Totally 90s Video Trifecta

Now that my wife has gone back to work and I’m watching Lucy, I find myself getting up earlier, which means I get to watch music videos on MTV (if I’m up really early) and VH1 again. I had forgotten that watching Jump Start a few days in a row essentially means you’re seeing the exact same videos in pretty much the same order but it has made me notice that there’s a strong bit of 90s nostalgia in some pretty diverse videos. Here’s a quick rundown:

First up and probably most obscure is this Falling Down parody the Foo Fighters did for their latest single “Walk.” The Michael Douglas flick about a guy who loses his shit on a hot LA day and stops taking crap from everyone came out in 1993 but as far as I know wasn’t such a huge hit. It also doesn’t have a lot to do with the song, but nobody does fun, goofy videos better than the Foo Fighters.

Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” video doesn’t necessarily have any specific 90s references (except for that bitching Kenny G solo, I guess), but the vibe is totally early 90s. I just realized that the video above is a much longer version that has 80s stars like Corey Feldman and Debbie Gibson and Perry has said she was inspired by John Hughes movies. However, I still think that it looks like a 90s scene with the bright colors and what not. I guess it’s on the edge, but you get the idea. How they have Facebook and laptops though, I don’t know.

There’s a lot going on in Britney Spears’ new video “I Wanna Go” which pokes fun at the press, her past as a Mousketeer and the paparazzi. There’s also a Terminator ref, but the thing that drew my attention was the bit lifted from Half Baked–probably one of the best post-Cheech & Chong stoner comedies around. Making it all the better, Guillermo Diaz who played Scarface in the movie (and originally did the line Britney borrows) appears in the video. Fun stuff, but this song will always be the theme to Bravo’s summer shows and not it’s own, legitimate song to me.

Songs Of Summer “California Gurls” by Katy Perry (why isn’t it just called “California Girls?”)

You might remember Katy Perry’s “California Gurls” getting a mention by Ben back in the comments for the first installment of “Songs Of Summer.” I eventually heard the full song and figure it will be a pretty big hit for the summer, but then I ran into problems finding the video. Apparently Katy Perry and her people wanted to hold off and reveal the video on a certain night at a certain time on VH1, so the long wait began. I soon saw the full performance at the MTV Movie Awards above and then kind of forgot about for a while. Remembering that it had been slated for release this week, I checked YouTube again and found the video. As you may have guessed it’s not embeddable, but you can watch it here.

I’m actually a pretty big Katy Perry fan. I was drawn to her with “I Kissed A Girl” and really liked her style (both fashion and musical) and her first record One Of The Boys was on pretty heavy rotation in my car last summer. I listened to it again yesterday and still like it (you never know with pop records). So, I’m excited to see where she goes with her next album. “California Gurls” is a pretty good, fun song (which is what I like most about her music). Plus, it’s got Snoop. Nuff said. The video is kind of a cracked-out combination of Candyland and Willy Wonka’s Factory with lots of sexy ladies. Perry seems to be moving away from the pin-up style and into more risque (she spends a good part of it lying naked on a cloud) and weird (cream shooters that attach to her lingerie). I wonder if Lady Gaga, who blew up after Perry did, was an influence on her. Either a “I didn’t think someone like that could be successful” or “hey, I wanted to do that crap three years ago, but they said I couldn’t!” Well, whatever the case, any video that gives me Snoop Dogg leading an army of angry gummy bears who get wiped out by boob cream is on my faves list.

My Favorite Albums Of 2009

I usually don’t go in for these end of the year/decade top ten lists. Mostly because I rarely agree with them and also because I have such a crappy memory that I can’t remember what all I’ve read or seen or watched in a year, so it would involve a lot more research than I want to put in. However, it’s pretty easy with records because I’ve got everything in my iPod and can easily look at what came out in 2009. Or at least, that was the theory, apparently a good deal of records still don’t have the year published, which is annoying. I also found a lot of the records I thought came out in 2009 actually came out in 2008, SO this is my a list of my favorite records that I bought in 2009, with some 2008 ones thrown in. They’re in no particular order, so here we go.

I first heard Cage The Elephant on the Opie and Anthony Show before the dumb New York station dropped them and switched to a pop format. I think I went out and picked up the record that day and it’s been in heavy rotation ever since. This record is just a plain old, great rock and roll record that doesn’t let up from beginning to end. I like the two guitar attack and the gyrating jerkiness of the entire thing. It’s rare that I buy a record that can keep me pumped up for throughout it’s entirety, yet CTE sure does that. “Ain’t No Rest For The Wicked” may have been the big breakout song, but I like “In One Ear” even better and here it is in video form.

Jay-Z’s latest record held kind of a special place in my heart. See, it came out right before I got let go from Wizard in September. I was really looking forward to it, as I mentioned back in August, and it turned into this kind of Holy Grail for me because I didn’t want to spend any extra money until I had a new job or at least some steady freelance coming in. Well, finally, a few weeks ago, I deemed myself succesful enough to pick this bad boy up and it’s pretty great. I must admit that I haven’t taken the time to really absorb the whole thing because I just got it and don’t listen to as much music as I used to, but the singles alone make this record with the purchase. My favorite track is still “D.O.A.”

I first heard K’Naan in those mini-videos that MTV does between the end of a show before a commercial and the actual commercial. I heard enough snipets to know I’d be into this hip hop record from this Somalian artist. Aside from sporting some jams that are impossible to keep still during, I was also excited to hear some rhymes from a guy who came from a whole different way of life. I know he moved out of Somalia and to Canada when he was pretty young, but hearing him rap about fending off armed thugs and real life pirates put a lot of American posturing into context. Even when he slows things down, I still found myeslf engaged thanks to his insightful lyrics and smooth delivery. You can do a lot worse than picking this record up for your collection. I like every song on the record, but if I had one to add to a mix tape it would have to be the song he did with Maroon 5’s Adam Levine called “Bang Bang.”

The Street Sweeper Social Club’s record is another one that puts things in a whole different perspective with its mix of hip hop and rap. What else would you expect from the pairing of Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello and MC Boots Riley (who I honestly hadn’t heard of before). By combining Riley’s highly politically and incindieary lyrics with Morello’s funk-infused rock licks, you get a record that demands to be heard and really listened to. It’s like the Street Sweeper Social Club record is the soundtrack to a revolution that hasn’t really picked up too much steam yet. But don’t be too scared off if you’re not a fan of politically charged lyrics, I think there’s enough on TSSSC for any fan of really well crafted hip hop and rock to enjoy. Just check out this song called “100 Little Curses” for a taste. Just a warning, the lyrics are definitely NSFW.

I’m sure I discovered Estelle when the rest of the world did with the release of her song “American Boy” which featured the now-even-more-notorious Kanye West. It was a pretty hot song that seemed to dominate the airwaves both on the radio and video channels (back when there still were TV airwaves!). I really dug the song and figured I’d give the album a shot and really liked it. It’s more of a modern soul record really than anything else. Yes there’s plenty of hip hop influences on there, but you’ve also got plenty of Motown sneaking through too that makes this a pretty fun record to listen through. It definitely slows down in the middle, which I’m not a huge fan of, but there’s plenty of goodness on there, especially this first track “Just A Touch (Just A Touch)” which apparently features Will.I.Am.

My gigantic crush on Katy Perry’s retro style aside, I’m still a really big fan of this record. Yes, it’s pop radio stuff, but it’s really good, sexy pop radio stuff. To be honest, I’m not really sure when I bought this record. I feel like it was 2009, but it came out in 2008 as did the first big single “I Kissed A Boy.” Ah well, screw it. I think I bought the record after “Hot N Cold” came out (which also appeared as a single in 2008) and was pleasantly surprised with how much I liked listening to it. The record covers a surprising amount of ground from a tomboy turning into a woman to flirtations with lesbianism. Perry at least co-wrote every song on the record and I think she’s got a solid sense of songwriting. It’s too bad Lady Gaga swept in with her weird fashion sense, otherwise Perry’s style would have caught on better. Ah well, here’s the video of her and her band(!) playing “One Of The Boys” live.

Imelda May’s Love Tattoo is another record that came out in 2008 that I didn’t come across until 2009. Heck, I had never even heard of her before until I walked into the Best Buy on 5th Ave. in NYC, saw that it was like $7 and decided to give it a shot based on her retro hotness (are you noticing a partern?). Anyway, this may be my favorite find of the year as Love Tattoo gave me something I’ve been looking for and not finding for a while: a female vocalist with a swing/rockabilly sound who doesn’t get overly soft for most of the record. I had high hopes for Duffy after hearing her first single, but that was all super-sad mellow stuff. I also picked up and loved Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings’ 100 Days, 100 Nights, but it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. And I liked Estelle and Katy Perry’s records, but, again, it wasn’t what I had in my mind. Love Tattoo absolutely was. It does get a little soft at times, but May never loses her disctint attitude. She also writes the kind of songs that any man would love to have written about them like this one, called “Big Bad Handsome Man.”

This one’s definitely the saddest entry of the bunch because not only did the drumming/DJ duo of Travis Barker and DJ AM, survive a tragic plane crash in 2008, but DJ AM passed away in August. Well, after the accident Barker and AM got together to play Coachella this year and released the set as a mixtape on their website TRVSDJAM.com. And it really is a thing of genius, even more impressive when you realize it was done live. See, the deal is that AM would spin and mix at the DJ tables while Barker drummed along and added beats. I had listened to their first mix tape, called Fix Your Face and was really excited when this one went up. Unfortuantely, DJ AM passed away only a few months later. If you like what you see in the video below from Coachella then head over to the site and download both mixtapes. RIP DJ AM!

A Few Things I Want To Do After Watching Videos This Morning

Thanks to MTV, Fuse and VH1 there are several new things I now have to add to my bucket list and that doesn’t even count all the mellow-rock-dudes-playing-pianos I now want to punch in the face.

Go to Vegas with Katy Perry and the dude from Grandma’s Boy and Dodge Ball (two of my favorite comedies), even if it means I lose all my money.

At least I’d get to hang out with Katy Perry (what happened to all the awesome retro clothes though?!), mess with Penn and Teller and win a butt-ton of money, even if just for a moment. I’m not sure how I feel about that whole Groundhog Day-like cyclical thing though.

I also want to go to party at the Black Eyed Peas’ house. It looks like a lot of fun:

A few of my favorite moments:

All the Yiddish (if I knew how to spell the words, I’d write them out, but I’m just a dumb Catholic boy).

DRANK!

Taboo looking like Bruno (cross promotion perhaps?)

Black lights/Green hands

And, of course, Fergie’s tacked-on brushes with lesbianism.

Still, this looks a lot more fun than any party I’ve ever been to, thrown or heard about.

I also wouldn’t mind hanging out with the Cage the Elephant guys, I think we’d get along well (love this album by the way):