REVIEWS -- JANUARY 27, 1999
 
 
                               
 
FROM MUCH MUSIC'S #1 HITS WEEKEND

Paula Abdul Ė Rush Rush (1991)
Paula Abdul - Rush Rush
     (*1/2)  Mindless retread of Rebel Without a Cause, with Keanu Reeves in the James Dean role and Paula as Natalie Wood. Someone gave Paula too much creative control in her contract, I think. Little did anyone know what an instant and historical embarrassment this would be. The deep, deep dialogue between Paula and Keanu during the cello solo is proof positive that Paula didnít deserve the success she got. (PAULA: Have you ever been in love? KEANU: Well, if I was, I didnít know it.) The way she tries to emote, youíd think she was hoping this video would land her a movie deal. Instead, she got a one-way ticket back to obscurity. The dramatic footage is intercut with shots of Paula singing and caressing her breasts in a dark room, which is a mindless retread of all her other videosÖ Keanu Reeves should have been lobotomised. ĖAndrew Hicks
     (*1/2) What, Keanu Reeves in a music video? That is most, most heinous! If only Rebel Without a Cause had ended differently, Keanuís car would have gone over the edge and we would have been spared The Devilís Advocate. So, what do we get out of this video? Well, we learned that as bad as Keanuís acting is, it could be worse. Paula could have decided to act instead. Also, we learned that Keanu is a hell of a smooth talker. Heís a loner, a rebel, and a fluke. Thatís it for tonight folks, stay tuned because Conan has actor Keanu Reeves, and "stupid video concepts!" Goodnight! --James Wallace
Paula Abdul - Rush Rush

Mariah Carey Ė Fantasy (1995)
     (***)  Even though I liked this song and video at the time and still hold positive memories of it, this was the beginning of the end for Mariah. The liberal sample from the Tom Tom Clubís "Genius of Love," the pseudo-hip hop beat, the Dr. Dre whistling synthesizer, it all screams out, Hey, I didnít peak at the age of 22. Please believe me. Donít get me started on Old Dirty Bastardís appearance in the remix video. But, damn, was she hot back then, and itís obvious she was all too willing to exploit that even when she was the videoís director. Here she is at a pier amusement park, riding the roller coaster, dancing on the boardwalk with some b-boys, flirting with a depressed clown and singing from the back of her Range Rover. Any one of these factors should make me hate her, but my none-too-proud tradition of diva pop prevents me from giving it a thumbs-down. --AH

John Cougar Ė Jack and Diane (1982)
     (**)  One of the true Ď80s classics from the first incarnation of John Cougar Herbert Walker Mellencamp, the video is told in large, "Is this a special effect?" boxes that appear and disappear in various parts of the screen. All the while, we see clips of Jack and Diane, with John in the Jack role. Itís none too impressive in 1999. The song, of course, is about a high school couple who realizes the good times wonít last forever, that everyone gets old and VH1-bound eventually. And John realized that even in 1982, I guess. --AH

Divinyls Ė I Touch Myself (1991)
     (**1/2)  I never considered this a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but itís just so audacious, so openly perverse that I have to give it a little credit. "I donít want anybody else / When I think about you, I touch myself." Wouldnít anybody want a hot girl singing that to them? You have to admit, though, this song would never work if sung by a man. Heíd be called a stalker, a pervert and worse. But when itís a woman, itís sexy. What a world we live in. --AH

Duran Duran Ė Ordinary World (1993)
     (***)  This, this is why I have a modicum of respect for Duran Duran. After their reign of mid-Ď80s teenybopperhood, they managed to come back with this lush, gorgeous single that proved some of MTVís earliest bands could survive into the Ď90s. They didnít survive past this, though, but at least we can still watch this video in 1999 and remember its coolness. The video isnít an overachiever or a disappointment, itís just functional. The problem is, it has too much of an early/mid Ď90s look to it. That means strobe lights, lots of strobe lights. --AH
     (***) Remember Duran Duran as the poppish, soundtrackish stars of the 80ís? Okay, now remember their comeback in 1993 from their self-titled album. Oh yeah, I know the memories of early high school are popping into your heads. Yíknow, what with the video images, and the cover of the album, why didnít they just call it The Wedding Album? Hmm, í80s style video concepts, í90s style clothing, an interesting contrast. It took a YMCA lock-in to get me to listen to this song, but itís been a favorite ever since. --JW

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Ė I Love Rock and Roll (1982)
     (****) Címon, you know this song just makes you love rock and roll along with Joan. Donít deny it, you and your friends all start yelling out "I love rock and roll, so put another dime in the jukebox baby!" along with the song whenever it comes on in your local watering hole. Of course, it doesnít belong in the í80s. That was just an accident. No, this should have been playing on a í70s hard rock station right after the latest hit by Deep Purple. Okay, I tried to resist the urge to make sexual comments about Joan Jett, but I canít help it. The energy sheís just pouring out for the entire video just makes me have to say itÖoh hell, I want her. Okay? What, itís over? Well, one more dimeÖ --JW

Madness -- Our House (1983)
     (***1/2) One of the first great ska anthems, released in a time when nobody even knew what "ska" was. Of course, many people still seem quite confused, but thatís besides the point. I wonder though, how long can it be before Reel Big Fish decides to rip it off? Imaginative and relatively inexpensive, it showcases the urban British version of "Two cars in every garage" in parody form. "Our House" is one of those songs thatís instantly recognized in the first second of the video, and almost always appears in the first minute of a "Best of the í80s" commercial, right after "Take on Me" by a-ha. If you were relatively conscious at any part of the í80s, you should love this video. --JW

Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations (1991)
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations
     (**1/2)  Pop music nostalgia goes through weird cycles. When this came out, it was cool. By the next year it was the kind of thing you made fun of. Now it seems kind of cool again. I mean, I just sat through an ĎN Sync video so Iíd make sure I didnít miss this. And, come on, you know if this video ever comes on, you consider yourself lucky, and not just because Marky Mark has since proven himself a decent actor. Everyone my age still knows all the lyrics to this song, and the videoís almost safe to watch with your friends again. Sure, the way he flaunts his pecs and his barbells and his topless girlfriend, Iíd still love to beat his ass. But this little black-and-white opus is full of choreographed dancing, a hyper piano man and more Marky Mark muscles than you can shake a stick at. And I still love that piano solo. --AH
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations
     (*) Wow, "The Grind" way before its time! Actually, could this video be anything but a workout video intro waiting to happen? Oh look, itís badass Marky Mark showing off his six-pack and getting all women. Yeah, well, Iím not impressed. Canít you just imagine him bent over, holding his ankles and screaming, "Thank you, sir, may I have another?" --JW
Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch - Good Vibrations

Prince and the New Power GenerationĖ Cream (1991)
     (***)  Say what you will about Much Music, but they actually show most of their videos uncut. That includes the two-minute prologue to "Cream," which would have been better off excised. A self-indulgent Prince and the NPG run through the train station as reporters shout questions at him. ("Prince, do you consider yourself a modern-day Mozart?" "Prince, could you be any more talented?") Nah, stick with the regular video, which has Prince at his erotic best Ė freak dancing with a sea of fine females, humping his yellow guitar and trading vocal barbs with Rosie Gaines. Why he couldnít have kept building on this solid comeback, kept his band and kept his name Iíll never know. --AH

Puff Daddy f/Faith Evans Ė Iíll Be Missing You (1997)
Puff Daddy f/Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You
     (*)  Even though I was never a huge B.I.G. fan, Iíve been mourning his passing for the past two years. Thatís because since he died, Puff Daddy lost his capability to create an interesting beat or hook of his own. "Hypnotize" was the last good song he had his hand in. Now itís all horrid Ď80s retreads like this cop of "Every Breath You Take." The only good point in the video is seeing Puff Daddy fall off his motorcycle twice, even though I know itís only a stunt Puffy. In the meantime, Puff Daddy escorts a bunch of children up the side of a hill. That hill wasnít there before they buried Biggie, you know. --AH
Puff Daddy f/Faith Evans - I'll Be Missing You

Right Said Fred Ė Iím Too Sexy (1992)
     (*) Okay, I just found a reason to hate Germany again. Forget Hitler. What he did is nothing compared to Fredís assault on all that we hold dear, all that is good about music video! The time has come for us to fight MTV Europe wherever it rears its ugly head. Weíre on a mission from God. I know people who bought this CD, I swear to you. I gave it one star because as much as we hated it when it came on back then, we have that "Oh my god I canít believe this is on, but donít you dare change it!" attitude. Is it sadomasochism or something much deeper? The world may never know. By the way, Fred, what the hell is up with that net shirt? Please tell me you didnít take this video seriously, or there certainly is no God. --JW

Shanice Ė I Love Your Smile (1992)
     (**1/2)  I thought the world had forgotten about this song. Not in Canada, apparently. Itís shamelessly fun R+B girl pop, the likes of which we never get anymore. The videoís motif is another of those photo shoots where first the girl poses, then the girl ends up taking pictures herself. Yes, it reeks of newer tripe like the Backstreet Boys, but it wasnít quite as worn in 1992. Shanice, where did you go? Why donít you have a sitcom on the WB? --AH

