Rock the Party (Off The Hook) – P.O.D.

September 14, 2009

P.O.D. came onto the scene in the early 00’s.  I know because I was in high school and a whole bunch of kids my age were eating them up.  I wasn’t much of a fan.  I don’t really like nu-metal and I really, really don’t like dreadlocks.  Even more, I was suspicious.  Something about P.O.D.’s lyrics didn’t seem very rock n’ roll to me.

For example, the opening lyrics of their first hit, “Rock the Party (Off the Hook)”:

We came here to rock this jam
Spread His love is the master of plan


Um, what?
I would bring this up to my friends who would ignore my claim.

“No, no, Brandon.  These guys are Christians but they’re not Christian rock.  There’s a difference.”

“Spread HIS love?  Whose love do you think they’re talking about?”

“Man, Brandon, why do you have to be such a buzzkill?  Just enjoy the music.  Now raise your hands to the sky and close your eyes.”

Now if there’s one thing that everyone knows about me, it’s that I’m first and foremost a detective.  Inspired by Batman and Sherlock Holmes before me, I took to the internet to find out more about P.O.D.  What was their angle?  Where did they come from, what did they want?  And why were they stealing away all my friends?

Sure enough, P.O.D. (Payable on Death) was formed in 1991.  They were most definitely a Christian rock band, signed to a Christian label with a canon of Christian lyrics.  So I had cracked the case.  I knew that, like most nu-metal bands, P.O.D. was harmless.  They’d spawn a few hits, make a few television appearances but wouldn’t likely change popular music forever.  I just had to wait it out and this whole fad would phase itself out.

But then I actually watched P.O.D.’s video for “Rock the Party” and I was shaken to my very core.  The video shows a band riding around in their alluring bus, stealing children in the dead of night.  They arrive in the tough neighborhoods of town, entice the youth with promises of rock music and hand waving (kids love both of those things!) and then drive away.  To most, the video would seem  straightforward and fun, but not to me.  To me, I saw the truth.  I read between the lines, man! P.O.D was trying to kidnap and brainwash the youth of America.  With catchy tunes and positive lyrics, they meant to endocrine teenagers and show them their new god: God!

At first, I thought the video was incredibly stupid and simple.  People having a party on a bus?  Come on.  I mean, no one could even stand on a moving bus, let alone mosh.  But when you think about it — WHEN YOU REAAAAAALLY THINK ABOUT IT! — it makes sense.  The video’s main goal is to suck children in.  You must do away with subtext and story if you want to catch young people’s attention.  Make it simple and it’ll draw them in.  See? P.O.D. planned to make a bad music video because they were trying to convert an entire nation to their religion.

Open your eyes, man

You still with me, dear readers, or did I JUST BLOW YOUR FUCKING MIND?

Some say I was paranoid, some say I was wasting my time calling newspapers and governors.  But if you read my countless, hand-made charts, you’ll see a correlation between the rise of youth groups and the popularity of P.O.D.  The more successful P.O.D., the larger the church groups.  I know because I was constantly asked to join.  Luckily, anyone looking at my nose can tell that I don’t spend much time in Christian churches.

It was my duty as an American to try and stop this massive takeover.  I was once told that the children are the future and, as a strong believer in the future, I had to save them.  But it was too late.  Through TRL, radio and the internet, P.O.D.’s damage was done.

I tried my hardest to stop them but I could not.  I just had to find a safe place to hide and ride it out.  I rarely slept, I grew a beard, I urinated into old coke bottles.  They were tough times, similar to an epidemic or zombie outbreak, but I got through. If you look at the musical landscape today, P.O.D. is nowhere to be found.  So I was right, they were a fad.  And now they’re gone.

Too bad we lost so many along the way.

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Have A Nice Day – Bon Jovi

June 30, 2009
Picture 1
(Click here to watch the video.  Sorry.)

