Friday, May 9, 2014

"Power" - Kanye West

In recent years, Kanye West has become known for his artistic approach when it comes to music videos and the concepts behind his brand. In the music video for his song “Power” off of his 2010 album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, West’s artistic concepts come to life.

This music video, directed by installation artist Marco Brambilla, is unlike any that I have seen before. Instead of taking the classic music video approach, which entails a sort of storyboard time line feel that takes the viewer on a sequential explanation of all the aspects of its respective song, this video is comparable to a moving painting.

The video starts out with a medium close-up shot of West depicted in black clothing and there is a shadow cast on his face, so his eyes are the brightest point in the shot. West is in the middle of the shot and the columns in the background are set in a way that emphasizes more focus on West. The shot is continuously dollying out as West remains fixated on the camera. As the camera dollys out, more light, seemingly from the heavens, is cast on West and we see that angelic women surround him. It becomes more and more obvious that West to be perceived as very regal and god-like. The symmetry of the shot as it widens is striking and adds to the emphasis on the middle. The women are the only ones to interact with the music as two women slam their staffs into the ground at the moment of a powerful chord, simultaneously, another women waves a piece of her gown. At the end of the song, as West repeats a phrase there is swift panning to specific women in the video. I believe the attention to the women is to explain that West controls everything and everyone in this video.

As it ends, focus is brought back to West, although he hasn’t moved, but the added lighting and spark effects bring more emphasis to his power. As the last chord of the song rings out, the screen cuts to a black background with “POWER” typed in the middle, and the letters contain images of the video that we just saw, most prominently, though, is the image of Kanye West. 

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