I’ve been meaning to do a post about why I love pop music so. much. and then today while doing research for it (ahem), I got caught up in the video for Climax by Usher. The video, in contrast to the title, is just a couple short hints of narrative fleshed out with close ups of him singing. It’s designed to draw your focus to Usher and his emotional story, and the choreography – again, only in close up – is incredibly evocative. His movements made me think of a book I read when I around 10 and trying to learn everything I could about ballet: to be a successful dancer, you have to communicate by doing more than just the steps. Though of course Usher is a dancer, the video is about his face and his voice – like ballet dancers using emotional cues to supplement the storytelling in the choreography, Usher uses those same body language signals to compliment the emotional tone of his lyrics.
I wish I could post these videos side by side, but I encourage you to watch any snippet of Swan Lake and then watch Ursher, baby employing many of those same tactics. Look at Usher from 2:52 – 3:11 – you could watch that segment with the sound off and still understand he’s deeply upset about losing something forever. He manages to convey the magnitude as well as the tenor with just the top fifth of his body, even using his face even while it is mostly occupied by, notably, singing.