Analyzing the Symbolism in Famous Kanye West Music Video
Kanye West is one of the biggest names in music today, with countless hit songs and high-profile albums under his belt. Along with his music, he has also gained attention for his controversial personality, outspoken views, and flamboyant style. One of the most striking dimensions of Kanye’s work is the heavy use of symbolism in his lyrics, images, and music videos. Throughout his career, Kanye has created numerous music videos that are as visually stunning as they are enigmatic. In this article, we will analyze the symbolism in some of Kanye’s most famous music videos and discuss how they contribute to his artistic vision and message.
The first music video we will analyze is “Runaway,” which is the title track from Kanye’s 2010 album. The video is an elaborately choreographed extravaganza that runs for almost 35 minutes. In it, Kanye portrays a man who falls in love with a phoenix-like creature played by ballerina Yulia Kavutaradze. The video is full of metaphorical references and visual symbols that reflect on Kanye’s relationship with fame, media, and societal norms.
One of the main symbols in “Runaway” is the phoenix, which represents rebirth, transformation, and renewal. This creature is often associated with the idea of resurrection and is usually depicted rising from its ashes to start anew. In the video, Kanye’s relationship with the phoenix mirrors his own career trajectory, as he has endured numerous public controversies and professional setbacks. By including the phoenix as a central figure in “Runaway,” Kanye is expressing his desire to overcome his past mistakes and rise above the negative headlines and criticism.
Another symbol in “Runaway” is the white dress worn by Kavutaradze’s character. The dress is a representation of purity, innocence, and beauty. In the video, Kanye uses the dress to contrast Kavutaradze’s ethereal qualities with his own earthly, materialistic mindset. Through this contrast, Kanye gives us a glimpse of the struggles he faces as a public figure who is obsessed with success and fame.
Moving on to another one of Kanye’s iconic music videos, “Heartless” is a highly stylized and melancholic video that tells the story of a relationship that ends badly. The video is composed of dark, often blurry images that create a sense of desperation and despair. However, it is the visual symbolism in “Heartless” that elevates the video to a truly artistic level.
One of the most conspicuous symbols in “Heartless” is the recurring image of the shattered glass. This symbol appears throughout the video, with Kanye smashing the glass with his fists and feet, and with the camera capturing the fragments of glass floating in the air. The shattered glass represents the brokenness of the relationship that Kanye is singing about in the song. The glass can also be interpreted as a metaphor for the fragility of human relationships and the painful, destructive effects of love gone wrong.
Another symbol in “Heartless” is the color red, which is used extensively in the video. The color red is often associated with passion, love, and anger, all of which are emotions that are explored in the song. Kanye uses the color red to create a sense of emotional intensity, with scenes of him drenched in red light adding to the overall feeling of heartbreak and pain.
Finally, let’s take a look at the music video for “Power,” Kanye’s 2010 hit single. The video features Kanye dressed in medieval garb, surrounded by exotic dancers, and various symbols floating around him. The video is a complex visual feast that can be interpreted in numerous ways, depending on the viewer’s perspective.
One of the most striking symbols in “Power” is the sword that Kanye wields throughout the video. This sword represents power, strength, and domination, and is often used as a weapon of war. By wielding the sword, Kanye is asserting his own power over his critics and enemies, as well as the society that he feels is holding him back.
Another symbol in “Power” is the pyramid, which appears several times in the video. The pyramid is a longstanding symbol of power, hierarchy, and secrets. In “Power,” the pyramid is used to represent the hidden forces that control our society, from the moneyed elite to the government to the media. Through this symbol, Kanye is expressing his own skepticism and criticism of the power structures that shape our world.
In conclusion, Kanye West is a musician and artist who uses symbolism extensively in his music videos to craft a powerful, visually compelling vision of the world. Through his use of symbols such as the phoenix, shattered glass, red, sword, and pyramid, Kanye creates a metaphorical language that speaks to his own personal struggles, as well as the larger issues and themes that affect our society. His videos are not only entertaining but also thought-provoking, and they demonstrate how art can challenge our assumptions, broaden our horizons, and move us deeply.