Images of America -

Analyzing Music Videos: Van Halen

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.

"Right Now" - Van Halen

"Right Now" is an exploration of life in the U.S. As you watch the video, look carefully at the images. Are they mostly positive? Mostly negative? Are these images of your life? If you were making a video about your life in this country, what different images would be significant to you? Which of your own images would be significant to other people? Who? Why?

The Video:

All Van Halen video stills ©1992Warner Bros. Records
In the above still, what does the marionette represent?
What recent news stories does this refer to?

In the above still, what do the children's images say?
Why are the children girls?

Is the above image a political statement? Do you agree with it?
What kinds of workers are represented?
Are they the ones who work the hardest for the least?
Is the minimum wage law a good thing

Bare trees (above) are a common image of loneliness. What image would you have used?

What in your life supports or negates the above statement?

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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