Video Review: Vanessa Carlton "A Thousand Miles"

Vanessa Carlton walks into the shed and uncovers the piano. Once she sits down on the bench, it begins to move. Outside the garage, her dad, who got home from work, is talking to her mom and newborn baby sister.

She composes the song as she passes through her subdivision and stops at a kid’s birthday party. She plays while a dozen kids jump up and down in a bouncy house. Meanwhile, the moms are cleaning up after the cake.

Then she continues through the several neighborhoods. By the winding turns near the mountains, a motorcycle gang follows behind her.

She pauses at a wall with license plates attached and then at the side of the road, letting the motorcyclists pass her. A marathon is in progress while she continues to play. An owl sits on her piano, perching on the edge, listening to her.

In New York, she plays in the park as violinists accompany her. She travels through the city and performs in a parade. A flag corps and marching band follows her.

On the beach, wild, black horses run on the sand while she plays. She begins to head out of the city. She stops at a movie theatre, where men dance outside. A man in a silver, translucent suit moves his arms like a robot in the background. She drives through a tunnel and passes at a Rite Aide.

A few hours later, she returns home. Her parents are talking outside. Her father leads her mom inside.

Inside the shed, the piano stops. She finishes the song and puts her hands in her lap, a small smile on her face and goes back to her room.

Rating: 2.5/5

Vanessa Carlton quit playing the piano a few years ago. In freshman year, boys and hanging out with her friends at the mall became important to her. She wanted to reinvent herself and not be the arty girl. Some of her friends were surprised when she started going out with them more. They thought she wanted to be by herself and concentrate on her music. All people had heard about in middle school was how she was going to be a pop star one day and write her own songs. The piano then got moved out of the living room and into the garage.

However, she still thinks of the piano. There was a song she was writing at the time and the melody had stayed in her head. With a few of her friends sick and her boyfriend out of town, she decided to go into the garage and play the piano again.

Once she started to play, her dream came back to her — playing her first gig at a kid’s birthday party, traveling to different cities for shows and then performing for a record executive in New York. After a couple of hours, she’s glad she decided to play. It was something she missed.

The video has some fantastic background detail to it. However, the camera prefers to buzz by without a second thought. At the kid’s birthday party, the moms hang out by the table, cleaning up. They are likely in conversation. But the camera leaves without seeing the moms gesture as they gossip about the other kids’ parents who did not RSVP.

Next, at the movie theatre, a man in a silver suit dances like a robot. His head is cut off by the camera but is in the frame enough to gather what he is doing. Off to the side, people break dance. Again, the camera isn’t interested much in the surroundings and continues on.

Director: N/A Year: 2000


Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her work has been published in the White Wall Review, Sledgehammer Lit ,Greatest City Collective, 45 Magazine ,Fevers of the Mind, Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kirstofia anthology. and forthcoming in Scrawl Place

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