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For this assignment, you will choose two different renditions of the same song presented in two different music videos and write a 750 - 1000 word essay (in MLA format) comparing and contrasting the rhetorical appeals for the two versions, the audience to which each one appeals, and the relationship between the two versions. The essay will include a works cited page formatted in MLA format. Be sure to choose videos that tell a story or make a claim.
You will be using an original song that was interpreted in a musical video and a remix of the same song interpreted in a different musical video. Below are a list of some examples. You do not have to use those that are listed, but take a look so that you understand the requirements. Then in the discussion forum Your Two Music Videos of the Same Song, post the links to your choices; provide a summary of the videos including the props, characters, settings, and musical styles for each one; describe the audience for each of the two videos; and the claims that each video is making. Once you have posted your choices, take a look at at least two other students choices and discuss their ideas. Watch both of their videos and point out some ideas that they may not have mentioned in their post.
Here are some sample choices of songs you could use. Hopefully, you will find others, but this will give you some ideas.:
"Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails and Johnny Cash
"Vincent" by Josh Groban and Don McLean
"Your Song" by Elton John and Ewan McGregor\
"All Along the Watch Tower" by Jimi Hendrix and Bob Dylan
"Zombies" by Bad Wolves and The Cranberries
"What Is Love" by Haddaway and Jaymes Young
Once you have chosen the videos and are ready to write the analysis, begin by watching each video several times and answering the same questions you answered in Practice 2 of Reading a Visual Text. Answer the questions for each music video separately so you can begin to see the contrasts.
- What story is being told in the video? Who are the main characters?
- What is the main claim of the music video? In other words, what does the story being told make the viewer think about?
- Does the video provide any reasons for the claim? Be specific.
- Does the video provide any evidence? For instance, are there any facts, statistics, expert (doctors, scientists, government officials) opinions, or anecdotes (first hand experiences) to support the claim? If so, list them and be specific.
- What types of appeals does the video use? Pathos (emotional), Ethos (showing its sources for information and provide credible testimony), or Logos (providing clear reasons and evidence, appealing to the viewers intellect or rational mind).
- Based on your answers, who is the audience for this video? Some things to consider when thinking about audience appeal are the following. (Note: not all of these are always relevant, and there may be other relevant conditions that are not listed. For instance, some music videos may have nothing to do with one's religion.)
- Geographical Location
- Socioeconomic (Is the audience the high, middle, or lower economic status?)
- Life experiences
- Values and Beliefs
Based on the answers to your questions, what would you say is the relationship between the versions? Are the claims the same or different for each version? Explain your answer. Does one more effectively get the message across? If so, why? Do the two versions appeal to different audiences? If so, describe those differences? How does each version appeal to that specific audience? Are the purposes the same? If so, why did the artists make two versions?
Once you have explored the questions, begin to think about the thesis or main claim you are going to make about the two versions of the song you chose. The thesis statement should be one or two sentences that makes a claim about the relationship between the two versions. Here are some sample thesis statements:
Thesis Statement Example 1: Bad wolves cover of "Zombie" gives new life to the Cranberries version while providing tribute to their lead and lyricist Doris O’rioden and the original track that was created almost three decades ago. The new version highlights the fact that the original message that the government does not have the best interest of their citizens at heart, especially their safety, is still relevant today.
Thesis Statement Example 2: "Talking In Your Sleep" by The Romantics and "Secrets" by The Weeknd share a similar refrain and theme; however, The Weeknd version appeals to a younger audience with its more explicit visual storytelling.
Thesis Statement Example 3: Even though "My Favorite Things" and "7 Rings" share the theme of what makes people happy, they appeal to different audience with very different values. "My Favorite Things" focuses on the simple things that do not require money, while Ariana Grande’s version deliberately appeals to an audience that believes money determines a person’s happiness.
Now that you have decided on a thesis statement, post it in the discussion forum, Thesis Statement for Analyzing Visuals. Then, respond to at least two other postings by answering the following questions:
- Does the thesis statement explain the relationship between the two versions and identify how the audiences or purposes differ? If so, explain what you would expect to learn from the essay. If not, why not? What is missing?
- Will the thesis statement allow the writer to explore how the two versions use the rhetorical appeals? If so, explain what you would expect to learn from the essay. If not, why not? What is missing?
See "Ways of organizing a rhetorical analysis" on page 53 in your textbook for possible ways to organize the essay.
Here are two sample rhetorical analysis essays written by Sinclair students. (NOTE: The songs used in these essays are not options for your paper. You must find different ones.)
How Sweet the Sounds