music video analysis essay

Music Video Analysis Essay Assignment Sheet

Music videos have become one of the most popular ways for musical artists to distribute their work. In a music video, the effect of the piece is conveyed by a combination of the music, the lyrics, and the visual images. In today’s world, meaning is created and disseminated more and more through such non-print avenues. This assignment is designed to give you practice writing about such non-print texts as music videos, specifically the ways in which music videos convey the artist’s message.

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The first step is to choose a music video that speaks to you in some way. It should have some content to it – something that can be interpreted. However, there are no restrictions on the genre of music you can choose (curse words and grunge metal are okay). The only restrictions on the video is that it must be the official music video created by the artist/production company, not a home video. Also, please do not use a song that was created for a movie, especially if it contains clips of the movie as the visual images.

The second step is to analyze the video. Be sure to watch your video several times and complete the other assignments in the module to help you.

Please keep in mind: your essay should reflect only your opinion of the video. DO NOT look for other people’s interpretations on the internet. In addition, you should not consult the artist’s view of his or her own video. This analysis should be restricted to what you can interpret from the lyrics, music, and images. There is essentially no wrong opinion here unless you are interpreting something incredibly far-fetched.

The final draft of your essay should contain the following basic features:

A brief summary (2-3 sentences) of the video as an introduction – the first sentence should include the artist and title of the song as well as the year it was produced (example: The song “In the End” (1999) by Linkin Park is about the after-effects of a relationship)
As the last sentence of the introduction – a thesis that defines what you feel is the message or purpose the artist wants to convey through the video; dig deep for this one – use all three aspects of the video to decide your thesis.
The body of your paper will contain an analysis that looks at the images, lyrics, and music of the video – use a separate paragraph for each section and be sure to separate out the details to support each section. Also make sure you are analyzing or interpreting each point you make – ask yourself, what does it mean? For example: the setting for the video is a desert because they feel empty, lonely, and desolate after the relationship ended.
Specific details from the video to support the thesis and analysis – be sure to name them as clearly as possible (if the little girl wears a red coat, point this out, and then what it means)
Only your own analysis – no additional sources are allowed
Effective organization – use strong transitions between each of your three body paragraphs
A conclusion where you analyze the videos effect on you. This is why you should not just pick any video, but one that is important to you in some way. For your conclusion, choose one of the following:
A brief statement of how the video defines/represents your philosophy or outlook on life, OR
A brief summary of the story or message that the video tells and why that story/message is significant to you

In addition to the above, your paper should be:

Minimum 600 words to suggested maximum of 1000 words following MLA guidelines
Edited for spelling, mechanical, grammatical, and typing errors
The lyrics: Attach as a separate file, or copy and paste after your essay

Please Note: If you do not access your music video through YouTube, you must provide a link to your video for the instructor. Also, please note that writing is a process. While the final draft of your essay should meet these standards, no one writes a polished essay in one sitting.


Make sure that your essay has the following:

1. An Introduction

2. A Thesis that defines what you feel is the message or purpose the artist wants to convey through the video

3. Body paragraphs (generally 3 or more)

4. A Conclusion

5. A Heading

6. A Header

7. Double spacing

8. A Title

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