The Corrs - Breathless
Corrs - Breathless
     (*½)  You’ve seen the magazine ads for this album, haven’t you? All talking about how “the entire world has fallen in love with The Coors, and now it’s America’s turn,” and shit. Well, I’m not buying it. This is Shania Twain crossed with The Cranberries, and everyone in the group is somehow related. I’ve dreamt more creative pop music pitches in the past three days. E-mail me and I’ll tell you all about my hip-hop act that’s like Limp Bizkit with Isley Brothers sensibilities and a little early Gary Numan tossed in (and they’re all second cousins!). But back to “Breathless,” which is your standard Nigel Dick joint, polished and sleek but empty as Michael Dukakis’ inbox. The video takes place at a rural airfield, where the Corrs girls show up with their violins and shit and put on an impromptu show underneath a charter jet. (And, yeah, someone straddles the luggage carrier.) A few hayseeds look on at first, but some groupie posts flyers all over a stretch of telephone poles and, by the final chorus, a huge crowd is cheering the girls in love with them. Ain’t that America – yep, it’s alla y’all’s turn to fall in love with The Corrs. And my turn to fish out the fucking channel changer. –Andrew Hicks
Corrs - Breathless

evan and jaron – Crazy For This Girl
evan and jaron - Crazy For This Girl
     (**)  Oooh, this is soooo VH1-trendy. Evan and jaron, in the tradition of Chad and Jeremy, Simon and Garfunkel and Hall and Oates (What’s that sound I hear? Ah, yes, the nail being driven into the coffin) before them, are a pair of precocious singer-songwriters looking to cross over. And, what with the way the director washes out evan’s (or is it jaron’s?) face and lets those sky-blue contacts glint, either one of these guys could be the next Jakob Dylan. Why, they’re both fucking hot enough that all they have to do is set up shop in a dive bar and the rented models literally come running. At the video’s open, the bar is nearly empty – by the end, it’s like a boss party at the Coyote Ugly. There’s even a disco ball. Evan and jaron, if you couldn’t guess from the lowercase posturing, are official VH1 Inside Track artists, a title of honor that prompted one of the members of Buckcherry to commit suicide. –AH
evan and jaron - Crazy For This Girl

Ricky Martin – She Bangs
     (*½)  Shit, man, I thought Ricky was over and done with. Of course, before last week, I thought Robbie Williams was over and done with, too. I guess no relief is in sight; we’ll probably even see another solo New Kids single before the year is out. And now, in simultaneous attempts to elevate himself above the navel-bearing cocktease antics of the girl teen stars and the squeaky-clean posturing of the boy teen stars (not to mention Ricky’s hellbent mission to convince the world that, even though he’s super, thanks for asking, he is 100 percent not gay). So, like George Michael before him, Martin is deflecting any rumors of the ass-ramming variety by surrounding himself with scads of gorgeous, rented models. And it has some people’s attention – my brother, who normally gravitates toward growl rock, suddenly thinks Ricky Martin is the man. But I just can’t handle the ante-upping of “She Bangs,” which through the magic of special effects can show feminine hands roaming endless clones of Martin washboard abs while he’s tossing out innuendo like “I’m just a link in your daisy chain.” And while I’m wondering why he chose to use the phrase “daisy chain,” I have to contend with a computer-animated mermaid flying through Ricky’s party, lots of strobe lights and quick-cut, orgiastic dry humping. It’s a feast for the flesh, and that automatically makes “She Bangs” a little better than your average Backstreet offering, but you’ll forgive me if I say Ricky Martin is one of the last people I want treating me to the aforementioned feast for the flesh. –AH

