Revealing The Technical Charm of “Is This What You Wanted” Music Video (Visual Review)

Alex Turner, a remarkable rock singer, and guitarist, known for his integral role as the lead singer of Arctic Monkeys, also plays a prominent role in The Last Shadow Puppets. Although, as part of The Last Shadow Puppets, Alex shares the spotlight with an equally talented rock star Miles Kane. Both Alex Turner and Miles Kane’s distinguished talents can stand alone yet as a musical team, their relationship shines. In their 2016 EP, The Last Shadow Puppets produced The Dream Synopsis which included the following song that’s played in the music video, “Is This What You Wanted.”

While The Last Shadow Puppets produced original songs in their EP, this song, in particular, is a remake of another song. Originally, the song, “Is This What You Wanted” was written and produced by Canadian Singer Leonard Cohen. Interestingly enough, as the new remake shows in the music video, the last shadow puppets sculpted the song to make it their own. From a technical standpoint, the movement of the camera, the variation of light, and the strategized blocking of the band members helped create a visually pleasing and creative-looking music video.

The almost 7-minute music video has no cuts and therefore the band only had one take. This creative choice requires the director of the music video to keep the viewer entertained for its entirety. More often than not, it’s difficult to captivate one’s attention for so long when the video records real-time. It’s why the default for music videos rely on shooting different shots in different locations. That particular variance ensures that in a sense the viewer is traveling through time as cuts suggest a different time. However, we don’t see cuts in this music video. The performance takes place in one location, the take is continuous and there’s no evident storyline being told.

Alex Turner looking rather ravishing while wearing sunglasses indoors.

As shown in the video, Alex performs live and engages with the camera as if he were engaging with a live audience. Typically, dolly shots are used to emphasize a dramatic moment in a story. Therefore, the slow but purposeful dolly shot is shown in the first few seconds of the music video effectively reinstates a dramatic effect. Soon after, the dolly shot backs up to show Alex Turner dramatically singing the beginning of the song. And for the most part, the pull-in and backing up of the dolly shot displayed throughout the music video is a huge component to why the long continuous take doesn’t risk the audience looking away. Along with framing Alex Turner in the camera for a majority of the music video, the camera follows Alex, creating seamless transitions from one part of the stage to the next. Additionally, the changing backgrounds Alex stands in front of, subconsciously makes it feel like he’s changing locations like most music videos.

The oddly captivating yet simple music video from The Last Shadow Puppets.

The transitioning warm colors also highlight a mysterious trait of Alex Turner. For instance, in the beginning, aside from the standing microphone at the center, the key light shining from above hits Alex Turner’s figure once he steps into the frame. As a result, the Rembrandt lighting shows detailed features like the strands of gelled hair and beaming light bouncing off his nose. On the other hand, the Rembrandt lighting emphasizes the glamorous etiquette of Alex Turner as a rock star, such as the v-cut black vest, the horn-rimmed dark sunglasses, and standard slick black hair. As the music video continues, Alex Turner smoothly embodies the lyrics of the song, striding towards darkness then appearing into the warm red hues surrounding his band. This change in lighting, again keeps the viewer entertained while indicating a sensual environment around the band.

This leads me to my last point- the purposeful staging of the band. Overall, the positioning of the band doesn’t seem uncanny. We see the drummer most notably in the back, a band member slyly roaming through with his guitar, and Miles Kane, the co-singer passionately playing the melodies on his guitar. If we look a little closer, we see a man playing the keys in the left corner, hiding away from the light. At first, this seems irrelevant. Yet, perhaps the viewer’s lack of attention on the keys directs us to feel captivated by Miles Kane more strongly. Considering the song itself is supported by the repeated, short and powerful distortion of Miles Kane’s guitar, his stance makes logical sense.

Miles Kane (left) passionately strums his guitar. Alex Turner (right) attends to the moment.

Essentially since Miles Kane and Alex Turner carry the substance of the song, that is the guitar tune and inventive lyrics, Miles Kane stands rather closer to Alex Turner. The rest of the band members are still technical roles for the music video, but it’s Alex and his elusive dancing while passionately singing through the microphone and Miles’ fluid demeanor while playing the guitar that intertwined the music video and song as captivating.

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