Saturday, August 07, 2004

So now VH1 Classic is playing '90s videos. While the sight of two Afghan Whigs on Tuesday Twoplay made this sound tolerable, they were immediately followed by a double dose of Alice In Chains. Not cool. My brain then realized that, now, at any time while watching VH1 Classic, they could play Ugly Kid Joe's "I Hate Everything About You."

I don't think I can watch VH1 Classic anymore. They're not actually supposed to play things I remember hating the first time around. Older folks can suffer, but I shouldn't have to. That was the deal, VH1 Classic, and you broke it.

So these comments about videos I have on tape may actually wind up being a memorial rather than a celebration. By the time I actually finish critiquing the hours upon hours I have on tape, the station will probably be asking us if we remember Destiny's Child.

Guess what day these videos were taped.

Kenny Loggins, "Danger Zone": all the Top Gun clips in the world won't explain why Loggins is wearing sunglasses while sweating in a heavily shaded room, passionately lying in his bed all day and taking photos of the ceiling fan. At best they explain his haircut.

Kenny Loggins, "Footloose": They probably shot footage of Loggins feverishly filing his taxes and cleaning his pool to intercut with the flip-happy Kevin Bacon material. I wish they'd kept it. As "Danger Zone" would without it, this video consists solely of gay.

New Edition, "Cool It Now": Every miligram of testosterone in Ralph Tresvant's body must have gone into that peach fuzz over his lip. This video features Ronnie! Bobby! Ricky and Mike! doing the most gleeful pop-locking I've ever seen. Recently a friend pointed out the wisdom in this song and I really should start heeding its advice.

New Edition, "Is This The End?": I forget if Ralph Tresvant's solo career reveals whether or not he ever found his testicles (perhaps they're sitting in a jar on Maurice Starr's desk). I'm disappointed more bands don't steal the video's frame-within-a-frame . Bobby Brown, a thug lover since birth, visibly tries to cop a feel. Twice. Note the girl's quick defensive gesture. Ronnie DeVoe appears narcoleptic in one scene. Passionate, sweet, catchy, talented, likeable...I'm only offended by the success of NKOTB when I think about how much cooler these kids were.

Huey Lewis & The News "Workin' For A Livin'": There are few artists I more regret committing to tape than Huey. Even in a mere performance video I want to decapitate them all and set their corpses afire. Who's your favorite New? The smooth keyb man? The young, punky guitarist? The extra from Grease on bass? Huey? Is it Huey?

Huey Lewis & The News "The Heart Of Rock'n'Roll": Evil. OK, if you were a dad when this came out, fine, you're destined to enjoy lukewarm retro-pap like this (exposure to cute babies can't help but inspire fathers into grotesque mime). Little kids dig this muggy shit too (I know I did). However, I'm a young bachelor and this guy is The Great Satan. Everything about them screams REAGAN.

Dead Or Alive, "You Spin Me (Right Round)": Rob Sheffield, whose entries in the Spin Alternative Record Guide have forever shaped my apprecation of '80s music, gets props for pointing out that the singer cries out for someone's son before the first chorus. I love pointing it out to friends and noting that the guy later had a sex change. Most are shocked that this video was made beforehand.

Queen, "The Show Must Go On": He was GAY??? You're kidding me! Freddie Mercury? HE was GAY??? This career-spanning montage was designed to make fans who said crap like that feel like the closet case fools they are. While their music got progressively wimpy with age, Mercury went out soaring. Classic Queen is a testament to his life-long vocal majesty.

Queen & David Bowie, "Under Pressure": Boring, uninspired video made entirely out of stock footage for the best song in rock history. A batshit, grandiose plea for sympathy and love with a staggering hook per minute ratio? Earnest, touching lyrics interspersed between bursts of operatic scatting? A beat that goes dee-dee-dee-diggy-dee-dee dee-dee-dee-diggy-dee-dee (not dee-dee-dee-diggy-dee-dee DEE-dee-dee-dee-diggy-dee-dee, which is totally different)? How can I resist? How can I not celebrate this track with all the breath my lungs can muster? I was surprised and gratified to see that it made a recent UK phone poll's Top 10 of all time. There is still hope for this world.

Human League, "(Keep Feeling) Fascination": Phil Oakey, as I've said before, is best understood as a robot passing for a person, regurgitating half-understood homilies and sentiments (I bet he yells "INPUT! INPUT!" when listening to the radio) in hopes that chart sales will prove to his alien overlords that he understands why humans cry. Treasure him.

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