Blink 182 – All the Small Things
     (**½)  I think we all know people like the guys in Blink 182. They’re not exactly clever or smart, and you sure as hell don’t take them seriously, but they’re likable and always having fun. Their videos are the same way – they know they’re not making art, that they’re only supporting music a notch above the Offspring, so they act accordingly. "All the Small Things" is the first parody video I’ve seen of the seemingly never-ending spate of boy group videos. They do simplistic dance moves on a set that resembles "I Want it That Way" (yes, there’s even a Blink 182 charter jet in the background), frolic on the beach and make out with the telescope from Britney Spears’ "Sometimes" video and toss in a few black-and-white beach shots from the Sugar Ray "Someday" video. All this, of course, assures the shelf life of this video will definitely be contained to this calendar year. Right now, though, it’s pretty funny. –Andrew Hicks
     (**½)  The guys of Blink 182 making fun of the "teen invasion"? Works for me. Once again, they’re running naked and bringing us their own particular brand of Green Day-esque pop. Only this time it serves to parody the Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, Britney Spears and various other types we’d like to dispatch in some gruesome manner. Watch for the girl with the "Travis, I’m pregnant" sign during their take on the whole "screaming fan" motif. Apparently that’s Carson Daly’s favorite part – of course, he’d prefer it say, "Carson, I’m pregnant," and that it was followed by, "Can I come up?" That might help him get over being dumped by Jennifer Love Hewitt. After all, 14 year old girls can only satisfy for so long... All in all, this is a catchy little tune with an inventive video, but I wonder if these guys realize that they share the same market with the boy groups they’re mocking? --James Wallace

Bush – The Chemicals Between Us
     (**)  I hated them then, and I hate them now. Actually, no, I don’t hate them now. They suck, but so many artists suck worse that Bush just needs to take a number and stand in line. I’ll get around to kicking their asses after Christina Aguilera and 98 Degrees have been dealt with. "The Chemicals Between Us" is a lot like the old Bush material with a little drum machine spice thrown in – they’ve grown about as much in the last five years as Trent Reznor has, but at least Reznor had talent to begin with. Gavin Rossdale only had the love of Gwen Stefani to keep him going. The video has as many washed-out blues as can fit in four minutes time, along with white soundstage shots of a devastated island set where the pretentious go for a three-hour tour. A three-hour tour. –AH

Eve – Gotta Man
     (*)  This is like the Mya song from the Rugrats soundtrack, with an embarrassingly simplistic sing-song chorus and repeated four-note sample that sounds like it should signify you to turn the page in a read-along children’s book. But the Mya song was meant to sound that way; this one is supposed to be catchy and avant garde. It has to be – MTV has granted it Buzzworthy status, and you know MTV would never crown an unworthy song as a Buzz Clip. (One of the limitations of the printed word is that you’ll just have to imagine me sneezing the word "Hanson" under my breath.) "Gotta Man" belongs in that disturbingly growing subgenre of R+B songs, the Mama-I’m-in-love-with-a-thug ballad, as popularized by the Jerry Springer show of the same name. Eve’s man is incarcerated, and she has to pawn her ring to get by, but she loves her man. They reunite in the end, on the rooftops, him in all-white and her in some kind of yellow wool vest. It’s not exactly the closing shot of Titanic, but it’s about as sentimental as you’re going to get for a song from the Ruff Ryders First Lady album. –AH

Warren G. f/Mack-10 – I Want It All
Warren G. f/Mack-10 - I Want It All
     (*½)  Someone needs to break the news to Warren G. It’s 1999 – he’s definitely not going to get it all. Snoop may be on No Limit life support, but it’s been five years since anyone let this guy regulate shit. "I Want it All" seems to be Warren’s entry into the Mase and Puffy rap genre. There are sparks flying every which way, fly girls shaking their asses and liberally obvious ‘70s soul samples. Warren is wearing a powder-blue tailored suit and vest (it has to be returned promptly by 6) with a light-purple tie as he fantasizes about all the stuff he wants to buy, like brand new socks and drawls, y’all. Meanwhile, his brokeass alter-ego hangs out with Mack-10, Ice Cube’s deposed best friend who I just realized looks a lot like Christian rapper T-Bone. But I have a feeling Ice Cube would be embarrassed to see him cavorting with Warren, announcing, "Warren, I couldn’t be more serious about my fiddy." I know this video won’t last very long – it’s already been banished exclusively to BET – but catch it if you can. It’s really damn funny even if it doesn’t mean to be. –AH
Warren G. f/Mack-10 - I Want It All
     (**)  You can really tell that Warren has settled into the basement of the rap eschelon. He’s went from regulating to percolating, and his dreams of wanting it all now include new socks and drawls. For God’s sake, somebody please get the man some new socks and drawls! I mean, that’s just pathetic. Even Nate Dogg can still afford clean skivvies. Speaking of Nate Dogg, I think Warren is missing him. You can almost see him saying, "Nate, remember me, the Warren to the G?" Of course, Mack-10 is along for the backup, telling Warren that he couldn’t be more serious about "my fiddy." It seems that in the end, this entire video is a plea for Suge Knight to pay them their back royalties. --JW
Warren G. f/Mack-10 - I Want It All

Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey – When You Believe
     (**)  If you could have bottled the combined ego levels in the studio when this song was recorded, you’d be one rich SOB indeed. "When You Believe" is a song about faith and hope, about being tenacious and trusting in a higher power. In this case, the higher powers are Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen, who threw untold sums of money into the laps of Houston and Carey, effectively ending their feud over who was the more mediocre diva. This was the centerpiece of the Prince of Egypt soundtrack, and the video features plenty of clips from the movie. (Of course, I thought the intercut shots of Moses parting the Red Sea and Mariah Carey parting her legs for Puff Daddy were in bad taste.) As the video fades up, we see Mariah and Whitney on opposite sides of the stage, lit with different spotlights. As the song becomes more lofty and dramatic, they get closer and eventually even hold hands. It’s a truce, but a tense one, like watching Roosevelt and Stalin shake hands and split a bottle of Burnett’s vodka. There’s peace on the surface, but danger lurks just beneath. –AH

Jay-Z – Girl’s Best Friend
     (*)  The Jigga man is back. I’m so fucking happy. "Girl’s Best Friend" is another new rap song with a childish sing-song chorus (see my Eve review above) and, worse, it’s from the soundtrack to Blue Streak. No kidding – the entire video takes place inside the diamond that Martin Lawrence steals at the beginning of the movie. Imagine getting this diamond appraised: "This is worthless." "What?!" "Yeah, it’s hollow inside, and a mini Jay-Z is leading some bikini-clad girls in a dance. Did you order this diamond from the Homeboy Shopping Network?" Lawrence even turns up inside the diamond, in his rotten-toothed, nappy-headed Master P getup from the movie. It makes Jay-Z feel at home, you see. –AH
     (*½)  Jigga diamond? Jigga Martin Lawrence? Jigga fly girls? Jigga bad nursery rhymes. Jigga overinflated ego? Jigga Jay-Z disgruntled? Jigga money grubbing hos? Word. --JW

Moby – Bodyrock
     (**)  I know this guy’s been paying his dues for a long time, but is this really going to be Moby’s big break? "To the beat y’all, body rock y’all"? When you’re white and bald and wearing sunglasses whose lenses are in the shape of stars, you don’t get to tell us how to rock our bodies. That goes for Moby, it goes for Fatboy Slim and it sure as hell goes for the Chemical Brothers. "Bodyrock" is in the same vein, with a star-bespectacled Moby wandering the streets of New York, filtering in and out of stores and restaurants with a look of acid and ecstasy-crazed wonder. Oh, and people breakdance. You know, my calendar says it’s 1999, but I guess it’s still 1985. No, wait, there are the flygirls. Maybe it’s 1995. I guess space and time are irrelevant when you’re Moby. –AH

Offspring – She’s Got Issues
     (*½)  In a time of better music, we wouldn’t have to put up with four videos from Americana. The Offspring would get a hit with "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)," because it’s admittedly catchy at any time, and they might have had a minor hit with "Why Don’t You Get a Job." But they would have faded back into obscurity right now if not for the likes of Ricky Martin, Jennifer Lopez and the Backstreet Boys. Any old crap can get on the air right now, even this flat, uninspired rock song where Dexter Holland whines about his crazy girlfriend. The video mixes footage of the Offspring playing in someone’s living room (their usual venue) with footage of Holland’s new crazy girlfriend. (SAMPLE LYRIC: "She talks about closure and that validation bit / I don’t mean to be insensitive but I really hate that shit.") You know she’s crazy because she has red hair and cartoons follow her around everywhere. (SAMPLE CARTOON: A hot dog, arms out, chases after a cartoon donut.) When I was 14, I might have thought this was kind of clever, but right now it just strikes me as annoying. This isn’t real music. –AH

Powerman 5000 – When Worlds Collide
     (*)  I didn’t know Seth Green dyed his hair and joined a heavy metal band. "When Worlds Collide" can charitably be described as noise, part Gravity Kills and part Rob Zombie with lots of loud guitars and drum machines. The video is full of the stock computer-game music video images – a guy that looks like Pinhead, medieval guards, goth girls and the band in red-and-black Lycra suits. The lead singer has a showdown with Ming the Merciless at the end, pumping him full of his bolts of energy. My little brother likes this; I just know it. –AH

Sting – Brand New Day
     (**)  We always knew Sting had a massive ego; hell, you’d have to if you were going to cook up that whole tantric sex story. Still, we never thought he’d make himself into the Messiah in one of his videos. Representatives from all over the world, clad in robes, wait in the desert for a sign. They get it when a silk shirt-clad Sting beams down from heaven, flanked by four Secret Service agents. He holds out his arms and sings words of advice to the crowd, and as he waves his hand over the individuals, they fade to white and – presto – their leprosy is gone. They still don’t have any desire to buy the new Sting album. "Brand New Day" is so intentionally ironic that it’s unintentionally ironic, if you follow what I’m saying. It even includes the obligatory George Michael "Killer" shot of Brand New Day detergent, available at stores near you. I get the sense even Ted Turner is watching this somewhere and shaking his head, thinking to himself, Man, this guy is shameless. –AH

Classic Videos

Billy Joel – We Didn’t Start the Fire (1989)
      (***)  I’m giving this three stars because it’s a well-put-together video and it really does tie together about 40 years of American history, but in a very real sense, it deserves zero stars. Honestly, no one asked Billy Joel to don the mantle of cultural icon and sum up the most significant news stories of his own life in an easily digestible pop-rap format. He sits invisible in one middle-class kitchen, yelling out the names of icons like he’s calling Bingo at the Knights of Columbus meeting. ("John Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex…") as the years pass the family by. They start a happy young couple and live through the ‘60s – I do love the scene where the housewife gets high as hell and plays the violin – and don black veils during the turbulent ‘80s as the husband dies. (They bury him in the kitchen, I guess because they didn’t have the money to build a second set.) I watch this video all the way through every time I happen upon it just for the scene where Billy is sitting at the kitchen table, flames licking up the wall behind him and he yells out, "Rock and roller cola wars, I can’t take it anymore!" and topples the table, standing up in a fit of controlled rage. It’s not easy being Billy Joel. –AH

Sir Mix-a-Lot – Baby Got Back (1992)
Sir Mix-a-Lot ^Ö Baby Got Back
     (***½)  Sir Mix-a-Lot is the embodiment of the American Dream, a testament to the fact that sometimes even big fat guys with no discernible talent and nothing to market except his own love for big butts can make it big, if just for a season. The video is just as simplistic in its focus – lots of girls with juicy rumps shaking them accordingly, Mix-a-Lot rapping from a giant posterior prosthesis and intercut shots of fruits and vegetables that somewhat resemble the female bottom. Yeah, this is the first and only time I’ve seen red peppers and lemons sexualized in such a fashion. This is shameless, it’s dated and the white-on-black words that appear throughout the video ("Thick," "Plump") are just ridiculous, but "Baby Got Back" was such a big part of my high school years that I can’t rate it down. It’s officially still a guilty pleasure. --AH
Sir Mix-a-Lot ^Ö Baby Got Back

Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions