A ‘Serious’ In-Depth Analysis Of Patrick Stump’s ‘This City’ Video

Remember when Patrick Stump was on a ‘secret’ video shoot? Remember when our only clues about the “This City” video were a few tweets about his ‘dapper’ dress sense and an unrevealing photo (see below)?

Well that was back on July 19th when filming began. Since then, its been fully wrapped up and yesterday it was unveiled to all us good patient people on VEVO. But after all that suspense, it seems that judging from many Youtube comments, fans can’t understand what’s it all about. *sighs* So here I am to give you my own analysis. I’m deadly serious – occasionally.
Interestingly, the video opens with a credits style introduction. Although “Patrick Stump” is named before “This City” is introduced and then “Lupe Fiasco” is also credited, as well as (oddly) the director Ken Koller. The intro is almost reminiscent on the outro to Kanye West’s All Of The Lights. The highlighting of the director is certainly a talking point as it makes this appear more like a short film than a music video. Well, perhaps an art film anyway.The font is futuristic and although not the work of Patrick’s common collaborator tape artist Aakash Nihalani, it keeps to a modern line drawing feel.
After Lupe Fiasco very kindly informed us that his city is the best and a threat to the rest, Patrick Stump returns tricolore. The images look like photo-negatives yet play with bright colours (as well as a yellow background at times). Buzznet’s Ashly described them as feeling “Andy Warhol inspired”.

At 0:22 we get our first outside studio shot of a pensive Patrick overlooking (what for the purpose of the video is) his city. Cue some handheld camera work filming some smiley children dancing (cute factor – tick) before a return to the studio with trippy lighting all within 3 seconds.

Clearly the quick transition shows that the video’s plan of action has stayed the same since the behind-the-scenes interviews (you can watch one here, and the other here) as the focus is on lighting. Previously, Patrick had spoken how a video full of city shots would be redundant and that this would express the feelings and life of a city through colour. So while it may be impossible to not show a city at some points, the shots are subtle and there are few of them. These lines probably represent the boundaries of society..or something.
No, this is not Patrick Stump taking part on a celebrity version of The Cube. Instead, it’s him to metaphorically express his feelings of cities with lighting to the time of the music. Get it? Don’t worry, you’ll understand after your third viewing.
At 32 seconds (yes, that’s only how far I’ve got so far), we’re taken out of the box once more to see a literal city. Here we see a slightly lost looking Patrick Stump as people move past him before the camera quickly jumps up. Thinking of the use of colour; the outdoor shots are always black and white to emphasise the colourful emotions expressed in the studio.

Perhaps this represents the Rorschach test, perhaps its showing the danger of jellyfish within cities. I’m not entirely sure.

The first (and only) cityscape as such comes 00:35 and is preceded by traffic and rushing people. So far, the visual representation of literal cities is pretty bleak (apart from the laughing children), which links with the lyrical idea of loving wherever you live despite its flaws.

Although I’m sure that this was not Ken Koller’s artistic intention, this shot of a dancing (and at times on fire) Patrick Stump seems to have been filmed with an awesome GIF in made. Expect to see those few seconds popping up on Tumblr blogs everywhere soon.

Perhaps my suggestion of the Rorschach test wasn’t so crazy after all as things get more inky around 47 seconds. Oh, and there are also two Patrick Stumps which suggests a conflict of opinions (despite them both singing the same words). Also, there appears to be a stencil affect which means that this could also represent graffiti which although a ‘bad’ aspect of a city is one that often defines its character.

Now I’m beginning to sway back to my original idea that this was representative of jellyfishphobia (that is probably not the correct term). They disappear when the lyric “solutions” are said with an evil glare from Patrick so presumably this shot is about conquering fear of jellyfish and winning.

Just before the minute mark, Patrick Stump becomes engulfed in flames which presumably represent the spirit of the city. Or maybe I’m just giving Ken Koller more credit than he deserves.

Considering the song’s lyrics being almost entirely self-explanatory, we are given the first literal interpretation of “pollution” here, which is soon followed by some more traffic. Not so cryptic for those few seconds then.

After a brief re-visit to ‘the cube’ (all lit up and bright now to reflect the elevated musical mood), we get (old school) 3-D style colourful. Hmm, a 3D music video sounds like a good idea for a future artistic project; fancy it Patrick?

After a brief re-visit to the funky silhouette dancing, we go black to the black and white ‘real world’ featuring a very smiley Patrick Stump – aww. There are no meanings (serious, sarcastic or otherwise) to this, it’s just gratutiutious.

Hang on its a literal image of a typical city people. Eh? This is more confusing than the colours. On an analytical note, its unglamorous unphotoshopped qualities (eg graffiti) offer a welcome change from typical cityscape sky scrapers, beautiful scenery and stunning architecture however.

JELLYFISH ON FIRE! No wait, its just random flames expressing anger and passion for ‘this city’. It all makes sense now.

In the funkiest dance move of the video (at 1:21), we see a funny little ‘For life’ shrug. Either that or there’s a big spider on the floor.

Flashforward 20 seconds after a mix of more black and white shots and groovy dancing and Lupe Fiasco returns just in time for his rap. There’s some nice silhouettes and lighting trickery which although is complex in its variety remains simplistic (if that’s possible).

It is at 2:08 that Patrick Stump makes his re-appearance (with a new outfit). Looking at clothing, the new bowtie creates an interesting juxtaposition against Lupe’s hoodie. The two artists being in one shot (despite clear different dress styles) is perhaps visually representing the lyrics about division of ethnicities/class in cities. Or maybe, its just a nice shot transition.

You could try and analyse the colour, concept, contextualisation in this shot all day long but realistically who is looking past the outfit choice. A chequered bow tie (with chain), leather gloves, future watch, cut off shirt and most interestingly a no-sleeve shoulder balancing jacket/cape. Move over, Lady Gaga!

Moving on from the angry red to the warm orange (Fun fact: Patrick’s favourite colour) to represent the positive feeling towards his favourite”This City”. Probably.

In a subtle but noticeable change, the green effects begin to move behind Patrick Stump, as if to say he’s now become more important than the metaphorical lights.

Looking like the happy accident from a printer malfunction, Patrick Stump returns to Warhol-style imagery. Very stylish.

These simple few seconds are easily my favourite of the entire video. The mixture of black and white with the colour effect creeping truly represent the feeling of city-pride in both a honest but still slightly rose-tinted way. This shot reminds me of those times sat in my favourite park smiling at the terrifying seagulls eating litter and the half-naked old man doing meditation..or maybe that’s only in my city.

Now naepolitian Patrick Stump becomes one which perhaps represents all his different feelings about his city coming together to one. Or perhaps, I’ve just been writing this for far too long and start analysing things which aren’t even there.

Now in its final moments, the video gets fast paced ranging from flashback style finger clicking imagery (above) to close-ups in the ‘cube’ to more jellyfish etc. All too quick to print-screen. Sorry.

Triangles! That can only mean one thing – Patrick Stump must be in the illuminati! Or not. Sorry conspiracy theorists but this is a not a blog where you are welcome.

Wait a minute, I thought Ken Koller directed this video but clearly I was mistake and it was Laurence Llewellyn-Bowen judging from that backdrop.

Ooh, another silhouette but this colourful and with Patrick Stump inside his own shadow. Plus there’s lovely colourful lines in the background. What does it represent? A pretty shot in a music video is my best guess.

No, he’s not swearing but it looks that way so let’s continue sniggering like school children. Teeheehee.

Another shot mixing colour with black-and-white as the video (and song) reachers its climax. It’s all very fast moving but if you watch from 3:23 there appears to be a fourth Patrick Stump on the opposite side for a split-second, but blink and you will miss it (literally).

Well as the video draws to an eventual close, it finishes up with a clap (and finally another silhouette on coloured lines shot). N.B Credit to Craww on Tumblr for the GIF

Well that’s a wrap guys (hallelujah!). I hope I didn’t bore you to tears. If you’ve still got time, why not watch the video below. After all “Writing about music (videos) is like dancing about architecture (which Patrick Stump is acting doing)”. Enjoy!

So what’s your take on it?