Send Them Off!

Visuals help us tell our stories with impact and emotion. And when the visual is a powerful one, be it an image or video, the effect is magnified. Cinematography, in various forms, is considered visual storytelling. Music videos typically act as visual aids to music that artists produce.

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The song “Send Them Off!” uses various expressions that are also used in religious terms. Dan Smith details an internal struggle to shake some insecurities – the insecurities that have been enforced in him are haunting him and he asks ‘religion’ to lay their ‘healing’ hands on him and cure him. This is often seen being practiced in some branches of Christianity. “Ritual” is never an appropriate choice of words to describe something good, so you get the surreal idea behind these lyrics.

I’ve got demons running round in my head

And they feed on insecurities I have

Won’t you lay your healing hands on my chest?

Let your ritual clean

 

Set me free from my jealousy

Won’t you exorcise my mind?

Won’t you exorcise my mind?

I want to be free as I’ll ever be

Exorcise my mind

Help me exorcise my mind

The music video begins with a young man waking up in almost a dream-like state. He realizes that he is being chased by a horned “demon.” His escape from this “demon” takes him through what may be considered as hell, purgatory, and eventually paradise.

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“Sin”

The demon seems to be chasing the man and taking him through what appear to be some of the seven deadly sins. The first instance of this is the room with a young woman. She is surrounded by flying bugs that serve as reference to the plague of locusts in the Bible. This plague was meant to “devour what little you have left.” Moses would later tell the Pharaoh to: “Go, worship the Lord, your God.”

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The following scene takes the main character into a burning room with people making out. The flames resemble hell while the people are representation of lust, one of the seven deadly sins. His running through each room may stand for Dan Smith’s encounter with these sins. He wants to be free of his demons.

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“Red”

The color red appears numerous times throughout the video. In the beginning, the young man finds a room where people are blindfolded with red cloth. These cloths stand for sin. He tries to run away from temptation but it follows him.

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Isaiah 1:18 “’Come now, and let us reason together,’ says the Lord, ‘though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.’”

This story is a part of the narrative with Rahab the harlot. Because she helped the Israelite spies, they told her she and her family could be spared, so long as they put a scarlet cord out of the window to signify that they are not to be hurt. Oddly enough, even though the Bible can use scarlet, red, or crimson as colors that symbolize sin, it is often the symbol that saves. The “blood of Christ” in Christianity is a symbol of salvation.

The scary-looking horseman may be our savior in this sense. He is completely covered in red and we do not see his face. He is unknown, a mysterey.

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Exodus 12:7 “And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat.”

The band itself seems to be stuck in purgatory, waiting in an abandoned old church and crossing path with the video’s main character before he ventures even farther into different circles of hell. Speaking with Radio.com about the song, Dan Smith said, “‘Send Them Off!’ I guess is a kind of, it’s a song of irrational relationship jealousy told very dramatically by the language of Desdemona in Othello, which is such a famous, classic jealousy narrative, but using some of the imagery from The Exorcist.” Given the horror movie that structured the song’s lyrics, it makes sense that the band turned to a similar theme when making its music video.

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References:

Wicks, Amamnda. “Bastille Blend Dante and Horror Flicks in New Video ‘Send Them Off!'” Radio.com. 30 Sept. 2016. Web.

Krauszer, Michael. “The Color Red.” Christian Crier. N.p., 03 Nov. 2014. Web.

GIFs are from Tumblr user: idriselbas

 

 

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Warmth

Neoclassical analysis is a method that uses ancient works to make sense of literature and other work. I will be focusing on the Aristotle proofs in this blog post. Aristotle named three types of appeals – or what he called the “three proofs” – that speaker should use as means of persuasion. In classical Greek, the three proofs are known as ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is how the subject appeals to character. Does the subject display a good sense, will, or moral character? Pathos appeals to emotions, while logos appeals to logic and rationality.

The song “Warmth” is about the human condition and just how “overwhelming it can seem to be watching or reading the news. It all seems so confusing.” Songwriter, Dan Smith, describes the song being about figuring out ways to react against that, and sometimes that is just running to the person that you love because they’re the perfect distraction in that situation. It’s just about trying to have an honest reaction to things.

Dan, in the beginning of the song, believes that logic is the correct way to go about things. The song begins with sound bites from news reports:

“When the event happens, there is little time to think of those things that people would like to have remain private”

“Getting caught up in the circus-like atmosphere, feeling less responsible to conventional ethical practices” 

Because there is little time to prepare for whatever may happen in the world, it is important to stay rational despite the emotions that may creep up. Being emotional can lead to impulsive decisions. When things get crazy we tend to run. And even though looking from the outside in, that is an emotional response, if you are in that situation it seems like the only logical option. This is where logos fits.

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Hold me in this wild, wild, world.

Burying himself in someone or something else erases the fear, regardless of this he knows that does the world no good to run away. It does no good to try to escape. This is when his mind shifts to pathos. As much as he would like to shut off him emotions, Dan is an emotionally driven person.

Never good just the bad and the ugly

Laid in front of you

Nothing quite like seeing the world through the TV’s window

Feeling helpless I look for distraction

I go searching for you, wandering through our city to find some solace at your door

The news is scaring him, and how could we possibly blame him? The world that Dan once knew versus the one “through the TV’s window” are two very different things. Facts are not what we once knew (hello alternative facts) and it is laid there right in front of him. Searching for a distraction is the only way that his mind can cope; he needs comfort: warmth.

Cause in your warmth I forget how cold it can be

And in your heat I feel how cold it can get

Hold me in this wild, wild, world

Cause in your warmth I forget how cold it can be

And in your heat I feel how cold it can get

Now draw me close

The fact that Dan can find only so much support in the warmth of his loved one is what draws him back to reality. When Dan ventures out into the world alone, he feels the frigidness of the world. On the other hand, feeling the cold while in someone’s heart may refer the way that having people who are precious to you can make you afraid. This is because you know how easily anything can slip away, and the thought of losing them is terrifying. Both of these things make you want to hold on for dear life to what you hold dear.

So come on let’s forget the emotion

Tie the blinkers on, hold both hands right over my eyes

Deafen me with music

‘Till we’re lost in the heat of the moment

And I moving in you help me keep these hours alive

Help me chase those seconds

Overall, it is Dan’s morality that makes him display ethos. Forgetting the emotion, he believes, will provide him with a good sense. Wanting to chase the seconds of feeling alive is human nature. These lyrics discuss his inner debate of wanting to do something about world events but feeling powerless.

I just keep talking about it

But I’ll do nothing about it

This portion discusses the culture of “slacktivism”, where people will talk about how bad things are, they’ll post about it on social media, argue about it, say how awful it is, but then they won’t do anything in an attempt to change the way things are, to stop it happening again. Perhaps because they feel like they won’t be able to make a difference because they are only one person. The beliefs are there but the drive isn’t. This takes us right back to the beginning of the song:

“Getting caught up in the circus-like atmosphere, feeling less responsible to conventional ethical practices”

 

 

The track is arranged in a way that makes it sound almost chaotic. All of the different beats and instruments being played can illustrate the mayhem that is occurring in the world. This version is very upbeat.

 

This version of the song seems to ring true to the lyrics of the song. It is more mellow and creates the image of desperately needing solace.

References:

Burgchardt, Carl R. Readings in Rhetorical Criticism. 4th ed. State College, Pa.: Strata Pub., 2010

 

An Act of Kindness

Frame Analysis a way of looking to see how a situation is defined, and how that shapes the audience, highlighting the inevitable biases in all storytelling. This analysis asks the critic: what is included and excluded in the story? What is emphasized and downplayed in the story? How does the story formally play out?

According to C. Wesley Buerkle, rejection frames (burlesque, satire, elegy) are methods of responding to an event. Each of the rejection frames justifies turning from the current social order because it is faulty beyond correction. Bastille’s “An Act of Kindness” uses selective vocabulary to discuss its story. In this story, Dan Smith describes someone showing him an “act of kindness.”

An act of kindness

Is what you show to me

None more than I can take

Oh none more than I can take

Kindness is what you showed to me

It holds me ’til I ache

Overflow, and start to break

The story takes place from Dan’s point of view: the kindness that was shown to him throws him by surprise. He feels as though he must give something in return in order to be on equal standing with this person. I wish we were given some clue as to what the “act” was. It must have been something that made him feel special. Dan makes sure to include how he feels.

Oh, I got a feeling this’ll shake me down

Oh, I’m kind of hoping this will turn me round

Perhaps he wants to be inspired by the generosity shown to him. He wants to be the type of person that will pass on the good fortune. However, as any other over-thinker would do, rather than doing what you say you will do, you allow your anxiety torment your mind. This “turn of a camera” change details the perspective.

And now it follows me every day

And now it follows me every day

And now it follows me every day

The chorus serves as an emphasis that Dan will not forget what has been done for him. He, however, begins to feel guilty the more he dwells on the matter.

Oh, my back’s up against the wall

I feel guilty, I feel guilty

And you want nothing in return

I feel guilty, I feel guilty

This story allows me to believe that Bastille wants us to see Dan as elegy. The frame elegy describes a character as passive. They are resigned to a situation and tend to claim victimhood. As I have explained earlier in my post, he will not take action as comic would. The guilt that he feels has consumed him to a point where he feels “up against the wall.” Because the other person expects nothing from him, he is caught off guard. He feels unworthy. What was once an “act of kindness” has now turned into a heavy burden. It is almost as though Dan wishes it had never happened so that he wouldn’t have to bear an overwhelming cloak of shame.

Fun Fact: Bastille describes this song as their most “positive” on the album.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/tvandshowbiz/1675111/bastille-reveal-their-new-found-confidence-and-the-inspiration-behind-their-new-album-wild-foxes/

References:

Buerkle, C. Wesley, Michael E Mayer, and Clark D Olson. “Our Hero the Buffoon: Contradictory and Concurrent Burkean Framing of Arizona Governor Evan Mecham.” Western Journal of Communication, 67.2 (2003): 187-206.