Monday, July 03, 2006

The Jacksons - Can You Feel It

*** (of four)

Regardless of the plastic surgeries, the horrifying stories of alleged child abuse at the hands of their father (I wonder how Joseph Jackson feels about being the first motherfucker EVER to literally beat the black off his child?) and wardrobe malfunctions, the Jackson family has made some great pop music. I know I'm not the only one who's ever bounced my head to "ABC," "I want you Back" or "Dancing Machine."

This video from the early, early 80's (pre-Thriller) still somehow holds up - cheesy, outdated special effects and all. Also, lots of obnoxious sound effects are integrated into the song. Basically, the Jackson brothers are cast as benevolent beings sprinkling magic pixie dust from the skies above to the masses below, bringing love, peace and unity to the world. Yeah, pretty cheesy premise. (You mean to tell me that Tito is going to bring happiness to the masses of the world?)

Nevertheless, this is a poppy, feel-good kind of song, with a killer bass line (obviously sampled a few years later for Madonna's "Material Girl" and a number of other songs) and even though it's not my favorite song from the Jackson family, I'm certainly "feelin' it."

-Guest Reviewer Leon Bracey

Paris Hilton - Stars Are Blind (2006)

1/2 (of four)

My hatred for this spoiled heirhead knows no boundaries - from the top of her vacant head to the soles of her uglyass oversize feet. No suprise that I wouldn't like this video, which looks like outtakes from Anna Nicole Smith's TrimSpa commericals, with Paris traipsing around a beach in a bikini and making out with some himbo. The music is warmed-over reggae music, sounds a lot like an old UB40 song, and Paris Hilton's voice is Pro-Tooled to death. Britney and J-Lo are going to be so proud. Yecchhh...

-Guest Reviewer Leon Bracey

Jamie Foxx - Unpredictable (2006)

*1/2 (of four)

Jamie is singing to his woman about how "unpredictible" his lovemaking skills are. I don't know about that, but as for this video, from the double-letterbox format Hype Williams loves to use to the phoned-in Ludacris cameo to the obviously sped-up sample more than likely produced by Kanye West, oh no the fuck he's not.

-Guest Reviewer Leon Bracey

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

UNKLE featuring Thom Yorke - Rabbit In Your Headlights (2003)

***1/2 (of four)

I can spend weeks, it seems like, without ever happening upon a true high-quality music video on the major networks. That's when I break out my Directors Label DVD collections. Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry, Mark Romanek, Stephane Sednaoui - all are worth owning for any fan of the music video medium. Perhaps the briefest and most bizarre collection belongs to director Jonathan Glazer, whose most famous videos are Jamiroquai's "Virtual Insanity" and Radiohead's "Karma Police."

"Rabbit In Your Headlights," from British trip-hop act UNKLE, is more a short film than a music video, with dialogue and sound effects frequently drowning out the music itself. A seemingly homeless man in a parka is walking through a highway tunnel, muttering to himself in traffic lanes. A few cars narrowly avoid hitting him, but soon the carnage begins - one car sideswipes the man, and he goes flying. But he gets back up, keeps walking and is soon nailed head on again.

Three or four more times this happens, and just when it appears he's about to collapse, he removes his clothing and continues walking. The next car that hits him - in the true money shot of the video - is demolished on impact, while the naked homeless man stands unharmed, arms outstretched in a Christ-figure pose.

The meaning of all this could be as complex as figuring out the metaphysical mysteries of the universe or as simple as enjoying the image of a man being hit by a car, but the cumulative visual effect of Glazer's video is miraculous and fascinating no matter how you approach it. And, if you're a fan of Radiohead, you're sure to enjoy the audio side of things as well.