15 videos for the time capsule / 15 videos for the incinerator
By ANDREW DANSBY
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
15 videos for the time capsule
Here's a nondefinitive list of 15 clips that aren't a waste of your time.
1. Michael Jackson, Thriller (1983): Actually, Bad (directed by Martin Scorsese) was a more stylish video, but Thriller, for better or worse, expanded what videos could be: long, full of choreography and featuring Vincent Price.
2. Eminem, Stan (2000): Good song with Devon Sawa as a creepy Emitator.
3. Ah-Ha, Take on Me (1985): It's not even a good song, but the video was creative and even a little cool.
4. Peter Gabriel, Sledgehammer (1986): It's dated now, but innovative at the time. Another middling song floated by a good vid.
5. Johnny Cash, Hurt (2003): This one's a gut-wrenching snifflefest cobbled together with materials at hand: cracked, dusty photos and two legends near the end of the line.
6. Duran Duran, Rio (1983): It doesn't hold up very well, but it kind of defines an era.
7. White Stripes, Fell in Love With a Girl (2002): When in doubt, grab your Legos and get creative.
8. Fatboy Slim, Weapon of Choice (2000): Director Spike Jonze could place a half dozen on this list, but a straight-faced (as always) Christopher Walken in a zany soft-shoe routine is inexplicably timeless.
9. Talking Heads, Wild Wild Life (1986): Parodying Prince in his heyday took gumption. See No. 7 on the next list for such tact performed tardily.
10. R. Kelly, Trapped in the Closet (2005): It's the worst song ever written, but the goofy video is sublime camp.
11. Dire Straits, Money for Nothing (1985): Like Sledgehammer, it seems a little dull a quarter century later, but was neon-cool back in the day.
13. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dani, California (2006): It's smart and full of insidery fun for rock geeks.
14. Butthole Surfers, Pepper (1996): Erik Estrada!
15. Kid Rock, Cowboy (1998): It's a lousy video redeemed by exhuming Gary Coleman.
Honorable mention: Beastie Boys, Sabotage (1994): This Jonze homage to '70s cop shows belongs on the list, but got snipped due to a single mention technicality.
15 videos for the incinerator
Admittedly, this is an arbitrary list. Most videos are bad, so picking 15 is like fishing at a grocery store. But these 15 represent some of the different trends in music videodom that resulted in three-minute (or sometimes eight-minute) wastes of time, from over-the-top narratives, to lazy fabricated concert footage to parody that falls flat.
1. Hootie and the Blowfish, Only Wanna Be With You (1995): Rockers should keep their love of sports to themselves (especially golf, good night!). Of course, these guys aren't really rockers . . .
2. R. Kelly, Trapped in the Closet (2005): I know, I know, it's on the best too. It's only among the worst if you take it seriously.
3. Wham, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go (1984): A gratuitous celebration of prancing.
4. Meat Loaf, I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That) (1993): "Fatman of the Opera," only longer.
5. Bon Jovi, Livin' on a Prayer (1986): The concert video was always an uninspired way to go, but the bouncing around in crotch harnesses made this one particularly horrible.
6. Don Johnson, Heartbeat (1987): Johnson earns a spot here for running around in an unidentified war-torn nation with a camera on his shoulder, inexplicably singing about matters of the heart. Huh?
7. Eminem, Without Me (2002): For a guy who was supposed to be ahead of the cultural curve, goofing on Michael Jackson in 2002 felt 10 years late.
8. Guns 'N Roses, November Rain (1992): Hammy, overblown, ridiculous, egomaniacal. Izzy jumped ship just in time.
9. Starship, We Built This City on Rock and Roll (1985): See No. 1, only worse.
10. Steve Miller Band, Abracadabra (1982): As if magic's reputation hasn't suffered enough, this joker makes it worse.
11. Juvenile, Back That Thang Up (1999): For inspiring countless imitators and all-but-ruining the rap video as a creative outlet. Not the first, but among the worst.
12. Warrant, Cherry Pie (1990): See No. 11, sub "hair metal" for "rap."
13. Paula Abdul, Opposites Attract (1989): Was MC Fat Cat really Arsenio? Oh right, nobody cares!
14. Billy Ocean, Any video by Billy Ocean: But the one with Danny DeVito was particularly bad.
15. Chicago Bears, Super Bowl Shuffle (1985): Excessive hubris in the form of a line of dancing chickens. 200 lb. dancing chickens.