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Unruly MediaYouTube, Music Video, and the New Digital Cinema$
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Carol Vernallis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199766994

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199766994.001.0001

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Reconfiguring Music Video

Reconfiguring Music Video

Beyoncé’s “Video Phone”

(p.181) Chapter 9 Reconfiguring Music Video
Unruly Media

Carol Vernallis

Oxford University Press

Hype Williams’s video for Lady Gaga and Beyoncé’s “Video Phone” draws on both YouTube and cinema. Beyoncé’s earlier videos share little with “Video Phone”’s clashing models of good and bad sexuality. The opening cites Reservoir Dogs and YouTube’s frontal address, stripped-down graphics, shallow space, low-res kaleidoscope effects, and rapid stutter. Later, its female performer is allowed to take pleasure in bondage and become the girl-next-door pinup for soldiers overseas, before moving to a redeemed state of whiteness, to then turn things around again by vulnerably approaching orgasm while at the same time performing the role of a bored sex-worker and military trainer. A new approach to songwriting, enabled by software like Pro Tools, makes possible this fragmented cell-phone-friendly song and imagery. This video is really a mashup.

Keywords:   Aesthetics, digital, music video, Hype Williams, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, “Video Phone,” YouTube, mashup, audiovisual

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