REVIEWS -- FEBRUARY 17, 1999
 
 
                               
 
Erykah Badu -- Tyrone
     (*1/2) Erykah stands on stage and preaches to the sistas in the crowd about how she has to pay her boyfriendís way, his friendís way and sometimes, just sometimes, his cousinís way. This isnít a song, itís more like Erykah rehearsing for an upcoming episode of "Jerry Springer." Sheíd be like, "Jerry, I always have to pay for dinner, the rent, and buy all my own body wraps and head scarves at The Jungle Hut!" You go, girl! You better make him go call Tyrone! --James Wallace

Eve 6 -- Leech
     (*1/2) The bad boys of Eve 6 get interrogated by the police at the local police station. The Pretentiousness Police, that is. This entire idea unravels for a couple reasons, the two biggest being that we would never believe these pansies could do anything to get arrested, and the fact that Tony Fagensonís producer father would instantly buy them out of this jam, just like he bought them a record contract. My previous optimism for their future may have been unfounded. --JW

Garbage -- Special
     (***)  Shirley Manson is stuck in a video game, where God knows the Koopas will surely kick her ass. Itís an impressive video, with Shirley in a fighter jet, being chased by the other band members, who are all out to get her because theyíre jealous of her fame as Garbage frontwoman. And it seemed so much more subtle when No Doubt did it in the form of "Donít Speak." ĖAH

Whitney Houston f/Faith Evans and Kelly Price Ė Heartbreak Hotel
     (**1/2)  Whitney never decided to be trendy before, or at least it didnít seem like it because she was still releasing fluff like "Iím Your Baby Tonight," "Iím Every Woman" and all the other "Iím" songs. This video features Biggie Smallsí widow and the even roomier Price, both trotted out to emphasize that, yes, Whitney is the finest woman in the video. Maybe the Mariah Carey duet killed some of her self-esteem or something. The Mariah comparison is inevitable, because itís only been about a year since Mariah decided she had to be street-relevant or something. Now Whitney follows suit, with that syncopated Timbaland sound. Itís also the first time, I believe, that sheís had to resort to a "featuringÖ" credit in her video. No one does anything alone anymore, dammit. The "Heartbreak Hotel" video is decent but forgettable, with an abused Whitney tossing her coat into the ocean and, naturally, lounging around a swank hotel. The whole song has that "look what you did to me / I canít believe you did this to me / Why did you do this to me?" feel to it. At the end, Whitney declares, "I ainít goní take it no more" six times in rapid succession. Damn, Bobby, guess you betta get to steppiní! --AH
     (**) The way this starts off, with Whitney sharing vocals with Faith Evans and Kelly Price, I half expect Puff Daddy to pop up and start rapping as I slowly realize theyíve stolen the beat from Totoís "Rosanna." Still, Whitney has obviously been influenced by the "Daddy" lifestyle, because she apparently has her own jet, and walks along the beach with an expression that just screams "How Whitney Got Her Groove Back." Everything in this video is white except the girls, as if Whitney is finally giving up and saying, "Yes, I am BET material after all." All those late nights with Bobby must have finally paid off. --JW

Mya Ė My First Night With You
Mya - My First Night With You
      (**)  Man, could I take Mya home to Mama. I bet even David Duke could convince his mother that Mya just fell asleep on the tanning bed. But no such luck, white folks -- Mya always has a brotha on her side, even when sheís on the Ferris wheel. Or on the beach. Or on that tire swing. Hell, this video is all cliché, and all slow jam. Iím sure somewhere, somehow Casey Kasem is introducing this song like itís the dope shit. But, you know what, Casey? Just because sheís a cute octaroon doesnít mean you have to put her on the countdown. --AH
Mya - My First Night With You

Outkast Ė Rosa Parks 
     (*1/2)  Hoorah for the blue screen. Without the outfits and that blue screen, this video would be nothing. First, Outkast sports a Mets jersey, then heís got a catcherís mask and some football gear. Yeah, itís gotten so rough now in the ghetto that everyone wears football helmets. The song is alright, I think. I like the drum beat; itís like that submarine sound effect from the 1966 Batman movie. Anyone know what Iím talking about? You probably do if youíre as hopped up on opium as I am. Later scenarios feature Outkast and some girls dancing against a smoke-filled background. Pretty nondescript. --AH
      (*)  I bet guys like this make Rosa Parks wish she had given up her seat after all. Outkast has apparently become some sort of model for some sports wear company, because heís wearing a different team jersey on every couple seconds. This entire video has a Gap montage look to it, as if it should be playing overhead in the Nautica department of Famous Barr. The entire video is blue-screened, and the dance styles are stolen directly from Puff Daddy, so nothing in it is real. Just great. --JW

Sublime Ė Santeria
      (***1/2)  Over the past year, this song has become somewhat of an anthem at our apartment, for one reason or another. The video is about as much fun, with the dalmation and band members who are still alive acting out an Old West bar scene where a gigantic black man terrorizes everyone in a pool game and a near-shootout. As we all know, a shootout canít happen on MTV because youíre not even allowed to say ".45." Yeah, whenever Kurt Loder has to count to 50 on the air, he skips straight from "44" to "46." But, I gleefully note, you can say "punk ass." Justice is salvaged. Great video, barmaid hooker and all. My only complaint is the pitiful inclusion of dead lead singer Brad Whatshisname as a ghastly, guitar-playing silhouette. Sorry, Brad, itís like recess Ė if you misbehave with, say, a heroin overdose, you have to sit out the video. --AH

Third Eye Blind Ė Semi-Charmed Life
Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life
     (**)  Itís my theory that at any given time, this song is playing in a frat house somewhere in the country. Apparently, itís about getting hooked on speed or something, but it all boils down to pretentious fun. The singerís running down the street, noticing the atrocities of life while lip synching the lyrics. A circle of bikers also romps the streets, sitting aimlessly while the "doo-doo-doo, doo-doo doo-doos" fly. Eventually the angst reaches a boiling point, the song crescendos and Casey Kasem switches to a Celine Dion song. --AH
Third Eye Blind - Semi-Charmed Life

Rob Zombie -- Dragula
     (**)  Are you 13? Donít like the Backstreet Boys, you say? Matchbox 20 doesnít do it for you? Well, there is a way to be rebellious, cool and still oddly mainstream. Go with the new MTV-friendly incarnation of Rob Zombie, whose single from last year's Hellbilly Deluxe has explosions, hellfire, big guitars and evil-looking dreadlocks. Oh, and he doesnít seem to cut his fingernails much, so he must exist outside of normal society. Heís driving the Munstermobile around, too, so you know the fun will never cease. You know what this reminds me of? The scene toward the end of Pee Weeís Big Adventure where Pee Wee happens upon Twisted Sister filming the "Burn in Hell" video. Rob Zombie is just about as genuine, although my brother would definitely give this four stars. --AH
     (**)  "Hey Butthead, this is cool! Thereís a bunch of colors, and everything is all weird and twisted! Itís like... itís like a music video!" Oh, how Beavis would cherish this video. The entire video reminds me of an acid trip brought on by staring old Ď70s decals. I keep expecting the "Keep on Truckiní" guy to pop up somewhere. The only good thing about this video is it brings us back to the days when metal (*cough* Megadeth *cough*) used to be so evil it was comical. Iíve been missing that. Thanks, Rob! --JW
 

Z-Music Video of the Week

John Johnethis Ė Flood
     (1/2)  You may wonder how desperate the world of Christian music is. I donít. Iíve seen this video, a remake of the Jars of Clayís crossover song "Flood." John John actually gets his shoes shined in the video, for like half of the video. And he wears a leopard-skin scarf as he plucks the piano. Is Jesus happy? No, because this is embarrassing for the whole faith. And this is one of the major religions of the world. If this album is half as popular as Pat Booneís heavy metal album, John will be set for life. --AH
     (zero)  You watch Z-Music long enough and God throws you a bone as if to say, "Thanks for staying up until 4:30 a.m. with us, boys, now check this shit out!" This weekís gift? A Lounge remake of Jars of Clayís "Flood." Secular music gets "Enter the Sandman" as done by Pat Boone; Christian music gets this fruit. The worst part is he thinks heís genuinely cool for relating to young Christians on this level, snapping fingers and all. At one point the sound blanked out, as if the censors of Z-Music thought this was too crossover. Itís too bad Iím not still religious, because this would be a great video to destroy my faith. --JW
 

Classic Videos

Bobby Brown Ė On Our Own (1989)
Bobby Brown - On Our Own
     (**)  Itís probably not a daunting task to be known as the guy who has to follow Ray Parker, Jr., but Bobby Brown did an admirable job of it with this theme song from Ghostbusters II. Bobby realized he couldnít just do a song with the chorus "Who ya gonna call? Ghostbusters II!" So he went for this Babyface / L.A. Reid late-Ď80s pop classic, which is rendered in the decadeís full tackiness. Brown overruns the streets of New York, his projected image showing off that horrid slanted-fade hairstyle, leather hats and, yes, Z. Cavaricci shirts. Clips from Ghostbusters II are interspersed as Big Apple dennizens like Donald Trump, Iman and Christopher Reeve react in contrived cameos. Anything that puts Reeve and Brown within 100 feet of each other can only be called contrived. --AH
Bobby Brown - On Our Own
     (**)  Bobby Brown in top form, made in the heart of the "Letís just describe the movie" rap era. The director must have called in all of his favors to make these cameos happen, because I doubt half these people even knew who Bobby Brown was before he married Whitney. I mean, I just canít see Donald Trump grooving to New Edition. You want to know why they never show this video anymore? Look for the cameo of Christopher Reeve riding a bike. In skin tight jogging gear yet, sweating from his full-bodied exertion. Thatís just too damned cruel! Ray Parker Jr., Bobby Brown, I wonder whose career Ghostbusters III is going to ruin? --JW
Bobby Brown - On Our Own

Don Henley -- The Boys of Summer (1985)
Don Henley - Boys of Summer
     (**)  Don reminisces about a relationship gone sour while floating down the street in his authentic Don Johnson-brand, "Hey Iím 35, and Iím still cool dammit!" kit, right down to the mussed hair and five oíclock shadow. We also get the inside track of the music industry, as we get to see the record executive deep in thought as to how he can squeeze just one more hit out of Mr. Henley.  Finally, the cameras moves back and we see that Don wasnít really floating, but was just standing in front of a television monitor. Damn him for ruining the magic! --JW
Don Henley - Boys of Summer

Billy Joel Ė Uptown Girl (1983)
     (**1/2)  When exactly did Billy Joel convince himself that he was at the forefront of the music video game? I swear, he made like 15 videos in 1983. I think "Uptown Girl" itself is still one of the best car singalongs ever, but the video doesnít quite measure up. Hint: They never named it the Billy Joel Video Vanguard Award. Billy, the dirty but sensitive mechanic, enlists the help of all his lowlife friends to win the hand of classy Christy Brinkley, who now probably wishes sheíd gotten that fill-up at a different gas station. But the breakdancing thugs and the biker badasses help sway Christyís mind, and by the three-minute mark sheís dancing right along with them. Itís fun but laughable as hell, and I almost wish theyíd do an updated version of it with crack dealers and Marilyn Manson worshippers singing and dancing. But that would be too much like "Cop Rock," wouldnít it? --AH
     (**1/2)  This is one of those videos I have pleasant memories of, even though itís not very good, because I remember watching it with my parents on MTV in 1983 when it was first on. That being said, I think Billy Joel would look just as greasy if he had been wearing a suit instead of overalls. Never before or since has he looked any more like a troll that should be living in a belltower in France somewhere. And this is what won Christi Brinkley over to him! Was it pity, or some deeper fetish we canít understand? Itís still a fun video, but itís become so dated it canít be taken at face value. Of course, all the times I heard it over the intercom when I was working as a grocery store clerk didnít help. --JW

Seal Ė Crazy (1991)
     (***)  This review is partly to atone for some nasty comments I made about Seal during my 1994 reviews. "Crazy" is one of those rare songs that crosses all genres Ė it still gets alternative and adult-contemporary airplay, and maybe the occasional R+B disc jockey. The video is sparse, that same white soundstage, this time with a 360-degree sofa. The video works because it shows us multiple Seals at all times but never focuses in on his burn scars. The braids, the hood, strategically placed fingers, they all cover up the monstrosity that is Sealís face. Other plusses -- he keeps his shirt on and there are a few hot early Ď90s fly girls. Fly girls were never in short supply in the early Ď90s. In the end, he holds a dove. Deep. ĖAH

Pearl Jam -- Jeremy (1991)
     (**1/2)  "Film 101: My Final Project," by Eddie Vedder. Eddie tells us the sad but gripping true story of a boy who shot himself in his classroom, all the while going back and forth from looking impressed to looking like somebody has a hand up his ass. All the while, our childrenís social interaction problems are flashed at us on cards. I think the director of this video is the same kind of guy who would paint a green stripe across a canvas and pass it off as an interpretation of the emotion envy. This was a video we all loved, from the best Pearl Jam album of all time, but itís aged so badly. --JW

 
 
 
Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions