Video Review: Elton John “Sad Songs (Say So Much)”

An orange fire burns in a garbage can in a black-and-white gloomy neighborhood. Water from the broken fire hydrant floods the road. A lavender neon Hotel sign shines on a building.  A young man rides his bicycle. A group of low-income workers dance in the street. They move to let Elton John walk.

A young man sits on the sidewalk, his head in his hands. John, in color, talks with the young people in the neighborhood. In an apartment building, a young woman pulls the leopard print curtain and checks out the noise. The yellow light shines from the lamp and she sits in the corner, listening to the radio and closes her eyes as the red glare from the neon sign streams inside. Her roommates watch television.

John stops to a young couple at a traffic light. He watches as the young woman leaps into the air and views her silhouette in the moon. The neon sign for Joey’s blinks. John performs to an empty club. A businessman throws his suitcase on the hotel bed and sits down. He turns on the radio providing some color in the room. A young woman kicks up her leg on the bridge as she walks past.

While working underneath a car, a mechanic moves his feet to the music, which allows a pea-green light in the dank shop. He rolls out once he sees several pairs of feet dancing. Musicians perform by an abandoned car. John lifts up his head.

On a stool, he folds his arms across his chest. To the right, a female singer sings at the microphone. He looks at the second version of himself. To the right, a male greaser sings.  They both continue to look to the left and a third version of himself appears. A second female singer performs. A fourth version of John materializes and they sing in unison.

John stands in the center of the street and the dancers join him. After performing a routine, they leave as a group. John walks by himself.

Rating: 4/5

As the economy thrives in certain parts of the country, there are still some neighborhoods struggling. Some people are getting by and hoping to experience the resurgence in their area. Most work minimum dead-end jobs which sabotages them at every turn. Each day they are reminded there is no way out.

Music has become a lifeline for people in the city. The businessman lost an important client and needs to forget. A young woman, living with two other people, puts on her headphones, muting the negative commentary of her roommates. While working a late shift, a mechanic listens to the radio. For three minutes, their problems are gone.

Elton John knows he will make it out. He has a made name for himself. For the young people in the neighborhood, he is an inspiration. He’s a reassurance that it’s possible to get out. He performs to an audience of two people at Joey’s for next to nothing. It’s only enough to cover a single bill. However, he remains optimistic that one night in another city he will be noticed.

Director: Russell Mulcahy Year: 1984

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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 and forthcoming in Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kristofia anthology.

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