Tag Archives: music videos


The particular details and background of the following prank were introduced to me by a fellow student majoring in computer science.


The prank in question takes place on internet video platforms, most commonly YouTube, where viewers are led to believe they are accessing entirely unrelated material and instead are met with the surprise appearance of the music video for Rick Astley’s 1987 song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up.’ Having been performed so many times as to have earned its own name, the prank has come to be known as ‘rickrolling,’ a reference to Astley’s name.


Although I was previously familiar with the prank’s ubiquity, having been ‘rickrolled’ myself a number of times prior, its intentional nonsensicality was not apparent until being explained.


As a prank that exists in a simple digital form and relies entirely on taking advantage of the internet’s functions, ‘rickrolling’ is a definitive example of the relationship between perpetrator and victim when pranks are performed over the internet. In real life, there requires some kind of physical interaction to be pranked, but on the internet, there remains complete anonymity. The victim will likely never have any idea who ‘rickrolled’ them, and given the nonexistent physical consequences of the prank itself, will not have any incentive to find out themselves.


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A transformative step for this prank occurred as that of a marketing tool in the leadup to the release of the second season of HBO’s television program Westworld. The creators of the show, known for its complicated narrative and plot twists, formally announced they would release a video revealing a comprehensive guide to every narrative step of the show in advance, effectively spoiling every surprise the season held before airing.


Because much of the show’s popularity derives from trying to guess and anticipate each of these twists, critics and viewers alike contentiously debated this unprecedented decision that would undermine the effectiveness of a highly anticipated release and seemed to reflect an unsettling ignorance (on the creator’s parts) of the show’s major appeal.


When the aforementioned spoiler guide was released onto the video platform YouTube, viewers were treated to the sight of the program’s lead actress singing a piano cover of Rick Astley’s ‘Never Gonna Give You Up,’ a nod to the traditional practice of ‘rickrolling’ and a solid indication that the entire announcement was a prank itself.


It is worth noting that even this sly and cleverly-angled marketing strategy relied on an unexpected narrative twist (although created in real life, impressively), just as the show itself relies on such methods to keep viewers engaged.



The Amateur Music Video!

Kropp was a secret geek in high school. He thoroughly enjoyed sports, rap, and women but had a soft spot for cartoons. He says he would secretly want to be a superhero if he had the chance – “a dope superhero” at that. He is currently a USC student studying environmental science, is enrolled in the NROTC program and loves to skateboard. He has very close ties with his extended family. He hopes to one day commission into the navy as an officer.

What may come to mind when reading the title is a very under-budgeted, poor music video by a new talent trying to make their way into the music industry. But, in fact, an AMV – Amateur Music Video, is something much more personal. AMV’s are composed of a song of your choice (as the theme song to a video); and by yourself on programs like iMovie and Adobes Premier Pro, edit scenes from a TV show or movie or music video that has already been published. It’s your own music video with characters and actors from your favorite media.

My friend, when he was in middle school, used to take clips from his favorite cartoon Teen Titans and create music videos. On youtube, he and thousands of others would have AMV challenges as to which video was the best – determined by those who posted the challenge and by other viewers. The editors were challenged to create something that had great images, a story or a smooth flow, and most of all the song had to represent not only the story that he was trying to tell but had to represent the characters themselves. His favorite characters were Beast Boy and Raven. Beast Boy was the comedy relief on the show – “or tried to be” he says. While Raven played “the devils advocate”. Not to mention he liked the bit of romance there was between the two.

He spent hours after school watching episodes to see which scenes would be right for the song. He then spent days cutting down the episode into scenes and then the rest of the time was devoted to synchronizing the combat and movements of the characters to the rhythms in the song.

Analysis: I also used to make AMV’s in my early high school years out of videos from Lost. One of the main reasons I did it was because after the show finished it gave me an opportunity to change some of the outcomes. I changed the romantic relationships with one love song and some downloaded scenes of my favorite episodes. I also kept the show alive by continuing to play around with the characters that would no longer show up on Tuesday nights. I think that may be the reason he did it – not just because he really liked the show growing up, but he wanted to be amongst the characters. He wanted to be a Teen Titan (c).

While he was too shy to give a link to his own videos, he gave us the link to one of his friends and competitors: