Story Telling That’s So Good – It’s Out of CONTROL!

This is probably the only music video that can combine cuteness and tragedy within three minutes and twelve seconds:

Song: “Aberdeen”

Artist: Cage the Elephant

One of the most difficult to chew facts of life is that one never has complete control over what happens in life.  The frustration of the inability to manipulate reality is described in the song “Aberdeen” by Cage the Elephant.  According to lead singer and songwriter of Cage the Elephant Matt Schultz, “Aberdeen” describes the rock star’s difficulty accepting that life has no regard of plans or expectations.

The music video tells a similar story in a very cute, but tragic tale of a dragon who wants to befriend humans, but his unfortunate large size kills townspeople as he visits the city and he is eventually killed.  Although the dragon had laudable intentions, to befriend humans, his large size prevents kills humans.  In order to protect the citizens, the townspeople kill the dragon.  No matter how hard he tries in the music video to redeem his character in the eyes of the people, the harm he had done caused them to permanently perceive the dragon as evil.  This aspect shows that the dragon cannot control the minds of people, regardless of his efforts to improve his reputation.

This music video conveys the innocence of the dragon and his likable intentions through the texture of the film.  The entire music video is composed of clay figures and scenes.  The models look more cartoonish than realistic.  Many children played with play doh in their childhood.  Thus, the texture reminds viewers of the free-spiritedness and uncorrupted mind of children, reflected in the mind of the dragon.  The bias in this music video is very obviously in support of the dragon.  The cartoonish construction of the figures downplays the harmfulness the dragon causes to the town.  When the dragon crushes humans, the humans turn into an unrealistic puddle of red.

Throughout the music video, the dragon never speaks, yet his thoughts are communicated very clearly through what the cameraman decides to show the audience.  The music video initiates with the dragon playing with a mini human figure, the dragon had presumably made, and a dragon mini figure that matched the size of the human.  This scene reveals that the dragon means no harm to humans.  After the dragon’s first visit to the city, the viewer sees how ashamed he feels about the destruction he had caused.  The dragon is shown watching the city news that portrayed the dragon as a danger, and the viewer sees the dragon shake his head low in shamefulness.

The miscommunication between the dragon and the townspeople is most evident in a scene where the dragon presents a statue of a dragon and a boy together with the inscription “friends.”

However, for reasons out of the dragon’s control, the dragon drops of the statue before the humans can read it, and the broken statue reads “die,” and the dragon figure appears to be eating the human.

In short, the cinematographers cause viewers to root for the dragon by producing an innocent and pure image of the dragon through the effects of the clay choice of medium and the cartoon appearance of the figures, while allowing viewers to peak into the mind of the dragon through specific scenes shown, as well as, communicating the misunderstanding between the dragon and the humans through particular scenes.  The appeal to the emotions the production has, in addition to the clarity in which the plot is communicated despite no dialogue, makes this music video “Aberdeen” by Cage the Elephant, a great visual story.

1 thought on “Story Telling That’s So Good – It’s Out of CONTROL!

  1. Truly a captivating video. Although I have never seen this myself, I can understand the message of the song through this post. And I completely agree with you on the fact that no one really has control over the outcome of life. Although one can try his hardest to relate to something or get to know something/someone), if the other parties do not wish for it to happen, it probably will not be a successful effort, regardless of the valiant efforts. And you did a great job pinpointing on the key concepts of this video! Great post!! Well done!

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