MUSIC FEATURE – Major Narratives in Music Videos…

I love music videos and try to watch as many as I can to focus on the way it is edited to the beat, the styles and also the portrayal that the musician wants you to reflect them.
I could sit here and really write a book about the music videos I love and why but instead today I want to focus on something that I have really adored seeing in the past few years – Major Narratives.
There are so many bands and musicians out there that are now creating narratives that are spread across more then one music video to keep the audience engaged and to make them want to watch more. A good example of this is visual albums like Beyonce and music videos liked Childish Gambino that have attracted millions of audience to them because of the narrative that they tell them and also the way that they tell them.
There are a couple of bands that have been using music videos spread across time in the traditional way though to tell a narrative and we are going to look at two of those examples today. I would like to point out that both of these examples were released years before Lemonade.

Fall Out Boy – The Young Blood Chronicles. 

When Fall Out Boy returned to the music scene, I was one happy bunny as I really love their music and found their new album really good. A MIGHTY 11 music videos  called The Young Blood Chronicles were released to create an extensive narrative.



When I started to watch them I was interested to see how the narrative would develop. From reading the many comments from fans etc online apparently the videos are a metaphor to the reasons why the band broke up and how they re-formed.


I will admit something now – I hate blood and gore and find in modern day society there are so many programmes and films that use unnecessary scenes of gore. I had quite an interesting conversation with someone the other day about censorship in the media – they were against sexy music videos and sexy lyrics being available for young teenagers to hear (such as songs like Blurred Lines, and Rihanna videos etc) HOWEVER they thought it was fine for a young teenager to watch really gore and blood fest films. This still amazes me that someone can accept something like that as being the “norm.”

This is one thing about Fall Out Boys videos that I can’t seem to get my head around. In the second video, they are kidnapped and taken to a torture chamber etc but the violence is in every video. I know that a lot of people like this sort of entertainment, but even if they are creating metaphors for how their career has progressed, I personally feel there are better ways to show it in a few parts of their video. Love the album and the music so not arguing against that, but someone put it perfectly on the newest video on the comments on YouTube

“It’s like listening to a great song with a random video just being put over the top.”

However, the reason that I want to mention these videos even though they are gratuitous is because the extension of the narrative across all these videos make it like a short film and that is something that really engages the audience and is something very different and unique.

[WARNING: some of these videos contain explicit imagery ]


Marianas Trench – Ever After, Music videos series. 

Before I discuss the videos, it’s important to first understand the album.

“Ever After tells the story of Josh Ramsay, who lands in Toyland. He meets the ex king upon his waking up in a strange land in front of a toy factory. The King tells Josh that he was overthrown by the his wife Queen Carolina, she then stole the heart of his daughter, Princess Porcelain, which caused the king so much pain, that he let Carolina take the throne. She Porcelain’s heart in a box atop a tower and Josh’s way home. Josh sets off in search of Porcelain and his way home.

Carolina then comes to Josh in the night, and attempts to bribe him into ruling Toyland with her and he turns her down. When Josh comes to, he finds Porcelain, she has the key to the box around her neck. When asked why she isn’t a toy like everyone else, she cannot remember. She couldn’t remember anything that happened before her heart had been stolen. 

The Queen sees Josh trying to climb up the tower and tries to brutally attack him. Porcelain and the Prince then open the box as the Queen attempts to steal Josh’s heart. After a flash of light, Josh regains consciousness and hears joyful cheers from the courtyard below, and finds that they have defeated the Queen. However the Stuttering Prince is dead as the other half of the key had been his own heart. Porcelain throws Carolina off the tower to be swarmed by angry toy soldiers. The King retakes the throne and Porcelain and Josh go home, but find that after the adventure, it didn’t feel like home, so the two return to the kingdom and live happily ever after.”

The stories of the videos have a reflection of this story that is depicted throughout the album. I didn’t realise at first that the videos were connected, until I started seeing iconic objects in all of the videos. The one thing that I really like about some of the videos is that they are all very different and very random but once you have watched them in order to the tracklisting it starts to make sense. Reading items online about the videos as well also provide interesting reading for this video series. As iDoAirGuitar on YouTube states:

“Makes me think that Fallout is the dream sequence of By Now. He thinks that she will save him, but she betrays him. Haven’t Had Enough shows that he thought she’d be good for him, but wasn’t. Desperate Measures and Stutter are him saving himself… Which didn’t happen in reality.”

I really like the use of sound in these videos to connote the strange things that are happening and find it pretty effective. I truly love these videos and find them such a creative concept and never get bored watching them and finding new things in the cinematography. Have a watch of them below.



However whilst these long narrative videos are great we should still give praise to musicians that are able to create a strong narrative in one video as well.

Lady Gaga  feat Beyonce – Telephone

This is a fantastic video about a jail break and Lady Gaga being released and going on the limb – the cinematography and the editing is phenomenal and it makes it a really interesting and addictive video to watch. The outfits, the narrative around the whole video makes it great and one of Gaga’s greatest.

Panic! At The Disco – I Write Sins Not Tragedies 

This is a a video that took the world by storm when it was first released as it did two things – it put Panic on the map and it created such a great narrative in such a short turn around that it got many mouths talking and even started a cult style in the world of emo.

Stan – Eminem

If you want a music video that works to the lyrics of the song to bring you something sensational, then this is the one you have to pay attention to. Eminem is one person who really has defined and taken the music video to the next level as the narrative is emphasised in both elements and it is a sad yet magical music video and one you need to watch for it really to hit home in the lyrics.

A-ha – Take On Me

If there was one music video that really was ahead of it’s time then it was this music video. The way that the animation intertwines into real life is so clever and introduces a whole different style of storytelling.


Blink-182 – Josie

I have loved this music video for as long as I can remember, I love the old Blink videos because they had so much humour and that really creates a very strong narrative. I think this is my favourite out of the old videos because it sort of is based on a teen movie and that is where the comedy lies as it sort of takes the mick and that is what is great about it.


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