Sci-Fi and Speculative Fiction in Music Videos
My group and I decided to choose four songs with music videos that relate to science fiction and/or speculative fiction. We chose four songs including “E.T.” by Katy Perry, “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga, “Powerful” by Ellie Goulding, and “Children” by Justin Bieber. We presented these videos to the class with the question “Why do you think pop artists use sci-fi/speculative fiction themes for their music videos” in mind. Although we chose four songs, I specifically found “E.T”, “Born This Way”, and “Powerful” to be very interesting.
After analyzing “E.T.” we said the overall idea of it was that love stems from the person who brought her to the science fiction setting. While she was on another planet the idea of love gave life to the nonliving objects. I made many connections with this video to readings we have done throughout the semester. These connections include Ink and Fledgling. I specifically chose those readings because in “Ink” the Inks had a physical difference which was tattoos, in the video Katy Perry is physically different because she is an alien and then at the end half animal half human. This relates to “Fledgling” because when Shori bites her victims it brings them pleasure and lyrics from “E.T.” are “Infect me with your love and fill me with your poison”.
“Born This Way” was somewhat difficult to analyze and completely understand. Lady Gaga created the video herself and used all of her own ideas; therefore there were a lot of different things going on in the video. The overall gist of the video is about loving and accepting yourself and equality between genders. Also, she births two people one is signified to be good and one is signified to be evil foreshadowing that one cannot exist without the other. I made a connection of this music video with the reading “Ink” and “Ms. Marvel”. Ink stood out to me because despite some of the characters being inks, they still have the same DNA as non-inks and they are still human. Lady Gaga’s message is that everyone is equal despite one’s gender, class, ethnicity, and sexuality. I thought of Ms. Marvel while listening to the song because it says “Just love yourself and your set” since Kamala Khan struggled with accepting and loving herself.
In Ellie Goulding’s “Powerful” she portrays how her and her partner’s attraction between one another creates magic and gives them power. Although we were unable to show the music video to the class, in the very beginning Ellie is capable of moving a coffee cup at the table she is sitting at along with the change left on the table. After viewing that specific scene I automatically thought of Del in “Ink” and his ability to move land. To my surprise, when I asked the class my question, “In the novel Ink many of the characters had magic powers like in Ellie Goulding’s video. Which character had magic powers that were most similar to the powers in the music video” no one knew the answer.
The three videos talked about above differ in certain ways but are similar as well. They all represent science fiction but in different ways. Katy Pery’s video is about aliens and space, Lady Gaga’s video she gives birth to “good” and “evil” and dresses as skeletons and even naked, and lastly, Ellie Goulding’s video she has magic powers. I think artists use science fiction and speculative fiction to capture the audience’s attention and bring viewers to another world. Sci-fi and speculative fiction allow society to use their imagination and be more open-minded about different things, Lady Gaga’s video especially.
Butler, Octavia. Fledgling. New York: Grand Central, 2005. 306. Print.
Justin Bieber. Children. 2015. YouTube. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
Lady Gaga. Born This Way. N.d. YouTube. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
Major Lazer Feat. Ellie Goulding. Powerful. N.d. YouTube. Web. 14 Dec. 2015.
Sabrina Vourvoulias, Ink, Crossed Genres Publications, October 15, 2012, Bart R. Leib, Print.
Wilson, G. Willow, and Adrian Alphona. Ms. Marvel: No Normal. New York, NY: Marvel Worldwide, 2014. Print.