20.  Backstreet Boys – Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) 
     (**)  The first lyric is, "Oh my God, we’re back again." That about covers it. "Everybody" is the Backstreet Boys’ "Thriller," complete with deranged claw dance. The fun starts as the Backstreet Boys’ bus breaks down (BUS: Too much talent. Must abort.) and they end up staying at a creepy castle while their ghetto bus driver disappears. ("Yeah, I’m just going to go back out to the bus..." Cue squealing tires.) As the castle gets creepier, one of the boys turns into a werewolf, another into a phantom, one into a hideously scarred beast, one into a mummy and the last one turns into a Spice Girl. Oops. I see the premise behind this video… everyone thinks we’re a bunch of talentless pretty boys. So let’s disfigure our faces and rip off some ‘30s horror movies. I’ll admit it, though – as far as this kind of shit goes, it’s the top of its genre. It’s well photograped, well staged, well choreographed and well oiled (the male chests anyway). --AH 
     (*1/2)  If that bus driver had any sense of civic responsibility, he would have left them to die at that old mansion. This would be the Backstreet Boys’ Magnum Opus, obviously, because it has their name in the title of the song. It’s kind of like Pink Floyd’s The Wall, with all the talent and integrity removed from it. Also, notice that the old and ugly Backstreet Boy is the one who has to wear the metal plate over his face. How fair is that? I know no better way to put it except to say that this video sucks. It gets an extra half star because it’s not the choreographer’s fault his work was cheapened. --JW 

19.  Marilyn Manson – The Dope Show 
     (*)  Damn, Marilyn Manson has some nice tits. Too bad they’re plastic. I guess he’s softened up some in the last two years, but he’s still just too pseudo-freaky for me. You know he watches the TGIF lineup when no one’s around. But when the camera’s on, he has to be creepy, cryptic and cheesy. To anyone reading this in the future – no, this isn’t the music everyone thought was cool in 1998. Don’t judge us by our MTV countdowns. --AH 
     (**)  Oh, I get it Marilyn, you want to be David Bowie. You want it so bad, and you know it’s not going to happen. The androgyny, the homosexuality, the gyrations, it’s all reminiscent of glam rock, but without the appeal. Not even an entire roomful of Marilyn Manson dummies can make one David. Try again. --JW 

18.  Barenaked Ladies – One Week 
     (***1/2)  The lead singer from Harvey Danger went and joined another band. Or was this just a good year for geeks? I had a good year, anyway. Another garish McG masterpiece, this is an ode to late ‘70s TV, Evil Kneaval and the chambers of medieval queens. Three cultural references anyone can appreciate. --AH 
     (***)  This album was my one impulse buy last year. I bought it on the basis of this song, and actually ended up liking the rest of the album a lot better. Is it possibly because MTV hit me over the head with this video every five minutes? Yep. Will I like it in a couple years when it’s forgotten and just happens to pop up? Yep. The "Dukes of Hazzard" car, references to dirty thoughts about "Sailor Moon" and a female Evil Kneaval jumping over the band. ‘Nuff said. --JW 

17.  Madonna – Ray of Light 
     (**)  I’ve been a Madonna fan through the ages (until Evita, anyway) so I find it hard to competely abandon her now, especially when it’s cool to like her again. I think that’s what’s wrong with her, though. She’s growing up; she’d probably have a few gray hairs by now if she wasn’t dying it a different color every week. But she thinks she’s 20, wearing a jean jacket with nothing underneath and trusting that the post-production will take care of those stretch marks on her stomach. The video itself has a manic energy to it. There are plenty of quick-moving objects, Madonna not the least of them, and it looks good. It’s just sad that she has to reinterpret herself for 13-year-olds every few years. Pick an image and go with it. About the only constant is that you can still see her nipples through the shirt. --AH 
     (**)  Madonna’s very own "Day in the Life".  When you watch her shamelessly gyrate, you can almost see the frustrated 20 year old stuck in a 40 year old body frantically clawing to get out. I think this is supposed to be a day in a sorority chick’s life, seeing as how it ends in a dance club and all. They should show her the next day waking up in some strange guy’s room with a massive hangover. In fast-forward, of course. --JW 
     RANDOM JEREMY COMMENT: Oh my God, Madonna has become Alanis and Alanis has become Madonna! I wish I had mood hair like Madonna – Happy = Yellow, Deep = Black, Horny = Shock White. 

