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The Goodman Video Reviews

posted by Filippo on 9/06/01

Virulent criticism has attached itself to the music video since its advent. It has been said that they bombard us with pop spectacles which obliterate creativity in favor of unbridled commercialism. Video's carve up attention spans, flaunts hedonism and places physical beauty above and beyond talent.

Unwaveringly appalled old schoolers and disillusioned Gen X ers with a diverse and fragmented taste are united in their hate of what they see as a faceless mass of milquetoast artists, stagnant formulas, and oppressive commercialism.

While the music video driven era have left some fans perpetually unsatisfied, there always remains the hope that an artist or band will introduce themselves and rejuvenate the music scene. Whenever a genre emerges, dominates, becomes terminally ill and desperate for revitalization the music gods always answer. Disco was close to starting a nationwide hernia before it thankfully faded away. Rock fans all across the country were ready to throw their TV sets through the window if they saw another mascara drenched 10 foot high hair-band wailing, 'I want action tonight' replete with leg kicks and pyro. Most Hip Hop fans were disgusted with the omnipresent bland west coast G-Funk gangsta style, that some felt were cutting the culture off at its knees..

And when another artist splashes on the scene and helps usher in an outgrowth of a stale scene odds are they will emerge packaged in a three minute video.

Puffy and the Family - Bad Boy 4 Life

Back in the mid to late 90's, when Puffy shouted the familiar refrain "I thought I told you that we won't stop" it was hard to rebuke. At the time, Puffy & Crew accomplished the impossible by  homogenizing hard-core underground hip hop with an easily accessible mainstream pop appeal, resulting in Bad Boy music flooding the country and holding TV and radio mediums hostage. The latter half of the decade has not been as kind, as the Biggie tragedy, Ma$e finding the holy ghost, a disastrous 2nd album by Puffy, along with various tribulations: Lox departure, Shyne getting bagged - have muddied the luster of the record label and now the same statement smacks as wishful thinking. If not for his headline grabbing court case and his high powered relationship with J-Lo keeping him relevant and in the public eye, there is no telling how far Bad Boy could have fallen in the eyes of fans.

Now Puffy finds himself trying to reclaim the streets and compete with the other labels and artists which have stripped him of his mantle. P-Diddy comes up with a nice effort here in Bad Boy 4 Life, a track that features a nasty beat that more than compensates for the limp rhymes of Puffy and his astonishingly sub-par crew.

It would be a simpler task to list who didn't make a cameo appearance in the video as opposed to who did show up. P-Diddy obviously wore out his cell phone in assembling the ridiculous amount of entertainment and sports stars, the sheer volume of which might bare a trace of insecurity. The storyline follows the tired  "Black people move in to an affluent suburb so there goes the neighborhood" thread with a few motorcycle stunts and pyro displays throw in for good measure. It remains to be seen if Puffy can reestablish past glory with such a mediocre lineup of rappers behind him, but with a successful clothing line and growing restaurant business, music to Puff might be falling in the hobby category.

Thumbs up for the Song - Thumbs in the Middle for the Video.

Mariah Carey - Loverboy



And this is where I cut myself today...

Well, whatever triggered Mariah's emotional breakdown from "exhaustion" surely cannot be related in any way to the effort put forth in this embarrassing tripe. Mariah's well publicized fit in a New York hotel is as cold and calculated a move as any other stunt in Hollywood, and if you believe this incident is anything more than a cheap stunt, then I am sure you are also a Kool Aid sipping platinum member of Condit Country who are steadfast in the belief that Gary Condit is as honest and moral as the day is long.

Mariah's publicist, agent, lawyer, hangers on, and even Mariah herself  probably envisioned the head on train in the form of reaction to her new album and movie. Viewing clips of her performance in the upcoming flick Glitter does not have Meryl Streep visions dancing in anyone's head, and heaven help us if her lead single is a true indication of the album's quality.

Instead of just standing up and taking the verbal shrapnel, Mariah feigned a breakdown as a simple way to drum up sympathy and support. If the album and movie tank, people will choose their words carefully because of her "meltdown." If it succeeds, we will become inundated with this 'Triumph in the face of Adversity ' bullshit that Hollywood always loves to shovel out for pampered stars. The strategy is brilliant if nothing else.

Although the video naturally follows the theme of the song (Loverboy is an ode to a car) it still comes across as terribly insipid. But then again with lyrics accompanying the video like "I want him I want him... I need him I need him," what could you possibly expect? Appearances in the video range from flavor of the week Ludicrous, the ever ubiquitous Brat, Larry Blackman, (the guy she ripped off) and a rapper so terrible I dare not repeat his name. All add nothing, and if not for  Aaliyah's death (a real tragedy that puts this ego fueled Mariah episode in perspective) one would have the morbid fantasy that there could be a NASCAR like pileup and spare us all. 

Larry Blackman of Cameo fame just looks stupefied and giddy that he finally got his mug back on camera after over a decade in exile, and seems blissfully oblivious to this nonsense of a record and video. I cannot believe Virgin records paid EIGHTY-MILLION dollars for this. Mariah, you should be ashamed.

Thumbs way the fuck down for both the video and the dumb ass song.

