Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Another video marathon

It's been a while since No Rock last sat and watched the video channels - some new ones have come on stream, so fuelled by Kahula-flavoured coffee, we swallow hard and grab the remote:
MTV - Nick Carter - Help Me
The vj (they don’t call them that anymore, do they?) makes a lame joke about “being stuck at the back of a queue in McDonalds”) - Nick shouldn’t worry - a few more lame ass tracks like this, and he’ll be right in front of the queue. Right in front of the customers.

MTV Hits - Zoe Birkett - treat me like a lady
“Tonight, Matthew (um, Davina) I’m going to be Janet Jackson.” Zoe clearly thinks she’s having fun so we should all, too. The trouble is, she’s neither nasty nor fastidious enough to be Ms Jackson, so you just get her bouncing about in a cheap gold top to a not-very-good anthem wannabe. The real end result of the Popstars/Academy stranglehold on pop is that we now get a procession of acts who still behave like they’re auditioning on a rainy Sunday afternoon along with six thousand other people. There’s no star quality, as all they have to be good at is talent shows.

sadly, the advert for T-mobile has more imagination lavished on it than Zoe’s “career” - machines not working getting smashed up. Violorific. MTV channels seem to be showing a lot more commercials these days - probably because they don’t get as much from Sky per viewer as they used to. And then when the long ad break ends, there’s ads-dressed-as-programmes in the form of plugs for MTv related tours.

Eventually, we get
Avril Lavigne - Sk8r Boi
“He was a boy, she was a girl - can i make it any clearer than that?” Only in a world where Limp Bizkit pass for metal could this Tiffany retread ever be mistaken for punk, or punkish, or punkette. The end - a hired helicopter pretends to be the police coming to break up the impromptu street ‘gig’ - deserves to be stored in some sort of hall of infamy...

VH1 - elton john - sorry seems to be the hardest word
It’s the 100 greatest men day today. mercifully, this at least isn’t the version with Blue on; just elton in some scary shoulder pads, looking rather sad. Then, at six...

u2 - beautiful day
It is a mark of how low ambition is at VH1 that they can’t think of a better way to fill time than day after day of spurious Top 100s; that they can’t think of a better U2 track than beautiful day; that they can’t think of five men better than Bono. Jesus, there’s three in the phrase “The rest of U2”, for Christ’s sake.

VH1 Classic - elvis costello - she
How does elvis choose which cover versions to record? Do you suppose he just gets out the Guiness Book of British Hit Singles and a pin? The trouble is, see, Elvis has a careworn voice, and matching it up with a downbeat tune sucks the life and joy out of a room so much that calling on Satan won’t help - he won’t come to you, the room is that bleak. Next time, someone get him to do Put On A Happy Face.

Actually, what I was saying about MTV channels getting very advert heavy? Not in MTV2’s case. Indeed, you’d have to have your wits about you to realise that the channel went commercial about a year ago. Like a whorehouse called the Camilla Parker Brothel, no matter how attractive they try and make themselves, nobody seems to want to take the opportunity afforded by MTV2 to get their message across to the largest group of disaffected male youths 18 - 34 offered outside of Kerranng. You’d have thought that a soap company might want to run three minutes of “If you want a real girlfriend, try fucking washing” advert. Good Charlotte turn up. What is this - Avril Lavigne’s younger brothers?

MTV Base - eminem - lose yourself
This you know, of course. I’m going to have to flip because the “music, the movement” bit is one of those hooks that sinks into my head like fishbait and will never leave

MTV Dance
No, sorry, I’m not waiting half my life for the ads to finish. Especially when they’re doing competitions like “what is the day after today called?”

This is the ‘new’ MTV channel created for Freeview - basically trying to cram all the MTV channels into one slot, they’ve come up with the plan of trying to pretend there’s a natural progression of music through the day - so kids watch at breakfast, and they’ll show S Club Juniors; then it’s older audiences during the day, then more kids, and so on until midnight when it’s just smelly perverts and they’ll show S Club Juniors. The trouble is, of course, that people watching Music Video Channels during the day tend not have the sort of life that requires any progression - nobody who gawps at MTV Dance at two in the afternoon is expecting kids back home in an hour, or a partner back in three, or anyone to call, ever, until the guy they stole their last ounce off finds out where they live.
And TMF - The Music Factory - is the sort of shit name that bright eyed Squarial-pushers BSB used to give to channels. And look what happened to them.

Madonna - Don’ Tell Me
Maddy, we wouldn’t bother. If you think this sort of drum-hum will do, you’re clearly not listening to anybody anyway.

The Box - J Lo and LL Cool J - all i have
No, J, no no no - don’t do that thing where you half close your eyes and pout at the camera - it’s not sultry, it makes you look like you’re having a little hissy fit. It’s curious pairing LL Cool J with J-Lo - presumably LL’s interest in butts has given them common ground. Unfortunately, this is one of those times when Jennifer wants to sing rather than do the trilly little thing that makes Aint It Funny so perfect pop perky. There is a bit where she looks at her mobile phone which is displaying “LL Calling” - which seems to be an odd way to program your (video) boyfriend’s details in, don’t you think? I’m trying to imagine them having sex together; him grunting “Oh, LL is there” and her rasping “You’re pleasing the management...”

Kiss - Justin Timberlake - Cry Me A River
Justin’s wearing an anorak for much of this video - clearly, having tried desperately to interest the gay audience, he’s now making a bid for the trainspotters, the ramblers, and the bus number collectors. The non-threatening but ultimately meaningless track - not, sadly, that Cry me A River - suggests this as well.

Smash Hits TV - Darius - Colourblind
Magic are doing At The Movies - again. The reliance of the EMAP stations on theme weeks (Kiss are doing Eminem week; SH it’s Pink week) is something curious - does anyone really rush home with a spring in their step thinking “Magic are showing some pop videos of songs featured on the soundtrack of movies” - which, thanks to the delights of cross-media ownership, could be virtually any bloody song anyway. In this case, Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes Up Where We Belong. Which is, of course,a sign to...

Q - Sugababes - Stronger
This was, of course, a double a-side with the Powerpuff Girls track, wasn’t it? Back in the day when double a sides did, indeed, have two sides, the existence of two lead songs suggested the band, faced with a choice between two excellent pieces of music, really didn’t want to condemn something that they felt to be genius to B-side status. Nowadays, two lead tracks just means they hope that the inclusion of two titles may make up for the fact that neither are strong enough to be worth the effort on their own.
Even if you didn’t know, you’d be able to spot the Atomic Kittenette in this video, wouldn’t you?

Kerrang -
They’re running down their Top 10 Most selected. Liam Lynch is described as “fantastically sarcastic”, which seems to be letting him off way too lightly
Bowling For Soup - Bitch Song
One day, one of these nu-rock acts will discover a sense of humour and record an album called “Here Are The Old Men”

Chart Show TV - The Prodigy - Smack My Bitch Up
They say its the album chart, but god alone knows what album might be in the chart with this on it. And the fact its the uncut version of the video - fucking, tits and arses at teatime - suggests that maybe someone at TCSTV has made a bit of mistake. It’s a woman all along - betcha didn’t see that coming.
The Proge video has butts and breasts, and it’s followed by Craig David, thereby raising the very real possibility of a punchline involving “cunt” of some sort.

The Hits - Jurgen Vries - Brave New World
It’s Charlotte Church all along - betcha didn’t see that coming. Thing is, everyone seems to be so amazed that Charlotte Church has made a not-opera record that nobody has actually noticed that its not very good. The singing doesn’t exactly stretch her talent any; and even if it did, the mix is so horrible you wouldn’t be able to tell.
The Hits is EMAP’s answer to TMF, of course, but at least lets the viewers choose the tracks to save the need for tortuous programming nonesense.

P-Rock - 4 Foot Fingers - something or other
Another new-ish channel; this is a bit punkier than the other rock channels, which means that it tends to wind up playing an awful lot of very low budget videos indeed; like an open access channel with singing, or Iraqi Tv when it’s broadcasting tributes to Saddam. The other problem is that most of its playlist comprises of not very good punk bands. Seriously, we’ve never made it through long enough to find out if they show commercials or not.

Classic FM TV - Vannessa Mae
Of course its Vanessa Bloody Mae. The Tatu its okay to like, of course. Then she takes her final bow, and Bobby McFerrin comes on. Hes got a lot less irritating since Dont Worry Be Happy. Not enough to be forgiven, but at least he’s heading in the right direction.

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