REVIEWS -- MARCH 31, 1999
Chef (Isaac Hayes) -- Simultaneous 
     (***)  This is a hard video to review because this is basically a collection of "South Park" clips and I actually respect the people who made it. Well, after Baseketball, "respect" probably isn’t the right word, but I do admire the "South Park" camp, and I love that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have brought orgies and incest to the world of Much Music. In the "Simultaneous" video (yes, it’s on the "South Park" soundtrack CD), Chef chats it up with Internet babes, all of whom apparently want to lick his spoon. I don’t get it; is that a double entendre or something? I doubt most artists could get away with half this stuff. --Andrew Hicks 
     (**1/2)  This has probably been the most disappointing of the "South Park" videos thus far. It probably means they're scraping the bottom of the barrel of the "South Park" album, which I guarantee you'll see in bargain bins next year. The video premise is simple: Chef takes us on a journey of his sexual escapades with multiple partners. We also get to learn that apparently Chef is a cyberdater. I don't know about you, but for some reason the idea of Chef having cybersex with a 44 year old man pretending to be a 13 year old girl a tad disturbing. I mean, if Chef has to turn to the Internet for lovin', what hope do the rest of us have? --James Wallace 

Ginuwine – What’s So Different 
     (**1/2)  Ginuwine says his beat controls the city, which sounds to me like the plot of the third-worst episode of "The Twilight Zone" or something. In this video, he does odd, syncopated dances outside an office building as the employees file in monotonously, as if they’re trapped in the opening of Joe vs. The Volcano or something. (Hey, if A Clockwork Orange inspired an Usher video, why can’t Joe vs. The Volcano inspire a Ginuwine video?) The video has plenty of little, freaky touches to elevate it a little bit above the R+B fray and emphasize the intricate synthesized sounds of Timbaland’s production. A row of ground beef pulsates in their Styrofoam containers, the individual floor tiles pulsate. Everything pulsates in this video. That has to be worth something. --AH 
     (*1/2)  Ginuwine stands around dancing while the good people of the world rush off to their office jobs. I guess he’s kind of like that guy with the cowboy hat that hangs around on Fifth Street dancing, drinking Wild Turkey and yelling at passersby. Of course, Ginuwine is far better dressed. Also, he can apparently stop time, which ruins the reality of the video because you know he’d be getting so many wallets. I mean, just look at that line of yuppies! In the end, the entire city is held captive to Ginuwine’s beat, and dances to the same groove. I guess the morale of the story is that R&B singers have a serious God complex. --JW 

Jay-Z – Jigga What 
Jay-Z - Jigga What
     (*1/2)  What’s this song called? "Nigga Please"? Whatever. It proves even Jay-Z can forsake the sampling of ‘80s musicals in favor of the latest soundalike production. Yeah, I know, I keep mentioning Timbaland in my reviews every week, but it’s because everyone’s fucking trying to sound like him right now. Even Jordan Knight, part of the only embarrassing ‘80s act that hasn’t been sampled yet, has jumped on the bandwagon. Anyway, this video? Typically lame, with rotating lights, washed-out blue visuals, scantily-clad women wearing faux fur and Jay-Z wearing faux gold. It’s also got that sci-fi look everyone’s going for right now. About two-thirds of the way through, some other rapper takes over, Jay-Z having blown his creative wad long ago. Like ten or fifteen years. --AH 
Jay-Z - Jigga What
     (zero)  This is Jay-Z's response when his record producers insult him. Apparently, he just doesn't get it. He's trying to flow at high speed throughout the video, but it just comes out as bad Busta Rhymes, which further proves how superfluous he is. I'd tell him that, but I'm sure his response would be "superfluo-what?" It'd be enough to drive me mad, but I comfort myself with the thought that this can't possibly last into the next millennium. --JW 
Jay-Z - Jigga What

Marilyn Manson – Rock is Dead 
     (*1/2)  Marilyn Manson hasn’t sold out. No, he’s contributed this song to the Matrix soundtrack purely out of love for art. And if you believe that… There was a time two short years ago when Marilyn Manson was considered somewhat scary. That was before he decided to glam it up – I’m positive I saw that pointy fur stole on Carol Channing at one point. This video is more of the same, with strobe lights and smoke punctuating shots of random images guaranteed to offend seven people across the U.S. There’s acupuncture, weaponry and probably a fetus thrown in somewhere. Nice imagery, Marilyn, but what’s the thematic purpose of the leather crotch stud? --AH 
     (*1/2)  Sorry Marilyn, that dress crosses the line from scary queer into pure burlesque. He doesn't look like he should be a rock star; he looks like he should be starring in a transvestite version of Guys and Dolls. If rock is dead, I dearly hope this isn't its wake. The video is a complete concert staged non-video, with the band pretending to play in the midst of pretty flashing colors while scenes of Matrix flash by. The whole setup is supposed to be evil and frightening, but I have trouble believing anybody wearing a costume that relies that heavily on a feather motif could worship the dark lord. --JW 

Mase – 24 Hours to Live 
     (*1/2)  What? Mase has only 24 hours to live? What magic lamp did I rub? Oh, wait, it’s a metaphorical thing, we learn as an orange jumpsuit-wearing Mase asks his bench mate on the prison bus what he’d do if he found out he only had 24 hours left? "That’s, like, deep," the bench mate says, and the bus driver stops to help a White Woman In Distress who’s broken down on the side of the road. The prisoners seize the opportunity to escape, rapping loudly as they scamper through the road and eventually commandeer a boat. The cracker police chief is hot on their trail, sending out the police dogs. Yeah, what he does is let the dogs pick up the scent from those old Diana Ross and Gloria Estefan albums Puffy sampled. --AH 
     (*)  If I found out Mase really had 24 hours to live, it'd be time for a serious 24-hour party... err, I mean vigil. Yeah, that's the ticket. In the video, they've finally locked Mase away. Yep, he's been tried and convicted of being a first-class tool. So Mase and associate escape a la The Fugitive, and a massive manhunt ensues while they tell us what they'd do if they had 24 hours to live. Sam Gerard would have no problems wrapping this one up. Apparently, if Mase had 24 hours to live, he'd eat a bunch of chicken and drink a bunch of wine. Mind you, KFC and Ripple aren't the worst ways to spend a day, but I honestly expected a little bit more. The truth is, Mase's guidance counselor asked him what'd he do with 24 hours to live, and he's been mulling it over ever since. Even this video didn't help. Poor guy. --JW 

No Doubt – New 
     (**)  This single is not to be confused with No Doubt’s last two singles, "Old" and "Kinda Stale." It continues the music video trend of having attractive women wear way too much makeup. The girl from the Cardigans, Janet Jackson in that Busta Rhymes video -- how have makeup artists convinced everyone that they need to put on more face paint than that guy from Dead or Alive? The video follows Stefani, who also has two-toned Berlin hair, as she first drives her vehicle, then exits to join a party where… you know, I just can’t follow the plot of this because of what they’ve done to Gwen’s face. She looks like an action figurine version of herself. Man, and to think for six weeks in late 1996, I was convinced this band was the dope shit. --AH 
     (**) This has "last gasp" written all over it. Gone is Gwen Stefani’s intense punk-grrl voice. Gone are the band’s pop-ska stylings. Instead, the focus is put entirely on Gwen herself, who has been made up to look like Jem, the cartoon rock super-heroine. This is just another version of MTV’s project for the year: bad grrl rock songs for the end of the millennium. Let’s do the checklist: blue screen? Check. Dark colors, jerky camera movements? Check. Bad grrl driving a car? Check. Yep, it fits. I hope they get this out of their system soon. --JW 

Vengaboys – We Like to Party 
     (*)  I’ll be damned. Rhythm is still a dancer, after all. Or at least it is on The Box; I haven’t seen this on MTV yet… In case you didn’t know, "Vengaboys" means "Come-boys" in English. The way these two girls admonish us to party and move our bodies, that may be more of a request than a band name. This is one of those videos where everyone dresses up for a night at the club and dances in different locales for four minutes. The Vengaboy posse drives a party bus around ancient Spain, boogieing at various landmarks. This comes as a prelude to the rest of their European tour, at the end of which they’ll hang a giant disco ball from the Eiffel tower. There are also cameos by people impersonating the Village People, Michael Jackson and the fat, old Elvis. It’s just an all-around disaster. You know, stuff like this is why we’ve tightened immigration laws. --AH 
     (*)  Okay, here's the concept: imagine if they gathered all the girls from the direct-to-video Poison Ivy movies, and threw in a couple of Macarena rejects for good measure, and told them to dance. The result would be this strange assault on my senses. Of course, I'll give them this much: they'd kick the shit out of the girls from B*witched. The whole video, we get a promise that the Venga bus is coming, and then when it finally gets here, it unloads The Village People. Wouldn't that just be my luck? --JW 

Classic Videos 

Devo – Whip It (1980) 
     (***)  Do you ever get the feeling that certain ‘80s pop stars look back at their videos and laugh their asses off at the fast one they pulled on the record industry? Devo seems to be one of those bands, because I can’t imagine them taking this video seriouslly. It’s like those people who went on Springer and faked serious emotional problems. If you’ve been sleeping under a rock since the beginning of the MTV era, I’ll try to explain this to you: Devo, wearing skin tight black spandex and flower pots on their heads, whip the clothes off a Mexicano girl while drunken hillbillies watch. I was worried I wouldn’t have a witty comment for this review, but that about covers it. --JW 

Corey Hart –Sunglasses at Night (1985) 
     (*)  One of the 12 most famous Coreys of the ‘80s, one-hit wonder Corey Hart brings us this conspiracy-laden song about a guy who wears sunglasses at night because he’s so fucking cool. He gets chased down, thrown in jail and then rescued by a hot prison guard who also wears sunglasses at night. Those night sunglasses-wearing people stick together, you know. Oh, wait, it was just a dream. Corey isn’t really in jail, he’s not really making money and no one really remembers him. Reality is harsh sometimes, especially when your one hit is a ripoff of "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." –AH 

Lisa Loeb and Nine Stories – Stay (I Missed You) (1994) 
     (**1/2)  I remember thinking how cute she would have been without the glasses. Reality certainly bit for Lisa once the momentum on mid-‘90s Gen-X angst ran out. Lisa dances around an empty studio apartment that would probably run you a grand a month in the more fashionable cities, screaming at an unseen boyfriend who just wasn’t deep enough for her. There’s probably a director’s cut that shows her slitting her wrists afterwards. In the pre-Jewel era, I naively thought this was as pretentious as music videos could possibly get. I give it kudos, though, for the chuckle that thought gives me whenever I see it, and the memories of my last attempt at listening to Top-40 radio. --JW 

Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson – Say, Say, Say (1983) 
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson - Say, Say, Say
    (***)  Paul and Mike take their popular vaudeville act on the road, playing pool halls, appearing in white face (mind you, this was several years before Michael Jackson underwent what The Onion called a "blackendectomy") and hustling gullible citizens. Mac, the pitchman, tells the citizenry that this potion will give them the strength of a raging bull. Jack buys some, and promptly beats a huge man at arm wrestling. "Say, Say, Say" was one of the first big-budget concept videos, complete with embarrassing acting at the beginning – a trend that’s carried through straight to the Mariah "Agent M" Carey and Puff "Agent P" Daddy spy embarrassments of recent years. To say Paul and Mike’s talent for silent comedy is lacking would be charitable. The video is a little far-fetched, too. Have you ever noticed that, to quell the noisy bar crowd, all piano-player Linda McCartney has to do is show them some bare forearm and they start cheering. Now, where in the Northern Hemisphere could that ever happen? Well, nowhere now, but you know what I’m saying… And I’m sure you’ve noticed Michael Jackson’s love interest in the video is a hooker played by, yes, LaToya "Psychic Connection" Jackson. Rest assured she has a heart of gold. Even though I make fun of it endlessly, I must admit "Say, Say, Say" has held up well in the annals of overplayed ‘80s videos. --AH 
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson - Say, Say, Say
     (***)  Ahh, one of my first MTV memories. I guess I was about seven years old when this got big, and at the time I thought it was the most amazing music video I had ever seen. Now, it's corny and produces a low-level groan from people watching it, but for me it brings back memories of a time when MTV showed videos, and that's all they did. It was a better era. Michael: Still black. Paul: Still talented and fresh from a great rock career with Wings. Linda: Not dead. Okay, well, I guess two out of three isn't bad. Oh, and the video?  Ten minutes of Paul and Michael running around with Linda and scamming townfolk. In the end, they connive everybody out of their money, and run away. This would be useful to Michael, as he'd use it as a formula for his music career through the 90s. --JW 
Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson - Say, Say, Say

Rod Stewart f/Ron Isley – This Old Heart of Mine (1989) 
     (**1/2)  Ideologically, I should be opposed to this video. It’s a sad case of a pop star remaking an old song as the sole new addition to a greatest hits set. What’s worse, he’s remaking it with the help of the original singer, who is now more or less down-and-out. (Remember, this is several years before it was cool for rappers to sample the Isley Brothers.) So it’s like Rod Stewart is taunting Ron Isley with his Aryan chartmaking power. And the video is a low-budget soundstage rendering that barely tries to conceal that with special effects that include flashing the lyrics onscreen. It’s bad, bad, bad, and the only thing that saves it are three models who are made over with white lip gloss and green shower curtains with see-through midsections. But, for some reason I can’t explain, I never turn this off. Am I fucked up or what? --AH 

Ugly Kid Joe – Everything About You (1992) 
     (**)  These guys thought they were onto something here, didn’t they? Oh yes, we’re just a Southern California bar band, so we’re going to come up with some kind of early ‘90s novelty tune that will earn us a place on every cheesy compilation album this decade will spawn. Well, as late-night cable ads have since proven, they did. And you can rest assured this video still pops up on Much Music once every week or two. There’s not much to say for "Everything About You," which was shot in black-and-white on some nameless Southern California beach. The only thing dragged out to augment the beach footage is a blowup doll, which one of the band members flies like a kite. Let no one say Ugly Kid Joe contributed nothing to the face of creative pornography as we know it. You know, our parents had Help! and Simon and Garfunkel to remember their sophomore year of high school by. We have this shit. Unfair. –AH

Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions