Tag Archives: beastie boys

Music video week | Contributor Top 3 | Cathy Landicho

As part of Music Video Week here on PPH, we’ve asked our contributors to nominate their Top 3 music vids of all time along with a few words to explain their choices. Here are Cathy Landicho‘s choices. She can be followed on Twitter @ConfusedAmateur.

3. ‘Sabotage’ – The Beastie Boys (Spike Jonze, 1994)

MCA’s pulsing, fuzzy bass line, insistent like a police siren, propels this song’s intensity; combine that with Ad-Rock’s throaty, aggressive vocal delivery, and you get a head-banging tune that could easily soundtrack a retro cop show. Spike Jonze’s stylish, funny, frenetic and affectionate video featuring the Beasties in multiple roles totally complements each beat – from the spinning shots accompanying the record scratches, to the hits timed to drumbeats, to the long fall that accompanies Ad-Rock’s wail of “Whhhhyyyy”. The video helps you mentally strut to the song, and motivates you to try sliding across the hood of the car. (Don’t lie – I know you tried it too.)

In memoriam: MCA (who dressed in lederhosen as his alter ego Nathaniel Hornblower and stormed the stage of the MTV Music Video awards to protest Jonze losing the Best Director award to R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ – not a proud moment, but a memorable one)

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2. ‘Virtual Insanity’ – Jamiroquai (Jonathan Glazer, 1996)

An obvious choice; a totally mesmerizing and unforgettable video. Even though this was on heavy rotation for a good chunk of 1996, I’d never flip the channel because you’d watch it again and again, trying to figure out how the hell it was filmed. Is the floor moving? Or the set? But the couch is moving too… and it looks like there’s so few cuts! And why is Jay Kay wearing that silly hat? It turns out that director Jonathan Glazer came up with the concept and executed it on a manageable budget, securing the camera to a set on wheels, moved by ten dudes’ choreographed pushes. In four shots! But besides all that, the point is that it’s nigh-on impossible to take your eyes off Jay Kay and his dancing. He made it look so damn easy. If you’ve watched the video as much I have, when you dance along to this song, somewhere in the back of your mind you’re imagining the floor moving with you.

Also, check out this interview with Jonathan Glazer explaining the video.

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1. ‘Doo Wop (That Thing)’ – Lauryn Hill (Big TV! 1998)

Jersey girl Lauryn Hill’s massive solo album spawned two great music videos that pay homage to NYC: ‘Everything is Everything’ and ‘Doo Wop’. The former’s concept of Manhattan as a rotating record on a turntable is nifty, but the latter’s thoughtful split screen vision contrasting 1967’s Washington Heights with 1998’s just suits the song perfectly. The London duo Big TV! (Monty Whitbloom and Andy Delaney) manages to join the split screens seamlessly through smart compositional choices, and the symmetry maintained throughout creates an impressive illusion. It’s great fun watching 1967 Lauryn Hill duet with 1998 Lauryn Hill, with competing backup singers (though the Pips-like 1967 ones win, hands down). The old-school-meets-new-school style of the song is served well by the numerous poignant juxtaposed images in the video, showcasing the changing times of black New Yorkers of both genders. But for all its nuanced content and technical achievements, I love this video because it makes me want to hop into the screen to join the block party and get my groove on.

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Want to join the conversation? Find us on Twitter @PPlasticHelmet and use the hashtag #MusicVideoWeek.

Fight For Your Right Revisited

The short film/music video hybrid monster created by John Landis with Michael Jackson’s Thriller, is back. Many thought (and hoped) it had died with Guns N’ Roses’ cock rock monument November Rain, and despite a couple of unremarkable recoveries along the way, it really looked like it had until Lady Gaga (who seems to be making songs purely as a pretext to dress up as a lesbian vampire or whatever three-headed  transgender creature her pool of “creative partners come up with) revived it.

Since the mass media has decided Gaga is the best thing since sliced bread, the trend has caught up and now any self-involved artist with a big enough marketing budget has their own MASSIVE MUSIC VIDEO to announce their synergy with the zeitgeist, man. For example, after a series of convincing high-concept videos (Flashing Lights and We Were Once A Fairytale with Spike Jonze), Kanye West triple-jumped the shark with the 35 minute long Runawayaka Yeezy-in-Wonderland, which was ignored by most but strangely endearing in its own eg-autisticKanye-esque way. Even a respectable indie band like TV on The Radio released one to accompany their recent Nine Types of Light, although that was a more DIY affair than the previously mentioned big-budget extravaganzas.

Today’s exhibit is Fight For Your Right Revisited, by Beastie Boys’ Adam “MCA” Yauch, which premiered simultaneously on all MTV’s satellite channels last Thursday at midnight  – except the “real” MTV of course, which was probably showing a profitable re-re-re-run of the best hot tub moments in Jersey Shore.

Sam Malone is dying for a drink. (You'll only get this joke if you know Cheers. And even then it's not that funny. And that's if you recognize the guy with the white hair as Ted Danson)

The 30 minute film is a sequel to the iconic promo of (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party) from their Licence To Ill heyday, picking up where the original left off: after the party.  Elijah Wood dons Ad-Rock’s Stuyvesant Physical Education T-shirt, Danny McBride takes MCA’s leather jacket and Seth Rogen wears Mike D’s gold chains.

So what happens next? Not a great deal actually: in the staircase, the guys get into a boringly would-be surrealistic argument with the owners of the flat (Susan Sarandon and Stanley Tucci), and then smash the window of the local store to steal some beer cans to be sprayed on random members of the public played by countless famous people in need of cool points. They rap a little, pull faces, create havoc and spray some more beer, all of this in slow motion, TWICE.

They hang out with some metal chicks in a limo (Chloe Sevigny looks so much like some dude from Motley Crue, it’s scary) then come face to face with their old selves from the future (Will Ferrell, John C Reilly and Jack Black) who have kindly brought along a dance mat (tied to the roof of their DeLorean, no less) in order to have a breakdance face-off, which ends in a collective golden shower.

Sound hilarious to you? Didn’t think so. The whole thing is a rather pointless attempt from a sizeable bunch of Hollywoodian “slebs” to go for the big LOLZ (cameo rate: 15 per second); poking fun at hiphop culture and the 80s with everybody’s favourite white rappers. It’s a bit weird to have an homage to B-boys’ golden age that’s so vanilla, without a single black actor in sight… but I won’t get sucked into that. It’s the Beasties after all. That’s a minor grievance.

The main issue here is that Fight For Your Right Revisited, though competently put together, stinks of lame improvisation (check the awfully flat dialogue) and badly lacks rhythm. And it has absolutely no narrative spine. And it’s 30 MINUTES LONG goddammit. And, Jack Black’s in it. To any sane individual, this fact should ring like a strident shitness alert.

In a nutshell, if you enjoy spotting furtive appearances of middle-aged stars playing dress-up in safely self-deprecating parodies straight-out of Jimmy Kimmel shows (I’m Fucking Ben Affleck etc. YAWN) or Saturday Night Live, you’ll have a good time watching this (being a Beastie Boys die-hard geek helps too), although this stuff is usually about 5 minutes long, MAX. At least it looks like they had fun on the day, good for them, I’m not trying to be one of the “h8taz”.

Check back in 25 years they say in the credits. Hmmm…. no thanks.