Editors Note: Andrew Hicks is on vacation this week. James Wallace has stopped being a lazy ass, and is doing reviews on time once again. Enjoy. --JW 

Lou Bega -- Mambo Number 5 
    (**)  It's an old fashioned mambo, with trumpets, dancing girls, and your pimp for the evening, Lou Bega! This is a pretty standard video, almost an ode to the days of Cab Calloway, but without any of the stay power. Translation: we probably won't be seeing it for too long. The video features Lou Bega decked out in Pimp gear, checking out the fly honeys swarming around him and being generally lecherous. I really wonder how this guy got his record contract. He's not a great singer, and his only qualifications seem to be his obsession with the honeys, and his fly hat. Of course, that may be enough these days. In any event, he's direct, I'll give him that: If you give it up, he'll be your man.  How can any of the ladies say no, when he's decked out in that fine leisure suit. And the brimmed pimp hat. Chicks dig the hat. --James Wallace 

Hot Boys -- We On Fire 
     (*)  Y'know, everyone from Jesse Jackson to hard core gangbangers should be pissed at this video. It doesn't give one a very high opinion of blacks, considering they managed to fit almost every stereotype into this video. As for the gangbangers ... well, it makes them seem like some seriously lame people. Look, they must be from the hood, because they're wearing bandanas and are being chased by the ATF! Give me a break. Oh, also note they're throwing around 100 dollar bills. That cinches it, they must be playas. It almost seems fake, like some weird interlude from Fear of a Black Hat. Apparently this is going to be their signature song, because the entire song is about just "what kinda boys" the Hot Boys are. I don't really remember asking. It's almost like the spun the "Gangsta Video Wheel" and put together all the necessary clichés: cops, Benjamins, medallions, pyrotechnics, and an attempted airplane escape. At least the boys in blue made sure they didn't get away. Oh wait, that's the Cliché Police. Job well done, in any case. --JW 

Lit -- Ziplock 
    (***)  What the hell? The intro is apparently a direct rip-off of Twisted Sister's "We're Not Gonna Take It" video. The kid sits playing guitar, and his militaristic father comes in and barrages him with the immortal question: "What are you gonna do with your life?" Of course, the answer is "I wanna rock!" Unfortunately, he doesn't mutate into the lead singer of Lit, but maybe that's for the best. Still, my outrage has turned into a feeling of well being, because that was rather cool. How dare they, you say? C'mon, if anybody out there holds anything by Twisted Sister as sacred, I'll personally come to your house and break both your legs, free of charge. It's for the best, really. The video keeps the pace up, by switching to the band playing in the middle of a pool party, which features partiers-a-plenty, and naked women having whipped cream fights. 'Nuff said. Meanwhile, the guys from Blink 182 streak through, complete with censored pelvic shots.  Finally, the band saunters off, as a groovy disco beat ushers them into their limo. These guys are starting to grow on me, but I wish they didn't feel the need to dress like retro-redneck rejects to be "alternative".  I think the band wants to be the new face of teenage rebellion, but in the end, they're way too harmless. Parents will never mistake them for Satan's minions. --JW

Jennifer Lopez -- Waiting for Tonight 
    (*)  Before, I had stated that the Jennifer Lopez phenomenon wouldn't last very long, and we'd all be laughing at her attempt to make a music career for herself. In a period of good music, that would be true. Unfortunately, we seem to be locked into a ultra pop era, so we'll have to deal with Jennifer for the near future. In this "ready to go" disco video, Jennifer is partying in the middle of a rave set up in the Jungle. It's pretty basic disco fare, but who really cares if you're not getting your technotronic groove on? Oh wait, there's an interlude, when the place stops rockin', and everybody counts down to the new millennium. Now it becomes clear that this video is all about ushering in the year 2000. Could Jennifer really be waiting for Apocalypse? Will she be left behind? Of course, there is an upside for those of us who remain after the Rapture: We won't have to watch any more of Jennifer's videos. Worth eternal damnation? Time will tell. --JW 

Santana f/ Rob Thomas - Smooth 
     (***1/2)  Damned right it's smooth. It's Santana, what do you expect? They could do anything to this video: they could make Santana play the piano, and it'd still be cool. They could let the lead singer of Matchbox 20 sing, and it'd still be cool...what? Oh, that is what they did. See, and it's still quite on the level of coolness. This features Rob Thomas rolling into the ghetto, looking very lost, and probably about to get mugged, when Carlos strolls up. Nobody is going to mess with Santana, he's too cool. He might have a machine gun in his guitar case. Who knows? Fortunately, he doesn't, and they proceed to jam, much to the relief of the bored residents in the hood suffering from the summer heat. They all come out to jam, and everything is cool. Maybe if this had happened in Do the Right Thing, Mooky wouldn't have broken that window, and everything would have been OK. We'll never know. Santana, as I said, is indeed quite smooth, but Rob...oh Rob. Rob? No matter what else you learn from me today, you must remember this one thing: take off that silly assed hat. Thank you. -JW 

Snoop Dogg f/XZIBIT and Nate Dogg -- BPlease 
Snoop Dogg f/XZIBIT and Nate Dogg -- BPlease
     (***)  Ok, I don't know what that title means either, but it doesn't really matter. This is Snoop is near classical form, even if he is still officially Master P's beeatch. The truth is, Snoop has always been whatever his producer molded him into, and lately his producers have molded him into...well, lame-assed  crap. The difference in this effort is very simple: a man named Dre. Yes, the good Dr. has returned, and done some really good work. Officially this is a No Limit production, but the feel of the video is West Coast all the way, even if Snoop has traded in his gangsta look for a more traditional gangster style. Very important difference. Note the suffix. Yes, Ebonics is an available course at my University. No, I haven't taken it...yet. Anyway, think Ice-T's style back in the day, and you'll have it. Even Nate Dog is cool in this video, which takes place in an upscale dance club, which isn't exactly as cool as the party setting of old, but it'll do. I'll miss the fridge full of 40's though. My only problem with the video is this XZIBIT freak. He's a complete rip-off of Busta Rhymes, but lacks any of the cool zanyness. Yes, I did use the word zany in a review. Anyway, I like it. Cool beat, cool look to the video, and reasonable facsimile of the Snoop Doggy Dogg we all knew and loved. Maybe Dre will do us all a favor, take out Puff Daddy and Master P, and save rap. It could happen. --JW 
Snoop Dogg f/XZIBIT and Nate Dogg -- BPlease

Britney Spears - You Drive Me Crazy 
Britney Spears - (You Drive Me) Crazy
    (1/2)  Britney, you do indeed drive me crazy, and it's no longer a good thing. I'm seriously sick of the girl, and I know we'll have to put up with at least 2 more videos this year. The beginning of the video shows her doing what she'll undoubtedly be doing at 35 when the money has all been squandered: you guessed it, waiting tables. Then of course she pretties up, and the choreographed dancing begins in earnest. Once again, it looks and sounds like an N'Sync video, but while Boys have to be caring and sensitive, the girls have to be smartassed, and oh-so-fly. They pull it off, but it's just the same old thing. She's not even cute anymore. The "Mariah" syndrome seems to have taken her over very quickly in this case. 13 year old girls and boys, I implore you: move on, for the good of humanity! --JW 
Britney Spears - (You Drive Me) Crazy
TLC -- Unpretty 
    (*1/2)  What is it with female R&B this year? When did it all turn into a "love your body" campaign? Of course, if TLC weren't good looking, they would never have gotten a record deal and this forum to say why looks don't matter, but I guess that's besides the point. I might even let it slide, if they didn't hit you over the head with it. The video is a story about one girl's battle with plastic surgery, and how she almost (gasp) had herself operated on to improve her looks. Predictably, the girl doesn't really need plastic surgery, but I guess we're supposed to use our imaginations. It gets to be way too much by the end, showing us the fat girl crying while looking at beauty magazines, and concerned couple perusing a cosmetic surgery web site. By the way, their message is that "we care." Of course, TLC is here to tell us that they don't care, and are just out to exploit insecure women, who are beautiful on the inside, damn it! Err, sorry, got caught up in the moment there. Then, they try to show us that beauty really is on the inside by showing the ugly things we do to each other, like gangs fights and racism. No, I don't see how that's relevant either, so don't worry about it. Anyway, the theme of this album is becoming clear: Men? We suck. --JW 

Classic Videos 

Eric Clapton -Tears in Heaven (1992) 
    (***)  Yes, I know, this is Eric Clapton at the very height of his old fart adult contemporary powers, but it's a really good video, and some of the best guitar work he's done since the 70s. It's just Eric, surrounded by guitars, playing a slow blues, putting his heart into a song about the death of his son. Unfortunately, this is interrupted by clips of some chick flick I've never heard of, but the integrity of the video survives. It may relate to you, it may not, but if you can't dig it, you officially have no soul. --JW 

KISS - Rock and Roll All Night (from the 1996 MTV Music Video Awards) 
     (**1/2)  This is a concert video os KISS's reunion, but it captures what being at a KISS show is probably like pretty well. You can make fun of the makeup, but you know you wish you were there. You know you think Ace Frehley is a kick ass guitar player. Admit it. Ahh, that's what I thought. The only thing that brings the video down is that Gene Simmons voice seems to have went bye-bye in the last few years, and he's really straining to scream the song out. At least the make-up and costumes are back, and they're not dressing like Cheap Trick anymore. Light show, explosions, blood ... cock rock at it's finest. Limp Biscuit, eat your heart out. -JW 


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