Friday, February 20, 2009

Video Review: Uptown Girl

[Note: YouTube is telling me that 'embedding disabled by request' on this video, so just click the link and it should take you to the HD version.]

It's a busy night at "Gas," the fix-it shop owned and operated by Sir Billy Joel in the video for "Uptown Girl"-easily one of Joel's top 3 best songs and one of the 10 best songs of the entire 80s.

Fortunately, the video lives up to the quality of the song and casts the whole thing in a 50s kind of doo-wop 'let's dance and flirt' kind of thing. They could have gone a number of directions with this video-and remember this was the 80s so 99.9% of those videos would have involved atrocious acting and tons of hair gel-but they reeled it in.

So as the song starts, fellow Joel bandmates Stinky, Winky, Blinky and Pete (names subject to factual verification) are ratcheting along with the beat. And what a beat-it's a terrifically simple but incredibly effective melody that uses this great little chromatic scale that goes up and down. Instantly catchy.

So anyway, Joel is getting ready for a big date by means of running his hands through his hair and fussing with his clothes. He shows his friends a girlie magazine as they prance around the garage, and the guys all make the 'spirit fingers' move, which is a little disturbing.

Just then, the lovely Christie Brinkley drives up in a Rolls. This really gets the guys going, and they dance around the car and strike quite a few poses directly into the camera. Watch for the terrific 'oh oh oh oh oh-o' segment where they're cleaning off the car-it actually works with the music really well. I can't say enough good things about the song or the video.

Brinkley thinks this is pretty cool so she ges out of the car and plays kind of hard to get, which is kind of weird. If she didn't want to be 'got', then why get out of the car?

My mom always said that Christie Brinkely 'couldn't dance' in this video, and that it was embarassing. She said the same thing about Olivia Newton-John in Grease. For the record, I think both women are just fine at the dancing they do. Have you seen Xanadu? If not, why not?

Anyway, the song moves into the drum part and they rev up some motorcycles during this part-a genius move that I mentally insert into the song any time it's on the stereo.

Then some skinny kids do a really cool breakdance and the entire cast starts doing a little dance number thing that I can personally re-create, and often do. I'm available for parties and bar mitzvahs.

Joel and Brinkley ride off in the end on one of the motorcycles, and she lets her hair down. It's really cool. This is a classic video that makes me happy to be alive. It's pure fun, looks like it was a ton of fun to make, and proves conclusively that you don't have to be off-color or naughty to be entertaining and memorable.


Shannon said...

I vote for this song was 9 of the top 10 songs of the 80's with the exception of Come on Eileen by Dexi's Midnight Runners.

Hillary said...

I would go as far as to say this is one of the top ten songs of all-time. It has held up remarkably well over the years and I love it more now than ever.

You also once told me this song was very classy.

Jessica said...

If only modern day stuff could be like this. You are so right, you don't have to be naughty or off-color to be entertaining! I have always been a fan of Billy Joel.