Music Article

Wacko Bores, Sweet Soars

How this week's music videos rate -- Michael Jackson, Elastica, and Mathew Sweet are discussed

How this week's music videos rate

From the tongue-in-cheek devil worship of Supersuckers to the sultry slink of Vanessa Daou, here's this month's roundup of music videos.

''Born With a Tail'' Supersuckers
A hilarious, unholy meld of the Butthole Surfers and Georgia Satellites, featuring driving guitars, four (count 'em) open-bed pickups tearing across the desert — each bearing a band member playing his respective instrument — and topped off by a triumphant Linda Blair in her own sequined Satan suit. Not to be missed. B+

''You Are Not Alone'' Michael Jackson
The King of Pop finally gets to do his Liza Minnelli impression, which, predictably, is damn good. Also not surprisingly, weirdness abounds: Michael sings and acts with the warmth and spontaneity of a Disney animatronic. And his forced love-play with wife Lisa Marie — both are practically naked — seems no less a marketing ploy than the song itself, which could have been the work of one of a dozen R&B hacks. 'D

''Stutter'' Elastica
These Brit neo-new wavers, true daughters of the Clash, rock with a pure audacity; what other band with a primarily rock-boy audience would write a hit single about impotence? The genius editing employs a million cuts, every one dead on the beat, building as the song explodes, bringing home the band's unity and way-cool personality. What a video oughtta be: pure, simple cinema and a smart, funny song that otally-tay ock-rays. A+

''We're the Same'' Matthew Sweet
Proving his great taste in films, Sweet follows up his homage to Vanishing Point (his self-directed video for ''The Ugly Truth'') with a perfect referencing of Russ Meyer's Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. Sweet assumes the personas of Phil Spector and Peter Fonda, while various women showcase an array of '60s/'90s mod fashion. Funny, and, yes, sweet, is it an understated postmodern joke, or ''Addicted to Love'' in sheep's clothing? A-

''Near the Black Forest'' Vanessa Daou
Among the supposedly sexy videos out there, Vanessa's delivers true allure. Her womanly bump & grind, performed over smooth-as-butter backup, generates sexuality without turning Daou into a bimbo. Credit the oblique yet erotic lyrics, written years ago as love poetry by Fear of Flying author Erica Jong, of all people. An unexpected collaboration between writer and writher results in the most convincing sensuality in current video-dom. B+

Originally posted Aug 25, 1995 Published in issue #289-290 Aug 25, 1995 Order article reprints