REVIEWS -- MAY 5, 1999
 
 
                               
 
Everlast Ė What Itís Like
     (***)  Everlast has a follow-up song out now, "Ends," but I thought Iíd finally get this one out of the way because it sounds exactly the same. I prefer "What Itís Like," though, because it doesnít repeat the same combination of words in every line. Oh, and itís about how we donít really understand pregnant girls who get abortions. You preach it, brother. Last time out, you were telling us you werenít going out like no punk, bitch. Now youíre telling us to lay off the homeless because they have to eat garbage. Well, I guess I can respect that; you probably ate your share of trash when the House of Pain follow-up bombedÖ The video for "What Itís Like" is in that Payback blue tint, with the songís lyrics acted out, and every once in awhile Everlast is submerged in water, playing his guitar and singing like heís Huey Lewis sticking his head in an ice-filled sink. We all have to have our role models. --AH
     (**1/2)  Iíve been avoiding this review for five months, but its time has finally come. The ever-scholarly Everlast gives his dissertation on people who have it much worse than you and I, who are living the easy life. The hobo, the pregnant girl, the dead manís family, and of course Everlast himself, who tells the horrors of his life. He did have to tour with House of Pain, and pretend to be Irish, so maybe I should give him the benefit of the doubt. At the end of the video, weíre given a glimpse at "us," the blond haired blue eyes happy family that, as everybody knows, is MTVís main viewing audience. --JW

Ice Cube f/KoRn Ė F Dying
     (***)  Itís about time. After "We Be Clubbiní" and "Pushiní Weight," Ice Cube has returned to his evil roots. Too bad heís wearing a deep blue Tom Jones blazer. I guess itís the influence of those badasses KoRn, who prove that music from the farthest ends of both spectrums eventually has to meet. Cube stands on the stairs of his mansion, which ooze with dry ice. Then he heads down to hell, where he whoops the ass of Satan himself. You know, somehow I do get the feeling that Ice Cube would refuse to wipe the bemused scowl off his face if confronted by the devil. If only this video didnít end with an offscreen announcer referring to him as "Ice Cube the Great." I donít really see that as Ice Cubeís future nom de plume in history textbooks. --AH
     (***)  Finally, after several years of yawning through one soundtrack after another, Ice Cube lets loose with images of war, the devil and general chaos Ė you know, all the stuff that made West Coast rap so cool. This time though, itís rage with music provided by Korn. I donít really mind that so much, but itís sort of a shame that Korn and a synthesizer sound so much alike that they can be interchanged. But Cube apparently sees the Adidas rockers as the new face of evil, so who am I to argue? Anyway, in this video, the devil is never going to get Ice Cubeís soul, ícause he just kicked deathís ass, good and proper. Heís immortal and finally putting out some music that I can respect as evil incarnate. Keep up the good work. --JW

Ja Rule Ė Holla Holla
     (*)  "Holla Holla" is Entry One in the race to become 1999ís booty-grinding summer theme song. Ja Rule is the backlash to people like Master P, the comical, one-note version of same. He sports the same variety of tattoos, wears the bandanna and trips over his gold teeth, but heís entirely a novelty act. I mean, heís surrounded by a bunch of bikini chicks, running down the street next to a hydraulic-bumping ride and waving his arms in the camera at every opportunity. And I know this is at least the eighth time Iíve seen a bunch of fly girls dance under a large bridge. I donít need one of the more memorable scenes from Grease reduced to such a base level. --AH
     (**)  Man, is this what Iím supposed to be blastin out of my freshly shined automobile on a summer day while Iím hittiní on all the fly honies this year? How disappointing. Itís got all the elements -- nice beach scene, bounciní G-ride and a general Fresh Prince / Coolio-esque kind of laid back summer feel, but the rapÖ my God, the rap. The guy canít rap, and he lacks what Iíd even stretch to call a personality. He should be working at the snack bar on this beach, not owning it. --JW

Kid Rock Ė Bawitdaba
Kid Rock - Bawitdaba
     (*1/2)  This guy is such a fucking perpetrator. Kid Rock Ė try and tell me that doesnít sound like someone who had a walk-on role in House Party 2. Actually, this is strictly a case of white-boy punk rap, part Rage Against the Machine, part Marilyn Manson and part Vanilla Ice. None of the parts work. The video carries on in the goofy tradition of Monster Magnetís "Space Lord" and Offspringís "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)," only this is taken completely seriously. When those Evil Knieval clones fly through the air and Kid Rock wears the green jacket with the white fur, he believes it. A perpetrator, I tell you. --AH
     (*1/2)  Man, this guy is a serious perpetrator. Thereís no other (and no better; thanks Steve!) word for it. What do you get if you cross Rage Against the Machine with Korn with "Dave TV"-era David Lee Roth? Ding ding ding! If you said this pushy fucker, you win a prize! This in-your-face Adidas rap reminds me of really early Beastie Boys, only without the talent or catchy rhymes. --JW
Kid Rock - Bawitdaba

The London Symphony Orchestra f/John Williams ĖDuel of the Fates
     (***)  This stuff doesnít belong on MTV Ė shots of aging composer Williams conducting an aging British orchestra while movie clips and behind the scenes footage roll. Yet this five-minute commercial for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace is a hell of a lot better than most of the other stuff on MTV right now. Williams has always been the master of the action movie score, and itís good to hear his work and his choir of doom actually acknowledged on "Total Request Live." Itís more or less the same quotes as are in the trailers, and it makes me wonder what supernatural amount of gel it takes to get George Lucasí hair in that tsunami-wave, 1970s formationÖ Oh, it turns out Carson Daly likes this video. Thank God. ĖAH
     (****)  You remember. I was seven. Maybe you were a little older or a little younger, but you remember too. You begged your parents for weeks to buy you the merchandise: the action figures, the sheets, the pajamas, and yes, the Trapper Keepers. One Jabba folder, one Luke vs. The Emperor folder, and one of Leia in Jabbaís bondage gear (mrowl). Then there were the pencils, the erasers, the Thermos, the cereal and so much other hoopla that parents cursed the Force and all its ilk. Then, you went to see Return of the Jedi with them, and all that was erased. You were vindicated! And of course, whatís the biggest thing that you remember? Special effects, the triumph of good over evil? Nahh. For weeks after seeing the movie you were suddenly a classical music fan, because you could hum the theme of the Empire from beginning to end. The man responsible for that? John Williams, who may be remembered as the greatest classical composer of our century. That being said, most of this four stars is on principle, because it simply doesnít own up to my expectations. The video seems to have been produced by the guy who makes "HBO: First Look," giving us no new material except for some behind the scenes shots and a bunch of dialogue pieced together from the first two trailers whose only use is to get in the way of music. The music, by the way, saves the entire thing. Itís a choral piece, with the choir singing in Sanskrit to give the piece an ancient feel to it. Of course, in a few years weíre going to have to hear this sampled by Puff Daddy in a song called "Duel of the Playas," but thatís the price of making great music. --JW

Nas f/Puff Daddy Ė Hate Me Now
     (*)  This video shows Nas and Puff Daddy being crucified. If they strung up Mase next to them on a third cross, Iíd pack a fried chicken picnic lunch and make an afternoon of it. "Hate Me Now," due to its controversial subject matter, comes with a religious disclaimer not seen since the likes of "Thriller." It reads in part, "Nas and Puff Daddy both believe in the Lord Jesus Christ." Well, thatís good to know; Iíve often seen both romping in pastel suits on the front lawns of their respective churches, scouting for colorfully dyed Easter eggs. You know, I liked Nas the last time around, when he was rapping from the back of a truck bed about what heíd do if he ran the world. Now he just dresses up like Puffy, raps beside Puffy and samples like Puffy, this one from "Carmina Burana." I have a feeling this was the token example of opera they played for Nas in community college music-appreciation class. One star, just because itís so satisfying to see Nas wearing a crown of thorns. --AH
     (1/2)  The forward to this video tells us that Puff Daddy and Nas are both good-hearted, God-fearing Christians, a strategy that saved Michael Jacksonís "Thriller" from the wrath of the religious right. Yeah, good luck, guys. Of course, if you disagree with Puffyís claim of being a good Christian, heíll beat you with a champagne bottle, so Iím not going to say anything. I give it a half-star because they put Nas up on the cross. The original concept had Puffy up there too. That would have been worth three. If I seem kind of bitter about the video, itís because the entire soundtrack is a repeated sample from Carl Orftís "Carmina Burana," which is supposed to show how cultured Nas is. Yeah, Nas, I saw Excaliber too, and went on to buy the entire piece, not the selection of "Ode to Fortuna" from Classical Thunder. I never thought it would come to the point where Iíd have to chide rap artists for being intellectual posers. Damn, the nineties are complicated! --JW

