Images of America -

Analyzing Music Videos: Vince Gill

Integrated U. S. History and American Literature Class
Deborah Aufdenspring and Sandra Mings-Lamar

New Technology High School, Napa, CA

(Quick Links to related pages)

Below are some captured stills from a music video that will help you understand the kinds of analyses you are expected to do. Remember that all captured stills are the property of the particular music video copyright holder. Stills are to be used in your scholarly work only and copyrights noted.

"Worlds Apart" - Vince Gill

What did you think of Vince Gill's "Worlds Apart", other than it was "country music?" If you looked at this video as a picture of the U.S., what would it say about the country? What's right with the country? What's wrong with it? Who lives here? Does the video leave you with a sense of hope or hopelessness about the future?

The Video:

As the video opens, we see a succession of quick shots as an introduction.

All Vince Gill video stills ©MCA Records
Why were these images chosen?
To preview the entire video?
To set the tone? What is the tone?
To indicate that the song is not just a "lost love" song?
To interest you by using strong, stark images?
All of the above, or none of the above, or for other reasons? What reasons?

Do you think the video takes the theme of "Worlds Apart" and moves it from the personal (divorce) to the neighborhood (gangs) to the community or national level (black church burnings). Or, do you think the video moves thematically from the personal (family) to the secular (gangs and prisons) to the religious (churches). Or, does it move on a lot of levels at once?
Vince Gill's location in the video appears to be a large empty loft. Does this represent loneliness?
What other images in the video does the backlit, paned window bring to mind?
Images can have overtones that carry meaning beyond their context. The farmer's hand crumbling the dirt could come right out of a story about the Dustbowl during the Great Depression. The fire burning in front of the minister evokes memories of the days when white racists burnt black men alive, not just their churches.
Do you think these crossover images might be intentional?
Are these evocations of gangs real? What do gangs have to do with being "Worlds Apart"?

What feelings does the video want to evoke at the end? What does it say about race? How does it say it?

Quick Links

Introduction - Analyzing Music Videos
Music Video Assignment
Analysis Tips
Comparing and Contrasting Music Videos
Grading Rubric

Stills of Sample Videos, with Sample Analysis Questions:
Billy Joel.....Erykah Badu.....Pop up Videos.....Tracy Lawrence

Rage Against the Machine.....Vince Gill.....Van Halen.....Aqua.....12 other videos

For Teachers...

For examples of recent student projects on analyzing music videos:
Student Work

E-mail me.

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