Skrillex First Of The Year Music video analysis

Skrillex First Of The Year Music video analysis

This music video analysis of First Of The Year by Skrillex is an abstract from our tutorial e-book 14 music videos.

Music video analysis
PDF, 133 pages

The video tells the story of a little girl who surprisingly punishes a pedophile.

Shot by shot analysis

00:00 Close-up shot of a seated man, wearing a trench coat, holding a candy between his fingers. The music does not start yet. We can hear a kind of wind noise. The camera makes a slow bottom-to-top panorama shot, revealing the torso then the man’s face: around 35-40 years-old, ordinary shirt, a few day’s stubble, glasses, head going bald. He watches the camera in a vaguely hostile way.

Characterization: this description of a “man with a candy” works straight away as a metaphor by metonymy (that is, the candy stands for what this man could do with it – seducing a child?), the first hint of pedophilia as the main theme, which will get confirmed hereafter.

False track: we understand just after that the look from the man to the camera was actually not aimed at us (the audience), but at some children playing in front of him. At the same time, this ambiguity has a function: to let the audience, from the very beginning, try to guess and to figure out the soul of this pervert man (one says that the eyes are the mirror of the soul…)

00:17 Shot in the counter-position, framing the man from the back and revealing in front of him the scene he is watching: children playing.

Progressive revelation of the world of the plot: the world of the pedophile in our contemporary world.

00:23 A strike of drums launches the music in sync with the pictures that frame a concrete ground while zooming out and travelling with a backwards movement. The shadow of a little girl enters the frame. She hops in rhythm with the music.

Characters: first appearance of this little girl who is going to become the Hero. The progressive revelation of the pedophile, then of his potential victim, allows this information to dynamize the action and to make the theme of the plot easy to understand: the fight between a hunter and its prey.

Media: the synchronization between the pictures and the soundtrack (frequent in music videos) also helps here to mark the steps of the plot and to catch our attention at the key moments.

00:36 Shot of this blonde little girl, around 6-8 years, skipping alone in a narrow street. The picture is slower than real time. We now can distinguish a human shape a few dozen meters away from her.

00:40 Shot of the man in the same street. We understand that he is following her and the next shot confirms it by framing both of them in the one picture. Around them are industrial buildings.

Structure: now the data is clear, this event is the catalyst of a plot in which a little girl will have to defend herself against a pedophile who wants to abuse her. Note the smartness of the montage, which proceeds in a dialectic way: thesis (the little girl), antithesis (the pedophile), synthesis (both of them united in the same picture).

00:50 The little girl takes some stairs down to a basement floor. The man follows her, while taking glances around as though to make sure there are no witnesses.

Structure: the development, Act II, begins as a chase.

01:07 The man walks in the darkness underground. His glasses shine in a threatening way. He pulls a little bottle containing some green liquid out of his pocket, which he seems to be pouring onto his hand over something. Zoom-on now on a pocket from which the plastic arm of a doll is protruding.

Themes: until now, it has been a juxtaposition of cliches and archetypes: the pervert man, alone, vaguely disgusting and gloomy, the little girl happy and innocent, the doll a symbol of this innocence… Those cliches automatically generate some expectations in terms of scenario-standards: the pervert man will probably attack her, the little girl will probably be unable to defend herself, etc… These expectations need to be set up so that they can be better contradicted later on.

01:20 The little girl holds a red telephone handset to her ear. The man comes closer to her. They are alone in a large underground room. Only a few meters separate them.

Structure: this mise en scene obviously builds a feeling of imminent danger and we thus expect that the man carries out the attack, which would make us enter the crisis of Act III.

01:27 In sync with the music, the little girl suddenly screams “Call 911 now!” The lips movement is in sync, but the voice does not match. It’s not a little girl’s voice but the voice of a man with a rather high pitch or the voice of an older woman.

False track: this sudden and spectacular situation twist comes to contradict everything that the beginning of the video made us believe: that the little girl was defenseless and on the point of being aggressed by a man stronger than her. The terrifying power of her voice takes us totally by surprise and also contradicts the information we had about her: her youth, her sweetness, her candor.

01:29 In reaction to the aforementioned screaming, the room is disrupted by an explosion of smoke. The little girl now looks like a witch and she agitates her fingers in front of her face while staring at the man in front of her. He gets violently projected into the air, flying and landing several meters away. The little girl seems to be generating and controlling this incredible indoor storm.

Structure: against all odds, we witness a crisis of Act III, but not at all the one we expected, which means that we followed a false track: the little girl has become the super-powerful aggressor of this pedophile treated as a simple toy!!!

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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