NOTE: It’s been a priority of mine since the beginning of eMpTyV to be sure to include at least one video I like among each new week’s reviews. Some weeks (not counting theme weeks) I’ve had as many as four videos that rated three stars or above, but I always look for at least one. This week I couldn’t even find a new **½ video. Collected together, these ten videos constitute the worst batch of obscure, mediocre offerings I’ve ever had to review at once. Hopefully, next week will be better, but rest assured, I’m looking.

Baha Men – Who Let the Dogs Out
     (*)  This is definitely the What the Fuck? video for the week, a bargain-basement video that’s half scruff rap, half watered-down reggae the likes of which we haven’t seen since Inner Circle was singing “Sweat (A La La La La Long).” Its chorus consists of repetitions of the title followed by rhythmic man-barking, and the Baha Men are seen more than once panting into the camera. (By way of explanation, this is just as childish as anything from Jay-Z but impossibly poppy and G-rated, presumably because it’s the flagship single from Rugrats in Paris.) Opening shots of the Doggy Day Care, tended after by a decrepit, head-scratching security guard, give way to Caribbean outdoor shots of Baha barking (shot ubiquitously through a fish-eye lens shots), passive-looking dogs chasing citizens down the street and, of course, a big beach party. And I know I can rest assured the frontman from this group won’t be the last Sisqo look-alike I see in a music video from now to the end of the year. Who let this bullshit out? –Andrew Hicks

Destiny’s Child f/Lil’ Bow Wow and Da Brat – Jumpin’ Jumpin’ (remix)
Destiny^Òs Child f/Lil' Bow Wow and Da Brat - Jumpin' Jumpin' (remix)
     (**)  I’ve been watching Jermaine Dupri remix videos for years, since the days he made Kris Kross stand on the sidelines of TLC’s “Hat 2 Da Back,” and I’m starting to wonder if he never lets his proteges out of his sight. Check this video out – Dupri’s brought along his pubescent rap apprentice, Lil’ Bow Wow, and he won’t let him get two feet away from him. Likewise, Dupri won’t give Da Brat an ounce of personal space. What, is the dude worried that if he lets his guard down, his entire stable of artists will be boltin’ like Michael to the nearest hip-hop producer? For whatever reason, this is a rather pointless “alternate” version of the original, featuring the same music and most of the same footage with additional vocals from Bow Wow and Da Brat and spoken boasts from Dupri about how he’s the remix king. Look, man, you didn’t remix shit here. It sounds the same. You just unleashed your 11-year-old dog boy on the Destiny’s Child girls, no doubt spawning at least one Internet loser to write a really bizarre And, by God, I’m going to raid every search engine I can think of until I unearth it. I’m just that dedicated. –AH
Destiny^Òs Child f/Lil' Bow Wow and Da Brat - Jumpin' Jumpin' (remix)

Fastball – You’re an Ocean
     (**)  It’s a sad week on the music video front when the highest profile clip I can muster comes from the likes of Fastball, a band that owes all its success to the flashy, irresistible video for “The Way.” (And choads like me who were somehow drawn to the song but hated ourselves all the more for it.) But director McG, the white Hype Williams, couldn’t be here today – he’s off directing the movie adaptation of Charlie’s Angels – and neither could any of the hooks from “The Way.” So Fastball is screwed, and their leadoff sophomore video looks like a cross between the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Aeroplane” and Sugar Ray’s “Someday.” The black-and-white beach footage is almost identical to that bland video from Mark McGrath & Co., although the swimsuit models are sexy as hell, and the hyper-color soundstage is teeming with peacock-looking showgirls and flashy lighting. The lead singer (don’t know his name, but I’ll always remember an ex-roommate summing up his appearance with the phrase, “Adam Sandler if he never got over the mumps”) just can’t allow himself to have any fun with it. Musically, this has about as much chance of growing on me as your average Wallflowers single, which is appropriate – “You’re an Ocean” would sound more natural out of the mouth of Jakob Dylan. Not any better, just more natural. –AH

R. Kelly – I Wish
     (*)  As an R+B singer, you’re up against a brick wall when you title a song “I Wish,” because it automatically conjures up the image of Stevie Wonder’s kickass ‘70s song of the same name. For funkiness, danceability and wistful, thought-provoking lyrics, Wonder has a lock on it. But R. Kelly seems willing to try anyway, with a string-heavy ballad that laments the death of his mother and treads every corner of celebrity-bitching territory while occasionally cutting away to a bouncy children’s choir. I guess there’s no way to go but down after the one-two punch of “Gotham City” and that bullshit duet with Celine Dion, especially if now your primary influence seems to be “Tha Crossroads” from Bone Thugs. Kelly wanders the ghetto, which is filmed in surprisingly colorful tones, and whines about his success and how none of his old homies respect him anymore (“Celine Muthafuckin’ Dion, man!”) and that he wants to start going to church again. Man, get over it – you can fly if you just spread your wings. Oh, but I haven’t even gotten to the best part of this foot-in-mouth effort, the interlude in which Kelly talks up to the dark clouds in the sky and the disembodied voice of his mother asks him what it profits a man now, to gain a fortune and lose your soul. The heavy-handed and horrible side of music video was never this laughable. –AH

Next – Wifey
     (**)  The second-tier R+B group who cracked Hot Five at Nine shows all over the country with “Too Close,” their ode to inadvertent dance-floor erections, is back. And haven’t we all been waiting with bated breath? The guys preside over a nightclub with lots of geometric cutouts in the background, while the director intercuts footage of each group member getting it on with a different girl in the same hotel room. Not all at once, at separate times, by use of the flash-dissolve morph editing from George Michael’s “Fastlove.” You get the feeling it’s this cosmic roulette wheel that will eventually fuck up and leave two of the guys caressing each other with awkward looks on their faces. The bottom line here is, I can’t get into any song with the emotional plea, “Say you’ll be my wifey.” I can hear that coming out of Truman Capote’s mouth but not the dudes from Next. –AH

OPM – Heaven is a Halfpipe (If I Die)
     Reasons I should hate this video:
     1. I thought the group’s name was CPM at first, and that’s the organization name of my old landlords in Columbia, who waited three days to fix my leaky ceiling last month, as more and more plaster chunks fell earthbound and about gave me an ulcer. So that’s a bad association right off.
     2. Most of this video actually does take place on a halfpipe, and those stunt-skaters aren’t the least bit impressive.
     3. This is some lameass novelty shit, and you know every frathouse in America is bumping it.
     4. The lyric, “Right now I can’t do jack / Without the man upon my back.”
     Reasons I should like this video: 
     1. The lyric, “Right now I can’t do jack / Without the man upon my back.”
      The verdict? I rule against the defendants. And fuck CPM. –AH

Pink – Most Girls
Pink - Most Girls
     (*½)  Okay, even though her first single was wigger-Destiny’s Child, Pink gets a follow-up that sounds frighteningly similar. It even starts like an early Friday the 13th sequel, by replaying the closing moments of the last video before launching into the derivative new shit. No concept this time, no kicking her man to the curb, just harmless lip synching from the bedroom and a subterranean nightclub and beefy-beyond-belief male models who would most certainly kick the shit out of her if left to their own devices. Oh, and the dancing is Taebo-influenced, if the rest of the video weren’t pathetic enough. –AH
Pink - Most Girls

Vertical Horizon – You’re a God
     (*½)  Two clips into their stay in music videoland, Vertical Horizon has been handed the mantle of VH1 Inside Track artist. In the words of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, “Is this a good thing? No, it’s bad, bitch.” They might as well place a banner across the top of the video that reads, “Kiss Longevity Goodbye!” Anyway, here we are, and Vertical Horizon is just as lame as they were the last time around, albeit without the pithy catchphrases scrolling across the screen. No, this time, it’s all about the beauty pageant, as lead singer Baldy performs from a stylish soundstage and the video cuts in talent segment footage, along with backstage brawls. And the point of this? The girl wins the pageant and she’s still not happy with herself. Ohmygod, that is soo-o-o-oo tragic! --AH

Gay Video of the Week

2gether – The Hardest Part of Breaking Up (Is Getting Back Your Stuff)
2gether - The Hardest Part of Breaking Up
     (zero)  I guess it’s another sign of the pathetic times that MTV is allowing their manufactured parody boy group to incubate amongst the genuine articles from *N Sync and the Backstreet Boys. That the intended audience, girls aged ten through fourteen, probably doesn’t even notice a difference between this crap and the “legitimate” fluff. And I guess you’ve heard there’s actually going to be a 2gether TV show, which means at least one more music video before it’s all said and done. I’d easily excuse this stuff if it was even remotely amusing, but, you see the title? That’s the joke of the song, that these baby-faced teens (and one fish out of water who looks like an illegitimate Busey offspring) lose their belongings in a breakup. Including their cats. Funny, eh? And the visuals, mostly taken from outdoor stage lip-synch footage, don’t add a damn thing. They had the right idea in including faux TRL requests in the bottom corner of the screen, but they operate under the bottom-line principle that an old lady using the word “pimp” is the height of comedy. You guys can have this stuff back, no problem, and I’ll also give you first dibs on whatever comes out of my double-barreled pump shotgun. Sound like fun? –AH
2gether - The Hardest Part of Breaking Up

Leon's Ghetto-Ass Video of the Week

504 Boyz – Wobble Wobble
     (*)  Another year, another stupid hip-hop catch phrase. Remember “Drop It Like It’s Hot”? Or “Whoomp! There It Is!” Well, people I know have been telling me to, “Won’t you Wobble Wobble, let me see you Shake It, Shake It, now won’t you Drop It, Drop It, oooohhhh Take it, Take it,” until I’m ready to beat them with a lead pipe. The 504 Boyz are a group of No Limit guys attempting to take their place back as the kings of Crappy New Orleans hip-hop after Juvenile and his “Cash Money Millionaires” snatched up that throne last year with “Back That Ass Up.” Oh, and taking NOLA hip-hop to absurd, narcissistic, greedy heights. The video is somewhat entertaining, with all these skanky, gumbo-fed New Orleans girls shaking their ass like there’s no tomorrow. But that clip with all the old people wearing the “504” hip-hop gear has got to go. –Leon Bracey

Classic Videos

Anita Baker – Sweet Love (1986)
     (*½)  A few nights ago, a couple friends and I stumbled upon what we thought was the perfect Irish pub in St. Louis. Everything was oak, the bartender was a personable middle-aged woman and the tap flowed with Newcastle, Guinness, Killian’s and Boulevard. It was a beautiful place, and then the bartender ruined it by playing an Anita Baker. Suddenly it was like being in Oprah’s bedroom or something, all seductive adult-contemporary music throat-slitting my buzz, O.J.-style. And first up in this onslaught was, predictably, “Sweet Love,” a token entry in what has become known – thanks to pillow-talk shows on adult-contemporary radio shows around the country – as “baby-making music.” The ultra-low-budget video for “Sweet Love” takes a sparse, candle-lit visual approach on a set not unlike The Police’s “Wrapped Around Your Finger” crossed with the structural interference of the Thunderdome. A smoke machine is left to work overtime as Anita, in a simple black dress, roams and lip synchs in solace. There’s nothing whatsoever to capture the slow, sensuous energy of the song, and Anita, ultimately, is left way out of the loop. Killing buzzes everywhere since 1986. –AH

Inner Circle – Bad Boys (1993)
     (**)  See, even the classic videos suck this week. I was driven to blow the dust off this archive classic after enduring that Rugrats in Paris bullshit from the Baha Men. So I’m opening and closing the week’s reviews with bad reggae-pop theme songs, this one from the “COPS” TV show. The 60-second version, music to baton black people to, was such a smash they decided to release a full single and video in 1993. Unfortunately, the video features no baton action whatsoever, no police dogs or body cavity searches. Instead, we get bland concert performance footage mixed with black-and-white lip synch clips and grainy police footage I suspect isn’t actually from “COPS.” It’s all police cars driving down the street and close-ups of SWAT-team logos on the back of unnamed officers’ jackets. Definitely not hot for TV. –AH


Copyright 2000 Andrew Hicks