Thursday, December 07, 2006

What The Kids Are Watching

I've complained many times about the state of so-called "music television" many times here. The big channels like MTV and VH1 rarely air videos anymore, in favor of goofy reality shows and various other junk. I've been wondering where all the videos have gone, and thought they could only be found online. However, being currently unemployed and prone to bouts of insomnia, I've found myself awake in the wee hours of the morning, glued to the tube. Of course, bad movies and "Girls Gone Wild" infomericals dominate the airwaves between 2:00 - 4:00 am but, as it turns out, that's when MTV and VH1 actually play videos!

The problem with these channels, as with mainstream radio, is that the same stuff is played over and over, day in and day out. Below are the vids that seem to be in heavy rotation on both channels...and my thoughts. (Note: I shrunk the videos down a bit so this post wouldn't take up 3 pages!)

"Bones," The Killers - This is one of my favorite songs out right now, and the best video I've seen since OK Go's "Here It Goes Again." Appropriately, it's all about bones. As you might expect of anything directed by Tim Burton, it's eerily beautiful. The best shot is of a couple of skeletons running down the beach towards each other in classic romance movie style, then they crash into each other and literally fall apart. But where the hell is Johnny Depp? When a director has a guy like that at his disposal, he should use him in everything.

"Irreplaceable," Beyonce - I guess this is a decent song. It has a nice beat and a pretty catchy chorus. The video is standard MTV fare and Beyonce looks good as usual. At first I thought this was kind of a "girl power" song about kicking a loser boyfriend to the curb, but something about the lyrics bothers me. During the chorus, she sings, "You must not know 'bout me, you must not know 'bout me/I can have another you in a minute/Matter of fact, he'll be here any minute." That doesn't really make her sound tough, it just makes her sound like a hooker. Or a slutty rebounder, at best.

"Call Me When You're Sober," Evanescence - I wouldn't say this band is bad, and the lead singer definitely has a great voice, but they just annoy me. Every song sounds exactly the same. And every video is like a something out of an Anne Rice novel. Boring.

"Welcome to The Black Parade," My Chemical Romance - The first thing I noticed here is that the singer is now a bleached blonde, so he no longer looks like the love child of Meg White and Billy Corgan, as I previously stated. Now he's more like the love child of Susan Powter and Billy Corgan. Anyway, I'll give the director props for this clip, since it has an almost Tim Burton-esque quality to it with muted colors and a chilly feel that's almost palpable. But, overall, I give it a thumbs down. It's another lame song that sounds like a million other songs that are popular right now, and another lame "ooh, aren't we deep and dark?" video. It stars Lukas Haas (the big-eared kid from Witness) as a newly-dead guy marching in what appears to be the Homecoming Parade at Goth U. It also appears that the guys in the band raided Duran Duran's wardrobe from the "Is There Something I Should Know?" video shoot and found some outfits in the reject pile.

"Fergalicious," Fergie - It disgusts me that my 12 and 13-year old nieces love this song. I'm trying to set them straight, I really am. It's not quite as annoying as "London Bridge," but it's trying. Fergalicious. Come on. More like Fergisgusting. I'm sorry, but am I the only person who thinks this woman is a hag? I mean, she's got great hair and a killer body, no doubt. But have you noticed that the camera never lingers for very long during facial close-ups? It's because she looks like a 50 year-old, high-priced call girl. And do we really need to see one more grown woman slutting around in little girl clothes? Take the damn Girl Scout uniform off! Thin Mints are one of the great joys in my life. Please, Fergie, don't ruin that for me.

"Boston," Augustana - My brain keeps telling me that I shouldn't like this song because it seems like the kind of generic, sensitive, indie pop-rock that would normally aggravate me. I can't dislike it though. It's a good song. As far as the video goes though, it's pretty, but bland. And I'm a little surprised that a marginally successful band was allowed to destroy several perfectly good pianos. The lead singer bothers me a little. He reminds me of about 85% of the guys I see hanging around at any given NYC bar. You know, the fairly cute guys with their meticulously mussed hair who are wearing way too many layers and speak much too softly to be heard above the noise, which is okay since everything that comes out of their mouths is pretentious bullshit.

"Pick of Destiny," Tenacious D - This is pretty funny, and even though it makes me want to see the movie I'm sure I'll still wait until it comes out on video. I love the line, "She who is snarky is full of malarkey." Wait...I think Jack's talking about me! But I'm also groovy, so I guess I should be in his movie. Sidebar: This is probably childish and gross of me, but true. The first time I saw the huge poster for this movie, I thought it was going to be a movie about boogers. It showed Jack and Kyle reaching up for this big, green thing, which I had no idea was a guitar pick. I was glad to find out that it wasn't about boogs. Even the easily-amused child in me couldn't endure nose-picking jokes for two hours.

"White and Nerdy," Weird Al Yankovic - God bless Weird Al. I love this guy. He is brilliant when it comes to fame. Just when he starts to get "over-done," he disappears completely and then comes back at just the right time with more hilarity. My favorite is still "Smells Like Nirvana," but this one might be one of his best songs. The lyrics kill me ("Only question I ever thought was hard was 'Do I like Kirk or do I like Picard?'/Spend every weekend at the Renaissance Faire/Got my name on my underwear") and, in usual Weird Al fashion, the video action matches the song perfectly. And who doesn't love a good Donny Osmond cameo?

"It Ends Tonight," All-American Rejects - Now this song is the crappy, sensitive indie pop-rock I was talking about earlier. The video isn't much better. The singer goes shopping for fireworks so he can set up his own pyrotechnic show behind his whiny band, while they play this song for some hipsters at a truckstop. I can almost hear Beavis and Butthead talking about this one...
Butthead: Uhhhh, these guys have to blow stuff up so people will ignore how bad they suck.
Beavis: Mmmm-heh-heh,, FIRE! Heh-heh...mmm-heh...
Butthead: Huh huh huh huh huh huh....

"Show Me What You Got," Jay-Z - The first time I saw this video, I thought it was a commercial for NASCAR. It starts with a race between Jay-Z, Danica Patrick and Dale Earnhart, Jr., which seems odd, but then it quickly turns into a typical modern-day rap video, with the standard footage of Jay-Z livin' large with fast cars, fast boats and fast women. See Jay-Z gamble. See Jay-Z smoke a cigar. See Jay-Z flirt. See Jay-Z stand around while everyone else dances. Hear Jay-Z ask us to show him what we got about 300 times. That's 294 times too many, in my book.

Now, who wants to stay up until 3:00 am tonight to watch videos?


Edge said...

I have no doubt we are in the era of R&B again in the genre of rap. Don't like it never will. Offers nothing musically and is as mechanical and predictable as counting.

Has no value and that includes the stuff Beyonce puts out as well.


Writeprocrastinator said...

Stay up and watch videos? Sure, if I could mainline VH-1 Classics and if Comcast would get a hint and start carrying it out here.

Jay-Z? Catchy song, except the music sample sounded better when it used on "Rumpshaker" over a decade ago.

I like Weird Al's stuff the first fifty times I hear it, then...

Anonymous said...

Now every time I see the lead singer of My Chemical Romance, I'm going to think of Susan Powter and Billy Corgan. I happen to think Billy Corgan kicks ass, but not with Susan Powter. LOL

Now I know what to watch when I have insomnia, as I sure as hell miss the days of the real video music channel, myself.

scott said...

You should give Welcome to the Black Parade another listen. It's so unusual, so different, it's almost Bohemian Rhapsody-esque in scope, it totally blows away everything that is being played on rock radio. It really doesn't sound like anything that is popular right now.

Then again, I think all Pearl Jam songs sound the same, and I know you love them. I guess when you're a fan, the differences are easier to detect.

I totally concur with your view on Fergalicious. When London Bridge came out, I thought, 'This might be the worst song in history.' And then, with Fergalicious, she manages to put out a song that is even WORSE! Truly remarkable.


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