N*SYNC - Dirty Pop

C'mon everybody, just give us a little R-E-S-P-E-C-TRL!!!. N*SYNC has had it up to here with the dominance of negativity from the under 12 crowd, and have decided to strike back at all of their critics in Dirty Pop, which is sort of an F-You to all the people who continue to pound them with disses and criticism.

In Dirty Pop, they attempt mostly in vein to at least break away from the standard norm of boy band music and add a little edge, such as incorporating original hip hop elements into their music and jamming the set with Video hoes. Overall it amounts to the sharpness of a butter knife, but at least deserves a B-minus in the effort deptartment.  The video's special effects are as Kid Rock would say "Technologically impressive" which isn't surprising considering they have bottomless budget to screw with, and every bad ass video director scrambling to get involved with them. The video grabs your attention, and makes noise. That's ultimately the goal of these things.

Thumbs up for the video....Thumbs in the middle for the song.

Jay Z- Izzo

A dubious and annoying trend seems to be emerging. Lately certain rappers have used their own videos as platforms to plead their case for their upcoming criminal trials, which is a disturbing facet if you really stop to think about it. In Izzo, Jay continues that obnoxious trend by repeating Not Guilty throughout the hook, as well as ceasing to be a mere rapper and embracing his status as hip hop royalty complete with a parade in his honor. Of all people, Jay should know by now that money and power equals no jail time. Ask Puff.

With such a high profile setting, it's quite surprising that Jay was not rocking a bulletproof vest under his gear, as Mr. Z has been embroiled in a whirlwind of beef, with several artists surrounding his every move with taunts and potshots. Nas, (whose vicious H to the Izzo M to the Izzo have been circulating all over) JadaKiss and Mobb Deep are encompassing the streets with major league disses hurled his way. Although rap beefs was once one of the most engaging aspects of hip hop for years, times have changed and the sinister threats that have been made automatically zap Pac and Biggies gravesites right back into our minds. Funny also that a recurring theme in the disses has been Jay-Z's lack of criminal background which somehow invalidates him to the hip hop community. Tis the life of a rapper on top, the crabs start nipping -  hopefully the acrimony stays on the mic and doesn't find itself being worked out the pavement.

While some of Jay-Z's objectives may be too heavy on the flashy and gaudy ledger for some purists, there is no question that he is able to continually drop an insane amount of quality material. Here Jay flips and chops up the often used Jackson 5 "I want you back," but in a way that makes it sound fresh and appealingly melodic. Video receives a thumbs down if for no other reason than a Nelly sighting. 

Thumbs down for the Video - Thumbs up for the Song.

Willa Ford - Bad


WHERE'S MOOOPPPYY!!!!!

Everyone needs to hurry and hitch a ride on that cheesy pop sled, and here in the 11th hour is Willa Ford who come across as less talented Mandy Moore clone (!) just a little bawdier and more desperate for attention. Hey Willa, you want to be BAD? Release music with some actual substance and don't just add a slutty slant to what everyone else is doing. Originality in today's market would certify you as a rebel. It's not a shocking revelation this is just pure slop, the only reason I mentioned it was for the inclusion of up and coming indy rapper Royce Da 5 ' 9.

Record execs seem to be operating under this hideously faulty logic that somehow the merging of hip hop and pop music is a worthwhile idea. These pairings seem to be cropping up with increasing frequency, and while this may seem like a good idea at offices all across the country due to hip hop being a commercially appetizing billion dollar industry, it only ends up wounding both sides.

The Pop target audience cannot understand why these angry black men are darkening the mood of their favorite artists peppy videos, while the hip hop fans - the ones remaining at least - are forced to hang their heads in shame and pity. Sure, concessions always need to be made in order to achieve success and breakthrough to the mainstream. But there is a misdemeanor and there is a felony, and shit like this is worthy of the musical death penalty. Hope your pride doesn't taste too bitter, Royce.

Thumbs down for the video and song - A boot in the ass to Royce Da 5'9

Gorillaz - Clint Eastwood


The trendy Rap/Rock fusion has come under heavy fire, and in the process wormed its way under the skin of many in light of the watered down inferior product that inevitably pisses off both fan bases. The intention from these perpetrators is merely to cash in on a good thing rather than produce superior and revolutionary music.

Like a cool fresh breeze into the stale musty prison air is Supergroup Gorillaz who have merged to blaze a new musical trail and accomplish the synergy in styles that such a formation was meant to. Comprised from a wide range of musical tastes and varying genres, (Deltron 3030, Cibo Matto, Blur, Tank Girl..) The Gorillaz form an eclectic mix that succeed where so many pathetic attempts have failed.

The brooding sinister beat compliments the animated video quite nicely, and the combination of talented MC Del Tha Funkee Homosapian a bay area product who deserved to blow years ago, and vocalist Damon Albarn's lackadaisical off-center delivery is a lot of fun, and dares to be different. Shit, the title practically demands quality. Clint Eastwood bucks the flashy trends, showcases deserving talent, and delivers an innovative and dope product. See, there is hope after all.

Thumbs up for everything.

Filippo Goodman
filippo@whatever-dude.com
AOL IM = FGoodman85




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