Visual Story of ‘Everyday is a Winding Road’ by Sheryl Crow
In the “Everyday is a Winding Road” video, Sheryl Crow appears in sepia tones, a polished version of herself, markedly different from her look in the breakout, “All I Wanna Do.” It opens with epic bongo and slide guitar, a unique mix of jazz and country. It’s both playful and charming, forming the ideal backbone to this exploration of childhood and tempus fugit. Watch the full video below.
Symbols of Youth
The visuals intermix Sheryl preparing to go out into for the world, making herself appear like the flawless grown up. Meanwhile, we see her curly-headed child self wearing cowboy boots (and little else) while wrapping herself in a feather boa. Sheryl may be putting on heels and makeup as her grown self, but inside, she’s throwing a sleek, metallic model airplane out the window. We follow the plane in closeup as the sunlight glints off its tasseled wings, rustling as it flies freely wherever the wind takes it.
Crow examines how her idealized appearance – smooth hair, white smile, kicky outfit with the plaid purse, reminiscent of a school girl’s uniform – only mask her deep insecurities about the ever-changing world. She wonders why, “I’m a stranger in my own life.” The use of sepia tones unmistakably evoke a days-of-yore effect. It’s an excellent example of visual storytelling with themes of childhood playfully appearing throughout. We observe a gleaming model airplane, swings, bubbles and dancing – to accompaniment of Crow’s whimsical music and quirky, descriptive lyrics.
Overarching Theme of Story
Her voice, bluesy and soulful, perhaps even wistful, sings of the challenges of life and how we can choose bliss. We never know what will come along, somewhere around the bend. Everyday, as she says it, is a winding road. It’s a song of hope, trepidation and nostalgia for the simpler times when we were kids. She also explores the transience of time, blending images of children carousing with seniors dancing with her as an adult, reflected in mirrors, bubbles and windows. The accompanying lyrics, “everyday is a faded sign” refers to the past…worn, tattered and unimportant yet we hold on tightly to what we know. Like a flag guiding us through life, even if it leads us off a cliff. The use of reflective imagery symbolizes memories and the lens through which we perceive our world. It can be distorted by our own experience like a bubble or a warped mirror.
Throughout, we see a fluttering butterfly on Sheryl’s graceful finger, representative of youth and transformation. It’s all evanescence – it doesn’t last but we can, “lay back, enjoy the show.” This, a clear reference to Shakespeare’s, “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.” We take our lives so seriously but really it’s all just a bit of theater. Enjoy yourself while you can; it’ll all be over more quickly than we realize. At one point, we see Sheryl reflected in aviator glasses worn by an older woman, face weathered with wrinkles, a glimpse of what’s to come when Sheryl herself is elderly.
From the beginning, light and shadow permeate, shining off eager faces and illuminating hair while shadowed trees play on the sidewalk. Light represents youth, goodness and life itself; its flip side, darkness, embodies aging, evil and stagnation. Sheryl sums it up well, “everybody gets high, everybody gets low…” Our existence is filled with moments of brightness, countered with shadow. We have within us the best and worst.
Good Stories Have a Moral
Throughout the story, bubbles pervade the city streets while we follow the metallic airplane in its journey from person to person. With a gleeful grin, an older gentleman tosses the airplane after climbing atop a chair on a street corner to give it more lift, others throw it from their cars. It’s a tremendous social commentary as we see the old and young, people of all colors and backgrounds affected the same way. Each individual who throws the airplane takes a moment to relive their childhood, their faces alight as they allow their authentic selves to sparkle. Their freedom evident, the lassoes of adulthood shed for a moment, they are no longer constrained by what’s expected. They can live in the moment and lay back and enjoy the show.
Sheryl Crow clearly illustrates that it’s never too late to choose happy, to play on the swings, dance like no one’s watching and blow bubbles. Sheryl casts off her high heels to feel the grass of Central Park with her bare feet, reference to taking time to shed the superficial and enjoy life in the present moment. She leaves us with the giant reflective bubble bursting, signifying the end of the song but also that our own ends are near. Like the bubble, symbol of youth, everything comes to a close. The moral: Live for the moment as it’s all we have.