Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Pink - Stupid Girls (2006)

**1/2 (of four)

I kind of like "Stupid Girls," and it kind of annoys me. It's not that the video doesn't successfully hit its (very obvious, very easy-to-attack) intended target - the brainless-anorexia image sold the world over by TRL divas, supermodels and other vagina-possessing whores of the media. It's more that Pink, during her seven-year tenure on MTV, has been guilty of every crime she's accusing her pop rivals of.

I've got Pink's midriff and cleavage burned just as deep in my brain as Britney's or Christina's or Mary Kate's or Ashley's. During the scene where Pink's sitting at the bowling alley with her black beret and turtleneck on, looking demure and intellectual, and her boyfriend ends up staring at the big-tittied bubblehead who's rolling the ball on the next lane over, I'm thinking to myself, Bitch, I remember you in the "Lady Marmalade" video. Don't act like you don't play ball with our shallow, shallow culture.

That's my main objection, you understand. Still, director David Meyers, who has helmed his share of softcore MTV shit, treats us to a mostly fun four minutes of Pink going off on body-image insecurity. We see her alternately acting like the self-assured, dignified lady president; desperately vying for the attention of men obsessed with stacked, skinny women; puking in the bathroom sink ("I totally had more than 300 calories today!"); doing the hip-hop ho thing; preparing to undergo cosmetic surgery; and, in the video's best sequence, parodying the "Boots Are Made For Walkin'" Jessica Simpson car-wash striptease.

The pot is accusing the kettle of having an eating disorder and selling out, which rings a little false, but "Stupid Girls" is definitely worth a watch. And, ironically enough, for a video that vilifies MTV's shallowness, this Pink clip is really quite spankworthy.

Jewel - Again and Again (2006)

*1/2 (of four)

Jewel is like the Terminator. Every time I think I'm rid of her, she grows a metallic claw, crawls up the trunk of my car and attacks me one more time. I thought the death of the Lilith Fair craze would lead her back to obscurity. No such luck. Then I thought her wrong-headed blend of folk and adult-contemporary techno beats would prove her undoing. Wrong twice. Jewel keeps coming back again and again, as this song's title asserts. Interestingly enough, the hook even rips off Fiona Apple's "again and again and again and again" line from "Fast As You Can."

Now, Fiona I can handle reappearing every few years. Jewel just gets on my nerves, and this Matthew Rolston video - with its country houses and cornfields and soft-focus shots of Jewel lying in the grass in some kind of wedding-dress sleepwear - is a dead ringer for a Summer's Eve commercial. Appropriate, considering new Jewel singles always give me that not-so-fresh feeling. Get me some vinegar and water, stat!

Smash Mouth - Story of My Life (2006)

**1/2 (of four)

Almost as inconceivable to me as the fact that it's 2006 and I'm watching a brand new Smash Mouth video on VH1 is the fact that I'm watching a brand new Smash Mouth video and it's not a cover song and it's not on the fucking Shrek 3 soundtrack or something. Smash Mouth would have been dead on instant arrival if not for cover songs on movie soundtracks: "Can't Get Enough of You Baby" from Can't Hardly Wait, "Why Can't We Be Friends" from BASEketball (yes, BASEketball), and of course that goddamn Monkees remake from Shrek 1.

So many reasons not to like Smash Mouth, and yet when the weather gets warmer and the days longer and I start to dwell on faded summer memories, this fat bastard and his cronies always deserve a spot on my playlist. They've got a handful of guilty pleasures, and now "Story of My Life" somehow enters the eschelon. It's harmless and mildly catchy, with a low-budget Steve Harwell video that's actually fairly charming on the first few views. Which, let's be honest - a few is all the views we're gonna get.

As the video opens, the band is playing in an empty motel parking lot. (Yes, this is what it's come to...) The fat bastard heads up to his room and finds out Smash Mouth is holding new auditions for lead singer, and apparently Florence Henderson is the front runner. So F.B. gets mad and decides to walk in on all the neighboring rooms, where strange sexual goings-on are going on and nuns and pimps are playing harps. Makes scant sense, but this is the story of this guy's life, that's all I know.