Music videos are truly unique in the effect they can have on the audience’s experience of the music. Some music videos choose to display extravagant lifestyles filled with money and women while some aim to tell a deeper story, one that can only be seen upon close examination of both the music and the accompanied music video. The one particular music video I have in mind is ODESZA’s music video for “Say My Name (Feat. Zyra)” Upon your original viewing of this music video it may appear as a simple story, one that is forgettable in nature but with the songs replay value it opened my mind into an entirely different belief about the music video. Grab your popcorn, we’re going on a wild ride.
The music video begins with two individuals embracing each other in a romantic manner with clear notions of product placement, foreshadowing what’s to come. All is peaceful in the world, they are alone together in the moment, without chorus, without anyone else, with their eyes locked. More romantic gestures fill the beginning of the song with them appearing to be searching for something or possibly breaking into a house together. The singer is female which allows us to make the conclusion that the chorus/song is the girls thoughts to herself. They enter into the pool of this home together, more product placement occurs. Bang, the crescendo accompanies their movements as the “couple” appears blissful in their interactions as they grasp each other in the pool, she is happy for the fact that he is to “take a chance,” and that he “wants to dance” with her and enjoy life. They continue to keep their eyes locked until they are shown out of the pool with the male in the music video proposing to her with a purple ring box. She smiles and with happy faces they embrace each other with their future ahead of them. This is where it all comes down. The crescendo felt until 1:55 was suddenly stopped after he had proposed to her and the camera backs off from the two. Her gaze remains on him with a smile upon her face while he stares off into the distance and she begins to feel despair as the tempo slows down.
Finally you begin to piece together that this is not a regular day with these two as the male begins to clap happily beside her with the female staring into the camera with sadness painted across her eyes possibly thinking what the chorus is telling the audience that she “needs a sign or a signal, she’s overthought everything I can think of.” Has she been imagining the chemistry between them? Does he even notice her? At 2:10 he makes it evident to us that the feeling is not mutual, as he completely ignores her grabbing for him only to ignore her and begin hugging his friend. He doesn’t acknowledge her and suddenly she is “wheeled” off stage. We can tell this as the camera begins to show props in the background, filming equipment plaguing the scenery with all the individuals around her bursting with excitement for what they have accomplished while she remains “the girl in the corner with the scarlet letter.”
At 2:31 she appears distraught for what is happening to her as she is sat down and things start falling apart for her. They begin to switch out her clothing without saying a world, without even acknowledging that she is but a prop that they are dismantling. She looks around and thinks to herself if he or anyone “gives a damn about me,” for she is starting to think “that she doesn’t matter.” This appears to have happened to her before as she claims that “in my defense I always fall for confidence,” releasing that he was merely playing a role. This is where they continue to viciously remove her props, her make up, her clothes, and even the ring that the man she thought she loved as thought they are taking from her the only thing she cared for, his love.
The chorus repeats that she is “the girl in the corner with the scarlet letter and while you’re watching you may think that she doesn’t matter. But no one knows you better.” This plays as she makes her way through the music videos “backstage” looking to each individual for some sort of social contact or to congratulate her but they all simply ignore her as though she isn’t even there.
This is where she has finally made her way back to him, the one she loves as she hopes for a happy ending with them she grasps him across the chest saying ” I wanna dance, I wanna dance, I wanna dance with you, so take a chance” but he remains occupied with something in the distance and he pays her forward actions no mind for she is only the girl in the corner with the scarlet letter. He brushes her off and with this reaction she finds the nearest door and slips out without a word spoken to her. The main male actor is seen discussing something with neither of them bothering to chase after her after her obvious attempt to connect with the man she loves. She stumbles across the film room with only one individual in it who looks at her but very quickly moves on paying her no mind.
She enters the darkened film room with a computer screen of her and the main actor kissing each other on it. This is where she takes drastic measures as she wishes more to be in the music video, in her pretend life with the mans he thought she loved than in her own life in which she is alone with no one even noticing that she was there. She replays the video of them kissing and she stares intently while the chorus begins again, slowing down with time with her strangely sticking her hand into the computer screen, (wow so sci-fi)allowing the music video to take over her mind, body, and soul. This is because of an unfortunate reality that she felt she was only the girl in the corner that no one paid attention to, that she would much more, much rather be inside a fantasy life with this man. She disappears and ironically this is the only part of the music video in which someone pays attention to her as the guy we can only assume who is the video editor finds an empty room only with a continuous video of the footage previously taken of the girl and her dream guy kissing. Now she will forever be stuck in that moment for there are no other moments in her life she’d rather be stuck in than this one.