REVIEWS -- JUNE 2, 1999


                                         ;   Eminem f/Dr. Dre – Guilty Conscience
     (***)  Just about every white friend I have hates this guy. Aside from James, the people I know who like Eminem are usually the ones whose music taste I distrust the most, yet I haven’t once regretted buying The Slim Shady LP in February. In an era of pussified, sample-heavy Master P garbage, Eminem’s smooth, manic flow, tight beats and vivid, often obnoxious imagery are the best things going for rap. “Guilty Conscience,” a duet with Dr. Dre (and the fact that Dre is the “good” conscience should tell you how just evil Eminem is), features three dueling conscience scenarios. First, a guy tries to rob a liquor store, then a frat boy is tempted to slip a roofie into a drunken 15-year-old’s drink and a construction worker comes home to find his wife having sex with someone else. The video itself is good but could have been a lot better. It basically just shows the story of the song, with Eminem and Dr. Dre trying to sway the characters’ behavior. The characters appear mainly in computer-enhanced freeze frames as the camera circles around them. My guess is, because of the subject matter, MTV will never show this video; it’s heavily edited on The Box as it is. –Andrew Hicks
     (***)  This video was supposed to premiere on MTV in June, but once they realized it was an honest to God hardcore rap video, it was quickly nixed. So unfortunately, unless you have Box Pulse, you may never see it. That's too bad, because it's the only really good thing I've seen this week. In this video, Eninem tries to get people to do bad things, but is confounded at every turn by Dr. Dre as their “Guilty Conscience.” Hence the title, eh? Watch for Dre and Eminem wearing letter jackets during the frat party scene. Aww, they look so cute. Despite what you might think of the video, it's worth it in the end to see Dr. Dre choke Eminem vigorously. (You almost have to wonder if any of that went on in the recording studio. “Bitch, you better remember those rhymes!” SLAP!) It's a good video, and it probably would have rated more stars, but I was irritated with the way they wussed out and rewrote the verses. I mean, if you drink Budweiser, you're not going to like Bud Light. Everybody knows that. –James Wallace

Goo Goo Dolls – Black Balloon
     (*1/2)  After several perky color videos, the Goos finally decide to get back to their avant garde, black-and-white “Name” roots with this bland video. A woman lies on an innertube in the middle of a pool while men swim beneath her. It symbolizes her turbulent, ever-changing world, I’m sure. Later, she’s trapped in a stretchy, placenta-like bubble as the lead singer emotes, mascara streaking down his face as he struggles to choke back tears. I say this every time I review a Goo Goo Dolls video, but this sounds just like all their other songs, although it does earn points for switching from standard Goo Goo ballad to standard Goo Goo rock song midway through the first verse. Didn’t see that one coming… And MTV has the nerve to showcase this video on their “Rocks Off” show. Whatever happened to “Headbanger’s Ball”? --AH
     (**)  This video shows the entire reason not to do opium. If you're in enough of a haze, you probably think this rocks. Of course, to everybody else, it sounds like something made by a doped-up psychotic. "Yes, Johnny, that's lovely. Now go watch TV with the other children. Later, we're going to have craft time!" Everybody is poolside and seems to be dreaming through the entire video. If this was 1988, this would be a Monster Ballad by Poison. Maybe in 10 years we'll see this on "Alternative Ballads. They taught you how to rock, now they'll teach you how to love and still hate yourself." Hey, it'll happen. --JW

"House of Style" Swimsuit Edition 1999
     (***)  Waiting for music videos to reemerge, I’ve been quietly typing on my computer the past 20 minutes with the TV muted. The “House of Style” swimsuit special is on, and every time I’ve looked up, I’ve seen models showing off cleavage, toned stomachs and the occasional hint of butt cheek. Such are the graces of the emaciated, 20-ish female form when the weather is warm. It’s a lot better than glancing up to see Kurt Loder every two minutes. --AH

