Video Review: Rod Stewart & The Temptations “The Motown Song”

Rod Stewart, in a yellow suit and dotted shirt, folds his hands together as he stands on a rooftop, a vibrant orange skyline behind him.

Animated vinyl records blend into one another. The Temptations pop out of one and begin to sing against a canary yellow background. Stewart walks on the rooftop and moves the microphone stand from side to side as he sings. He talks on his phone inside his home. His dog perks his ears up as he listens while he sleeps on the couch.

On the sidewalk below, two teenaged boys fight. Two ten-year-olds watch and cower. A teenaged boy points to a human Stewart dancing in the street. At home, an animated Stewart tears through his closet. He tries to decide a leopard print or flannel shirt.

His animated dog wags his tail as he watches the human Stewart dance on the rooftop. Back in the animation, Stewart calls a member of the Temptations. The Temptations leave their mansion. Stewart carries a speaker. The dog spins around him wrapping the cord around his legs. He nearly falls out the window. A teenaged boy points to him. A young man puts his arm around the young woman standing next to him.

The Temptations take off in their vintage car, choosing to fly to the rooftop. A cranky fortysomething man scowls as he looks out his window. The boys pretend to be praying. A second young man pulls down the ladder and the kids run up to the rooftop.

The dog runs on the rooftop with a human Stewart. The Temptations arrive. A red carpet rolls out for them to exit. In her apartment, Diana Ross talks on the phone and bumps into Florence Ballard, who puts her hands on her hips. The kids dance on the rooftop with a human Stewart.

In animation, Stewart calls Elton John, who smiles in the split screen. Vanilla Ice dances outside an ice van. Three people roll their eyes at him. On top of the van, a boy and Stewart’s dog unscrew the door. Vanilla Ice emerges from a pile of crushed ice. Sinead O’Connor shaves her head. Stewart’s dog jumps up in front of O’Connor, scaring her. On the rooftop, her head has several band-aids on it. Michael Jackson moonwalks. Stewart’s dog opens the sewer hole. Jackson screams as he falls into the sewer.

Madonna arrives, wearing a white dress with a long train. Stewart’s dog shuts the door, ripping the train and most of the dress off of her. Madonna fixes the corset and removes her wig. The scowling fortysomething is shocked as he watches through his binoculars. John and Stewart’s dog play soccer. A human Stewart and his animated dog walk down the street.

Back in his apartment, a human Stewart tears the paper off the canvas and kicks it into the trash.

Rating: 3.5/5

According to Rod Stewart, Motown is the only acceptable classic form of music. His peers, excluding Elton John, are either jokes (Vanilla Ice), eccentric (Sinead O’Connor) or exhibit zero class (Madonna). Modern pop music has caused some to sell out their talent (Michael Jackson).

However, Motown itself wasn’t perfect. The Supremes (also featured) had their problems. Ross was given preferential treatment due to her relationship with Berry Gordy. Florence Ballard was kicked out. The tension between them, during the phone call, is watered down to Ross being overzealous to chat to someone on the phone. Ross gives Ballard a mischievous grin. Ballard sulks.

Frowning upon Madonna’s zero fucks attitude and mocking Jackson’s iconic moonwalk seem to be stemming from jealousy. John isn’t considered competition at all. The focus on O’Connor shaving her head frames her as vain, stripping away her individuality.. The only person deserving of Stewart’s shade is Vanilla Ice, who is outed as the happy-go-lucky suburban guy without any rhythm.

Director: Derek Hayes Year: 1991

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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 ,Fevers of the Mind, Daily Drunk Mag\'s Kirstofia anthology. and forthcoming in Scrawl Place

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