Morcheeba – Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
     (**)  <record executive>Good God, Macy Gray just won two more awards at the VMAs! Get me another black girl who can sing white and be perky! I want someone who looks like she just fell out of a toothpaste commercial! I want the next “Walking on Sunshine.” Fuck ghetto angst!</record executive> And so we have “Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day,” from VH1-friendly singer Morcheeba. (If you can’t see the patently obvious pun in the name, you must not have half as many pothead friends as I do.) It’s a song that tries its absolute hardest to extract a smile from your face with needle-nose pliers, and the video is a city scene full of happy mimes, dancing office workers and lip synching earth mothers. Extras lip synch at least as much of the song as Morcheeba and do twice as much dancing. The whole affair would be appalling if it weren’t so innocuous and forgettable. <record executive>And I want the bitch to put the word “harmony” in the chorus at least twice. That’ll let everyone know she’s uppity.</record executive> –AH

Samantha Mumba – Gotta Tell You
     (*½)  Samantha Who, you ask? Your guess is as good as mine. I’ve just decided her video has popped up on MTV too much the last couple weeks for me to ignore it. Basically, what we have here is a junior diva with a bad hair weave who sounds like Toni Braxton if she never bothered to clear her throat. The video for “Gotta Tell You” is bland but not completely unlikable, much like the song itself. Mumba (couldn’t they have come up with a better last name for her?) spends the video wandering through people’s apartments, down fire escapes and sidewalks and leading her indistinct posse in some indistinct choreographed dancing. Some of which involves indistinct white chairs. I’d describe the video in further detail, but it’ll be gone in a few weeks and, more than likely, so will Mumba. So I can’t devote the space to “Gotta Tell You” that I would to, say, a Ricky Martin comeback attempt. –AH

Nine Days – If I Am (Story of a Girl)
     (**)  I’d say at least seven days of this band’s shelf life is up already. God, can you believe it’s only been five months since “Absolutely (Story of a Girl)” first hit radio airwaves. It’s been one of those airplay nightmares so pervasive you can barely remember what your consciousness was like before you started hearing it every hour on the hour. The premise of “If I Am” is a simple one – the lead singer is stalking his girlfriend… or somebody… let’s just say it’s a girl who cried a river and drowned the whole world. He follows her through her apartment, across the street and into a hollowed-out department store, all the while singing such Mark David Chapman nonsense lyrics as, “You should never let the sun set on tomorrow before the sun rises today.” Eventually, she’s downright running from him, pausing only to scream out that she’s been dating the singer from 3 Doors Down and he’s big and plays football and is going to kick his (i.e. the Nine Stories stalker’s) ass. Then she cries a river and drowns the whole world. –AH

Sinead O’Conner – Jealous
     (**½)  Take the quiz here – is Sinead jealous of, a) the reigning divas of teen pop, who think of her as a dowdy middle-aged lesbian whose head resembles a Grade-A farm-fresh egg or, b) people who have more hair than she does, like Ted Danson? The answers are in the back of the book, for those of you who are interested, but I’ll leave the rest of you to my brief synopsis of our brand-new clip from this spiky-hair chanteuse. So here goes – she’s on a bench in a bus terminal, she’s on her bed, she’s lying on the grass in the park. That’s the video. You want a less-brief synopsis? Okay, she’s wearing this plain white neck choker dress, while the director’s tricky camera work makes the transitions between bus terminal, bed and park seamless. In each location, life goes on without Sinead, although I have to admit, this is a rather accessible little ballad. I usually dismiss Sinead out of hand, but maybe that shit from Dido softened me up this time. –AH

Outkast – B.O.B.
     (***)  This looks like the kind of video Hype Williams used to make before he got all into the idea of dressing his performers up like breathing, heavily made-up robots and making his sets appropriately metallic. “B.O.B.” (you can deconstruct the acronym any way you like – I don’t know what it means and can’t muster a single appropriate one-liner) is a manic, winsome hip-hop number with subtle techno blips, a blistering guitar solo and rapid-fire delivery from rapper Outkast and company, and the pseudo-Hype look from director David Meyers matches perfectly. It begins with a sea of kids running through a field of purple grass and cuts to shots of Outkast leading them, while on another soundstage blond-wigged honies gyrate for sparkling red backdrop. Later, the rappers hop from car to car and end up partying inside a stained-glass-interior limo and driving a hydraulic-boosted Caddy that pops from the back of an 18-wheeler. The color scheme is engaging, the images surreal but not ridiculous and the clichés reworked enough to make things interesting. And there’s some tittie-shaking, too. –AH

Vast – Free
     (***)  Once again, I’m either too stubborn or lazy to do my homework. I know nothing about Vast, whether they’re some struggling local band who’s finally cut a break or some record company creation. All I know is, “Free” is an accessible enough modern rock song with slightly rough edges and an imaginative video (from director David Meyers – see the Outkast review above) that makes up for any of the song’s musical ambiguity. While the band plays from a knee-deep marsh, two Mafia men pull a body from their trunk and sputter out to the lake in their motorboat. They jettison the body and head back to shore as Meyers shows the still-moving corpse (which happens to be the lead singer) extricating himself from his burlap confines, Houdini-style. And no sooner has he crawled ashore and reoriented himself than computer-animated vines chase him down and drag him back into the water. Before the video is over, the unlucky corpse is also cocooned by a pair of enormous spiders, and a band of fluorescent butterflies will smear themselves across the Mafia men’s windshield. “Free” is relentlessly entertaining and mercifully short, so as not to wear out its welcome. –AH

Gay Video of the Week

Frank Sinatra and Bono – I’ve Got You Under My Skin
     (**)  This is far from the gayest thing either Frank or Bono have been involved in, but somehow this one always leaps out at me, especially Bono’s catcalling of, “Don’t you know – y’old fool – you never can win!” to Frank, who promptly has him beaten down by a dozen Mafia men with chains. If you’ve forgotten or just plain not heard of this team-up, it’s from Frank’s album Duets, featuring the Chairman singing covers of his old hits with current artists who never got to set foot in the studio with him. The video shamelessly tries to cover up that fact, featuring obviously manipulated footage of Frank and Bono sitting in the back of a limo together while the camera scans rows of televisions playing old and current footage of Frank and solo lip synch footage of Bono. Sinatra and the U2 front man – never the twain shall meet. Never does the video truly entertain, either, unlike the campy duet itself, which is a personal guilty pleasure. –AH

Classic Videos

Glenn Frey – The Heat Is On (1984)
     (*½)  If you were unfortunate enough to live in St. Louis during the championship run of the 1985 Cardinals, you heard this song every ten to twelve minutes. “The Heat Is On” was the official song of a bad umpire call that cost us the World Series, and consequently, I’ve always hated it. Never mind that the only thing worse than the fucking Eagles is a solo track by one of the aforementioned, and never mind that Beverly Hills Cop similarly overdid the song. All things totaled, this song is played out through 2043 at least. The video, which pops up once a day or so on VH1 Classic, is nothing to write home about. Beverly Hills Cop clips are interspersed with black-and-white shots of a bored-looking man in a Hollywood cutting room and Frey, sporting George Michael proportions of stubble, lip synchs from a soundstage with lots of silhouettes of fan blades whirring. I guess because it’s so damn hot. Whatever. –AH

The Mamas and Papas – California Dreamin’ (1967)
     (**½)  Another of those dubious “classic videos” assembled well after the fact, “California Dreamin’” is a simplistic take on the Mamas and Papas staple (and one of those oldie clichés I still can’t get enough of) that features old performance clips of the band interspersed with black-and-white footage of good citizens battling winter cold and color footage of bikini-clad Californians. The juxtaposition is an odd one – directly after the line “I stepped into a church,” there’s a shot of a hand rubbing suntan oil all over a woman’s ass and thighs – but as these packaged non-videos go, it manages to hold my attention for all of three minutes. If just because the bikini women serve as proper comedic contrast to the 6X muumuu Mama Cass is wearing. Beware of ham sandwich. –AH


Copyright 2000 Andrew Hicks