Monday, September 12, 2005

MTV Killed The Video Star

I've been wondering for a while now why MTV and VH1 bother to keep the "M" and the "VH" in their respective names. (They stand for "Music" and "Video Hits" for any of the younger generation who have probably seen neither on these channels and may have been curious as to the meaning of the acronyms.) I will occasionally catch some videos on VH1, but usually just in the wee hours of the morning. Aside from those few occasions, it has basically turned into a Reality TV/Nostalgia Show network.

MTV is much worse. First of all, at least VH1's shows are entertaining. I can't say the same for the crap I've seen on MTV. Laguna Beach? What the hell is that? Maybe I'm just old. At any rate, I remember back in the early days of the station that they didn't have enough videos to play, resulting in much repetition and having to air clips of bands performing on talk shows. Now that there are an infinite number of videos in existence, they don't play any! The only time I've ever seen videos on MTV is on TRL, where the same videos are always played and usually for only a minute, so they can give more airtime to all the screaming teens in the studio and out on the street. MTV should just morph into TTV (Teen TV) and VH1 could become HSC. Do I really have to spell it out? Come on people, what else? The Hal Sparks Channel, of course.

I remember when I was a teenager, my oldest brother often called me a "mindless video drone". I would tune in to MTV for hours on end, just hoping for some Duran Duran or Billy Idol. Now, however, watching a video is something of a novelty. I'm really not sure why artists still make them. They don't seem to be as important of a marketing tool as they were back in the '80s and early '90s. If you want to see a new video, you pretty much have to look for it online.

Since Comcast is my ISP, I will sometimes check out videos on "The Fan" on their homepage. I've recently viewed a bunch and would like to give my take on them. If you're not a Comcast subscriber, all of these videos can be found on Yahoo! Music.

Tommy Lee - Good Times
Let me just say first that I really like this song. It's insanely catchy, with a great melody. But, I almost can't believe that this is Tommy Lee. I see him there in this video singing, but I'm waiting for Scooby and Shaggy to come along and pull his mask off, revealing someone like Jason Mraz or the lead singer of Train. This is pretty damn far from Motley Crue. It's pretty damn far from his last band, Methods of Mayhem, too. Being that the last thing I heard from this guy was the bombastic and raunchy "Get Naked", this song surprised the hell out of me. A pleasant, yet strange surprise. Don't misunderstand me, it's not "wuss music", although Vince Neil would probably think so. And the idea that Vince Neil probably hates this makes me like it even more. Because, let's face it, that guy is a complete toad. As far as the video goes, it's nothing all that spectacular, but enjoyable enough to watch. We find out from the get-go that Tommy still likes scantily-clad chicks, and the more the merrier. The scenes of him doing the backfloat in a huge swimming pool while wearing a white suit kind of creep me out. It's like something out of The O.C., but then when you see his stomach tattoo, it kind of feels like a missing scene from Cape Fear. As the video goes on, I get no more used to the clash of the sight of this weathered, heavily inked-up rocker singing such a pretty, feel-good song, but he has a genuine quality about him that ensures me he's not pulling a Milli Vanilli. And then at the end, he throws a fun marshallow roast. I just hope that when he was done singing that song, he didn't bust into "Kumbaya".

Kelly Clarkson - Behind These Hazel Eyes
As Randy Jackson would say, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly. Yeah, that's what I say too. Girl, why did you have to go blonde? I was so proud of you and your longtime brunette status. Anyway, I guess that's neither here nor there. They all go blonde at some point. (Unless they are already, and then they go brunette to be "edgy". Phfft.) Aside from wondering about the gold locks, I had two main questions running through my head during this video: What the hell is she wearing and what the hell is going on? As far as the clothing, I'm not confused about the wedding dress. I'm talking about that Maid Marion-meets-Xtina get-up she's wearing for the "performance" segments. At first I thought I had stumbled onto secret footage of Willow: The Musical, but Val Kilmer was nowhere in sight. As far as what is going on for the "concept" segments, I really don't know. After viewing the video twice, I really don't care anymore either. Something about getting married, or she doesn't want to get married, or she wanted to marry the guy who looks like a ghoulish Donovan Leitch but he's marrying the girl who looks like Jami Gertz, or all of it is just an excuse for her to roll around in the mud for a while. Now that I think of it, it's much like an old-school '80s video. They were always seemingly about something, but really added up to nothing while using a lot of cool visuals or atmospheric cinematography. Therefore, I've decided that I like it. Go Kelly.

My Chemical Romance - Helena
I had written this band off as one of these crappy new "screamo" bands without ever really hearing anything they had to offer. So, I decided to give them a chance. I am now writing them off as one of these crappy new "screamo" bands. Or is it post-hardcore? Or pop punk? Do we really need so many genres to describe what is, essentially, crappy music? Actually, I kind of like the chorus to this song. The singer sounds like he has a half-decent voice. But I was so distracted by him the entire time I was watching this video. I just kept thinking that he is a dead-ringer for someone who hasn't even been conceived yet. That person would be the child of Meg White and Billy Corgan. Honestly, I felt like I was in the middle of one of Conan's "If They Mated" skits. And when did being Goth suddenly come back into fashion? Is that cool again? Was it ever cool? Should we all brace ourselves for another crappy SNL-spinoff movie starring Chris Kattan, reviving his Azrael Abyss character?

Shakira - La Tortura
The most important thing I've learned from this video is that Shakira can move her boobs independent of the rest of her body. It's a maneuver that's a lot more difficult than it looks, believe me. I tried recreating it myself and damn near threw my back out. The other thing I learned is that grease is the word, once again. But not in the good, T-Birds kind of way. Apparently a woman shimmying around covered in grease is sexy. Of course, "sexy" is in the eye of the beholder, and the guy that's doing the beholding in this vid is one weird dude. He sees Shakira in the kitchen chopping up vegetables and MUST HAVE HER. He practically attacks the poor little half-naked chef. Yet later, she's writhing around on a table and simulating sex on the floor and the guy just sits there, calmly eating his box of Chinese take out. What is with this guy? Oh, and on a personal note, I'm kicking myself now for using the "sounds like she's singing with a mouthful of peanut butter" analogy on much less worthy Jessica Simpson. If anyone has a Jif addiction, it's Shakira.

Missy Elliott/Ciara - Lose Control
"I've got a cute face, chubby waist, thick legs in shape, rump shakin' both ways, make u do a double take". Wow, how much do I freaking love that? I'm not a huge Missy Elliott fan, but I gotta give my girl props on this one. Straight up. Oh God. Did I just say that? See, this is what always happens when the white people get a hold of stuff like this. We suddenly feel all "urban", try to show it and just end up looking whiter. John Tesh-white. There are some kick-ass dance moves in this vid, which we white chicks will plan to recreate in the club later on when we hear this song. It just always devolves into that same sorry-ass white girl shoulder-jerk shuffle step. And the guys just keep on doing, as Billy Crystal so perfectly dubbed it in When Harry Met Sally, "the white man's overbite". If I could just learn to shake my rump both ways, I'd be set. It sounds more difficult than the Shakira boob thrust, though. I should probably just sit this one out lest I really injure myself.

Hey...I want my MTV. The way it was before.


Sangroncito said...

3 weeks without my "Pop Eye" fix! But I'll be back first week of October from Salvador (making stops on the way down and won't have much internet access)...until then...take care! hugs, sangroncito

cmhl said...

I don't have your email, so I will post here--- dear Lord you WON my contest!! good for you. the first one was dr. hook, by the way, and yes, the last one was "one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer" by george thoroughgood..

one cd coming your way if you want it, just send me what address you want it to go to

Brooks said...

I am amazed you could find enough videos to review. Motley Crue was here in Birmingham Friday night. I heard from my home girl that they rocked the house loud and hard and that Tommy was smokin'.

I love me some Missy Elliott, especially with Ciara.Missy's "For my people" is one of the best jams of the past decade. I have the Basement Jaxx version on mp3. I will e-mail it to you if you like. It's incredible!

Anonymous said...

That Tommy video (and song) were great! I too was imporessed he had more going on that I though. And, because I love you dearly, I will let the attack on Vince go. ;)


teletart said...

OMG beckeye, you read my mind. I was exhorted the other day to see a certain vid and jeez, I'd like to know where I'm supposed to watch it. Well, you gave the answer: online. But watching it all mini-sized and cruddy on a computer screen isn't the same. Sigh. It seems like all I can find on vid channels anymore are Artist Profiles and 'list' shows ("Top Ten Best Rockers" or "Top Twenty Worst Crossover Acts" etc).

Oh for the days when you could watch endless videos after school while you did your homework. Great post, beckeye - at least you still rock!

Bonanza Jellybean said...

Do you have VH1 Classic? That's where all the videos went. I watch it just like a little girl sometimes... :)

Lee Ann said...

I was hoping you would have the answer to the Kelly Clarkson video "Behind These Hazel Eyes". I have watched it a couple of times and I too cannot decipher it. I thought her video "Since You've Been Gone" was done well, but I cannot say the same for this one. I also think she is better as a brunette.

Alice said...

it sucks... growing up, my parents forbade channels like vh1 and mtv, so by the time i was old enough to watch them, they no longer showed videos. rats.

The Everglades said...

Shakira can do no wrong--I mean, her voice is so different you almost want to laugh. If we could ever get COMCAST to come and really, seriously hook up our cable, maybe I could see the video(s) in question.


Bar Bar A said...

Do you get paid to write this stuff? If not, you should. This is too good to stay hidden here. You need to syndicate big time or write a newspaper column.

Ok, this will reveal my age...I was there, sitting on my couch stoned the moment MTV came on the air. The had been pumping it up for weeks with the "I want my MTV" ads. It was historical. But you are so right, it's not about the videos anymore.

By the way, I agree with everyone thing you said...but I kinda like My Chemical Romance for some odd reason. Val Kilmer is one of my favorite "boyrfriend". Kelly Clarkson did a huge nose dive.

Doggie Extraordinaire's Mom said...

Luckily, I'm a night owl and can enjoy occasional videos on VH1 and MTV after midnight (or 2 AM). However, I happened to be watching The-N (Noggin's teen programming) and a Backstreet Boys video came on. Immediately I moved for the remote, but something stopped me. It was the funniest thing I've seen in a long time. They spoofed 80s heavy metal bands, and it was priceless. I didn't even hear the song, I laughed so much all through it. You'll have to keep your PopEye open for that one. Who'd-a-thunk-it? Backstreet Boys doing something that entertained me!

pia said...

have a post about how in the early days of MTV my dad refused to believe me when I told him that it played videos 24/7. of course he also thought it sick that an adult owned as many cds as I did

Would love to be able to tell him that he was right; MTV's turned into something that I don't recognize or watch, but he's no longer on the earth and I don't know how to communicate with dead people

congrats on winning a cd!

m00nsh1ne said...

I can't STAND that Shakira song/video. Another one I hate is any Mariah Carey video off her new album. I L0vE the songs when I hear them but visually she ruins them. Don't they have lip-sync coaches or something???

JC said...

Ok, let me stop laughing here so I can type. I too will give my age away, but I too remember MTV when it had nothing but video's. When my kids were little I didn't have time to watch TV much, so I would just turn on MTV and leave it in the back ground like a radio. I don't think that it even had a VJ at the very beginning. I remember going out running to the Michael Jackson Thriller cassette (yes in those days it was) and my other was Girls, Girls, Girls. They were great for running. Anyway, it isn't that I don't want to watch a Mariah video, it is just that I am so sick of seeing her boobs. I swear, four or five years ago I said "if I have to see her boobs one more time. Part of what was so endearing about Mariah and Brittany when they started was that sexy innocent thing they had going on.....I vote that they put their school girl skirt and cut offs back on. What do you think?

The Zombie Lama said...

Oh man, Shakira is hot. I don't like her music much, but that whole belly dancing thing....

Sorry, I'm back.

I so agree. I HATE the MTV and VH-1. What's funny is, MTV has like 3 channels or something screwy like that, and NONE of them play music often.

BeckEye said...

Backstreet Boys good, Mariah Carey bad. I may have to do a diatribe one of these days on Mariah and how much she disgusts me.

Thanks for the compliment Well Woman. I don't get paid to write, but hopefully my day will come. Maybe I should set up a Pay Pal account and just start panhandling via the internet? "Will make fun of celebrities for food money".


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