Come to Daddy – Aphex Twin – Music video analysis

Come to Daddy – Aphex Twin – Music video analysis

This music video analysis of Come to Daddy by Aphex Twin is an abstract from our tutorial e-book 14 music videos.

Music video analysis
PDF, 133 pages

Shot by shot analysis

00:00 The video opens on eerie ambient sound effects, showing soulless buildings in a low-angled camera shot. Blurred pictures and the title of the track displays briefly, then views of the buildings and mysterious pictures quickly alternate in relation to the micro-events of the soundtrack.

Structure and world: we have here an exposition in parts, already giving us a lot of information: the strange and eerie visual style of the video and of the music, thus implicitly the genre, is a realism which oscillates between horror and fantasy. The title is the reference universe: murky, grim, scary – the dark ambiance, atmosphere, mood.

00:26 An old lady walks a dog. The picture is filtered and the quality downgraded as if it was displayed through a low-color resolution monitor. Zoom-in on an abandoned television set, then a view of the old lady through a low-angle shot in front of an ugly building. She walks the dog in the middle of the urban trash.

Structure: the exposition continues, progressively revealing the identity of a character (the old lady) as well as the television set (which will hereafter become a quasi-character).

00:40 Several shots showing the old lady from afar give the impression that she is being observed by someone who stays hidden. She tries to see something but we are not shown anything. The buildings oscillate from right to left, as if they had vertigo. The old lady scans a deserted concrete esplanade. Her dog urinates then starts barking while pulling violently on its leash, tugging the old lady forward.

Effect of information distribution: the asymmetry of information (an old lady seeing something that we in the audience cannot see), creates a suspense; a will to know. By a natural phenomenon of identification and empathy, we can feel her emotion: anxiety.

Structure: the barking of the dog indicates that a catalyst has just taken place, even if it remains hidden to us.

01:09 On the screen of the abandoned television set, a picture appears showing the greenish face of a man. The dog barks even more, baring his teeth. The music of Come to Daddy starts: “I want your soul”. Zoom-in to the now blue, grinning face and to the mouth which sings with a dark and monstrous voice. The old lady is struck by the singer’s grim expressivity. She has to lean against a wall so as to not fall down. The faces of the grinning man and the old terrified lady alternate.

Structure and characters: finally the nature of the catalyst, formed by the apparition of this grinning face, is revealed to us. Thus, the old lady takes the role of Hero, whose goal is to protect herself from the evil influence of this Antagonist who comes to scare her and “take her soul”.

01:37 The old lady faces a dozen children – or are they small-size adults, all wearing the same mask of a man with a perverted and frozen smile, dressed in the same little blue dresses making them all look like young girls? These creatures start to run and behave like vandals. The picture alternates between them and the grinning singer’s face.

Structure and characters: we enter Act II and these child-monsters sort themselves out easily as Helpers of the Antagonist, sharing the same goal: to terrify the old lady.

Themes: the thematic properties of the characters of little monsters contrast violently, paradoxically mixing the innocence of childhood with monstruosity.

By the way (and even if this is not truly needed to understand the video), this mask actually represents Aphex Twin himself. So, it makes a small effect of information distribution asymmetry: some viewers, the fans, will have recognized him but others not.

02:02 The little masked men gather around the television set in the middle of the trash. The singer sings “Come to Daddy, Come to Daddy” and the little men get closer to him. One of them takes the television set in his hands and they leave with it while it continues to display the picture.

Characters: the link between the Antagonist and his Helpers is confirmed.

02:40 The little men start pursuing a man – whom we can only see from afar – in a parking lot. The man climbs into a car and tries to start it. The little men reach him and the man screams.

Characters: this man takes on an actantial role of second Hero in a similar plot whose goal is to defend oneself against the Antagonist, exactly like the role of the old lady.

03:04 View of the buildings which seem to oscillate, then the view of a little masked man who passes his police stick against a metal grid, in sync with a very aggressive drumline.

Pattern repetition: the vertigo view of the buildings will punctuate throughout the video.

Intertextuality: these pictures of a stick against the grids are a reference, in a remarkable flash of a moment, to the same scene in the music video of Stress by the french band Justice.

03:11 This step leads to a quiet moment: a childish song starts and two little men skip like little girls on the wet ground to its tune.

Structure, narrative rhythm: this kind of break is necessary to better relaunch the dramatic tension coming after.

Themes: the childish song and the naive dance generates a strong irony; an effect of rather devastating black humor which slightly unloads some of the negative tension accumulated by the series of scary pictures without truly dissolving, rather reinforcing it…

Did you enjoy reading the beginning of this music video analysis? Do you want to read more?

Do you want to learn to write a music video script?

Then read our e-book: 14 Music Videos.

PDF, 133 pages
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