Fiona Apple – Limp
     (**½)  Like “Fast As You Can,” this video is directed by boyfriend Paul Thomas Anderson. You can tell this because, three-fourths of the way through the video, frogs start falling from the sky. In the video, Fiona wakes up, cleans herself up, wanders through her wardrobe closet and eats breakfast (an entire grape). She wanders her mansion in a well-cut power suit, and in odd montages, puts a puzzle together, curls up in a blanket and watches herself on HDTV. Oh, and at one point, she shouts the chorus into a giant man-ear. And then, when she’s done all this, we see it all again in stutter-image Fionavision montage. Then she bitch slaps the camera. Sucks when artists are abusive to their fans, don’t it? QUESTION: Is it just me, or does this new incarnation of Fiona refer to the “beast” more than the Book of Revelation? –Andrew Hicks
     (***)  Well, Fiona has finally turned lounge singer. Her new album seems like it could have been released in the 40s without too much fanfare… well, except for that godawful title that everybody seems perfectly happy to forget about. It’s a shame that things have gotten so bad that Fiona can’t even connect with the teenage girl crowd anymore. When the Pawn seems to be clinging to the bottom of the charts in a time when Britney Spears is over the 10-million-album mark. Maybe her second video can turn that around a little. It’s kind of hard to describe, but here goes – Fiona gets up, gets dressed (looking rather the classy moll I might add,) and storms around her apartment, trying to work up a good rage. No doubt this is the place where “they” used to be together. She tries to put together a puzzle of an angry, hurt girl, but the pieces just don’t fit. Why in fact, Fiona seems happy and resolved. In the end she just leaves. Hey, it’s his loss. –James Wallace

Buckcherry – Check Your Head
     (*½)  Look, it’s Stephen Tyler… er, I mean, the guy from Buckcherry, and he’s back in action, running from some vicious dogs. Someone I get the feeling someone at the record company sicced the hounds on him after he asked them when they (i.e. the record execs) were going to let him record a second album. “Check Your Head” in all its glory manages to show us the post-apocalyptic white-trash nightmare that is Buckcherry’s existence – in desolate shells of neighborhoods, there are shots of a guy with a safety pin through his nose (no, that’s not Michael Jackson trying to hold together his post-surgery nasal remnants), and the singer himself (Stephen… uh, whatever the guy’s name is) is showcased shirtless like the subject of a shrink-wrapped tattoo magazine spread. Really, he’s just painted in tattoos, as we all know by now. The word “chaos” is scribbled right across his stomach… and did I just see two guys kissing? Is this entire video done in the name of tolerance or what? Come on, you know the guys from Buckcherry make sure to put on their “queer-stompin’ boots” before they leave the house. –AH
     (*½)  Well, this is the first video of the week highlighting the average American in all their glory. We get clips of average folk of all walks of like interspersed with the lead singer, whom we shall call Steven Tyler, Jr. He spends the video showing off his tattoo-covered body and being forlorn for his lost girlfriend. She changed his life. Now she’s dead. And yes, that was meant to sound glib. I wonder if the Beastie Boys know they stole an album title from this song? I wonder if Aerosmith knows that Buckcherry stole this entire song from “Livin’ on the Edge”? Pardon me, I’m wrong about that… they actually stole their entire gig from Aerosmith, so this one song doesn’t really matter. –JW

Bush – Letting the Cables Sleep
     (**)  Look, it’s Gavin… what’s his last name? McCloud? He’s wandering down a desolate street in this video from Joel Schumacher. (Strangely, there are no black-light neon street gangs roaming, no heroes narrowly escaping death only to announce, “Lucky I had my rubber lips on,” none of that.) Instead, there are lots of Fiona stutter-motion shots and close-ups of various parts of Gavin’s face as he wanders an enormous, empty blue-stucco room and stalks a Marla Singer-looking chick (Fight Club reference – I’m protesting the fact that it was virtually shut out of the Oscars). You know, this really isn’t a bad video, just meandering and pointless like its source song. It tries too hard for “ethereal.” And stick around for scenes of a shirtless Gavin tossing paint all over the walls and eventually rolling around in some paint that got on the floor. He’s not covered head to toe in tattoos like I like from my men, but man oh man, is Gavin McCloud built. I’ll have to take a cold shower. –AH
      (**½)  A couple years ago, Bush started on this slide toward mellow electronica, and they haven’t really stopped since. I liked it when they remixed “Mouth.” This song, though? I don’t know, maybe I’d be more impressed with the effects if my friends and I hadn’t been doing similar things with a couple of delay pedals and 4-track recorder. It’s interesting enough, I suppose. This video is bewildering on a whole different level. Gavin makes out with his girlfriend in a bare room of a recently rented apartment. She leaves him, and he paints his anger (i.e. the song lyrics) onto the walls with his own body. Oh, and he runs into her later, where we learn she’s deaf. (GAVIN: Hello, is it me you’re looking for?) This is definitely British alt-pop at its strangest. Interesting to watch, but I just come away bewildered. –JW

Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee)
     (zero)  WTF? I saw this on The Box about six weeks ago when I was home for New Year’s, and I never dreamed it would break through. I guess the devil is still accepting some people’s applications after all. “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” as evident from the artist/song title, is some real Dance Mix USA Volume 8 shit. The video starts out with rotating TVs on tentacles, all featuring the singer, and then cuts to a spaceship full of computer-animated blue creatures. (“They probed my ass AND made me dance!”) As it progresses, we see more of the singer, all decked out in Adidas, singing the words “da ba dee” over and over. The words eventually even give him the power to kick those blue aliens’ asses. Man, this is bad. Please note that James actually gives this shit a thumbs-up. –AH 
     (***)  Now that AMP doesn’t seem to be on the air regularly anymore, I guess MTV is just filtering this stuff out with everything else. Of course, I’ve actually seen the Eiffel 65 album for sale at local music stores, so I guess it’s for real, although what an entire album of this would be like is left for far wiser men than I. The video is a battle between the missing Backstreet Boy and a legion of little blue space aliens who are trying to keep him from performing his song to another legion of little space aliens who groove en masse to this admittedly very catchy little ditty. Of course, you can’t forget the fact that the chorus of the song is “Da Ba Dee Da Ba Da,” for very long, but it’s fun while it lasts. –JW

Hoku – Another Dumb Blonde
     (½)  Gee, what’s this doing on MTV? Let’s trace the branches on the Viacom family tree, shall we? Nickelodeon puts out Snow Day, a lame attempt at family entertainment, and the no-name Hoku is the headliner on its soundtrack. So without any real TRL support (even though the Snow Day website begs users to vote for it on TRL), this song cracks MTV anyway. The music starts off as a ballad and then switches into Poke-techno, with the lame-brain chorus, “That’s alright, that’s okay / You never loved me anyway.” As the video opens, a teenage bohunk is checking his e-mail on an Imac, and this video pops up instead. We see Hoku singing in front of a snow backdrop (surprise) and even the “Genie in a Bottle” beach party motif, just in case this video survives to summer. Meanwhile, I’m wondering why she calls herself Hoku. Is it because her essence can be summed up in a three-line poem with five, seven and five syllables in each respective line? Probably not. She’s not Asian, and she’s really not very pretty as far as music-illiterate, instrument-nonplaying teen idols go, not up to the Christina Aguilera or even Mandy Moore standard. –AH 
     (**)  Wow, I couldn’t have said it any better myself. Don’t blink, or you’re going to miss this Britney Spears wannabe who only exists because of the Snow Day soundtrack. It’s bland, child-safe girl-pop, and the video follows the same line. Clips of Snow Day (which I’ve been spared thus far) are cut with Koku filming a video e-mail to dump her boyfriend, who’s been running around behind her back. She’s no dummy, but she’s not mad either. She hopes he finds what he needs. Or as she puts it, “It’s all right, it’s okay, you never loved me anyway.” So nyah. –JW

Lit (f/Pamela Lee as Vallery Irons) – Miserable
     (*)  Can I sum this up in 100 words or less? Okay, here goes… The concept of “Miserable” is that a miniature version of Lit is performing atop an enormous version of Pam… Vallery… whoever. The camera circles as the band plays on her bikini-covered ass, which doesn’t look half bad, as they perch on her impossibly high heels and stumble through her bleached-blond hair. In the end, she eats them, just gobbles them whole. What incredible metaphoric imagery. This isn’t just bad, it isn’t just disturbing, it’s disturbingly bad. QUESTION: Is it just me or is the rattail goatee the white-trash band fashion of the year? –AH
     (**½)  Lit makes me complete. (Shocked? Just wait.) Lit makes me complete. Lit makes me completely miserable… ahh, there we go. I figure if that gimmick rhyme scheme will work for them, it will work for me. And no, that title isn’t a joke. The video really features Pamela Anderson as a giantess whose role through most of the video is to lounge around in a skimpy Barbarella-esque outfit while the band plays on her rotating ass. You think I’m kidding, but it gets worse. Halfway through the video, she has enough of this nonsense and just devours the band. Literally. She chases the band around the blue screen set and eats them, one by one, and proceeds to saunter off the set. Does she think we’ll let her get away with devouring Lit like that? Aren’t you outraged? Well, no, I don’t care either. Well, yeah, I guess it is a service to the community. Never mind. Confused by my dissing of the band and high rating of the video? Well, whenever I see something this ridiculous being gotten away with, I’ll let it pass once. And folks, MTV swallowed this one hook, line and sinker. –JW

Madonna – American Pie
     (*½)  And this one time, at band camp, Madonna stuck a flute in her… Okay, is it too soon to give out the award for Most Pointless Cover Song of 2000? I mean, the “No-No-Notorious” Duran-Duran raping by Puffy was one thing, but why the fuck is Don McLean’s one musical bread-winner making a resurgence all of a sudden? First the teen sex movie of the same name made $100 million at the box office (study the credits hard enough and you’ll see that McLean holds trademark on the phrase “American Pie,” so in some fashion or another, he was laughing all the way to the bank), then Weird Al’s Episode One makeover. Now it’s the flagship song on the soundtrack to Madonna’s new “Oops, my gay best friend just impregnated me” movie with Rupert Everett. Five seconds into the video, it’s apparent Madonna is back in slut mode. (I mean, are her nipples always erect from nursing, or does she keep them that way for our benefit?) She spends most of the video cavorting in front of the American flag – at least she’s not using it as apparel anymore – while wearing a tiara, and we get to see America in all its candid beauty. A lot of the same “America” as the new Buckcherry video, apparently. Piercings, toothless old men, tattoos, 40-year-old women posing pathetically as teen idols and… did I just see two girls kissing? Mercifully, there are no actual clips from the Madonna/Everett movie, but see if you can survive the part where she marches patriotically and then straddles Rupert’s lap. He’s a brother figure to her, I guess. He’d kind of have to be. –AH
     (*)  In any decent society, this video would be the artistic equivalent of shooting yourself in the head. Fortunately, this is America in a time where karaoke can be passed off as legitimate music. I’m no Don McClean fan, but if I were, I’d be outraged. As it is, I’m just kind of sickened. This is the second video of the week showing Americans in all walks of life, but this one seems to be more agenda driven. We have Madonna parading in front of an American flag and trying to keep her pants pulled up cut with scenes of all different kinds of Americans, all of whom deserve to be in front of the flag as the next… even the guys with their mouths pierced together. Gays kissing in front of the American flag? Gasp, shock! Madonna, you rebel. The video ends with Madonna (who is trying very hard not to look like she’s in her third decade of music excellence) dancing with her boyfriend and trying to keep her pants pulled up. I wonder who made that decision? “Yeah, let’s just keep the ass-crack shots in; it adds flavor.” Madonna… how much more of her will we have to deal with anyway? Isn’t it time for the new-decade artist purges? –JW

Rah Digga f/Busta Rhymes – Imperial
     (**)  I had to rewind the video to make sure I got this artist credit right. At first, I thought it said “Big Digga” (sounds like some kind of toy earth-mover “from Tonka and shit”). No, this is a female Busta Rhymes protégé, apparently. He puts his stamp of approval on it from the first, but from the sound of the song, I’d hope he at least got some quality weed and poot out of it. “Imperial” features a high-pitched, nursery-rhyme synth line, and Rah’s flow is loud, whiny and a little bit awkward. Her look is half Eve (the Ruff Ryder queen should definitely do a quick inventory of her wardrobe to make sure nothing is missing) and half Mary J. Blige, with none of the positive qualities of either. I’m not really into this, I guess. Rah raps from various settings while Busta looks on or tentatively slides an arm around his shoulder, as if she could deck him at any moment if he oversteps his bounds. You know, Busta, the Puffy thing doesn’t suit you well. –AH

Santana f/Wyclef and The Product G&B – Maria Maria
     (***)  Okay, Santana went white with his first single from Supernatural, now he’s going black in full Wyclef style. Well, not exactly full Wyclef style, since he’s barely on the song, but no matter. Santana doesn’t seem to notice; just sit him down with a guitar, and he’ll make a video with whoever. (It’s kind of like Stevie Wonder in the “Wild, Wild West” video – they probably told Santana those cameras were just for show.) The video for “Maria Maria,” which is really a decent hip-hop/pip-pop number, is all non-descript pastels and lingering close-ups of Santana’s guitar. My only real quibble is that, instead of the bevy of Lenny Kravitz heroin-model beauties from “Smooth,” this video only focuses on one such LKh-mb. The title character, I’d assume. And there’s a street party, naturally, where Santana even pops in with an incoherent rap or two (“hakunamatatawhatawonderfulphrase”). But there’s a lesson you have to learn at some point in your life, and that lesson is, Metatron or not, Carlos Santana is cool no matter what. –AH
Vertical Horizon – Everything You Want
     (**)  These guys look kind of punky (bald, jean-jacket look; a mild Powerman 5000 makeover at one point), but the blue tint and split-screen mirror-image shit gives it away. Pussies. The entire way through, it’s like a fucking cavalcade of quote-book bullshit. “Wherever you go, there you are.” “There are two sides to every story.” “Everyone rides in style.” “Every dog has his day.” How about, “This aggression will not stand”? –AH
     (**)  And they said there would never be another Live. Nevertheless, we’re getting this bland effort from a former accoustic band turned post-alternative. This video is a sordid tale of a girl who goes through a string of “perfect” men, never finding what she really wants and needs – namely, the lead singer, of course. She should like him because he’s real, just like her. As the subliminal messages flashing say, he’s “everything you want, everything you need.” Of course. Maybe he’s hoping she’ll watch this and be hip-mo-tized! I know I’m in love with his bald ass. So, in summation, he’s real deep, this bitch should love him, and he can’t understand why she doesn’t. Life sucks, don’t it? --JW
Classic Videos

Paul Simon – You Can Call Me Al (1986)
     (**½)  This is the essence of the old VH1, and I figure since Chevy is tearing up the silver screen in Snow Day and “You Can Call Me Al” Gore is running for the oval office, it’s a good time to dredge this song back up. I can’t remember – before this passed the territory of Song and became Cliché, did I think this was good? I can’t judge this on its own merit anymore because it’s become such a Muzak staple. The video is just as potentially embarrassing, filmed on a pink soundstage where Chase hamming it up by lip synching all of Simon’s lyrics while Simon tries to get a word in edgewise. After reciting most of the dialogue to National Lampoon’s Vacation, Simon performs a flute solo and drags out his bass guitar and bongo drums for some Amazing African Rhythms pilfered from the best. Oh, and Simon carries a pained look on his face the entire time. I’m not sure whether the look was rehearsed or involuntary. The video for “You Can Call Me Al” isn’t art, and it’s best taken in small doses, but it is actually kind of cool in an odd way. –AH

Stereo MC's -- Connected (1993)
     (***)  I bought this album; I admit it. There was a comic book store out by one of my friends' houses in high school that had a very limited selection of CDs. I bought the Bangles greatest hits (later sold back, trust me), a double-set from the Beatles and this album. The entire Stereo MC's album, and apart from their barely played second single ("Step it Up," a superior dance track), nothing worth keeping. But seven years after its original release, I have to admit I still like "Connected." It's what early '90s Brit dance pop was all about, and it's almost a cliche at this point. (Yeah, I heard it in Deuce Bigalow at one point, I think.) The singer looks like an over-haggard cross between Chris Cornell and Jack Kervorkian, and the video is full of oozing blue-screen imagery, as Chris Kervorkian bounces around in an oversize jean shirt and the Pink Floyd soulsista back-up singers keep the faith. Only the best for the Stereo MC's. --AH

Copyright 2000 Apartment Y Productions