Destiny’s Child – Independent Woman
Destiny's Child - Independent Woman
     (**½)  Want a good laugh? Listen to the shout-outs at the beginning of “Independent Woman,” a shameless entry from the Charlie’s Angels soundtrack. As individual pictures flash, one of the Destiny girls intones, “Lucy Liu… my girl Drew… Cameron D. and Destiny… Charlie’s Angels, uh, come on.” (Aw yeah, opens November 7… with my man Bill Murray and shit… uh uh…) The video takes place at “Charlie’s Angels Boot Camp,” a red- and magenta-toned building where pretty-looking gears churn and the ever-rotating membership of Destiny’s Child sits behind a desk and sings from a red-and-white flashing room. Clips from the movie play on backlit screens, of course, but the video has enough personality and flash of its own to be salvageable. Even if this is the 200th consecutive song from these girls that stresses that, no, they absolutely do not need a man to function. –Andrew Hicks
Destiny's Child - Independent Woman

(HED) p.e. – Bartender
     (***)  This is a prime example of something that just shouldn’t work but, ultimately, does. In this era when rockers are copping rap postures and rap stars like Cypress Hill have to resort to guitar overdubs to seem relevant, along comes (HED) p.e., the first MTV act that perfectly merges the Limp Bizkit side of things with legitimate hip-hop. “Bartender” features a dreadlocked, flow-heavy front man spitting out lyrics over a tight beat during the verses, while typical growl-rock tattoo cases with guitars handle chorus duties. The video for “Bartender” is lush and colorful, mixing nightclub scenes and strippers with darker imagery of the disturbed white boys providing the backing track. They’re performing, Blues Brothers-style, behind chicken wire while drunken bar patrons hurl beer bottles at them. Part of me sees right through this, but a bigger part tells me to just shut the fuck up and enjoy it. –AH

Lenny Kravitz – Again
     (**½)  Yes, that’s right, this song is called “Again,” as in, “Again, we’re assaulted with sound-alike Lenny Kravitz music.” And, yet again, most of the other music out is so uninspired that I don’t really mind the same old Lenny in mid-tempo ballad form. This is, I’m guessing, the token new single from Kravitz’s upcoming Greatest Hits album (“You’ll love it – all my sound-alike songs in one place!”). Part of the video shows our favorite satisfied Torso Tiger customer lounging domestically with a leather-clad Gina Gershon, while at other points he hits on a coffee shop waitress and – ho hum – performs a concert. The video takes place over a three-day span of time and seems to be telling some kind of story about Kravitz’s dilemma of whether to stick with Gershon or the waitress, but I’m not going to rewind this and piece together the plot puzzle for you. Somehow I sense it’s not worth another four minutes of my time. –AH

Limp Bizkit – My Generation
     (*½)  Interesting that Fred Durst should appropriate the title of The Who’s best-known song in an attempt to create an anthem for the TRL minions whose fate Durst so affectionately controls. As you may have gathered, it’s not quite up to Pete Townsend standards, and it’s the weaker of the two Bizkit videos this week. (Yes, we’ve been assaulted with competing clips from the backward-Starter-cap deviant-auteur, and I can’t imagine the aggregate demand equaling the supply in this case.) The theme of “My Generation”? Don’t talk shit about Fred, or you’ll regret it. The visuals? Half-baked concert footage, soundstage lip synching and female flashers in the crowd, revealing their bras. Edgy, guys. Real edgy. –AH

Limp Bizkit f/Mr. Wiggles – Rollin’
     (**)  I was wondering when Limp Bizkit and Mr. Wiggles would finally combine their immense talents and please the ears of millions. I guess “Rollin’” is their big collaboration, and it comes complete with a horrifically acted comic intro worse than the end of “Rearranged.” The other guys in Limp Bizkit pull their convertible up and holler for “Redcap” Fred to look after their vehicle for them. So he drives it away and starts, well, rollin’. The car shots, which comprise about a third of the video, are the least interesting elements. We also get a blue-white soundstage with chicks (all in backward-red Durst caps, unfortunately) and at least a half-dozen massive disco balls, and a nighttime outdoor set atop a skyscraper. Both new Limp Bizkit videos, by the way, premiered on TRL’s five-hundredth episode celebration and Carson quote-unquote thought this video was dope. –AH

Chante Moore – Straight Up
Chante Moore - Straight Up
Chante Moore - Straight Up
     (**)  Okay, this does it – I’m going to have to seriously consider implementing a Jermaine Dupri Video of the Week feature. I’ve been reviewing the man’s shit all summer, and with fall officially here, J.D. doesn’t seem to be letting up. This time he’s lending street cred to R+B singer Chante Moore (DUPRI: Uh… yeah… Chante… 2K), whom I’ve only heard from on the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack. I know, I have no business being a music critic, but I write these reviews every week and you don’t, so allow me some ignorant leeway. I have no problem with the video for “Straight Up” per se, but it definitely has that B-grade quality that will keep it confined to the anything-goes universe of The Box and BET. (Come on, you know BET will play anything no matter the quality – I’ve seen the video for Earth, Wind and Fire’s “Let’s Groove” twice in the last year.) The video takes place in the “J.D. Gym,” where all the workout equipment is designed for people of five-foot stature and endless rows of workout-dressed dancers perform aerobic steps. It’s not too exciting – at one point, the choreography involves a row of treadmills. I may be in a too-poppy mood right now, but I actually like the song. --AH
Chante Moore - Straight Up
Chante Moore - Straight Up

Orgy – Fiction (Dreams in Digital)
     (**½)  And, yes, buried in this fall’s list of high-profile releases, a new album from Orgy, a.k.a. New Order. You have to admire their attempts to keep the spirit of early-’80s new wave alive and well… actually, no, you don’t. But “Fiction” does happen to be Orgy’s strongest video to date, a moody melange of dark brown and green imagery. A femme fatale is lowered from the ceiling, Cell-style, on some kind of space-age, suspended soundstage, where the heavily made-up band members play and swirling half-circles surround them. There are lots of intro-to-film ramifications, but I’m not going to go into them because, obviously, they can’t be taken seriously. Nah, just sit back and enjoy the video, discount the band itself and forget they stole the ending from a popular video game, and you’re set. --AH 

Papa Roach – Broken Home
     (**)  The statistics are alarming; you might have heard them on the news. One out of every two Papa Roach songs ends in divorce. Like, for instance, this softball follow-up to “Last Resort,” which treads bitter-ass Everclear territory with all the faux earnestness of Blink 182’s “Adam’s Song.” The band roams a middle-class, domestic landscape as the singer whines about how he knows his mom loves him but he’s not quite sure about his father because his father is never there. (Look, dude, I haven’t seen my father in six years, but I don’t cop a hard-edged attitude about it.) He’s seen mainly through quickly flashed still photos, tossing back shots of whiskey with a demented look on his face. Some of the visuals are interesting, but the clip never reaches the point where it’s worth being taken seriously. Especially when the singer throws his own grown-up tantrum, yanking pictures off the wall and smashing lamps. Like Papa Roach, like son, I guess. –AH

U2 – Beautiful Day
     (***)  Um, I thought the big gimmick behind the new U2 album was that Bono and Co. were going back to their original sound. This sounds like the same warmed-over adult-contemporary synth music we could rightfully expect from the band who gave us Pop. Granted, “Beautiful Day” isn’t a bad song, and it gains more guitar momentum as it goes, but its sound definitely couldn’t earn itself a place on The Unforgettable Fire or The Joshua Tree. The video, though? I like it, save the frequently repeated shots of the sun breaking through the clouds – quicker than a ray of light, indeed. Director Jonis Ackerlund drops the Irish lads into a stylish airport and takes full advantage of the visual possibilities. (Ever dream of seeing Bono slide down the luggage conveyor? You’ve got your chance here.) The conclusion, which features U2 playing atop Persian rugs on a crowded runway, with planes noisily taking off and landing just over their heads, is perfect. I’ll even forgive the fact that, when Bono’s suitcase rolls through the X-ray machine, a picture of a happy, pulsating love-heart comes on the screen. –AH

Gay Video of the Week

Sammie – Crazy Things I Do
     (*)  I know, I’m repeating motifs here, since I just reviewed the gay clip from 9-year-old-with-a-conscience Billy Gilman a few weeks ago, but I’m going to have to go ahead and saddle another tween singer with the prestige of Gay Video of the Week. I’ve never been able to handle videos from little kids singing about grown-up love, even back in the days of Immature, especially not this third grader who pledges to “call you on my cell phone, baby.” Come on, kid, you know your “cell phone” is hollow and plastic and originally came stuffed with Pez. The premise of this song is the “crazy things” little Sammie does in the name of love, things like cooking lobster dinners and doing his girlfriend’s taxes. The rental girlfriend in the video is at least 14 and in real life would surely be stolen away from Sammie by an 18-year-old G-thug. But that’s the stuff David and Goliath fantasies are made of, and I’m guessing this video – with its blissful outdoor scenarios and blue-white color scheme and piss-poor choreographed dance – will inspire plenty of little kids to go ahead and ask that cute red-headed girl if she wants to share a carton of chocolate milk sometime. –AH

Classic Video

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers – Into the Great Wide Open (1991)
     (****)  Of all the man’s greatest hits and all the bong hits I’ve taken while listening to them, this has always been my favorite Petty song. The lyrics are a little insipid for the cautionary rock epic he was trying for, and Tom looks like tennis lesbian Martina Navritalova in the video, but it’s an impossible song and short film to resist. Johnny Depp, back in that stage when he was trying to properly balance pretty boy and pretentious (not an offhand dis – I love the man’s work now), plays Eddie Rebel, the rock star wannabe who arrives in L.A. with his bike and his woman and gets a job as a bouncer. The video, which also stars an aged but lusty Faye Dunaway, chronicles Eddie’s rapid rise to stardom and fall from grace with a series of vignette images and dead-on satire. (Note the Billy Idol-esque video-within-a-video toward the middle, not to mention Eddie’s company on the Billboard charts – C+C Music Factory, Color Me Badd and Extreme.) All the while, a grinning, top-hatted Petty presides over the storybook proceedings and the band accompanies him in miniature, playing on his desk with from overturned coffee mugs, wooden match sticks and the like. The album version of “Great Wide Open” is only three and a half minutes, but the video runs about double that length, and I’d love to get my hands on the stretched-out instrumental version from this video. All around, this is a classic clip, one of many drug-addled masterpieces over which Petty has presided. –AH


Copyright 2000 Andrew Hicks