Optimism and Nostalgia in Countdown

Published on December 1st, 2014 by adamcole. Filed under Music Videos, Uncategorized

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Beyoncé Knowles is no stranger to successful, viral videos, and her 2011 music video for Countdown is no exception. In the song, Beyoncé professes her love for her husband and her excitement for the future, as they expect their first child. The music itself is incredibly upbeat drawing on many musical styles which makes the song feel both retro and modern. The song’s fast pace and optimism is reflected in the videos impressive use of editing and nostalgia.

The video editing is precise, incredibly fast, and aesthetically captivating. The attention to detail is noticeable within the first few seconds of the video where even Beyoncé’s blinking seems purposefully timed to the beat. The speed of the cuts is very intense and cuts are often made between every beat. According to a psychological study by Robert N. Kraft, the speed of the cuts makes the video more interesting, more active and stronger. Additionally, the editor adds to the action by successfully using split screens, at times having up to 9 separate videos playing simultaneously. All this, combined with the video’s use of bright, saturated colors, creative costumes and rhythmic movement adds to the video’s upbeat and optimistic atmosphere.

The video also relies on nostalgia to induce positive feelings in the viewers. The video uses many noticeable pop culture references, such as Audrey Hepburn’s black outfit from Funny Face. Additionally, Beyoncé and her fellow dancers wear outfits reminiscent of the 60’s and 80’s. This all contributes to a sense of wistfulness for the perceived optimism and brightness of the past. As we know, nostalgia is an effective advertising tool and one could argue that it would be especially effective here due to the video’s release during the 2011 financial crises.

Overall, the proficient use of editing and nostalgia in Countdown contribute to the video’s upbeat nature and the song’s positivity.


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