I tried to embed the video but Youtube and every other website in the world is trying to cover this little puppy up like it’s a crashed ship in Roswell (Yeah, I believe in that stuff!).  But fear not, dear readers, I am on a mission.  The world must see how stupid Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day” video truly is.  It must told from generation to generation.

For if we do not learn from out past then we are doomed to repeat it.

We can all agree that Bon Jovi hasn’t been good since the 80’s.  Alas, their hit single “It’s My Life” convinced enough people that they were back with a vengeance.  So Bon Jovi was back.  Great.  But after the hubbub of their big comeback album came the inevitable follow-up. Would it be just as successful?  Could lightning strike on this once-dead band again?

The answer to all these questions was no.  At least, it was to me.  The rest of the country disagreed.

“Have a Nice Day” was a big smash.  While not as colossal as “It’s My Life” it sold a lot of copies and had a music video that VH1 played non-stop.  Luckily for this website, the video was incredibly stupid.  It profiles what happens when aging rockers try to seem young and fresh.

Here’s my problem: in its attempt to appear relevant and hip, the video combines the hot button issues young people and viral advertising.  Jackpot, right?  I mean, viral marketing is super popular and kids are always hip.  The problem is the video got it all wrong.  Sure, kids can be dumb but not as dumb as they are perceived in this garbage.  We vandalize things but not because Bon Jovi told us to.

Oh yeah, theyre totally hip.

Oh yeah, they're totally hip.

In this video, a fan politely asks Jon Bon Jovi to sign his CD.  Since Jon is a COMPLETE FREAKING DOUCHE BAG he draws a crooked smiley face on the jewel case instead of, oh, I don’t know, HIS SIGNATURE.  The kid — for reasons unknown — is blown away by this act and takes a picture on his phone.  The picture then becomes a viral image, posted on stickers, billboards and a chick’s tank top.  Is there a reason why this stupid smiley face becomes so popular?  No, no there is not.  Logic is tossed to the side like well-maintained bleach blonde hair.

So the rest of the video consists of kids running around like dorks and stamping the picture on various things.  This was Bon Jovi’s attempt to seem “in the know”.  Kids LOVE breaking rules!  They love going against the grain, flipping the bird to The Man.  Yeah, I guess that’s kind of true but I can’t think of many young kids who a) really, really like Bon Jovi or b) would do this.  We did the whole viral marketing thing for The Dark Knight because it was a super cool movie.   Bon Jovi is music that cougars listen to.

Must...paste on...EVERYTHING

Must...paste on...EVERYTHING

The whole thing just gets so preposterous and over-the-top.  What does the smiley face mean?  What does it represent — music?  Does it represent rebellion?  Does it represent over-the-hill rockers?  Why are people so excited by it?  See, this is what I’m talking about and it happens often in music videos.  The directors come up with an idea of how to get viewers but they totally mishandle the delivery, like the doctor who birthed me.  Instead, the video proves that the people behind it know nothing about viral marketing or the youth of America.  Which makes sense because it’s a Bon Jovi video and they’re old men.

Sometimes parents try to sound hip and borrow from the current lexicon.  You’ve seen it, parents saying “in the hizzy” to their kids.  Usually kids give it a pass because, well, parents are kind of cute when they’re attempting to be cool.  This video is like that.  Only not cute or endearing.  It’s like when parents try to be hip and buy alcohol for their kids.  They just don’t get it.  It’s illegal dumb.

I think the whole Bon Jovi phase is over.  They are still very popular but they’ve found their place in the musical landscape.  They’re not aiming for the youth anymore.  They know where they belong and they are no longer trying to siphon young listeners from other bands.  They’ll get a lot of play in office buildings and malls and they’re okay with that.  Hell, I’m sure they’ll be around forever.

But there may come a day when they rise back from the realms of pop-rock mediocrity.  They may reach their dirty hands out, new catchy single intact, trying to peel away young listeners.   It might not be today, it might not be tomorrow…

Until then, we can only wait.  And pray.

In tribute of Michael Jackson

June 27, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

I had a whole blog ready to go this week but in light of the recent events, I felt it would be best to post my favorite Michael Jackson video.  Jackson has an unparalleled track record when it comes to music videos but this one is my personal favorite.  “Thriller” scared me as a child but as I got older, I realized what a fun, amazing video it was.  Credit is due to John Landis for his inventive take on an old genre.  But the star is, of course, Michael Jackson.

This is one of the greatest music videos of all time.  All videos should strive to match its energy, inventiveness and story.

Everyone’s talking about how tragic a loss this is.  It’s true.  However, I’m not going to say much more.  I’ll let the video do the talking.

Problem Child – The Beach Boys

June 15, 2009

And I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!  Sorry for my disappearance, I was…um…kidnapped.  Yup, stolen from my home, sent to Columbia, forced to murder some guerrilla soldiers and fend for myself in the wild.  It took me a couple weeks to venture through the jungles of South America.  Sorry.  But I’m back to my weekly updates now.

Moving on…

Sometimes I wonder about The Beatles.  Imagine a world where they didn’t disband.  Where the band stayed together.  In this world, John never met his end early and the group continued to release albums through the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s.  That sounds terrific right?

Well, watch this video from another classic band, The Beach Boys.  It was filmed in 1990, nearly 30 years after they made their first splash in music.  It’s from the film Problem Child.  It had John Stamos in it.  It has Gilbert Gottfried in it.

It’s bad guys.  Really, painfully stupid.

Soundtrack songs, as we all know, really have the cards stacked against them.  The video has to incorporate elements (and clips) from the film.  More than a music video, it’s usually just a commercial for the film.  This video is actually better than most soundtrack songs because it has real celebrities and something of a story.  To be honest, I’m sure I would have enjoyed this music video back in 1990.  However, I also enjoyed eating bugs in 1990; I was four.

Pre-Stamos days

Pre-Stamos days

So the video’s not god awful but it’s horribly sacrilege.  I don’t want to live in a world where The Beach Boys are playing music while the little red-headed kid from Problem Child runs around.    As cute as he is, he’s only doing damage to their reputation.  And John Stamos on drums?  Really?  I know he was a musician on Full House but playing with the GOD DAMNED BEACH BOYS?  As wonderful as his hair is, he’s only doing damage to their reputation.  I mean, did he win a contest or something?  Was he doing research for a film?

There are many questions raised by this video.  Firstly, why was 90’s fashion so terrible?  Did people just wander into JC Penny’s and grab a jacket, dress shirt and jeans?  Vests were popular back then, really?  Why were all the shirts tucked in?  I was alive for the 1990’s and I don’t remember this stuff.  Maybe I repressed those memories.

We’ll skip some of the pointless questions, like why was Gilbert Gottfried producing a record and why was John Stamos apparently drinking bird shit, and move onto some of the real important plot points.  How hard is it to grab a little kid and throw him out of the recording studio?  How does no one see him crawling around on the floor, messing with equipment.  If I was in one of the greatest bands of all time, I would stop recording for the five seconds it takes to grab someone by the collar and heave him out of the room.

The last video I reviewed, “Jailhouse Rap”, didn’t do a good job at creating sympathy for our leads.  They were all in jail for good cause, even though we were supposed to feel bad for them.  This video is similar.  Problem Child is a little jerk, I feel horrible for John Ritter!  Doesn’t he understand he’s disrupting rock royalty?  It’s not even funny, it’s just infuriating.  Who do I blame for his lack of manners, his parents or society?  I loved John Ritter so I blame society. I blame us.  It’s all our fault that this happened.   We made The Beach Boys do this.  I hope we’re happy.

If anything, this video just makes me want to punch a little kid.  I know, I know, that’s a horrible thing to say but watch this little brat and tell me you don’t want to bonk a kid on the head.  I dare you.

Cant...control...rage inside me!

Can't...control...rage inside me!

At the same time, it’s honorable to see such great musicians still working thirty years after their start.  I just wish it wasn’t for Problem Child.

Like I said, this isn’t the worst music video ever made.  It’s just…well, it’s just kind of embarrassing and stupid.   Remember the Star Wars Christmas Special?  This video is like that, it’s silly and completely unnecessary and true fans of The Beach Boys will want to stay away from it.   In fact, it’s best forgotten.  Maybe I can convince George Lucas to pony up some cash to get rid of this thing.  Or maybe I can convince Universal to bury it out in the desert like all those copies of the E.T. video game.

Now I’m wondering about the kid from Problem Child.  As annoying as he was, I wish him the best of luck.  Let’s just roam over to IMDb and…

Oh, he’s doing fine.  His last appearance was in…Platypus Man in…1995.

Shit, now I feel bad.

Jailhouse Rap – The Fat Boys

May 27, 2009

Obesity is a problem in the world.  Children are being diagnosed with Diabetes, young adults are dying of heart attacks.  In fact, I think the majority of Americans are at least a little overweight.  That’s shocking to me.

But then I watch this video for The Fat Boy’s “Jailhouse Rap” and I see just how damn cool it is to be fat.  If gaining weight would give me the ability to be a human beatbox, then I’d be three hundred pounds tomorrow morning.  As it is, I’m only a measly 294.

The Fat Boys were totally an 80’s experience.  If attempted today, their shtick would fall horribly flat.  There’s just nothing really exciting about watching fat guys rap and dance on stage.  But the 80’s were different, anything went back then!  Fat guys rapping?  Sounds great! Ninja turtles eating pizza and fighting crime?  Sign me up!

Actually, that second one still sounds cool.

THEY LOVED FOOD!

THEY LOVED FOOD!

“Jailhouse Rap” was The Fat Boy’s attempt at something a little more substantive than their previous videos, which consisted of live performances and food reference upon food reference.  Well, I think they were aiming for substance.  There may be a message in here somewhere but it’s kind of hard to see through all the hilarity.

The first thing I noticed about this video?  The crimes committed.  Breaking into a pizza place — WITH A SHOTGUN! — just for some food?  Well, as long as we’re not overdoing anything.

Refusing to pay a bill at Burger King?  What a dick.

Here’s the thing: The Fat Boys deserved to go to jail.  They were all assholes.

They end up in jail (which is apparently an old-timey jail judging by their outfits) and things get even sillier.  Instead of doing their time and ridding themselves of their debt to the society, The Fat Boys sneak food into prison.  I’m starting to think they might have serious addictions.

Jail seems like fun aside from the bars and awful clothing.  There’s dancing, beatboxing, women.  That’s right, a gaggle of ladies appear in the jail.  Yeah, there’s no reason for them but they’re still there.  The boys try to break out of their cells and actually get kind of far.  But the escape is interrupted by an impromptu rap performance.  These things happen.

Yeah, they made a movie

Yeah, they made a movie

It’s like they were really trying to send a message to the youth of America.  Forget the fat jokes, the black and white garbs and the grown men dressed like babies (trust me, it’s all in there).  Underneath all that nonsense is a honest-to-God, hip hop plea for people to avoid lives of crime and violence.

Kind of.  The fat jokes seem to distort everything.

In the end, our boys are given abbreviated sentences in exchange for performing for high school students.   And that’s where we leave them, still prisoners, still doomed to rot behind bars, but doing what they love: beatboxing and waving their hands in the air.

This video furthers several stereotypes.  One, all rappers are criminals and have been to jail.  Two, fat people are obsessed with food.  Neither of those things are true and only one is hilarious.  They really should have been more careful when writing this thing.  Oh, wait, they didn’t write it?  Nobody wrote this, there was no script?  Ah, that makes a little more sense.

Another thing to note before we end: Buff Love, aka “The Human Beatbox” passed away in 1995.  He was 450 pounds when he died.  Yeah, yikes, right?  So, even though they made light (rimshot) of weight problems, it really did affect them in a serious way.  Perhaps the message of “Jailhouse Rap” shouldn’t have been to avoid jail but avoid obesity.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have thirty bucks and am going to buy a bunch of five dollar footlongs from Subway.  We’re going to time me and see how quickly I can eat them all.

Lessons learned!

Blue – Eiffel 65

May 20, 2009

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Spring of 1999 was a dangerous time for music. The colossal smash hit “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega had created a vacuum all over the world. We had a song that everyone was singing and, when Bega’s star started to fade, needed a replacement. Fast.

Anything would do. Any song that was catchy and sure to be a one-hit-wonder. The nation — nay, the world — was then granted a gift from Italy. It was a group called Eiffel 65 and it was a song named “Blue’.

Eat your heart out, Lou Bega.

Saviors of global pop music!

Saviors of global pop music!

You can blame the lyrics for the poor quality of the song but member Jeffrey Jey said the lyrics were meant to be “nonsensical”. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight, you meant to write shitty lyrics. Uh huh, sure.

You can blame the repetitive structure and long running time (three and a half minutes, really?).

There are so many things to blame for this bag of poo but we are going to focus on the music video, of course.

Just a thought: Toy Story 2 was released in 1999. Now, while I’m not saying that the creators of this video had the resources or hired talent of Pixar, I just want that to be known.

For a moment, let us imagine an alternative reality. In this horrific nightmare world, Pixar never made Toy Story and their following masterpieces. Instead, computer generated films were all like the video for “Blue”. Lumpy, poorly animated aliens flying across the galaxy. Bad stories, human actors imposed into horribly rendered backgrounds. Imagine that! No Wall-E, no Ratatouille. What if this was the world we lived in? I shudder to think at what could have been.

No Mater?!  Id rather die.

No Mater?! I'd rather die.

Luckily, this video isn’t the norm for animated films. In fact, this isn’t the norm for animated commercials (rimshot please). At least a commercial has more of a plot than this garbage. I mean, honestly, what do these aliens want?

The lead singer of Eiffel 65 is SPACE-NAPPED by aliens during a concert. In suspended animation, he is flown across the galaxy to another stage, forced to perform for hostile martians.

But hold on a second, the plot is thickening!  The other members of Eiffel 65 hop into their spaceship (because, you know, they have one) and take chase after their missing singer.

Here’s where the video gets intense/God awful.  The aliens, who I thought wanted the band to perform, are incredibly violent against them.  They are shooting their little alien guns and doing their little alien kung-fu against the new arrivals.  Why do they only hold one member of the band in high regard?  Do aliens not understand that it takes an ENTIRE TEAM to create the magic that is “Blue”?

Eiffel 65’s actions raise some questions as well?  Firstly, why not try diplomacy?  Why such sudden violence?  Secondly, why on Earth do they have super powers?  Lightning bolts, balls of pure energy, Eiffel 65’s got it all!  This video is quickly becoming an episode of Dragonball Z.  Only in Dragonball Z the story made sense.  I don’t understand the actions of these aliens.  Their motives make no sense whatsoever.  This is some shoddy writing, America.

No words...I have no words...

No words...I have no words...

With the help of a very clever stunt (swinging onto a stage is always cool!) the band is reunited and make their way back to the ship.  Their escape is filled with more super powers and pointless fighting.  Some Italian special effects designer was very proud of himself because he definitely made his presence known.

But hold your goddamn horses, friends, because the best/worst part of the video is saved for the end.  Our band — who were fighting for their lives just seconds before! — escape and head home.  However, it was all a big misunderstanding.  The aliens call for the boys to come back and perform.  Through all the kidnapping, fighting and slave labor, the aliens were big fans all along.

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

So the band performs.  It’s glorious.  Everyone’s smiling, aliens are waving their hands in the air as if they just don’t care, it’s a special, special moment.  Sure, the members of Eiffel 65 are horrendous, horrible actors but that doesn’t matter.  All that matters is that there is peace in the universe.  I don’t know how it happened, I don’t know why it happened, I just know it happened.

And the galaxy is a better place because of it.