16.  Will Smith – Just the Two of Us 
     (*1/2)  You know you’re not completely hip anymore when this video comes on and you ask a roomful of people whatever happened to "Parents Just Don’t Understand"? Even pop rap’s Golden Boy has his embarrassing moments, but at least you can dance to the faster ones. This is one of those emotional "It’s so cool being a father" numbers that’s better left to private performances at family gatherings. All the while, there are pictures of other celebrities and their children, mugging to the camera and shaving a few more hours from their community service sentences. --AH 
     (**)  Oh great, now not only is Will Smith a lucky bastard, he’s also a good single parent. I mean, I’m glad he loves his kid, but does he really need to prove he’s a good father this way? They need to forget all of this caring and sharing rap and get back to wholesome anthems of irresponsibility, like "Knock My Bitch Up" and "The Kid Ain’t Mine (You Can’t Prove Nothin)." --JW 

15.  Korn – Got the Life 
     (**)  Here’s another band that figured out you can go platinum if you write one catchy song and make a McG video to go with it. This is standard white-boy-with-dreadlocks, shout-rap with a few appalled authority figures thrown in for good measure. --AH 
     (*1/2)  What’s up with all the metal and punk bands trying to be Master P this year? This is another great example of a song I like being cheapened by a really gaudy video. So, let me get this straight: they stole JD’s cars from "Money Ain’t a Thing" and decided to go joyriding in them? Won’t he get broke enough on his own? The song is great, the album is decent, but this video needs to be deep-sixed. --JW

14.  Jay-Z – Can I Get a…? 
     (**)  A what? A brain? A bank account? A job? A pair of size 14 shoes? You gotta help me out here, Jay-Z. While this isn’t as embarrassing as "Hard Knock Life," it’s from the Rush Hour soundtrack so it doesn’t have much credibility where I’m concerned. And at least there’s another random pecs-and-headband rapper distracts from Jay-Z’s mealy-mouthed verbal tripping. --AH 
     (*)  Can you get a rap, rap Jay-Z? No, I’m pretty sure you can’t. The best thing about this cheap advertisement for Rush Hour is the cameo by Sean Penn, and how sad is that? Can you get a job, job, Jay-Z? You’re going to need it in about a year when your career flops and the welfare runs out. Sorry, but you made it personal with "Hard Knock Life." You can’t rap; get a clue! --JW 
Ja Rule

13.  Lauryn Hill – Doo Wop (That Thing) 
     (***1/2)  Everyone’s picking the Lauryn Hill album as the best of 1998, and I’d be inclined to agree, if every song didn’t start with "Yo yo yo uh huh uh huh yeah yeah check it out." The video, a classy split-screen effort that puts Semisonic to shame, shows a Diana Ross made-over Lauryn singing the song’s lyrics while a current-day, dreadlocked Lauryn does the rapped lyrics. Since the singing and rapping overlap throughout the song, it’s interesting to see them both done separately in the song. The party’s equally cool on both sides, but I’d sooner go to the 1966 party. Less people who’d want to kick my ass at that one. --AH 
     (**1/2)  Apparently the contention here is that black women used to have class in the ‘60s, but not anymore. It’s a dumb concept anyway, because we all know Lauryn Hill would have spent the ‘60s begging for chance in Port Au Prince, not partying in New York. I bet you "That Thing" is the raft she didn’t want to cross the Caribbean on. That said, it’s a catchy song, and at leat half the video is decent. Literally. --JW

12.  Green Day – Time of Your Life (Good Riddance) 
     (***)  Proving they’re only too willing to sell out, Green Day eschews their punk roots in favor of this ballad that actually includes a string section. Yesterday all his troubles seemed so far away… The video is just a bunch of forlorn people looking around and I can rag on it, but I like this song enough to give it the thumbs-up. You know you’ve arrived when your song pops up in the last episode of "Seinfeld." --AH 
     (**1/2)  Everybody has a friend like Billy Joe. He’s fun to be around, he eats all the food in your fridge and you know he’ll be living with his mom until he’s 40. I guess Billy got lucky, especially considering he apparently only knows two chords. It’s got a good melody though, and my adventurous roommate can learn to play it in under two minutes, and stoned to boot. --JW 

11.  Pras f/Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Mya – Ghetto Supastar 
Mya - Ghetto Supastar
     (***)  It’s usually not a good omen when Warren Beatty shows up at the beginning of a rap video wearing a suit. It is a good sign, however, when he turns into one of the Fugees. Of course, when that happens, they usher him away from the stage. Let’s be honest, that’s what exactly would happen in real life. Pras Beatty ends up performing in front of an audience, but I end up watching Mya dance in front of those red, white and blue globe lights. Great look, good video. --AH 
     (***)  I have to admit, I like this song. Even during its overkill in the summer, I liked this song. I think I may be turning into some kind of Fugees solo artist fan. Oh my God, Warren Beatty is really Pras? Well, I never did see them both together, and it would explain the death of Warren’s acting career so he could concentrate on rap. Of course, this video could just be good because it activated that pleasure center of my brain called "catchy pop tunes of the 80s." Either way, you can’t help snappin’ to it. --JW 

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