David Michael Anthony -- Love Come Down 
     (*)  Oh great, it’s the missing member of Savage Garden. The singer walks around the streets while people give him that patented, "I’m amazed because you’re so deep" look. What movie soundtrack was this made for anyway? I bet it’ll be track one on the Dawson’s Creek movie soundtrack. This kind of thing really needs to stop, though. If all the guys who could have been members of boys groups just go solo, we’ll get five times as many Backstreet albums! Stop the madness! --JW 

Cake – Never There 
     (***)  I like this. I do. Call me a poseur or something, but it’s a cool song and a cool video. And I always liked to eat cake… The lead singer is after some traitorous bitch – the cowboy hat and belt buckle aid him in his quest as he drives a truck cross-country. And, yeah, there’s a giant rendering of a pig on the side of the truck. No, this isn’t the Nashville Network. It can’t be. I hear horns in this song. Horns aren’t allowed in Nashville. Now that traitorous bitch is sleeping with some guy in a hotel room, with a private eye taking pictures. And I’m not sure I get the ending, but as we all know, the ending is icing on the cake. --AH 

Faith Evans -- All Night Long 
     (*1/2) Well, it seems Puff Daddy has taken B.I.G.’s place at Faith Evans side. Yep, a lovely gangster (old school, so they’re not even gangstAS) couple they make. She’s apparently Puffy’s moll. Faith strolls brazenly into the Japanese fortress that Puffy keeps on the lower East Side, just in time to see him dancing on the boardroom table. Would those be record executives he’s tap dancing for? I think so. Well Faith, this video doesn’t make me want to snap, and my "bounce to this" factor is zero, so this will not be playing All Night Long. Sorry. --JW 

Lenny Kravitz -- I Belong to You 
     (**)  Lenny went through his Jimi Hendrix phase; now I think he's in his Seal phase. The video shows him dancing among the Haitain people, intercut with scenes of him in the water, swimming with a horse. That just shows he's way deeper than that Natalie Imbruglia bitch. Good thing he dumped her ass. They cut the video with shots of Lenny in the old days, which immediately prompted me to ask "Whoa, is that Milli or Vanilli?" --JW 

Madonna – Nothing Really Matters 
     (*1/2)  Come back, Madonna. Be a slut again. I’m sorry I made fun of you before. I should have counted my blessings. 1) You didn’t think you were Mother Earth, holding babies in your arms with a glowing look of satisfaction, 2) You wouldn’t have considered joining the Lilith Fair, 3) You didn’t cover your face in shock white makeup and red eyeliner like Marilyn Manson, 4) You never wore kimonos and shared valuable video space with freeze-framed, open-mouthed Japanese girls. I hope everyone else recognizes what a low-point this is in Madonna’s career. The "True Blue" video was only a minor stumbling point, and she did recover from the Erotica album. But I don’t know if there’s any way back from the stilted, Beastie Boys arm movements and funked-up punching in the camera. --AH
     (zero)  I think this will be my first zero star review for Madonna, and hopefully the last. Material Girl, you deserve every bit of this; what's wrong with you? What exactly was it that made you decide that getting made up like the bride of Herman Munster and dancing around with geisha girls would make you seem deep? I bet Madonna wishes she had her own kingdom in an alternate universe, where these girls would serve her every whim and people actually liked Evita and Desperately Seeking Susan. Maybe she'll do all of us a favor and commit ritual suicide. --JW 

Marvelous 3 -- Freak of the Week 
     (*)  The band plays in the midst of grade school Family Day to a shocked audience of parents and children, showing just how many social groups they can offend. Oh, how alternative. It's like that part in Doggystyle where they ask young Snoop what he wants to be and he says, "I wanna be a muthafuckin hustla!" Just imagine if he said "I want to be poser! You better ask somebody!" and you'd have the message these guys are putting across. The whole song is a defense against accusations that the band has sold out, but all you can do is keeping nodding and agreeing with the critics. Freak of the week? Yes, I can give you guys that award, emphasizing week. --JW 

Savage Garden – The Animal Song 
     (*)  "The Animal Song" is from that feel-good Gary Marshall movie about the retarded girl who falls in love with a retarded guy and everyone comes out of the theater thanking God their lives aren’t like that. This song is in much the same vein. When it comes on BOX Pulse, the only positive thing I can say is it makes me very happy not to be the guy from Savage Garden, especially as he sits in the middle of a street parade that features, yes, a drum-line solo. All the while, oddly-decorated floats drive by, none of them running him over. Of course not. This is a life-affirming song. A really bad life, that is. --AH 

Sugar Ray f/Supercat – Fly 
Sugar Ray f/Supercat - Fly
      (**1/2)  He’s the prettiest guy on VH1 right now, but I can’t give "Fly" the same verbal thrashing I reserved for "Every Morning." I admit it; I’ve liked this song since it came out in 1997. And the video has a clever concept – well, I can’t call Sugar Ray clever, but he jumps up and down the walls and ceiling and eventually sings from the pool, where his hair stays just as frosted and erect as ever… VH1 led this one off with some trivia – which rapper makes an appearance on Sugar Ray’s new album? Chuck D., Sir Mix-a-Lot or KRS-One? Turns out it was KRS-One. Well, no shit it wasn’t Chuck D. He hates white people, so he’d really hate Sugar Ray. --AH 
Sugar Ray f/Supercat - Fly
     (**1/2)  I liked this. I didn't know, okay? At least I never bought the album and, to my credit, I knew he was a fucker even then. Still, it has a wonderfully catchy pop melody that makes you scream "One hit wonder, please!" even though you know it won't be. The video features Sugar Ray and his boys dancing around a pool and around (and on the walls of) some house while Supercat (yes, I know his name; no, I didn't know anything else he's done; leave me alone!) makes little witticisms that strangely improve the song. Then, there's a pause, and just as you hope they all drown and this will be Sugar Ray's legacy, he pops back out of the water as if to say "Sorry guys, one more album!" --JW 
Sugar Ray f/Supercat - Fly

U2 – The Sweetest Thing 
     (**1/2)  Hang in there, Bono. You’ll get her back eventually. I’ll leave all the "What the hell happened to U2?!" comments to James, because he has more of a personal stake in it. Suffice it to say, U2 isn’t quite as cool in 1999 as in 1987. Bono, slowly completing his Michael Stipe makeover, spends the video in wraparound glasses and a bowler, riding down the street with the girl he’s done wrong. He tries to pull kind of a Buster Keaton thing, silently begging for her forgiveness as several Chippendales dance behind him on a fire truck. The other members of U2 ride along in another car, considering ways they can disown the bloated beast of ego that is Bono. But all things said, it’s a catchy pop song and a pretty clever video. I just want the Reagan-era U2 back. --AH 
     (**1/2)  Not the sweetest thing; not by a long shot. Bono sits in a parade car looking like a cross between Michael Stipe and Buster Keaton. The real band has to sit in a side car, as if Bono is saying, "Well, y'see, the musicians aren't really important anymore. All I really need is synth." Also, they keep flashing "I'm sorry" on the screen. Sorry for what? Zooropa and Pop? Despite all that, this video is almost cool. If watching this didn't make me yearn for the socially-conscious days of U2 (as opposed to the "phone it in" era we've reached today), I'd have to give it a solid three stars. As it is…let's just say they showed "With or Without You" right after this, and I mentally cringed that I was digging the video, even if Bono did look like the terrorist leader of the Sinn Fein. --JW 

Uncle Sam – When I See You Smile 
     (*)  How misconceived is this? It’s a remake of a Diane Warren song by Bad English and it’s on the "Touched By an Angel" soundtrack. If this constitutes heaven, prod me with pitchforks. The video is accordingly weak on creativity, with Sam told at the beginning that he’s going to die and that he has to get his life in order. So he spends as much time as possible with his precious young daughter, makes amends with his parents and listens to his favorite Bad English album one last time. This is punctuated with cameos by Heavy D and his children, Della Reese and, I think, Rod Stewart. "Sappy" doesn’t quite capture it, especially the part where the goodbye letter to his daughter scrolls across the bottom of the screen. But wait, there’s a ray of light. Uncle Tom gets a reprieve – the paper flashes white and a "benign" stamp magically appears. He’s been touched by an angel! Cue the hallelujah chorus, as Box Pulse switches to Mousse T’s "Horny." It is 4:08 a.m. on a Thursday. --AH 
     (*1/2) The opening of this video shows a worried Uncle Sam in the doctor's office, learning that he's not long for this earth. Hmm, could this be any better timed, considering what the Clinton trials have done to the country? The doctor is pretty cruel when he tells him the news, but at least he's straightforward about it. "Well, Sam, the tests are conclusive: this is going to be your only hit. I suggest you get your affairs in order." What follows is two-and-a-half minutes of Uncle Sam tugging at our heartstrings while he tries to explain it all to his little daughter while writing a teary letter. How shameless, how emotionally manipulative. I feel so violated. But, wait -- just as the tears are welling up, a miracle makes the tumor benign, just like the rest of this album has to be. --JW 

Z-Music Video of the Week

Carman – No Monsters 
     (*)  A black-and-white family gets stranded on a deserted road. Dad goes back for help. A man in an alligator costume attacks the wife and kids. Carman to the rescue, in his blazing blue sport coat. This man knows how to cast out demons… all except the demon of mediocrity, that is. "Get out in the name of Jesus Christ!" Has a record executive ever shouted that phrase at Carman, I wonder? This is disturbing. Carman watched Invasion of the Body Snatchers one too many times, I think. Little Carman gets scared, but Big Carman knows what to do. He takes on Frankenstein, the Alligator Man and a zombie, flashing the Bible at them as they slink off in fear. Like Frankenstein would even know what the Bible stood for. (FRANKENSTEIN: Unnnngh? Unnnngh… Book…) I don't get this video, but as Carman says, "This be a Jesus thing." --AH 
     (**)  Two stars because I laughed my ass off the entire time. What is wrong with this guy? How exactly is it he expects to be taken seriously? Every video he does is a different style, like he's the Christian version of Weird Al. Of course, Andrew informs me there already is a Christian Weird Al. Thank God I grew up a heathen. Anyway, this video is a montage of Carman's response to various scary monsters. I bet he slept with a light on until he was 17. This was the result, a video that in good conscious could only be played on Z-Music, and a song that could only be played on FUN radio. As a child, apparently he saw floating alligators above his bed. He also had to do combat with Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolfman. The typical Christian doesn't have these problems Carman; I don’t think you’re really addressing our needs. --JW 

Classic Videos

Beach Boys – Kokomo (1988) 
     (*)  When I was ten, I actually thought this was kind of a catchy song. So did six of the voices in Bryan Wilson’s head. I mean, Pet Sounds aside, I don’t have a whole lot of respect for the Beach Boys, but "Kokomo" couldn’t have been a less respectable comeback. These guys are pushing 50, hamming it up on a beachfront stage in Hawaiian shirts. I can see this as the comic relief during some executive retreat – "Tonight Larry from accounting and Jeff from shipping are going to perform a little song for us. Give them all a big welcome." All the original band members are here, except for the dead drummer, who’s keeping time at the bottom of the ocean. The new drummer is a dead ringer for John Stamos, which definitely doesn’t impress me. --AH 
     (*1/2) The Beach Boys perform in front of a groovy beach blanket bingo crowd that seemingly can't get enough. I can't understand it; I'd be pissed! You save up all your money to go to Spring Break in the Keys, then instead of The Offspring, Brandy and Monica in swimsuits, or even just Carson Daly, you get this! My God, these guys looked this old an decrepit in 1988! Just imagine what they'll look like when they play your state fair this summer. Plus, it's freaky, because as time passes, you see more and more young members of the band replace the old guys as they go crazy, fall overboard, etc, etc. It's like some kind of weird model for corporate life. --JW 

James Brown – Living in America (1986) 
     (1/2)  Another totally embarrassing ‘80s comeback, assuring the memory of what James Brown did for music in the ‘60s and ‘70s will forever be marred. How did he get that hairpiece to match that blue and silver polyester suit anyway? "Living in America" is strictly Vegas and doesn’t try to hide that – there are nasty dancers with giant headdress feathers, a geri-curled backup band in the same polyester suits and a brass section. Add to that scenario stock footage of America and, yes, a montage of the flags of all 50 states with names and all. It’s not right. I feel a little strange taking geography lessons from James Brown. --AH 

Janet Jackson – Love Will Never Do (Without You) (1991) 
     (***1/2)  You wonder when the transition was between Janet the sweet little sister of that freak guy to Janet the sex-obsessed whore? It was this 1991 video, which is the only Janet video to feature the best of both worlds – here, she’s sweet and sex-obsessed, and she sports more cleavage than is humanly possible for a woman who wears a C-cup. Maybe I’m revealing my shameful sugar-pop music roots, but I still adore this song and video, even though I hardly ever see it pop up anymore. Under the lush black-and-white direction of Herb Ritts, a down-to-earth, jeans and tank top-clad Janet frolicks in the desert with a very dark-skinned black model and a very light-skinned white model, both of whom have healthy six-packs. Like I said, the best of both worlds. --AH 

Snow – Informer (1993) 
     (*)  I remember for about three months during tenth grade everyone was convinced this song was just the shit. I mean, everyone knew the words to this -- what words were intelligible, that is. For those of you who weren’t in tenth grade at the time, Snow was a bespectacled white boy who was convinced he was a rasta punk from the ghetto. He rapped a mile a minute, fast enough that a later version of this video actually had the lyrics of the song flashing across the screen just so the song would be decipherable. And he kept his own genuine rapper around to raise his credibility. MC Shan – ever heard of him? Probably not, since the best he ever did was his stint in the sauna with two chicks in this video. It’s weird, too, because Snow doesn’t get any of the fly girls in the "Informer" video. He just raps in front of a pale backdrop. A licky boom boom down. --AH 

Violent Femmes -- Blister in the Sun  
     (***)  ‘80s staple song with a video remade for the release of Grosse Point Blank, this has the lead singer obsessed with a plot to assassinate the beloved Socks the Cat, which is the only member of the Clinton household who hasn't been involved in a sex scandal. Yet. What a fiend! Of course, it could be the desire we all have to get rid of the president’s pet pussy, so he can concentrate on the nation’s business. It’s a great song, and a imaginative video, but it has nothing to do with the clips from Grosse Point Blank at the beginning and end of the video that just scream, "Cut me, MTV!" --JW

Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions