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Media Studies

Essay Blog 1: Para-Para-Paradise – Why it caters to the depressive society we live in today

This blog, this essay, this ‘blogessay’ is for my Media Studies class where I am required write an analysis of a pop song. It was difficult in the sense of choosing the perfect song to analyze. Not having listened to many ‘English songs’ recently as my latest playlists are comprised of all instrumentals, trance, dub-step and Japanese soundtracks, it was hard to find a song that I felt I can write a 1500 word essay on. But as I was sifting through the greatest hits, I was reminded of Coldplay – simple in lyrics (at face value), yet always backed by meaning that leaves fans and music enthusiasts wanting to decipher, learn and possibly understand the intentions of the song. So, I chose Paradise by Coldplay. With its bombastic chorus, hypnotic chords, lyrics you can easily relate to, it was the perfect candidate to write an analysis on. Paradise with its emotional story and powerful melodic punches is a compositional masterpiece that caters to the helpless young audience of today.

 

Para-para-paradise – a catchy chorus that most of us have heard at some point. A nominee of the Grammy Award released in September 2011, a song relatively simple in its lyrics, does its job in making it irresistible to not hum or sing along to. In its first verse, tells a story of a girl who was once still blessed with her innocence; some may call it her ignorance. She had high expectations for the world. She expected her future to be like a fairy tale, a common misperception we lead many young girls with today. Perhaps she expected the world to be fair and just, where women are treated as princesses, for her to find her Prince Charming and live happily ever after. However, as the lyrics noted “But it flew away from her reach”, as she discovered that life is not a fairy tale. Bars were set too high, expectations failed to be met; it’s a life where not everything went her way. Dreams not achieved, opportunities not seized, so she retrieved back into her dreams – “So she ran away in her sleep”, “Dreamed of para- para- paradise”, “Every time she closed her eyes”. There she was able to find her fairy tale, her fantasy. Paradise: “an ideal or idyllic place or state” (Oxford). It was there was she able to do anything (“And the bullets catch in her teeth”).

 

The second verse depicts how as the girl grows up, as she goes through life’s trials and tribulations (“Life goes on”, “It gets so heavy”), it breaks her (“The wheel breaks the butterfly”). The butterfly, a symbol of the girl – beautiful and innocent – ran over by the wheel, the hardships of life. “Every tear, a waterfall”, “In the night, the stormy night”, “She closed her eyes”; “Away she’d fly”. In amidst the chaos, she felt reality crushing her, physically, psychologically, emotionally; thus she would once again at night, recede back to her “Para- para- paradise”. It was there where she was safest, happiest; it was there where she felt most comfortable.

 

In the final verse: “So lying underneath those stormy skies”, a pathetic fallacy – a literal attribution of her then current state of mind. In her darkest hours, she had a change in mindset. “She said oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh”, “I know the sun must set to rise”. She came to a realization, an epiphany that not all of life is sitting underneath stormy skies. She realized that like a day of the year, the night must come before the sun can rise. She had to brace and endure the dark times for things to come full circle, for her reality, her life to become a ‘paradise’. Followed by this verse and up to the end of the song, the chorus repeated numerous times and changed from “She dream of para- para- paradise” to “This could be para- para- paradise”, signaling that she perhaps have finally achieved her dreams, met people’s expectations, she was no longer in dark times, she has finally made it – a reality that she could perhaps call paradise.

 

Now after becoming familiar with the song and its content, it begs to ask “what of it”, “why is it so successful”, “what did Chris Martin do”? How did he come up with a song where his millions of fans are able to relate to? To have them say “I’m a melancholic, reflective person and this song says exactly what I feel, it describes what I’m going through or have already gone through”, “The ‘she’ described in Paradise is ‘me’, it is an autobiographical song about ‘me’, Coldplay is singing about ‘me’!” (Durant & Lambrou, 2009). So, by the sales figure alone, it is clear that Chris Martin has succeeded in creating a composition that has the ability to make us empathetic of this fictional woman. It wasn’t hard though as the story is about feelings many of us have come across.

 

Chris Martin must have taken notes from Country songwriters. All successful country songwriters agree that first and foremost, lyrics are a song’s first priority. The essence of a country song is the story (Lewis, 1976). Lyrics must be simple and the hook line must be catchy – in this case “Para-para-paradise” repeated several times is just one of the many reasons to what makes this song so catchy. The song was able to convey something relatable; words used were relatively simple, where even the youngest English speakers would be able to understand (Lewis, 1976). It is a song for all ages and for either gender. Following lyrics in what makes good music would be the melody (Lewis, 1976). The melody of this song too proves its worth. With its crisp thumping bass and its smooth electronic instrumentals accompanied by simple piano chords; it all complements the easily memorable chorus and the simple but powerful lyrics.

 

So, why did Chris Martin choose to write the lyrics starring a girl, and not a boy? The dark times, the hopeful future can easily happen to a male. Surely we guys would love to meet our princess just as much as a girl would want to meet her prince. There’s no exclusivity when it comes to dreams, fantasies, despair and hardships. Perhaps this song was meant for the female audience who according to a fellow blogger ‘Laviniasc’, about 50% of 444,965 fans on Myspace are female. It would then make economical sense to ‘speak’ to this audience. But perhaps Chris Martin chose to star a girl because it was the ‘obvious’ thing to do. Maybe it is because we grew up with that innocent younger sister, or read and seen those fairy tales that star a female protagonist who is young and sweet, whereas the boys are tough, bratty, dirty. Thus, will it make more sense and more relatable to have a female star, as we’re more programmed via Disney films, elementary school, our parents, to feel sorry and empathetic for the little crying girl rather than a boy who we may chalk up as whiny/bratty.

 

With all that said and done, is Paradise a masterpiece that caters to all spectrums of society? Yes and no. With its hypnotic melody, its falsettos, at its core it tells a story that is so easily relatable and understandable, at least the majority of society will feel the emotions it tries to convey. Trials and tribulations, success and failure, problems and solutions are all aspects of life we’ve come to experience numerous of times before. It’s hard to look beyond the hills when you’re still climbing them, but it is because we understand all of these things life offers us, do we find it enjoyable and soothing to listen to a song like Paradise. If you’re currently in stormy weathers, perhaps you’ll find the song more impactful. Perhaps it’ll remind you that there are things to look forward to after you made it across those hills. If you’re at the peak of your life, at the top of your game, you may feel reminiscent of the past – melancholic of the fact that you’ve jumped through many hoops to land you in the place you are today. Will we celebrate this song in a few years from now? Probably not as there are many more iconic songs out there but will there be a handful, perhaps a room of people that will remember and cherish this song? Wouldn’t be surprised if that weren’t the case.

References

Durant A, Lambrou M. (2009). Language and media. New York: Routledge.

Lewish G. Country music lyrics. Journal of Communication. 1976;26(4):37-40

http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/coldplay/paradise.html

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/paradise?q=paradise

http://laviniasc.blogspot.ca/2012/01/coldplay-target-audience.html

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Media and the times we live in

Media is everything and anything. Vague right? But it is because that’s the time and place we live in today. From the brands on our shirts, to the first thing some of us check every morning – our emails – it is everywhere. Media is communication, whether that is promoting a brand or calling home that you’ll be late for supper. Thus the definition of media would be then be ‘medium’, it is anything that acts as an intermediary platform to facilitate and deliver messages across.

The millennial generation (1980’s-2000’s) is probably the most exposed generation of media. We cannot have a waking moment without being bombarded by advertisement, having the urge to message our friends, or hearing the latest events happening in the world. As of our generation, we are probably the most associated with digital media – social media. It is what continuously keeps us updated and connected.

With all this interconnectedness, has this brought upon a new business of its own. Because of the high usage of social media and online media, has advertisement companies, software development companies, decided to turn their focus and attention on digital media and less on traditional media (e.g. television, newspapers, magazines, radio – mediums some of us may consider as ‘has run its course’). Cost of distribution of media had dramatically fallen in recent years. It is a lot easier and cheaper to get ones word across when videos, advertisement, written articles, can easily go ‘viral’. Because of this connectedness, it is more convenient for advertisers to develop the image of their brand. And we are the reason because of it. They no longer need to aggressively force upon their brand but instead, if it’s ‘good’, we’ll share, subscribe to it and promote the brand for them. Essentially, they don’t need to spend a cent after the production costs.

With all that said, the definition of media will change once again in the future. Media, I believe, will change as technology advances. It progresses with technology and the definition will continuously be refined. We don’t know what is in store but that is what makes studying and observing media exciting. Whether in the future it’ll be implanted chips in our brain, or the recent wearable technologies like the Google glasses or the Samsung smart watch, will there be new opportunities for ‘media’ to appear.


London: A town where cultures clash

Ferrari-Egg-0Hey guys, back again with another blog. I recently came across this article from Jalopnik – a very popular car enthusiast site. It talks about a recent event where an exotic car owner had an egg thrown at them. And here we go again, Main Street vs Wall Street. Here we go again with the melodrama. Fortunately though, today I won’t be talking about class warfare per se, as that topic deserves a whole blog on its own. Today, I’ll be addressing my issue with this article as they spin this event into class warfare when in actuality is a deeper issue in London – a clash between two cultures – the residents and the frequent tourists from Saudi Arabia, the Guelph. It is my duty (or I’d like to believe) to aware the audience of ‘Throughthatdoor’ about what is really going on in London. And I think the documentary called ‘Millionaire Boy Racers’ broadcasted on Channel4.com tells a compelling story.

Within the past decade, there has been a huge surge of wealth in the middle eastern countries. The ‘Saudis’ would frequently visit London in particular during the summers to flee the desert heat, and the overall social repression that their country enforces. In their country, social interaction between men and women outside the family are often discouraged, alcohol/smoking is prohibited and there are no casinos, bars, or clubs. So, London – the central capital of Britain is the perfect nest for the deprived young adults to visit during the summer.

However, though they bring money to London’s economy – the hotels, the local shops, the restaurants –  they also bring their very fast, loud exotic cars. To a car enthusiast like myself, I would be thrilled to see the streets of Toronto flooded with them; however, the residents of London thinks otherwise. The residents think of these tourists as reckless, obnoxious people. The cars would be heard revving late into the nights and they would be breaking speed limits within residential areas. To the residents, these tourists are dangerous and pose a threat to the tranquility and safety of their town.

So is this still a problem of class warfare? Or is it a clash between cultures. One of the exotic car owner interviewed in the documentary said he would often go into a coffee shop and come out finding gum and spit on his car. Another owner said people are jealous, they ask and assume that it is their parent’s wealth that affords them these cars and and perhaps it is true, but it’s not the type of questions he wanted to be asked.  So perhaps there is a story to be told about class warfare but this article (I feel) is trying to fuel a war that is really between the unfortunates and the misinformed. I suppose the next suitable blog should be about: “Why the government saved the banks and not your pension” or something of that degree.

Links to documentary and article:

http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=bce_1357533657

http://jalopnik.com/class-warfare-breaks-out-as-londoner-eggs-woman-driving-730138135


Twitter’s IPO

What’s more about Media than one of the largest social media platforms going for its IPO (initial public offering). Yes, Twitter! The social media company is said to be trading in the public markets soon (exact date unknown but expected late 2013 or early 2014). I wonder what changes will be in store for the upcoming months. A public company will be operated much differently than a private one because of investors pressuring them to generate revenue/returns. So perhaps Twitter might start rolling out products that may jeopardize user’s confidence. Maybe Twitter might infringe on user’s privacy for the sake of ad sales, or simply bombarding your twitter feeds with ads right in between your tweets!

I haven’t used Facebook in awhile but I do remember last year they went for their IPO and it was a disaster. Their stock plummeted and people were really worry that Facebook may just be a ‘fashion trend’ if you will. Hopefully Twitter doesn’t go through that disaster.

Just some interesting stats I found from a Bloomberg video:
83% of people age 18-29 uses social media.
500M tweets per day.
Unique Twitter visitors in July alone – 167 MILLION people.
Forecast for 2015 – $627M in MOBILE ad revenue

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But if you notice, Twitter has a long way to go in capturing market share. I always thought Twitter was on par with Facebook but the numbers says otherwise. I think people are beginning to trend towards Twitter but perhaps that’s just me and my experience with friends.

Well the good thing about Twitter is that they’ve already began generating mobile ad revenue, whereas Facebook in 2012 during its IPO had zero mobile ad revenue, which really worried investors – especially given how everybody thinks mobile phones are the next generation laptops, desktops, etc; thus making it crucial for investors to that Facebook, Twitter or any social medias begin capitalizing on mobile usage.

Sources:

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/twitter-by-the-numbers-500m-tweets-a-day-hQ46IKLoTzeLh_2cvObKZg.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/video/twitter-most-highly-anticipated-ipo-since-facebook-erBOQLozQtC2xM95f5Y8Tw.html

http://www.insidefacebook.com/2013/08/28/study-facebooks-market-share-in-mobile-ad-revenue-is-growing/


Flamers and trolls and the online world we live in

I’m  going to be frank by asking, are people truly this stupid nowadays? I was playing a game recently – some of you may know Dota 2 – and by making one mistake, I get this person who I don’t even know trash talking me and tells me to kill myself. Really? Is this how people behave on the Internet nowadays? Is it because they are shielded behind their screen and prevented from saying that to my face? Would he behave differently had we meet each other in real life? It’s not only gamers, ‘Youtubers’ or really any online forums, social media, etc., will you find these types of people? People who are ill willed and pull no punches online.

I had a friend recently who told me, ‘you should just ignore them’. Yeah, I guess I can do that; however, it still dumbfounds me till this day that these are real people. These are people, strangers that you and I could potentially meet today or tomorrow. They may be the nicest people when face to face but suddenly they become a different person online. And even aside from the people who bad mouth seemingly out of enjoyment, there are those who speak as if what they say are facts and written in books and publishing. There is little to no humility on the Internet. I really don’t get it. It’s like these people wear some kind of facade where their online ego is tied to. And any time they admit that they’re wrong, it’s as if they would lose their house – something they cannot afford to do.

Unfortunately with all this said, I can’t offer up a solution. It’s just these are events I’ve occur over and over through my many hours online. In fact, now that I think about It, I’m perhaps guilty too (to a lesser extent in my opinion lol – some people just take it to the extreme, which are people this blog is about). I suppose the people found online especially in games or on Youtube are people still in their teens, so it shouldn’t be expected that they have the same level of maturity. However at times, I’ve visited these peoples blogs, profile pages and they are in their 30s and over. So, at the end of the day, I really don’t know. Perhaps it’s best to heed my friend’s advice and stay clear/ignore these types of people. There is after all a block function on Youtube and a mute function on the game Dota 2.