Images of America -

Analyzing Music Videos:

Rage Against the Machine

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.

"People of the Sun" -
Rage Against the Machine

This highly political video opposes U.S. intervention in Mexico. The U.S. has a very long history of political activity in all of Latin America, which was made explicit with the Monroe Doctrine, issued by James Monroe, America's fifth President. Much of the history of the U.S. can be understood only if you understand the Monroe Doctrine.

The Video:

All Rage Against the Machine video stills ©Epic Records
Much of this video's message is contained in the pieces of headlines in videoclips. Analyzing the video depends on analyzing the history behind those headlines. One source of Mexican and Latin American news is LatinoLink.

What, or who, is the PRI referred to above? How can you find out?

What is the U.S. doing in Mexico, according to the video?

What is Article 27 of the Mexican Constitution? How can you find out? Why does the director show flames in front of words that represent the Zapatistas and the Mexican Constitution?

What is the EZLN?
Who are the powerful?
Who has the" voice of fire"?
What does fire represent?

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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