Every week, a slew of new music videos hits the web. Watching them at your desk is not time theft because you deserve it; think of it as a nice reward for surviving another work week. But what if you don’t have time to watch every video? Maybe you have a deadline, a hungry pet, or other grown-up concerns. In consideration of your schedule, Lizzie and Kaitlyn bring you a series called One Video. Each week we’ll tell you “one video” you need to watch, why, and for how long.
This week’s video: “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John
Lizzie: I imagine when you first saw that this week’s One Video was about “Tiny Dancer,” you immediately checked the nearest newspaper to confirm that you had not been involved in some kind of time-travel or body-swap situation. “Tiny Dancer” was first released in 1971, the year Jared Leto and Winona Ryder were born. But this is the first video Elton John has ever released for this song, and it was pretty kind of him to make us wait 46 years, until after Jared Leto had gone through his freak phase.
you’ve been waiting half a century
Kaitlyn: When Lizzie says “us” she means “the broader culture.” Lizzie and I have not been waiting 46 years for a “Tiny Dancer” video because Lizzie and I have been alive for 27 years and none-of-your-business years, respectively. This video was made by a filmmaker named Max Weiland, as part of a fan contest in honor of 50 years of friendship between Elton John and songwriter Bernie Taupin. Weiland also made a short film called “Shrimps World,” unrelated to anything we’re discussing here, but I enjoyed it.
In my opinion, there’s a key scene in Almost Famous — written and directed by Cameron Crowe, the music journalist who recently brought you an elegant, heart-warming profile of Harry Styles — that functions just as well as the music video for this song. But, okay sure, “Tiny Dancer” is a classic! Why not two videos, for a classic? One Video concedes: sometimes two videos are even better than one.
Who is the tiny dancer?
Lizzie: According to Elton John, the tiny dancer is an LA lady, a blue jean baby, and a seamstress for the band. According to me, what the fuck is this band doing to their outfits that they need a traveling seamstress? According to Google, the tiny dancer is Maxine Feibelmann, the girlfriend of Bernie Taupin.
Kaitlyn: In this video, the tiny dancer is many LA ladies, including some teenage girls going to a formal dance in a limo, a young woman skateboarding to someone’s house and throwing her skateboard through their windshield, a young woman dumping out an urn in a creek, and another young woman crankin’ up “Tiny Dancer” in the car while eating some Red Vines.
What’s special about “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John:
Lizzie: If I were a contestant on The Bachelor, I might say it’s the wait that has been special. But since I’m not, what’s special about this video is that somehow it’s actually pleasant to watch, despite being a long visual for a decades-old song. Not to sound like Jared Leto giving an award acceptance speech, but the video’s watchability proves that this song is timeless. It can soundtrack an old woman’s vape break as well as a Snapchat Spectacles test drive.
Kaitlyn: I agree with Lizzie, and most of the population of planet Earth, that “Tiny Dancer” is timeless and lovely. The overall vibe of the video is “one of those super serious commercials for cotton,” which is a little bit lame, and for some reason Marilyn Manson is here, holding a large snake and generally being alarming and thematically inconsistent, but it doesn’t really matter. What’s special about “Tiny Dancer” is that it’s very old and we all like it anyway. On the romance scale, it is an 11 out of 10, which is hard to do well because talking about love is super embarrassing. I would put snippets of “Tiny Dancer” on my Snapchat Story for sure, in 2017, if the opportunity arose.
How long everyone should watch “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John:
Lizzie: At nearly seven minutes, this is a long video. But if you waited 46 years for a really good sandwich, would you only eat half of it? This is a perfectly fine sandwich, so just eat the whole thing, is what I’m saying.
Kaitlyn: Watch my Snapchat Story!