Friday, February 11, 2011

Face Down.

Face Down - The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

Instead of writing yet another melodramatic song on heartbreak, betrayal, unrequited love (or any other common motifs typically found within modern day pop); The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus chose to write a song on domestic violence.

The “story” told here consist of 2 characters and a narrative: “you” – presumably the protagonist who abuses his girlfriend and “She/Her” – the victim. Like all songs that made it to Billboard’s Hot 100, Face Down captured my attention at its chorus. The synthesis of catchy beats and rhythm paired with interrogative sentences (towards “the dude”) creates an interesting dynamic, no doubt capturing one’s attention immediately. As for the content of it is lyrics, the seemingly masculine emo/punk rock tempo of the song is juxtaposed with a rather feminist viewpoint on domestic violence. For example, at the beginning of the chorus, he yells: “Do you feel like a man?/ When you push her around?/ Do you feel better now?/ She falls to the ground.” The imagery presented here is particularly strong, giving the audience a very visual depiction of the scenario.

The music video presents the violence in a metaphoric manner, paralleling the idea of domestic violence with structural damage. The video begins with a young woman arriving home from work. She then examines bruises on her lower back and then proceeds looking at objects associated with her boyfriend. As this happens, items surrounding her moves and is “flung” - as if its being destroyed by a disembodied abuser. As the music video unfolds, the level of damage escalates. Despite the chaos, the young women appears not acknowledge the growing violence around her. At the end, she throws the letters and photos in the garbage. Personally, I find the metaphoric nature of the video and the realistic depiction of the lyrics particularly effective – leading back to our conversation on imagery and language on Monday.

With this song peaking at #3 in the charts (US), no doubt our society has proven itself to enjoy violent entertainment, but also entertainment revolving around the subject of violence as well.

On a lighter note, the song does end with a "happy ending".

1 comment:

  1. Cool song and fantastic video. It does a really great job of relating a household shattered by domestic abuse to a visual of physical destruction of the objects in the household. This is a also a smart move because it can show the violence while maintaining the dignity of the female protagonist. A more direct approach, such as actually showing violence against the girl or even letting an actor play the man, would have been less effective at showing the girl's isolation and of succeeding artistically, because people just don't like watching a man beat a woman. I think that it's interesting that in a blog focused on violence, it's okay to celebrate, say, videos of zombies ripping a man's head apart, but at least to me it would be too discomforting to watch a man beat a woman in a song about domestic abuse. I guess it's only when violence is extreme and sensationalized that we can separate it from real life. When violence seems too real, it can be a lot more discomforting than sensational violence, even if the act itself is more mild or less gory.


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