Limp Bizkit – Nookie
     (*1/2)  Just what I wanted – nookie from Limp Bizkit. Where do I sign up? “I came into this world as a reject,” the singer raps as he walks down a graffiti-colored street in his Starter jacket. One by one, he attracts every hot girl in the neighborhood. By the end of the video, every rented model on the set is following him around. Must be the skillz… There are also plenty of concert and crowd reaction shots in the video. I can’t tell if it’s new footage or if it was left over from the “Faith” video. It’s the same sea of white faces in the audience, which makes me wonder what the average black person thinks of shit like this. They have enough embarrassing rappers of their own without adding blue-eyed insult to injury. --AH
     (*1/2)  Now, I'm confused. I heard the lead singer of this band couldn't get any nookie. In fact, he seemed lonely. I felt bad for the guy. Now, he's got an entire train of women following him around. I guess money can buy happiness. So, the story is that he got played, but it's okay, because he was only in it for the sex. Hmm, pass some of those sour grapes over, would you? Also, she put his tender heart in a blender? You guys are already stealing Eve 6 lyrics? I mean, where do you go from there? At the end, the police come to break up the video. Who says there are no good cops? --JW

Jennifer Lopez – If You Had My Love
     (**)  It always amazes me when movie stars decide they have to be pop stars. It’s not enough for Jennifer Love Hewitt to be in I Still Know What You Did Last Summer; she also has to showcase herself on the soundtrack. Now another Jennifer, who lit up the silver screen in Anaconda, has put out an entire album of generic R+B and pop. This single is nondescript, the kind of thing you hear around 10:30 at night on Top 40 radio and can’t really form an opinion of. It’s not exactly lame, but it’s certainly not good. The video is the same way. Lopez is hot, as we all know, and she wears plenty of midriff-baring tank-tops and drawstring pants. (If you’ve missed the Old Navy commercials, let me be the first to tell you, drawstrings are in this summer. So rush right out and by a few pairs.) The video also has one of those gratuitous cyberspace themes – some guy is surfing the web and arrives at, home of the best salsa money can buy. The rest of the video is, apparently, a Quicktime movie the guy watches on his computer. God knows why MTV picked this as Buzzworthy. --AH
     (*)  Of course, I don't have Jennifer's love, so maybe I'm just jealous, but I have to ask: did MTV even watch this before they put it into heavy rotation? No, they probably just saw that it was by Jennifer Lopez, and realized they could capitalize on her name. I predict this will have the same fate as Eddie Murphy's "Party All the Time." Of course, I say that about almost every time a movie star decides to cut an album, but nine times out of ten I'm right. In case you care, this video has Jennifer prancing around in quasi-futuristic clothes, while various fanboys watch her in a variety of multi-media formats. How original. Gee, she's even a role model for insecure fat girls. What a gal. --JW

Madonna – Beautiful Stranger
     (**1/2)  Madonna and Mike Myers are two people I have love-hate relationships with. Both are talented but frequently tread the realm of the mediocre. “Beautiful Stranger” is the flagship song on the Austin Powers soundtrack, a go-go dance song that is a step forward for Madonna after that Ray of Light garbage. She also looks fairly good in this video – apparently, the virtues of makeup and computer animation are improving with every passing year. The video is about as good as blatant movie plugs can be. Myers appears as Austin Powers, sent to scope out Agent M. He spends most of his time watching her in a dance club, mouthing phrases like “Call me” every time he gets her attention. Instead, she rides in his convertible and shoves her ass in his face like the aging stripper she is. Like I said, the realm of the mediocre, but it could be a lot worse. --AH
     (**1/2)  Well, at least Madonna is looking human again. I guess the zombie curse finally wore off. Truth to tell, she hasn't looked or sounded this much like Madonna in a few years. Still, I get the feeling that this video is the ultimate fanboy fantasy for Mike Myers. I guess it could be a big turn on for Madonna to lick your earlobe, but I'd be worried about catching something. I mean, as Austin Powers himself would say, "She's like the village bike baby, everybody has had a ride." --JW

Silkk the Shocker f/Mya – Somebody Like Me
     (*1/2)  This entire song is ill-conceived. Silkk does his disconnected No Limit raps during the verses, and during the chorus, Mya sings about how she fell in love with a thug. Was it the Tech 9 he left on her doorstep, wrapped in a colorful red bow? Or the Gucci gift bag full of crack? We’ll never know for sure, but Silkk seems to be living large, complete with gold chains and a chair that regally spins in circles. Gee, I haven’t seen that since Ice Cube’s “Bop Gun” video. Yes, I did just use the word “gee” in a gangsta rap review. --AH

Sugar Ray – Someday
     (**)  Sugar Ray was sitting on his veranda one day, wondering what concept he could use for the second video from 14:59. Creatively exhausted after the effort of “Every Morning,” he decided to do the standard black-and-white beach video, which has produced positive results for such artists as Mariah Carey and Ugly Kid Joe. The result is bland as hell, with shots of the band pretending to play their instruments in the ocean, hanging around a sand castle they probably didn’t even build and watching beachgoers dance to their hip music. Midway through, they retire to happy hour at the local Spanish-themed bar, where Sugar Ray changes from his black t-shirt to his white casual-wear button-up. (If you’ve missed the Old Navy commercials, let me be the first to tell you, white casual-wear button-ups are in this summer. So rush right out and by a few.) I’d also like to take this moment to congratulate the boys of Sugar Ray for releasing a follow-up single that could almost be confused with the last single, the drum track in particular. --AH
     (**) Sugar Ray has figured out quite a formula. If you take your last single, and change the key, you have an entire other hit. Black-and-white antics on a beach. “No, I-I-I-I-I-I don't want to fall in...” oh wait, wrong video. In this video, we have Sugar Ray and the gang on the beach, complete with sand castles and everything. I think the idea is to do some kind of Jimmy Buffet-esque kind of summer margarita song, but it comes short. Then it almost seems like a look into the band's future, when their 15 minutes are fully up, because we get to see them playing at little clubs. I guess they got to keep their money anyway. The video would have been better if at the end, somebody asked Sugar Ray "Hey, didn't you used to be somebody?" Yes, he certainly did. --JW

Classic Videos

Philip Bailey and Phil Collins – Easy Lover (1984)
     (**)  Phil Collins teams up with the singer from Earth, Wind and Fire. Too bad MTV News wasn’t around in 1984; this would have been the lead story that week. “Easy Lover” is an adult-contemporary classic, one I still probably hear a couple times a week in the grocery store or hair salon. The video belongs to that substandard genre of behind-the-scenes nonsense. It shows Phil Collins arriving in a helicopter, being slathered in makeup and practicing his dance moves with Bailey. It is entertaining to see how uncoordinated Collins is when he tries to get his choreography down, and we find out it took several dozen takes to get that microphone-switch maneuver down. Finally, Phil changes out of his blue sweater and into the off-white suit he films all his videos in. Thank God. --AH
     (**)  I think this is Phil Collins’ answer to “Say, Say, Say” by Paul McCartney and Michael Jackson. Did you notice that through the ‘80s, Phil and Paul were in direct competition? Paul does a video with duplicates of himself, so does Phil. Paul does a video as the hokey sidekick to an R&B artist... well, you get the idea. This video gives us just what we've all been begging for: a glimpse behind the scenes of the "Easy Lover" sessions. That's just great. --JW

Bow Wow Wow – I Want Candy (1982)
     (***)  This is one of the most embarrassing novelty hits of the early ‘80s, but what else would you expect from a band named Bow Wow Wow? The lead singer has her head shaved on the sides, half-mohawk and half-Butthead. The other guys have that nondescript 1982 look, with giant silver sunglasses and no shirts. The video is set on the beach, with washed-out background colors (“and the Flock of Seagulls Video Vanguard Award goes to…”), but it’s short and it’s fun and I can still watch it in 1999. If I was Gene Shalit, my quotable one-liner for this review would be, “I still want candy.” --AH

Daryl Hall and John Oates – Out of Touch (1984)
     (*)  I promised myself I wouldn’t make any puns about the song’s title because, I mean, who on earth is more out of touch than Hall and/or Oates? Keeping with the spirit of this week’s reviews, this has a certain amount of kitsch value, but I can’t classify it as anything but godawful. James and I, about a year ago, used to get drunk and pop my 99-cent copy of Hall & Oates’ greatest hits in the stereo. “Out of Touch” wasn’t on there, which should tell you something. It’s more VH1 than “Maneater” or even “Kiss on My List,” and the video is laughably awful. Hall is in a leopard-skin jacket, Oates is in a ripped t-shirt and they’re both dancing around an enormous bass drum. Later, they dance in front of huge black letters that spell out “Big Bam Boom.” Finally we learn the true nature of Hall and Oates’ relationship… --AH

INXS -- New Sensation
     (**1/2)  Unfortunately for INXS fans, the "new sensation" ended up being Michael Hutchence's discovering the joy of masturbating with a bag on his head. --JW

Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions