Blog · Film

The Anatomy of a Music Video: Voices Carry


I’ve been meaning to start this blog segment for quite some time, but I just kept forgetting to. Actually, it’s more like I have to force myself to blog these days. I have so many ideas! I just don’t have enough time to put them into blog posts.

Anyways… If you already haven’t realized this, or this is the first time you’ve been to this blog, I direct music videos for a living. Well, not lately. I can’t say that I’m really in a location where there is a plethora of indie bands hanging around town waiting for a music video director to make a music video for them.

That is why I decided to use my love for music videos to breakdown and analyze some of my favorite music videos. My novice “expertise” is mixed in here somewhere. I’ve got a degree dammit!

As for the reasoning behind the title of this segment: Anatomy sounds so much cooler than analysis. P.S. I promise that it is not my intention to bore you. I hope this will be entertaining for the both of us.

Ahem. Without further ado…It’s time for a classic 80’s song and music video, a.k.a. pointless storylines, weird hair, and bad acting. Yes! The best kind!

The song Voices Carry gave the band ‘Til Tuesday their biggest hit. Their only hit actually. As an ode to this One-Hit Wonder band, I’ve decided to breakdown their music video (watch it below). Does it make this an ode?

THE SONG

I’m in the dark, I’d like to read his mind
but I’m frightened of the things I might find
Oh, there must be something he’s thinking of
to tear him away
when I tell him that I’m falling in love
why does he say
hush hush
keep it down now
voices carry
I try so hard not to get upset
because I know all the trouble I’ll get
oh, he tells me tears are something to hide
and something to fear
and I try so hard to keep it inside
so no one can hear
hush hush
keep it down now
voices carry
He wants me
but only part of the time
He wants me
if he can keep me in line
hush hush
keep it down now
voices carry
hush hush, darling, she might overhear
oh, no-voices carry
he said shut up he said shut up
oh God can’t you keep it down
voices carry
I wish he would let me talk.
Read more at http://www.songmeanings.net/songs/view/16541/#CSEwyxHihcOdPxeD.99

THE MUSIC VIDEO

 
Voices Carry
performed by 'Til Tuesday
1985 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT
Directed by D.J. Webster???

The Storyline
In the video Aimee Mann’s fictional boyfriend , played by actor Cully Holand, is verbally abusive and likes to make fun of her as much as possible.

But she can’t help but love his butt chin and cunning smile every time he takes her to fancy restaurants and gives her new jewelry. What a dream boat! (I hope you got the sarcasm there).

She loves rocking out and professing her love for Mr. Dream Boat, but he would rather she shut up. I feel like there should have been a scene where he tells her to go make him a sandwich as he sits on the couch in his wife-beater (wow, that just makes him look even more like an abuser) drinking his grape juice.

That was totally grape juice in that cup. No drinks wine from a glass like that.

**Random music video sidenote** She also likes to press her face against the sheet in the window.

One night when she comes home from band practice, he demands that they have sex. Or more like he pushes her against the stairs after he demands she do him a favor (She’s thinking, “Alright, alright. I’ll give you a blowie.”) and proceeds to make out with her neck as she has a flashback to when they had (meaningful?) sex…and when her hair was black?

The music video ends with what apparently is his way of keeping her in line: They dress all fancy and go to the opera…or musical/play. He caresses her shoulder…oh wait, no.

"Oh, darling. I love your rat-tail. Let me caress it."

Correction: he caresses her rattail and expects her to sit quietly.

Of course, Aimee Mann has had of enough of her ridiculously manly boyfriend and his need to keep her quiet . She starts singing in the middle of the performance (how rude!), until she finally stands up to the point where she is belting. But this is the loudest she has been this entire time. 

There should have been an alternate ending:
Personally, I think she should’ve been holding a knife or something. Don’t a lot of battered women threaten to cut “something” off at this point? You go girl!

The Cinematography/Directing

Cheesy zooms and lots of fade ins and outs. The video is filled with shots that are mostly medium to medium close-ups, the zoom ins were usually for more emphasis on Aimee Mann’s and the crappy boyfriend’s faces. Full/wide shots were only used for the band practice or whenever the couple was having a fight.

"This is my angry face."

Wide shots were used once or twice for the establishing shots.

Now, let’s talk about the lighting.I don’t know what to say. It was…blegh. It was the 80’s, what did I expect? There was only one shot that I actually liked the lighting for (image to the right). The light follows his cheek bone and it looked beautiful. I love good lighting! But most of the lighting was unrealistic. Did bands in the 80’s like to practice their music in dimly lit rooms with two big-ass bright lights shining on random parts of the room.

And, oh my gosh. The restaurant scene lighting was absolutely ridiculous! 

The piano player went blind after this incident.

Apparently the moon has landed and is sitting outside this restaurant’s window. Fyi: It couldn’t be a street light light if it wanted to be. Street lights are never that white fluorescent. They are more orange (a.k.a. tungsten).

Locations/Production Design

The restaurant. The apartment. The dimly-lit band room. The theatre. Not much set designing going on. But I’m okay with that, weirdly enough. This song is a classic. I’m okay with focusing on the song rather than nit pick at all the aspects of the production design…which is unusual for me.

Costume design/hair and makeup

Again, it was the 80s. Any extravagant hair that I saw in this video, I just laughed about and continued watching. Except her douchey boyfriend looked even douchier with the white tank top on. He looks like he’s been hanging out in Jersey Shore too often. And someone in that theatre please cut Aimee Mann’s rat-tail off when she’s not looking!

Is that a girl or a guy? With that hair, it’s hard to tell.

“Hush, hush. Voices carry.” Dammit. Now this song will be stuck in my head for the rest of the day.

I hope you enjoyed this little (kind of extensive) breakdown of the Voices Carry music video. Watch the entire music video above…if I haven’t already ruined it for you.

Stay tuned for the next one!

Images are screen shots from the music video, the album cover, and misc.
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