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Dakota McMeans

Professor Loudermilk

English Composition 1201

6 Feb 2020

Wake me Up: Music Video Comparison

There are many challenges in this world, and many people face these trials every day.

Most everyone can easily relate to the struggles life naturally presents. “I try carrying the weight

of the world, but I only have two hands,” a quote from the song “Wake me Up.” This quote

means to say that sometimes life is just a little bit too much for one person to handle, and

sometimes you just need an escape from hardships. This song has been covered by multiple

artists and bands. One very well known version of “Wake me Up” is by Aloe Blacc. This version

features the acoustic guitar and Aloe Blacc singing solo. The music video for this version

consists of a few different stories that all intertwine into a single plot. The second version of this

song is done by Avicii. This Swedish artist takes a more pop approach to the song, adding

longer, more techno segments into the song that convert it into a heavy dancing song. The music

video depicts the story of a young teenage girl and her sister. The two seem to be trapped in a

town that lives in the past. The two music videos are similar in that they both describe stories of

people who are trapped in a life they don’t want. However, the Aloe Blacc version focuses on the

escape for normal, everyday life, and Avicii focuses on the escape from an abnormal life.

This song has become a very popular song but many people are only aware of Avicii’s

role in the song. Avicii created the chord progression and melody for the song, but it was

actually Aloe Blacc who wrote and sang the lyrics in both versions (Dannatt). In the music video
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credited to Avicii, it is about two young girls, one a teenager and the other a child, who is stuck

in a town they don’t belong in. They each have a strange symbol tattooed on their bodies of two

triangles facing away from each other. This symbol represents who they belong with and where

their home is. One day the older girl leaves the historic town and finds the city. In the city, she

meets more people with this strange marking and they lead her to a great, big party where she

finally gets to feel like herself. She returns to get her little sister and they both leave to find the

place where they truly belong. In the music video featuring Aloe Blacc, it is all one big story but

starts off as separate storylines. Firstly, there is a woman who is alone in her town with her

young baby daughter and wants to leave to reunite with her husband. Secondly, there is a man

stuck away from home, forced to find work to support his family. And thirdly, there is a young

woman protesting against the possible deportation of her father. The woman with a young baby

daughter decides to leave home in search of her husband, but along the way, border control stops

her and confiscates her baby from her. The woman continues on past the officials, but without

her daughter and eventually reaches her husband. Her husband turned out to be the man stuck

away from home. The young daughter who was taken from her mother ends up growing up to be

the young woman protesting her father’s deportation, and she is faced against the same officer

who took her away as a child.

These two stories are similar because they are both about people knowing they don’t

belong in the place where they are currently at. In Blacc’s version, all three stories were

accustomed to the hardships of everyday life, but they weren’t content with it. In the song, there

is a lyric that says, “All this time I was finding myself and I didn’t know I was lost.” This

correlates with how each storyline in both versions have a feeling that they don’t belong but

don’t yet know yet until they find where they are truly meant to be. The stories are different
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because, in the Avicii version, we see that the two girls are living in a life that they know is not

normal to the everyday world. They desire to find people that are like themselves in order to feel

like they are at home. The Blacc version differs from this because in those stories it was always

about trying to change what had become normal life. The mother was not content with her

current life away from her husband which is actually a normal scenario for many people. The

daughter wanted to stop the deportation of her father, which is a normal thing that happens to

families all the time. The song, it states, "Life is a game made for everyone, and love is the

prize." The Aloe Blacc version focuses on the search for love more than the Avicii version does.

The Avicii version tries to target the search for a sense of belonging.

Both video interpretations of this song use pathos for the entirety of the short film, but it

is used in different manners. For the Avicii version, pathos was used through the two girls

getting resented by the town, then being accepted by the new people they find. It takes the

audience through the hardships of being where you don’t fit in, to the joy of finding people like

yourself. In Blacc’s version, pathos is used to get the audience to feel sympathy again for the

heartache the people experience, but yet it is also used to relate the audience to love and get them

to feel that love is the prize in life. The audience for these two versions is somewhat different.

Avicii creates a video and song that targets a younger crowd who feels that they aren’t where

they belong and are searching to find out who they really are. Avicii also has a more party-

oriented take to the song which naturally draws in a younger audience. Blacc takes a more

modest approach, targeting people who feel they are trapped in everyday life and are searching

for love. Aloe’s acoustic version brings a calmer crowd to his interpretation.

These two songs are very similar, yet very different at the same time. The lyrics are the

exact same, but the execution of these words changes the meaning from version to version.
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Pathos is a very effective tool to use on a young and impressionable audience, and that’s what

these two artists stuck to when making these videos. Avicii targeting the younger and unsure

audience gives him room to make a story about leaving the abnormal to find what they believe to

be where they belong. Blacc’s calmer version creates space for leaving the normal hardships of

life to find true happiness.

Works Cited

Avicii. “Wake Me Up.” YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?v=IcrbM1l_BoI.

Blacc, Aloe. “Wake Me Up.” YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/watch?

v=M_o6axAseak.
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Dannatt, James. “Avicii Reveals Aloe Blacc Wrote 'Wake Me Up' Lyrics In Two Hours.”

Capital, 30 July 2013, www.capitalfm.com/artists/avicii/news/aloe-blacc-wake-me-up-

lyrics/.