horror genre through the graveyard setting, low lighting and the woman’s facial expressions. 

Part way through a woman is shown. At the start, she looks normal. She is nicely dressed at the start, looking comfortable in the situation. As the video goes on, she starts to look gradually different. She has blood on her face and hands, and her makeup is smudged.

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Barthes’ theory of semiotics can be applied. Constructed meanings can come to seem self-evident, for example the colour green (‘all my friends are turning green’) relates to both money and envy. The video could be implying either that the friends are money-obsessed or that they are jealous of Vance Joy’s success.

Neale’s genre theory can also be applied to the music video. Riptide is different to other indie folk music videos, for example there are no bands playing musical instruments. The purpose of the video is to entertain and to gain money, which could be the reason why Riptide is so different to other music videos.

Gauntlett’s identity theory can be applied. The music video rejects singular, straightforward messages and instead invites a variety of different responses and interpretations.

Hooks’ feminist theory can also be applied. The video contains seemingly contradictory messages about gender. Also, parts of the video present women as being weak and being objects to be looked at by men.

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