Sublime Ė Wrong Way
     (***)  I have to say, this is the best song about an abused 12-year-old hooker since "I Got You, Babe." The model who plays the 12-year-old in this video is at least twice that old, but sheís hot, so itís all good. The evil father is made out to look just like the guy on the inside of the album, clown wig, liquor bottle covering his crotch, and all. Once again, the video is slightly marred by the fact that its lead singer died way before it was filmed. Lead singer Brad shows up in awkward concert footage Ė reflected in a stop sign and on the side of the building. I know you liked that heroin and all, but it really would have been better for the band if you would have lived. And, you know, I canít believe itís 1999 and you still canít say "tits" on cable. --AH

Taxiride Ė Get Set
     (**)  This is our soundtrack video of the week, from the upcoming movie Election, which stars Matthew Broderick and Reese Witherspoon. Jim Ferguson of the Prevue Channel says, "I laughed out loud. I cast my vote for Election!" Jeff Craig from "60-Second Preview" says, "Matthew Broderickís best role since Godzilla!" 98 minutes, rated RÖ "Get Set" is also our sensitive alternarock video of the week, from a group that has about six acoustic guitars and even sounds vaguely Christian. That wonít do in MTV-land. Something about this just doesnít sound quite right. You almost get the sense that the guitar player is Reese Witherspoonís brother or something. --AH
     (**)  They used a sitar. Thatís cool. Oops, the sitar is just sampled. Thatís not so cool. That sets up the entire problem with this video -- it just seems fake, like it was done by the Oneders for the That Thing You Do soundtrack. The video is a bunch of blurred recording sessions mixed in with scenes from Election. Although I never mind seeing Reese Witherspoon, the video is a yawn, and the basic meat and potatoes nature of the song makes me wonder what record executive sat up and said "Yeah! Thatís the one! Put that on the soundtrack!" --JW
 

Z-Music Video of the Week

Geoff Moore and the Distance Ė EvolutionÖ Redefined
     (*1/2)  Itís been a few weeks since weíve done a Z-Music review, but thatís because weíve been having a hell of a time finding interesting Christian videos to review. Weíve now decided we werenít looking hard enough. Why drop a valid feature like this when we happen across videos like this, where an ancient high school teacher rambles on about Charles Darwin while a teenage girl daydreams? As she looks down into her open textbook, Geoff Moore looks back at her, shaking his head at the untruths spouted by the godless public school teacher. And, oh yes, she sinks into his world of creationism and sex appeal, where the guitar solos are meaty, the vegetation is lush and the backdrops are painted by actual high school art students. The song itself sounds like it belongs on the Jungle 2 Jungle soundtrack or something. Itís got a bad live-action Disney quality to it, especially when the students in the chemistry class begin dancing, yes, the Monkey. --AH
     (**)  The message of this video should be, to paraphrase the "evil" science teacher at the beginning, that all Christian music videos, despite their diversity, are related to each other.  An ode to manís arrogance (i.e. "Theyíll never make a monkey out of me"), this video supposedly proves why these guys couldnít have come from monkeys. Watching this video, Iím not so convinced. The band saves the poor creationist girl from having to listen to these lies, and sheís the better for it. So remember, kids, donít pay attention in class, itís all the devilís lies! Why didnít I ever think of that excuse when I didnít do my homework? --JW
 

Classic Videos

DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince Ė Summertime (1991)
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Summertime
     (***)  One of the few bonafide summer classics of the Ď90s, this was Will Smithís true contribution to my junior high years. I remember buying MTV Party to Go, Volume 2 my tenth grade year at a store in the mall because I couldnít find it anywhere else. This song was sandwiched perfectly between "Set Adrift on Memory Bliss" and "O.P.P." The video is straightforward, cutting between Jeff and the Prince rapping from the back of a moving pickup and the acting-out of the songís lyrics. Yes, we see Will at the family barbecue, beating the other brothers at basketball and picking up the hottest girls at the party. The "Summertime" video, if nothing else, proves Will is a lucky bastard in and out of the Ďhood. --AH
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Summertime
     (***1/2)  Now that the weather is getting nice and school is winding down, we thought weíd kick back with the ultimate "summer" video. Jeff and the Prince kick back with a couple of tall drinks, and watch as scenes of summer fly by: barbecue picnics, girls by the lake, mackiní in your ride, and of course playing a little B-ball. After being forced to watch that Ja Rale nonsense, we felt we deserved it. This is the stuff to be blastiní out of your ride while you give a shout out to the honies. Itís smooth with a capital SMOO. I mean hey, if it can make a dork like me think Iím cool, it has to be good. --JW
DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince - Summertime

Chris Isaak Ė Wicked Game (1991)
     (***1/2)  If Elvis had been raised by Calvin Klein, youíd have Chris Isaak, the superficial crooner who had a few minor hits in the early Ď90s. "Wicked Game," the epitome of the Herb Ritts jack-off videos, has Chris romping on the beach in his undershirt and with an absolutely gorgeous young model. This video shamelessly pushes the girlís cleavage, both of the breast and ass variety, into the camera as clouds roll by in the sky and Chris yodels about he doesnít want to fall in love with her because sheís due back at the agency by 9:00. I have a feeling this video will be incredibly laughable at some point down the road, but every time Iíve seen it on MTV or VH1, Iíve found myself leaving it on. Itís almost like driving by the scene of an accident; thereís so much to look at. And you almost feel sorry for Chris when you noticed the bored, detached look in the modelís eyes. Sheís fantasizing about Harry Connick, Jr. the whole time. --AH
     (**1/2)  "No I-I-I-I-I-I... donít want to watch this video," used to be my chant when this was big, but Iíve since learned to appreciate it. Sort of. I mean, itís still fruity as hell, and Chris Isaak still looks like Elvis raised in an alternate universe where he became a truck driver instead of a singer, but itís got a certain ethereal quality that makes one wonder if it wouldnít be "groovy" if one had their stoner goggles on. Thatís worth it alone, just to hear a bunch of baked out guys singing, "No, I-I-I-I-I-I... donít want to fall in love" in bad falsetto voices. Then of course thereís the girl. My God, the girl. Chris is having the time of his life with her, but she just seems bored out of her mind. Of course, Iíd lay good money down that she has no idea who he is. If I was with her, this little mental debate wouldnít be happening. Assert your manhood Chris, or sheíll slip through your fingers! --JW

Bobby McFerrin Ė Donít Worry, Be Happy (1988)
     (*1/2)  You know, George Bush used this as his campaign theme song. Makes sense. Bobby McFerrin later sued Bush because he didnít have permission to use it. Between that settlement, the Ocean Spray commercials and the residual checks every time this song plays on some Top 40 radio stationís "í80s lunch" show, McFerrin will never have to worry about money again. Whatís that? Your landlord say the rent is late? He may have to litigate? Donít worry, Bobby, youíll just have to hop on the next boat back to Haiti. It doesnít matter that Robin Williams was your friend in 1988 and even popped up in this video to show us what a cocaine high is like. Your charming a capella skills wonít keep your stomach full. --AH

David Lee Roth Ė Just a Gigolo (1985)
     (***)  Did anybody take this guy seriously in the í80s? Did anybody shed a tear when he left Van Halen? Did anyone actually roll down their car windows last year when he asked them for change? Dave, sporting two of his best Vegas color-clashing outfits (hey, no white after Labor Day!), wanders through various sets, crashing videos by Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Billy Idol and Willie Nelson. As youíd expect, it has about as much relevance in 1999 as the Stamp Act. Toward the end, he even gives the male censor a heart attack by shoving his crotch in the guyís face. For that reason alone, I canít give this a thumbs-down. QUESTION: Has Willie Nelson actually made a video? --AH

 
 
 
Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions