REVIEWS -- AUGUST 18, 1999
Buckcherry – For the Movies 
     (**)  Buckcherry is now officially a VH1 Inside Track band. I’m sure they loved getting that phone call. "Congratulations, Buckcherry, you’re VH1’s new dandy!" "Uh, great. We’re on the same level as the Gin Blossoms and Toad the Wet Sprocket." Honestly, though, could there have been any other fate for this watered-down AC/DC tribute band? They name KISS as one of their two biggest influences – in 1999, that definitely means VH1 is bound to be your second home. Might as well start paying them rent, boys. "For the Movies," their mid-tempo follow-up song, invokes Hollywood at every turn. The band spends half its time playing in front of the Hollywood sign and part of the video is even set at a premiere, for a movie called Chubby Rain or something. There are also a few too many searchlights for my taste. Surely, there are better Hollywood clichés than that. I didn’t even see a chalk scene marker. Oh, well; if VH1 doesn’t complain, neither should I. –AH 

Chemical Brothers – Block Rockin’ Beats 
     (**½)  It probably didn’t please the Chemical Brothers too much to find this song sandwiched between Coolio and Aaliyah on MTV Party to Go ’98 album, but that’s essentially what "Block Rockin’ Beats" is, a manic bass-guitar party jam. It’s always interesting to see videos of these kinds of electronica songs, because there are no lyrics to play on and no one to do any performing other than the requisite turntable spinning. The video for "Block Rockin’ Beats" shows some ravers driving around London on a rainy night, running from the police and eventually abandoning the car for, yes, an all-night rave. The cops follow them in and then follow them out, making the rave scene gratuitous and unnecessary. To be honest, the whole video is gratuitous and unnecessary, but it’s not bad to look at. And, hey, if not for these guys and Fatboy Slim, what would Much Music play? Radiohead? –AH 

Paula Cole – I Don’t Want to Wait 
     (*)  The first time I heard "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone," I thought it was kind of catchy. The next 20 or 30 times, I thought it was just alright. By the millionth, I was ready to grab some tweezers and pluck out Paula Cole’s armpit hairs one by one for the pain she’d caused me. Once "I Don’t Want to Wait" hit the fan, I was ready to pluck all her body hairs one by one. If I started now, I might be up to the thighs by 2003. This video is a ghastly reminder of what happens when someone abuses the privilege of pop stardom. There’s no way modern scientific instruments could measure the pretentiousness of this Victorian costume effort, which could charitably be called, "Still Walking on Broken Glass." All that’s missing is John Malkovich... Oh, crap, now she’s dressed up as a flapper, complete with feathers in her hair. There are many motifs to this video, but what they all have in common is, they make us wish Paula Cole could have been born in another age and time. I know, "Dawson’s Creek" wouldn’t have a theme song then, but that’s a price I’m willing to pay. –AH 

Filter – Welcome to the Fold 
     (***)  And I said, "Hey man, nice comeback." Filter has decided they absolutely have to rock as hard or harder than the artists who have sprung up since their last go-round in 1995. ("Let’s see, Orgy wears leather pants. We’d better do that.") The video isn’t much, just shots of Filter performing on a white soundstage for an appreciative crowd and shots of RVs converging in the desert to look at a wall of a translucent computer-animated cube. ("Let’s see, Kid Rock makes videos in the desert. We’d better do that.") The twist? The translucent cube contains Filter in all their soundstage glory, ready to drag some rednecks back to their home planet with them or something. I didn’t expect to like this, but I actually did. –AH 

Ginuwine – So Anxious 
     (**½)  This is the latest entry in the "Damn, I Gotta Hit It Wit’ U" R+B subgenre. As one of my friends once said, "Any video that opens with a shot of a soundboard is going to suck." The first minute of this video is at least one-third soundboard shots, which doesn’t make me optimistic for the last three minutes. All we see then is Ginuwine driving home and trying to talk some girl into sleeping with him. This is just a survey question – don’t answer if you don’t feel like it – but how many phone calls would it take for Ginuwine to seduce you? It seems to take about three in this video. (The lyric that pushes him over the top? "Girl, won’t you quit stallin’ / You know I’m a sexaholic.") I almost want to like Ginuwine because it’s obvious he’s trying to continue the Prince feeling of the ‘80s into the Timbaland world of the late ‘90s, and I admire that. The vocals are nicely layered and the song isn’t half-bad, but the out-of-place Jennifer Lopez dance break toward the end will forever keep me from recommending this video. –AH 

Hot Boys – We on Fire 
     (*)  I can see an entire foot of underwear on three of these guys. God, even 2Pac wore a shirt sometimes. MTV has deemed this as Buzzworthy, I guess, because it has a plot. This six-man, slick-chest, doo-rag rap act is running from the ATF with bags of money. It’s none too subtle; I wouldn’t be surprised if the bags said "Loot" on them. Oh, wait, they have dollar-signs instead. I might be losing touch with rap music, but I swear, this stuff sucks. And I’m sure whoever’s money is in those loot sacks will agree with me. –AH 

LFO – Summer Girls
     (*)  "I like girls who wear Abercrombie and Fitch," this Kappa Sigma pledge of a singer declares, and another sorry-ass summer hit is born. The boys of LFO, products of oddly-spliced DNA from the Backstreet Boys and the protagonist of Offspring’s "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)," hang around the beach and boardwalk carnival (guess that’s how you know it’s a summer song) with scores of midriff-bearing girls and rattle off just as many non-sequiturs in this tale of seasonal love. ("Fell in love but now we’re not speakin’ / Michael J. Fox was Alex P. Keaton.") There are also references to Macaulay Culkin, New Edition, Larry Bird, Kevin Bacon and New Kids on the Block. Everyone needs role models, I guess. I just wouldn’t go pretending to be quite so hardcore hip-hop. These guys would get their asses kicked in Detroit / An Anaconda just ate Jon Voight. --AH

Rosie O’Donnell – Big K (Back to School) 
     (zero)  There are a lot of things I’d do for a paycheck, but I’m not entirely sure I’d rap about K-Mart’s new fall fashions from the steps of a school bus. Rosie O’Donnell, on the other hand, will chance any amount of embarrassment for a paycheck. Hell, she was in Exit to Eden. I find this concentrated 30-second commercial several times more painful than that Anne Rice bondage adaptation. "Back to school, it’s so easy to do. Like Anakin says, the force will be with you," Rosie intones, furry leather jacket hanging off her rhythmless form as kids pile off the bus. This is one more reason, in a society full of them, that I’ll never shop at K-Mart. –AH 

Refused – New Noise 
     (**½)  That it is, although this noise isn’t half as bad as most of the Zombie-tinged korn that’s out right now. It’s more a combination of death metal, glam and the Chemical Brothers – polished guitar riffs, touches of electronica and plenty of screaming. Still, you know it’s not real metal when the band members, stomping around a dark soundstage, are wearing sweater vests. The rest of the video is calculated mayhem, with the band marching into their green-tinted control room wearing Easter Bunny costumes and generic monster masks, which they strip off to reveal 1964 Beatle haircuts and painted fingernails. They later turn up in clear plastic jump suits and white face masks. It’s calculated and mostly uninspired but, like I said, not half-bad. I just doubt we’ll hear any more new noise out of them in the future. –AH 

Tricky f/DJ Muggs and Grease -- For Real 
     (***)  Tricky is one of those artists the music industry just doesn’t know how to classify. He’s black and rough-looking, but he does rock music. His vocals are almost rap, but too melodic. And he’s British. Certainly, though, Tricky is talented and should get his huge break eventually. For now, he’s in "120 Minutes" land, holding his own with a lot of obscure honkies. "For Real" shows him in a stark white suit, having dinner at a large, round table. He’s eating with mobsters and martial artists, which causes him to excuse himself by the second verse. He goes next door to get a steam massage, the first steam massage I think I’ve ever seen in music video. (Correct me if I’m wrong. I’m also waiting for a gorgeously filmed music video pedicure.) This definitely isn’t something you’ll see on "Total Request Live," but it’s light years ahead of Britney Spears. Hell, Cher is light years ahead of Britney Spears. --AH 

The Verve Pipe – Hero 
     (**)  What’s the life span of a pussy band? The Goo Goo Dolls have been popular for four years now, and it seems the Verve Pipe are hot on their heels. The concept of "Hero" is a pretty simple one – the Pipe singer wanders around the city, righting wrongs inadvertently. A guy steals a purse and heads down the street as the singer knocks some apples into the street by accident. It makes him a hero. He breaks up a three-card monte game and helps save a woman and her Chihuahua from a piano about to fall on her head. It’s a typical Gregory Dark video, childish and not subtle at all, but it’s a lot easier to watch than their earlier stuff. The only thing these guys could really do to be heroes in my eyes is retire. –AH 

Z-Music Video of the Week 

Audio Adrenaline – Big House (1995)
     (**½)  I saw these guys in concert about five years ago at a church in St. Louis. It wasn’t even really a big church, but I could see the surprised looks on some of its parishioners’ faces when about a hundred of the kids went down front and formed an impromptu mosh pit. It wasn’t a violent mosh pit or anything, but a mosh pit nonetheless. So I’ll always have a soft spot for Audio Adrenaline, even if I lost touch with them after their first two albums. I don’t know what kind of music they make now, but they made the DC Talk transition between albums. The first one was white-boy hip-hop and the second watered-down grunge and rock. "Big House" comes from the second album, and it’s one of the weaker songs on there. The problem I had with Audio Adrenaline was, the music was pretty good but the lyrics always sucked. The chorus of this song is, "It’s a big big house with lots and lots of room / A big big table with lots and lots of food / A big big yard where we can play football / A big big house / It’s my father’s house." The father, of course, was God, who always wins at football. No exceptions. "Big House" was one of the first Christian videos that looked like a real video, not a collection of shots of Twila Paris singing in front of a river for five minutes. There are actual camera effects and sets here, and it still looks pretty good after four years. I’m sure there are plenty of newer Audio Adrenaline videos floating around Z-Music now, but this is the one I remember best. –AH
Classic Videos 

Billy Ocean – Caribbean Queen (No More Love on the Run) (1984) 
     (*½)  Who let this guy in the back door? Billy Ocean is one of the pop phenomena of the mid-‘80s that I’ll never understand. His songs were one embarrassment after another – the Danny DeVito and Michael Douglas backup choreography of "When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going," the four-on-the-floor clumsiness of "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" – and they all went to #1. This song is the most tolerable of the bunch, a watered-down soul jam about a dark-skinned vacation resort princess Billy is after. She walks into his dressing room and accepts flowers from another admirer, but she won’t even look his way when she sings, "I get so excited from the smell of her perfume." Oh well, guess he’ll just have to go on stage. You wonder what Billy’s stage set looked like in 1984. Lots of fake palm trees and snow falling from the sky. Hey, just like in the Caribbean! I just love your concept videos, Billy Ocean. –AH

UB40 – Red, Red Wine (1988)
     (***)  I liked this song way before I had any idea it was a Neil Diamond remake. I also liked UB40 way before I knew they named themselves after a British tax form. (If any Americans ever decide to form a cover band, I recommend the name W-2. This would also work for a U2 cover band.) The video for "Red, Red Wine" opens in a pub, where the drunken lead singer of UB40 stumbles in, orders a drink and remembers the girl he used to love. He probably wonders why she dumped him… well, have you ever seen the singer from UB40? He’s the goofiest-looking bastard this side of Ric Ocasek. Actually, in the music business, that qualifies you to marry a supermodel. –AH

Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions