REVIEWS -- JANUARY 7, 2000 (!)
Lou Bega – Tricky Tricky
    (*)  Okay, who let this guy carry over into the new millennium? I stuck up for "Mambo No. 5" last fall in the face of intense criticism. Thought it was kind of fun and harmless, in any event. Then came the FOX promos and the Stuart Little end-credits remix of the song, where Lou reminded us that, "One plus one is two / I’m in love with you." Or some such nonsense. Now our favorite one-hit mambo gigolo is back with the tale of a girl who’s "Tricky tricky" and "pretty pretty." God, the intellect on this guy. He begins by telling us what she likes – his credit card, primarily, although I get the feeling that thing is declined from time to time. Then Lou tells us what he likes – sleeping till three, hanging out with his boys, praying for a second hit, etc. The video is a bland one. Lou is in a ballroom, entertaining a party of white-tuxedoed men and red-dressed women. ("Anyone from out of town here tonight?") Lou is the only one in green, because green symbolizes money, of course. And he’s got plenty of that. Right. –Andrew Hicks

Creed – What If
    (**)  This video from Scream 3 shows Deputy Dewey, played by our intrepid collect-call whore David Arquette, taking a call from the Scream killer. ("What’s your favorite scary Creed video?") A second later, a teenage girl jumps through a window and Arquette is sent on a mission to protect her from the Ghostface Killah while the band plays from an isolated soundstage. In the end, though, surprise surprise, the killer is actually the guy from Creed. Everyone has a good laugh and, hey, how much of a stretch is it for the Creed singer to impersonate the Ghostface Killah? He’s been impersonating Eddie Vedder for a good two years already. And remember, a bad rock band always comes back for one good scare. Guess this is it. –AH

Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott f/Nas, Lil’ Mo and Eve – Hot Boys
    (**)  What does Missy Elliott eat for lunch? No, not Lil’ Smokies (but you’re on the right track – Lil’ Smokies is the newest rapper on the Cash Money label). Hot boys like Lil’ Mo, of course. Missy has lost 20 pounds in six weeks on the Ultra Slim Fast program, and she’s using her overflow of confidence to produce her first fuck-me-boy single. ("I be loving you like endlessly," she announces. Try diagramming that sentence.) Standard video this time – guys dancing in front of a row of fire and colored smoke, extensive scaffolds holding party people on many levels and Missy in several different creatively fashioned outfits. "Hot Boys" is one of the least interesting Missy videos I’ve seen, noteworthy only because it has more cameos than a bad Woody Allen movie. Even Mary J. Blige pops up for a couple seconds. Beep beep, who got the keys to the Jeep? --AH

Kenny G. – Auld Lang Syne (Millennium Mix)
     (zero)  Ah, it’s my second Kenny G. holiday video in as many weeks. I can hardly wait for Groundhog Day. In this "Millennium Mix" (oh, God), Kenny waxes wistful as he watches the biggest cliché news clips of last century. ("The only thing we have to fear is fear itself," the Three Stooges, the "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast, "A date which will live in infamy," Jackie Robinson going to bat, etc.) The only mildly interesting thing about the video is that some of the clips are so poorly edited together that they read like an odd conversation. ("Lucy," Ricky Ricardo begins, then asks, "are you or have you ever been a member of the Communist party?" in Joe McCarthy’s voice.) Oh, and Kenny’s alto sax is primarily drowned out by these news clips, so I can’t complain much. It’s just, come on, did we ever need to hear Kenny G’s rendition of the New Year’s song. ("Should old sax players be forgot…") BEST JUXTAPOSITION: During this video’s tribute (?) to the Columbine shootings, we hear Al Gore announce, "We can rise up and we can say, ‘No more!’" as the video cuts to a close-up of Kenny’s sax-blowing face. That’s one political stand I can agree with. No more, Kenny. We’re standing up to your tyranny and taking Groundhog Day back! –AH

Jennifer Lopez f/Big Pun and Fat Joe – Feelin’ So Good
    (**)  Lopez, the woman with the nicest ass in pop, teams up with the two Puerto Rican rappers with the biggest asses in pop, Big Pun and Fat Joe. (Call it a hunch, Jen, but I think when you’re the meat in a Big Pun/Fat Joe sandwich, you won’t exactly be "feelin’ so good.") There are two bonafide gangsta rap verses in this video, and I’ve seen it more on VH1 than MTV. Hell, I saw a Rage Against the Machine on VH1 last night. I’m starting to feel very, very old all of a sudden… I can understand the adult-contemporary appeal, though. Aside from the opening and closing raps, this is an extremely harmless video. Lopez wanders her old Bronx neighborhood, leads a crowded discotheque in a dance (Big Pun and Fat Joe, naturally, don’t join in – they’re taking advantage of the half-off happy hour appetizers), rides the 6 train and talks on the phone with her friends from an upstairs bedroom. Oh, and obviously there’s a tempo-altered interlude in the middle that has nothing to do with the actual song. The song? Not much to write home about. The drum track is sampled directly from 2Pac’s "Changes." Closing remark – I don’t know which rapper is which, but the one who goes on last looks just like Jabba the Hut. I mean, spitting image. No kidding. –AH

VJ Review: Brian McFeyden
     (*½)  This may be a bit of a premature dismissal – tonight (January 4, early a.m.) is the first I’ve seen of fresh-faced MTV News anchor Brian McFeyden – but I think I’ve already absorbed all the vibes from Brian that I need to. I went to journalism school, and I met my share of frat-boy ad majors. That’s what Brian reminds me of, and I find it disturbing, because he’s crisp and clean-cut but already trying to fill Kurt-Loder-understudy shoes. Okay, he knows the MTV News stories are lame and ridiculous. After the lead story, a journalistic expose about Gwen Stefani’s new braces, Brian’s dead-pan was the "$100,000 Pyramid" wannabe gem, "Things you overhear in junior-high lunchrooms." And he rolled his eyes after Blink 182 gave hair-styling tips from a bathroom. I applaud the effort, but Brian, you look just like the crowd you’re making fun of – frosted, Caeser-cut hair, ribbed turtleneck, etc. You might as well just start bar-hopping with Carson Daly because Kurt Loder sure as hell ain’t going to take you seriously. And you’re not exactly TelePromTer-weathered yet. Hint: Read the thing from left to right, top to bottom. –AH

Mandy Moore – Candy
     (*½)  Invariably, the only guys I know who are my age and won’t admit to still being attracted to high-school girls despite themselves are the ones who have younger sisters themselves. Those guys should steer clear of "Candy," the video from Jessica Simpson’s younger sister, Mandy Moore. This girl is young, and she’s hot. (Leave it to me to sully my clean New Year’s slate with dirty thoughts of the latest 15-year-old record company creation.) I guess it’s inevitable that these divas are going to be recruited from younger and younger ranks, but the entire thing reeks of the same lust induction of Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera videos. We boys can’t help our reactions. (Yes, it’s rationalization time. You understand.) The video begins with a pan through Mandy’s affluent white neighborhood and comes to rest in her bedroom, where she bops around in two different skin-tight outfits before being retrieved by her equally young and equally trashy friends. They cruise around the neighborhood (guess she went right out and got her learner’s permit) and attract the attention of some hot guys, who follow them to a diner, where the girls flirt with the entire wait staff. ("Honey, you gonna ogle me all night or are you actually gonna buy something?" the weathered 45-year-old waitress asks them, cracking her gum impatiently. They leave her a big tip and a phone number written in lipstick. Scamps, these girls.) By video’s end, Mandy is riding off with one of the guys, who you just know will be telling a cop the next day, "But she said she was 18!" This being the 21st century, you can download all kinds of pictures of Mandy’s head on another model’s topless body at Oh, and "Candy" completely rips off the 1997 Robyn hit "Do You Know (What It Takes)," which wasn’t exactly a work of art to begin with. –AH

Puff Daddy f/Mario Winans, Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir – Best Friend
     (zero)  Finally, the indisputable truth emerges – Puff Daddy is the second M.C. Hammer. Problem is, the music scene had a stronger bullshit detector when Hammer was around. We kicked him back to obscurity within a year of his original smash hit, and Puffy has already had a good three years of mega-stardom. As you may remember, Hammer always felt the need to include one mish-mash, odd-sentiment Christian song on each album. There was "Pray" ("That’s why we pray (pray), pray (pray), pray (pray) / You got to pray just to make it today") and his choir-leader turn on "Do Not Pass Me By," and now Puffy takes up the mantle with "Best Friend." He claims that only Jesus truly loves and understands him. (JESUS: Puff… Daddy, you say? Nah, don’t see his name in the Book of Life. Then again, this is an old edition. Jimmy Swaggert is still in here.) At the beginning of the video, Puff quietly slips out of bed -- hmm, is that scantily clad, sleeping female his wife or sinful fornication partner? -- and falls to his knees. From that point on, we get endless sweeping crane shots of the sanctified Puffy, decked out in white and seemingly incapable of lowering his arms. At one point, he wanders the desert and goes on a 40-day fast. Yeah, the devil appears to him and tempts him with the most juicy samples of the ‘80s. (SATAN: Let’s see, I’ve got the Thompson Twins, Denise Williams, Wham! and Culture Club.  PUFFY: Get thee behind me, Sa—wait, you said Denise Williams? That would be a dopefresh single.) I think there’s only lesson that can be learned from this ill-conceived, overblown video. In the last three years, Puff has had two best friends. One was tortured and crucified, the other was shot full of holes. Bottom line: you don’t want to be this man’s best friend. –AH

Vengaboys – Boom Boom Boom Boom
     (*)  The Vengabus is coming. Open your mouth. "Boom Boom Boom Boom" is the bargain-basement follow-up to the equally bad but slightly more charming "We Like to Party." Here, the same three chicks who led the Vengabus shake their asses onstage, declaring, "Boom boom boom boom / I want you in my room." (I demand full Court TV coverage if the guy who sang "Boom boom boom / Let’s go back to my room" in the ‘80s decides to sue these hoochies.) "Boom," et al, is built around an annoyingly simple Casio riff, the kind of shit 2 Unlimited used to get away with in the early ‘90s. The video is just as simplistic, save one semi-interesting moment when the three girls perform a topless baton routine, arms strategically covering breasts, of course. Here’s hoping this one never leaves The Box. Damn, music in the new millennium sucks. –AH

Classic Videos

NOTE: This week’s classic videos come by way of VH1 Classic Rock, a channel I found on my mom’s digital cable while I was home for the break. I’d never heard of it, but I can always support a 24-hour-a-day, no-commercials cable channel that plays nothing but old videos. In this case, there’s a lot of live-performance crap to wade through from the likes of the Allman Brothers (sorry, Jeremy), Grand Funk Railroad and The Eagles, but the channel is well worth having on any cable dial. Do yourself a favor and look into getting it.

Jimi Hendrix – Fire (1967)
     (**)  Okay, the song is from 1967, but this video sure as hell isn’t. From the looks of things, I’d guess this is a student film from the mid ‘80s. A trailer park couple roams around an amusement park, ready to be wed. (His tux is a leather jacket, which I’m sure would put a sneer on Hendrix’s dead face.) He grabs his ring from the carousel and races off to the loading station of the giant wooden roaster coaster (the Texas Cyclone, if you’re curious), where he and his bride-to-be rope the priest into marrying them on the coaster. After that, it’s a minute or so of dizzying point-of-view roller coaster action, the likes of which I haven’t seen since the mid ‘80s amusement-park Omnimax shows (ours was the "Chevy Show," if you’re curious) that were all strung-together p.o.v. action shots. This isn’t really a bad video, but it isn’t really very creative either. More importantly, it owes absolutely nothing to Hendrix or "Fire." For all we know, this was shot as an overlong concept commercial. Of all the reasons the video should make Hendrix turn over in his grave, that might well be the most compelling. –AH

Jefferson Airplane – White Rabbit (1969)
    (**½)  Oh, God. I never would have thought there was a video for this. Still, it was 1969, so the trippiest thing they could do was get Grace Slick and the boys lip synching in front of a crazed psychedelic background that basically looks like an unresting, hyper-colored kaleidoscope. And Grace is obviously tripping her ovaries off here. She stares into the camera, pupils as big as fucking dinner plates, and she sings the song without ever moving the microphone even an inch from her mouth. It may actually exist, but I think the perfect fate for this video performance would be to supplement it with appropriate clips from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. You just have to remember to hurl the toaster into the bathtub at the climax. –AH

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers – The Waiting (1981)
     (**)  As the chorus of this song says, "The waiting is the hardest part," and I’d bet those words apply to Petty’s situation when shooting this video. Later videos would prove Petty a music video visionary, but he had to wait for the technology to catch up to his weed-tinged creative visions. Here you can tell he’s in pain. On a stark white set punctuated only with one bright triangle of each primary color, he lip synchs, defiantly unplugs his amp chord ("Won’t be needing this…") and counts down the minutes until he can wipe all that pancake makeup off his face. Worst of all, some visionary has spilled paint in tightly regulated dribbles all over the stage. It looks like bad modern art gone awry. Poor Tom. Take another hit; you’ll forget all about it. –AH

Copyright 1999 Apartment Y Productions