30.  Janet Jackson Ė Together Again
     (**)  Janet, three Afro puffs and one nose ring into the morning, sits in the desert, a hawk at her side. In tribal regalia, she charms the bushmen. Her 5-years-younger posse is there, and it doesnít look like the elephants are too amused. Oh, the guys are running with the leopards now and Janetís still as choreographed as ever. But somethingís wrong. There are two Janets. Janet 1ís got her hand on Janet 2ís breasts. I donít know why. Itís disturbing. ĖAH
      RANDOM JEREMY COMMENT: One day, a Marilyn Manson video is going to have Marilyn Manson performing oral sex on another Marilyn Manson. And itís going to be called "Give Me AIDS."

29.  The Offspring Ė Pretty Fly For a White Guy
The Offspring - Pretty Fly For a White Guy
    (****)  Why only #29? For once, Iím willing to fight for an Offspring videoís placement. Even if the song sounds the same as "Come Out and Play," itís the funniest video of 1998, the only one I always wanted to watch when it came on. Itís an ode to wannabe gangstas who think a gold chain and a backward hat will get them all the fly girls. The video, done up right by McG, has the look of a Mase video while retaining a slight punk look to it. Unlike the Monster Magnet pseudo hip hop video, "Pretty Fly" has just the right combination of humor and homage. --AH
The Offspring - Pretty Fly For a White Guy
     (***)  What a great video; I canít believe itís only 29! I know, most of us outgrew Offspringís particular brand of pop / punk back in í95, but I just think this video is a lot of fun! Their "subject" is the best cartoon version of my brother (and every other wannabe) I think Iíve ever seen! Itís like 100 episodes of "Sally" rolled into 3 minutes. Give me static for this one, but I give it 3 stars. --JW
The Offspring - Pretty Fly For a White Guy

28.  Big Punisher f/ Joe Ė Not a Player
     (zero)  Ever wonder what would happen if your fattest, most embarrassing uncle put on a Hawaiian shirt and took the microphone? If it was a near-the-border block party, it may resemble this video, where a 400-pound Latino rapper is surrounded by some succulent females while his friends sing for him. If Richard Simmons produced an infomercial for BET, it probably wouldnít be too much different. Itís really twisted seeing someone this big waving his arms around in full hip-hop style. ĖAH
     (*)  Are you telling me this guy is getting women and Iím not? I mean, can he still be alive? Notorious B.I.G. got assasinated, but Iím pretty sure BP is going to choke on a chicken bone before somebody gets the chance. I bet they had to cut him out of his house to do this video. In the words of Dennis Leary, "Just stop eating!" --JW
     RANDOM JEREMY COMMENT: When he rides that motorcycle, he looks like Humpty Dumpty.

27.  Usher Ė My Way
     (***)  This is another case where all I can do is come clean and admit I like this song and video. Itís over the top and actually sort of creative. Usherís got all the chicks in some inflatable, bouncy carnival funhouse when a violent-looking man challenges him. So he jumps on a taxi cab and sings about how much the other guyís girlfriend likes Usher to do her up "my way." Eventually they end up running into the sewer, where all of Usherís good loviní takes place. Then they do a choreographed dance in an empty parking garage or something. What a tangled web Usher weaves. --AH
     (**)  In this video, Usher wants to be just like his hero, Malcolm McDowell. Our hero has no time for milk bars and long bits of toast, because heís too busy mackiní and fighting the bad guys. Get your priorities straight, man! This is what A Clockwork Orange would have looked like if it had been produced by Spike Lee and Joel Schumacher. --JW

26.  Matchbox 20 Ė Real World
     (*1/2)  Can I beat up the lead singer of Matchbox 20? Can I? Iíd like to. Heís walking a camel across the lanes of a bowling alley. What college film studentís final project did this come from? I hope the person got a C-. Now weíre in a diner and a guy with a beard is dressed in drag as a waitress. What metaphorical point of life are we hinting at? Now the singer is pretending to be an anchorman on a news show. Oh, the man waitress has broken out of his feminine confines now. Iím so happy. --AH
     (*)  God, I want to beat his ass. Just give me one hit, Lord, thatís all I ask. Weíll never have to deal with crap like this again. I went to see Candlebox over the summer and they were making fun of Matchbox 20. Candlebox was! How much lower can you sink? Ooh, look at me, Iím walking a camel down a bowling alley. How alternative. I wonder what this guy would wear if you took his Gap card away from him? --JW

25.  Next Ė Too Close
     (***)  See the first sentence of #27. Rarely has the reactionary erection that occurs when grinding too hard against a dance partner been mined for such pop entertainment. This was one of the few good R+B dance hits of the year, and the video is just as stable. Colors that are rich but not obtrusive, choreographed dances, good lighting, a few dancing girls. They just showed an interview from one of the Next guys, who was saying maybe the dancing hard-on was intentional from the female. Now one of themís getting seduced in a bathroom stall. Thatís got to be intentional. "Girl, youíre a little close. Get outta the stall!" --AH

24.  Monica Ė The First Night
     (***)  Monica puts off her date by asserting that she doesnít "get down on the first night." He date rapes her anyway. Fun video. Actually, he and the other first dates agree, they donít have to lay Monica out after the first date. Good thinking, girl. Youíll get another free Big Mac on the second date. And more choreographed dancing. This was a big year for choreography, which went into hibernation for a few years. They knew it was going to be a good year for choreography in music video because Paula Abdul came out of her house on February 2nd and saw her shadow. --AH

23.  Everclear Ė Father of Mine
     (**)  1982, Drama. A man remembers his earlier years as a mildly retarded child enjoying the company of his father. Joey Lawrence, Harry Dean Stanton. --AH
     (**)  What we get here is a fast-forward look at how the lead singer was perfectly normal until Daddy left and he had to move to the ghetto. Now heís all messed up, and will never be right again. Thanks a heap, Dad. Apparently, all his problems are his parentsí fault, coupled with him looking like a gerbil as a child. Oh, and now Everclear can be ghetto because heís proved they came from the projects. The tragedy? Once again, the song isnít too bad, but the videoÖ oh, the video. --JW

22.  Jay-Z Ė Hard Knock Life
     (*)  The winner of the Puff Daddy Embarrassing Sample of the Year award this year goes to Jay-Z, who saw it to lift the chorus from one of the Annie songs. (It was that or "The muthafuckiní sun will come out tomorrow, beeeeotch!") This is just plain humiliating, and the way he leans against that convertible, I doubt Jay-Z realizes just what heís done. Little girls walk the streets, singing about what a hard life they have because of all the pressures put upon them by Daddy Warbucks, also known as Jay-Z. He sits there and listens to it, then lays down a few rhymes of his own, proving that his life still hasnít improved too much. --AH
     (zero)  Itís been a hard-knock life for me ever since they started playing this. Damn Jay-Z for making this video! I canít even go bowling anymore with that freaky baseline giving me seizures. I had this nightmare where the "Annie" baseline was playing, and I was running away, and Jay-Z and a bunch of little kids were trying to open up a dialogue with me. Did I mention how much I loathe this? --JW

21.  Natalie Imbruglia Ė Torn
     (**1/2)  I didnít need to be told Natalie was an ex-Australian soap opera actress. The first time I saw this video, I could tell. Skulking around her apartment, hoping her slacker outfit makes her trendy, she laments her missing lover. She needs to place a personal ad now so Brian McKnight can respond. All the while, weíre getting intercut flashbacks of the happy times Natalie had with her Nordic beau. Also, crew men take her apartment walls apart and she dances around in circles. Yeah, I think itís official: sheíll be joining the Lilith Fair tour in a year or two. But she is damned cute. --AH
     (**)  Natalie is definitely the cutest Australian pop star to burst onto the music scene this year. Could "Torn" be any more Popish?  Somehow, I doubt it. That aside, I used to like the song, until it became evident the idea was to pound it into our heads. How many way-too-fat girls who are way too outgoing are we going to have to hear sing this in Karaoke bars? It almost makes one yearn for the angst-filled soap opera stars of the Ď80s. Natalie, when youíre making Rick Springfield seem deep, something is very wrong. --JW
     RANDOM JEREMY COMMENT: Natalie is soooo alternative. So alternative that she canít even afford a jacket that fits her. I guess the Gap didnít have size "Cute and Small." And why the hell would you pay a hair dresser to make you look like you just got up?

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