Simply Red Ė Holding Back the Years (1986)
     (*1/2)  If George McFly had grown his hair out and dyed it red, he may have resembled the Ď80s fruitcake who sang this song. He wanders the streets of some small town, witnessing the memories of his past, which includes throwing a big red ball around a cemetery with his "mate." And it features that staple of Ď80s videos, the silhouette of the saxophone solo. The climax includes McFly looking out a train window, going through the vocal equivalent of a seizure. --AH
     (*)  Are you done yet, Andrew? This is causing me pain. --JW

Soul Asylum Ė Runaway Train (1993)
     (**)  This is a definite nominee for Most Pretentious Song of the Ď90s and, worse, it masks itself as a four-minute public service announcement for missing children. As the band plays and we see a vignette of kids walking the streets, up pops a series of pictures of, gasp, actual real bonafide missing kids. I think one of them may even have been recovered. Of course, if someone were to make a video like this now, it probably would have pictures of all the Soul Asylum band members. No oneís seen them since. I donít think they even had a follow-up single. --AH
     (**) "Hello? Center of Missing and exploited children, you say? Yes, this is Soul Asylum. A donation you say? Well, weíre kind of strapped but how about a song? You need a video for your commercial jingles you say? Oh, pretentious as possible you say? No problem!" The center for children should do a special now about Soul Asylum called "Have you seen the follow-up to this song?" Two stars because when I first heard this I thought it was Tom Petty. --JW

Spice Girls Ė Wannabe (1997)
Spice Girls - Wannabe
     (**1/2)  The first time I saw this video, I thought I was onto something. It was late at night, Iíd never heard of the Spice Girls before and I thought it was kinda cool. That was before the media blitz, the movie, the other six or seven singles and the inescapable return of teenybopper groups. Oh, and the Spice Girlsí nipples are all hard. That never hurts. You canít blame me for liking this video for a month or so. I still think itís a fairly clever concept as far as this kind of stuff goes. In a one-take video, the Spice Girls take over a posh London hotel, running from room to room as embarrassed British ambassadors hardly know what hit them. And it features the most unintelligent line from any Ď90s pop song: "Slam your body down and zig-a-zig ah!" --AH
Spice Girls - Wannabe

Tina Turner Ė Whatís Love Got to Do With It? (1984)
     (*1/2) Take a guess. What do you think Tinaís hair to head ratio was around this time? Weíre going with 3:2, but that may be a tad on the conservative side. Ahh, you know if there are choreographed street thugs dancing all over the place, itís an í80s video. I guess Ike finally got Tina so fed up with love she had to do this video, as we get to see her running around the streets setting quarreling young lovers straight by screaming the title line in their faces. Of course, what does love have to do with pop success? Nothing at all. --JW

UB40 Ė Canít Help Falling in Love with You (1993)
     (***) Okay, this is a remake, and the video is cheesy as hell, but I like it. Is it just me, or are all of Elvisí songs better when somebody else remakes them? Of course, he didnít write any of them in the first place, so that could have something to do with it. This song features great synth, a decent brass section, and a singer whose eerily seductive voice permeates every word. The video is kind of a three-minute summary of Sliver, but with no Baldwin brothers in sight. Oh hell, just watch this instead of the movie; youíll have a better time. --JW

Whitesnake Ė Here I Go Again (1986)
     (***)  Call me uncultured, but Iíd say this is the classic hair metal ballad video. Whitesnake always did have a knack for exploiting scantily-clad women. Here, they have a woman in lingerie straddling two cars. I think if Reagan could have been elected to a third administration, we would have gotten even more beautiful videos like this. Meanwhile, the Whitesnake guys sing from a giant Ď80s soundstage, complete with steel risers (see Aerosmith, "Dude Looks Like a Lady.") This video also features what is probably the worst music video French kiss ever. Itís not a pretty sight when the Whitesnake guy and the girl heís making out with get their huge moussed hair entwined together. --AH
 

Z Music Video of the Week 

T-Bone Ė Lyrical Assassin
     (*)  I had to raid my music video vaults this week (800 and counting) because Z let me down, but thereís nothing more worthy of review than this 1995 T-Bone video. Deliberately stealing Cypress Hill and House of Pain, the Christian Latino raps about how bad he used to be and, instead of rhyming about killing niggas, itís all about killing demons. He rides around South Central, looking for demons, while his posse dances around a tennis court. "Give the Lord a chance pronto / If you donít youíre just a tonto." From the album Redeemed Hoodlums. Of course. --AH
     (*) "Yo, check it! If Satan come round here, Iím gonnaí pop a cap in his ass!" seems to be the message of militant Christian rapper T-Bone. He claims he "gots more flava than biggity Baskin Robbins." Hmm, heís probably right. I really doubt Baskin Robbins carries "wannabe" and "Christian G-Thug" flavors. Ben and Jerryís, maybe. "All the demons get struck" by the end of the video, and T-Bone and his saved posse roll off to kick it. I feel better already. --JW

 
 
 
Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions