It's 2017 and we have come a long way from the boom of music videos on MTV to the not so new Digital Era. Nowadays, it is all about Online Streaming, Facebook Live and Online Music Services. We even have “Lyric Videos” for popular songs, which makes you wonder if artists are even trying anymore. Fortunately, there are some artists that still do.
Vampire Weekend was one of the first Indie Bands that appeared in 2006. Their simple approach to music and easy going style made them popular among crowds, but it was the details of their music and image as a band that made them complex and interesting.
Specifically, their cultural impact and the people they have collaborated with for music videos have been one of their strongest assets. Richard Ayoade is a Director that has worked on music videos for many iconic bands, such as the Arctic Monkeys, Last Shadow Puppets, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Kasabian and Vampire Weekend. He has also extended his work to the cult-classic film, Submarine (2010).
"Oxford Comma" by Vampire Weekend was released in 2008 as the third single for their debut album. The music video, which was directed by Richard Ayoade, consists of one long take, a characteristic Ayoade uses in many of his pieces. In this particular music video, we see two stories developing; the band is performing the song in the forefront and the narrative is in the background. This concept is very different from how most music videos put the song in the background with the story as the focus.
The narrative escalates in the form of Chapters. In Chapter One, we see the band arriving in a car, getting out and performing. While most of the video focuses on the performance of singer, Ezra Koenig, we are able to see the other band members interact throughout the video. An example of this is the end of Chapter Two when the band comes together to perform part of the song.
As the video continues, the story keeps developing. In the background, we see different scenarios; a group of other guitarists and a shooting sequence, until the end, when the band meets again and leaves together in the same car they arrived in, followed by a group of fans.
It is important to notice some specific points in the video. Integration, for instance, happens at different points of the video, where both stories collide and create a unique moment; these moments are the “mini-cores” of the story, making it impossible to deny either one.
In the following diagram, the complete route of the Music Video is shown and the Chapters are shown as an abstract way to understand what is really going on through the entire sequence. Space plays an important role in the development of each scene and the one continuous shot throughout the video.