The Impact of Country Music Videos

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Do you realize how much influence that a music video has on your interpretation of a song?

Take this example:

Listen to Toby Keith’s “My List.” Read the lyrics and come up with your own judgment of its meaning. My thought is the song is a reminder of life in general, remembering we aren’t here for an eternity. So, be sure to do the things in life that are important, with focus on family.

In my mind, I can see a beautiful day, front porch swing on the porch, kids around playing with a loving father.

Now, watch the video for the song.

The video gives the song an visual twist that has seem to have a large impact on the country music audience in their perspective of the song. The video portrays the events of 9-11 and the personnel. This portrayal may be somewhat along the lines of the theme of the song, but not exactly.

If you listen to a country music listener that watches videos, you will hear them add this song to the list of patriotic themed lyrics that Keith sings. If it is a country music fan that doesn’t watch videos, you will not hear a connection to patriotism.

The song itself mentions in no way 9-11, New York, or anything alike. The videos made the song take a theme of difference.

Videos have seemed to limit the creativity of our own minds. Interpretation of a song should be left to the listener, in most cases.

Are videos, to me, a bad thing? No; not at all. A video is a great promotion piece for the artists (just like radio.) Also, videos are a great entertainment source. However, I just believe that the video should not interpret a song for the viewer. If it is a song that has a defined meaning, then tell the story. If not, don’t create the story for the listener.

Country music videos have become a huge part of the industry. CMT, GAC, and VH1-Country, have all become vital sources of promotion. A video can make a song that sometimes may not be a hit, become one. The more exposure the artist receives, the better from the artist prospective.

Country music videos can be a very good thing and quiet important to the country music industry, however, the artists and producers of these videos must keep in mind the impact they have on interpretation.