Narrative Analysis: Ed Sheeran 'A Team'
Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Transcripts - Narrative Analysis: Ed Sheeran 'A Team'
The music video A Team has a circular structure as
it starts with the young Woman being found dead
and takes us through how she ended up dead as
the music starts up with the guitar solo.
It has a non-linear structure with the flashback to
how the Girl got to being found dead in her
Additionally the structure could be single strand,
as the music video could be told from the
narrative thread of a person watching the Girl’s
life. This could be an indication to the significance
to the repeated reference to ‘angels’ in the chorus.
The third image on the left denotes a high angle
shot connoting the young Women as vulnerable
but also the close up emphasises her eyes. This
leads to the idea of the eyes being windows to the
soul and that her story is told through her eyes i.e.
her soul, this also build on the idea of the
significance of ‘angels’.
In terms of Andrew Goodwin's generic conventions
of a music video, A Team doesn’t fall into the
category of there being close ups of the artist to
emphasise the star image of Ed Sheeran though he
does feature in several scenes as a passer by and as
a member of the public which juxtaposes with the
star image concept.
However A Team does follow the generic convention of their
being a relationship between the lyrics and song. In this video
illustration is used as when the song starts the Women wakes up
and the medium long shot captures the early morning rush
hour and you hear the ambient sound of vehicles denoting the
day has begun. Furthermore the black and white footage uses
the natural light available to create high contrast but also
draw emphasis on the Girls bleak life which is exposed through
us seeing how it is she ended up dead. In terms of setting the
medium long shot denotes the surrounding trees as bare and
lifeless linking to the Women’s life in terms of her situation and
emotions. Throughout the majority of the video up until her
death she adorns a long black wool coat.
The connotations often
being regressive for e.g.
villains where as here it
denotes her soul and how
heavy and burdened and
it’s not until her death that
The reasons behind using illustration is that the fans are able to
relate to a story more in terms of the relationship between the
music and visuals , rather than it revolving around Ed Sheeran
doing a stage performance. Again, this is influenced by the sub-
genre of the song which in this case is indie folk and soul. Also
the lyrics have a powerful message revolving around drugs
predominantly but also prostitution which is why using
illustration is a very effective concept in the way fans will
receive the song.
Another predominant generic convention is the voyeuristic
treatment of the female body which is featured through the
subject of prostitution but isn’t the main motif of the song. As
the images on the right denote how the headlights being bright
which is emphasised through the black and white footage,
contrasts with the young women’s leg and draws attention to
her body and her bare legs. Additionally the fact that it is cold
and yet she’s not covered denotes how desperate she is for
money and how she makes herself vulnerable because of it
again drawing attention to the bleakness of her life.
In terms of rule of thirds you can see how her eyes are on the
main line of interest and that she’s framed by the car denoting
her as vulnerable. Also by taking off the black coat is a sign of
her trying to gain attention of the driver which links in with the
dresscode of females in regards to voyeuristic treatment.
In terms of Barthes perspective of narrative being a
series of codes , he outlines several features:
Action Code- The narrative is interpreted by the audience through clear obvious
actions. So we see a Women mourning over a young Women’s body connoting
they must have had an existing relationship and have been close to one another.
Enigma Code- The narrative involves something hidden from the audience. This
would be how and why the young women died and what occurred leading up to
her death. As it gives the audience a enigma to solve. Drawing the audience in, in
order to find the answers to the proposed unsaid questions.
Symbolic Code- Something that the audience recognise through connotations or
something that symbolises a more abstract concept. There are multiple threads to
this one being the black and white footage used throughout connoting the young
women's life as beak and desolate. Her costume in terms of the long black wool
coat could be a reflection of her soul being tired and burdened and wasted.
Cultural Code- Something that is interpreted with understanding due to
cultural awareness. This could be in terms of lyrical analysis. As ‘She’s in the Class A
Team,’ is reference to her abusing Class A drugs as well as being promiscuous.
More over ‘Go mad for a couple grams,’ is referring to her battling addiction with
Levi-Strauss described narrative as created
by constant conflict of binary opposites.
The A Team has binary opposites such as:
Life and Death- We see the struggle of
the young women trying to live and
make it through each day. The film
started with death and moved onto life
when the young women woke up on the
bench to a new day with the ambient
sounds of vehicles moving in the morning
rush hour and then the music video ends
with her death where it bean in the first
place. This presents the idea of life being
incessant regardless of the loss or
Black and White- This has more to do
with the lighting use to create high contrast
images. But also in terms of costume such
as the big black coat which was emphasises
through the lighting and black and white
footage used. Additionally the black and
white concept highlights the way things are
portrayed by the media as being either
black and white. Which is a principle this
music video challenges but also conforms
to, by using only black and white footage.
You could say it also draws more attention
to the negative aspects of the young
women’s life and makes you as an
audience feel more sympathetic.