REVIEWS -- JANUARY 20, 1999
 
 
                               
 
Barenaked Ladies Ė Itís All Been Done
    (Rating: ***)  This is one of those song/video packages that I approve of and donít know why. Itís almost cool. Itís almost there, and the distance between "where it is" and "what cool is" is short and almost painful. The Ladies play around their apartment, as the shaky camera follows them around from different animal perspectives Ė first a dog, then a fish and, God help us, a bird. What kind of party is this, anyway? --Andrew Hicks
     (***)  Andrew and I predicted this song would be a hit after listening to it on Stunt. It's pop kitsch done right, and I have no doubt that I'll hate hearing it in about a month or so. Here's the concept: The Barenaked Ladies play a party, which is observed through the eyes of a fish, a bird, a dog, etc etc, all which have, what? Bingo! Not been done before. I know, you're groaning and rolling your eyes, but it really is pretty clever, and I bet in about ten years you'll catch it on VH1's "The Big 90's" and say "Oh yeah, I remember this! Leave it on!" ĖJames Wallace

Beastie Boys Ė Body Moviní
     (***1/2)  The Beasties are the biggest kids when it comes to music videos. They get away with any expensive, messed-up scenario they can think of just because theyíre the Beastie Boys. ("I know itís going to cost $25 million, but we have to rent the entire Pacific Ocean for our next video. Itís an artistic concept.") In this video, weíve got a fencing catburglar and an old-style detective. <frat boy>Oh, and he just cut this guyís fucking head off. The torso is squirting blood. This video rocks.</frat boy> --AH
     (***1/2)  Just as you thought Stormshadowís career was over after "G.I. Joe" was canceled, we get to witness him kicking George Washingtonís ass good and proper. Oh my god, blood is gushing from his severed neck! This video is half The Seven Samurai, and half Dr. No, with some good-natured chaos thrown in. Itís a great trip, but you have to wonder how far the Beastie Boysí indulgence is going to go. "Yeah, for our next video, we plan a chase through outer space which will climax with the explosion of the Statue of Liberty! What do you mean we donít own it? Buy that mug, this is a video!" --JW

Class of 1999 Ė Another Brick in the Wall, Part II
     (zero)  Heresy. Sophistry. A lot of other bad things that end in "y." This is just... wrong. Okay, Iím going to make you feel my pain. Imagine, youíre a devout Catholic, and you just found out that the Bible had been re-written by John Grisham, and would be a major motion picture coming out this fall. Now, replace "Catholic" with "Pink Floyd fanatic," and youíll understand my outrage. Forget the video; itís just a cheap commercial for The Faculty. This so-called song sounds more like a sound check before they really start playing. One riff Ė thereís just ONE riff, I swear to you. Also, apparently Tom Morello and the gang couldnít handle a remake of David Gilmourís amazing guitar solo, so they just decided to skip it! It had to happen eventually though, so I guess I should just live with it. More Floyd remakes will probably follow, but you stay the hell away, Tom Jones! --JW

RANDOM REVIEW: MTV News
     (*)  This segment has wasted more time on MTV than "Road Rules," "The Real World" and even those damn rock and jock softball games. Every hour on the hour, theyíve got to give us important updates on what movie Brandyís putting out and what Britney Spears thinks about her hair. What the fuck? And every time MTV Productions puts out a movie, they think no one knows theyíre promoting the hell of it. "Our top story Ė the world is bracing itself for the release of Beavis and Butthead Do Europe. Tabitha Soren is there with the story." --AH

Collective Soul Ė Run
     (**)  The Collective Soul guy walks through the crowded streets, singing into the camera as clips from Varsity Blues roll. Then he stares at a slow-motion basketball. Since Varsity Blues is a football movie, shouldnít he be staring at a football, wondering if he should go see the movie? Now heís staring at a baseball. Oh, I see, itís a call for unity. Baseballs, white keys, football, black keys. I think itís so great Collective Soulís slow-motion balls and the keys on Paul McCartneyís piano keyboard can get along now. --AH
     (*1/2)  Someoneís been taking Alanis Morissette lessons. You know, the omnipresent God figure in the video. Did you catch the white stallion running down the street? --JW

Green Day Ė Nice Guys Finish Last
     (**1/2)  This one starts with a good two minutes of documentary footage and then intermingles band footage with football footage. Not coincidentally, itís also from the Varsity Blues soundtrack. Itís an MTV film, people. So the promo for todayís MTV News would be "Varsity Blues star James Van der Beek has dimples. Coming up next." (Iím waiting for Kurt Loderís promo to be, "Today I turn 60. The story, after this.") I admit, though, the idea of a coach prompting Green Day to perform an encore is an intriguing one. Itís not a completely bad video. --AH

Jay-Z -- Hard Knock Life
     (zero)  Oh my god, itís on again! Why does MTV do this? Are they punishing me? Is it a move to make me find God, or just to make me a blubbering shell of my former self? Urrrg...must seek ocean, must find fish friends. Glub, glub... --JW

Mase -- Feel So Good
     (*)  This is Mase before we realized what terror he would bring upon us under the Machiavelian direction of Puff Daddy. Yep, back then he was just annoying. The only saving grace is that this video, with its "Yeah yeah I got all women and grip" demeanor, has provided this yearís punk and metal groups (see Offspring and Monster Magnet) with an easy target. --JW

New Radicals Ė You Get What You Give
     (**)  This video is so perky itís annoying, with the refrain "Donít let go, you got the music in you" sung over and over. If that wasnít something Yoko would make John Lennon singÖ The video for "You Get What You Give" is appropriately set in a mall, where the New Radicals are currently on tour. A lot like malls themselves, this video exemplifies the tacky, the mundane and the strangely appealing. Even though this song is something I want to shun and the band is doomed to one-hit wonderhood, itís kind of catchy... The singer sings while walking up an escalator, the wrong way. What a visionaryÖ Then, at the end, the charming little twerp in the Gilligan hat starts singing about how heís going to kick Courtney Love and Marilyn Mansonís asses. Like Marilyn wouldnít hold him down while Courtney beat the living shit out of him... I just noticed the New Radicals album is called "Maybe Youíve Been Brainwashed Too." Thatís the wrong kind of message to send to potential buyers of the album. --AH
     (*1/2)  "Oh, dear, Little Johnny has been listening to your Partridge Family albums again!" "Donít worry, honey, itís good harmless music! He wonít end up scarred or anything!" Oh, wonít he, Dad? Wonít he? These guys want it to be the rebellious early Ď70s so bad they can taste it. Sorry kids, itís about 20 years too late to get "The Dreamerís Disease," and youíre only embaressing yourselves. I seriously hope he tries to kick Marilyn Mansonís ass and Marilyn sacrifices the pansy to his dark god, Baal the Devourer. --JW

Eric Sermon, Keith Murray and Redman Ė Rapperís Delight
     (**1/2)  For the rap tribute album (yes, there was a rapÖ tributeÖ albumÖ), these three MCís got together to remake the first real rap song, originally recorded by the Sugar Hill Gang. I canít say this is a disappointment or an improvement exactly. Itís just there. And so are these guys, as they eat in a diner and a guy breakdances outside. For change. He was probably in the original Sugar Hill Gang. --AH
     (**1/2) This is just indulgence, pure and simple. I just donít get the point of this exact re-make of the one of the first (and still one of the best) rap songs, except theyíre rich and powerful, and they thought it would be cool. The video gets kudos, though, because we needed a decent video for the song, and they didnít tamper with it enough that I consider it a bad remake. --JW

RANDOM REVIEW: Kurt Loder
     (*1/2) I guess after all the pointed barbs I keep making, I should just review Kurt Loder. Heís such a presumptuous bastard; everythingís above him. Whatís the last album he actually liked, Frampton Comes Alive? "This is MTV News. Our top story: Iím an old British nanny." --AH

Sugar Ray Ė Every Morning
     (*1/2)  Sugar Ray is that dumb guy you used to get paired off with for class projects and it sucked because you knew youíd have to do all the work and then Sugar Ray would get a good grade for it. My point is, he just doesnít deserve what heís getting. Heís got a red white and blue guitar, the fucker. When did Vanilla Ice change his name to Sugar Ray? I saw an interview with this guy on "MTV News" (they broke into the regularly-scheduled programming because it was such an important story) where Sugar Ray asserted that this was all in his master plan. "You think you discovered us? No, we knew what we were doing. You think itís an accident our song got played? Uh-uh, weíre smarter than that." Take a seat, little man. Youíre not fooling anybody. --AH
     (**)  Every time I hear the first fifteen seconds of this song in the car, I think, "Wow, what a catchy tune, this could be good." Then, I realize itís Sugar Ray and I cringe, mentally slapping myself. Now, I see this video, and I make a realization -- Sugar Ray is that frat boy you probably know who flunked out of college but stayed in the town delivering pizza because he likes the scene. Got that metaphor ingrained in your head? Good, because weíre going to have to hear from him at least one more time before he realizes itís time to go home. --JW

2Pac Ė Changes
2Pac - Changes
     (**1/2)  I donít know why this one stands out over most others, but this is a damn awesome Ď80s sample, from "The Way It Is." (Oh yeah, 2Pac was a huge Bruce Hornsby fan.) Itís so elevator music that it almost works with that tight snare drum and the rhythm of 2Pacís voice. It usually doesnít take much talent to make it in the rap world, but Tupac was the kind of rapper that would remind you that, yes, some rappers are definitely superior to others. The video, naturally, isnít loaded with new footage. Itís just more still photos and clips from other videos and movies he was in. "Changes" looks like that Michael Jackson video they made when Mike decided to stay home that day. The only technical aspect is the repeated mirror image shots that show the two sides of two pac -- the rap star and the son of a crack addict. --AH
     (**1/2) Will being dead stop Tupac from appearing in videos? Hell no!  Actually, this is actually a cool video, in that "We still canít believe that youíre dead, fool!" kind of way, and it usually stays on when I have the power of the remote. I guess if I had any respect for Bruce Hornsby, Iíd be upset, but as it is Iím merely hope this will piss of a lot of  easy listening fans. --JW
  2Pac - Changes

Z Music Video of the Week

Big Tent Revival Ė What Would Jesus Do?
     (*)  What came first, the chicken or the egg? The bracelet or the song? I canít believe they actually did a song with a chorus that asked "What would Jesus do? Walking in my shoes?" Jesus would probably put in a DC Talk album instead. The video isÖ well, concert footage, but it looks like it was taped in a big church. And the last possible purpose of the medium of music video is to make you think youíre in church. Now heís asking, "What would Jesus do? Working at my job." Jesus picking up trash in movie theaters? I think heíd quit on the first dayÖ In case you havenít guessed, this song is from "WWJD: The Album." What came first, the bracelet or the album? --AH
     (*1/2)  What would Jesus do? Well, I'm pretty sure he wouldn't do this video, to start off with. These guys drone on and about the temptations they face, and ask what Jesus would do, blah blah blah. Of course, it comes out as "Oh yeah, what would Jesus do if he had to contend with the pressure of being a rock star?" So boys, is your contention here that Jesus would crack under the pressure? HmmÖ Anyway, I think we've found the Christian equivalent to Hootie and the Blowfish. The rhyming is horrid, and it's obvious the whole thing is a promotion for those damned bracelets. Speaking of which, it ends with the inspirational symbol itself, which can be yours for a mere $5.99, plus S&H! --JW
 

Classic Videos

Aerosmith Ė Dude Looks Like a Lady
Aerosmith - Dude Looks Like a Lady
     (**1/2)  Dud looks like a Tyler. This was from the original days of Aerosmithís "I was wasted for 10 years and now Iím going to shake my ass instead" comeback. Itís a little too Ď80s for me, I think, with that sweeping camera shot of the stage complete with angled metal risers for Tyler to run on and shot of Tyler flying around the stage like Bon Jovi. Oh, there he goes up the risers. While holding the microphone stand, too. Stevie, you little scamp. --AH
Aerosmith - Dude Looks Like a Lady
     (***)  Ahh, it's 3am, you're nodding off, think you're coming down from your substance of choice, and decide it's time to go to bed. Then out of the blue, Aerosmith comes on at their rockingest. This is comeback Aerosmith at it's finest, before we got assaulted with pop melodrama like last year's offerings.  Great sex, great music, and Steven Tyler looking like a proper fruit, instead of an old wallet in spandex and fur. --JW
Aerosmith - Dude Looks Like a Lady

Queen Ė Another One Bites the Dust
     (*)  Freddie Mercury is the telephone repairman from hell. Heís wearing that tight yellow tank top and those shorts and you just know heís going to tell you he has to tear all that wire out of the woodwork and, oh yes, itís going to cost you... This video was made on the budget of what the band members had in their wallets that day. Half performance footage, half video wall lip synching. Who says music video hasnít improved since 1980? --AH

 
 
 
Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions