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Monthly Archives: March 2010

Dude! It’s The ’90s!: Sponge, “Plowed”

Sponge – “Plowed”

Summary: “Hey, gang, let’s get the band together and record a video!  We can film it in sepia tone so it doesn’t look so much like we’re shooting in Mom’s dining room, and my kid brother can turn the light switch on and off in time with the music.  I’ve been watching Stone Temple Pilots videos all week, and you guys can, I dunno, flail your hair around or something.  Man, we are *so* the next Led Zeppelin!”

Things to notice:  Scott Weiland?  More like NOT Weiland. Oh, snap. Seriously, though, are they trying to be the Hydrox to STP’s Oreo? (0:10)

The guy who does the backing vocals must be pretty darn fugly.  Every time the guitarist jumps in with “Say a prayer for me,” we see the same damn shot of the same damn guy, except we only see him in shadow.   Either he’s less photogenic than faux-Scott, or he wants to run for office some day.   (0:52)

Mom’s dining room has a fruit fly problem.  (2:21)

Verdict:   Sponge, whatever you want to say about them, knew how to write good, catchy rock songs.  “Plowed” is a near-perfect example of early-90s rock and roll, and in a perfect world, “Molly” and “Wax Ecstatic” would be equally well-remembered.  Vinnie’s got one of those great ‘90s rock voices, and they made it onto the soundtracks of not one, but two seminal ‘90s flicks: Chasing Amy and Empire Records.  Unfortunately, this video is as boring as cat pee, which, coincidentally, is the same color as this video.  (D+)

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2010 in movies, music, nostalgia, youtube

 

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Dude! It’s The 90s!: Butthole Surfers, “Pepper”

Butthole Surfers – “Pepper”

Summary: The Butthole Surfers are arrested by the Dallas police department for the assassination of President River Phoenix.  Then they eat some chili.

Things To Notice: Dallas PD cars, Cops in cowboy hats, black and white footage…   (0:15) There’s a lot of JFK assassination imagery here, and a lot of ’60s commercial parodies.  We can assume that this is sort of supposed to be about Lee Harvey Oswald.  A little.  Maybe.   See, Gibby was there the night River Phoenix died, which was the closest thing our generation had to a JFK moment until St. Kurt died for our sins.   Methinks he’s got some survivor’s guilt to work through.

WTF Erik Estrada?  (0:48) Yes, that’s Erik “CHIPs” Estrada, being questioned by the cops, perhaps about a shady time share deal.

…or is Gibby saying he’s Charles Manson? (1:18) It’s gotta be said, the lyric  “some will die in hot pursuit while sifting through my ashes” is a pretty pseudo-messianic thing to say, and Gibby sure looks like Charlie.  It should be noted that Gibby’s not a bad actor for a rock dude – he’s giving a very convincing performance of someone who’s distraught after having been rudely woken up.  Or he could just be coming down hard.

Chili, guy? (1:59) I don’t know what the significance of the canned chili is, but Erik Estrada seems to be enjoying it.

This YouTube clip was recorded off of MTV2 in 1999 or 2000. (2:20) You will note that “rapist”, “bullet” and “shot” have been removed from the lyrics.  This is because some kid might watch this video, hear the word “bullet” and go SHOOT UP HIS GODDAMN SCHOOL because he heard the word “bullet” in a video, alas alack etc.  Nowadays, this seems to make as much sense as protecting our daughter’s virginity by shooting Elvis from the waist up, but Columbine really freaked people out.   Everyone was looking for someone to blame, and they settled on music.   Especially dark alternative music, because a kid in a spiked dog collar is an easier target than a faulty education system/parents that don’t give a shit/poor gun control/the deadening and hopeless future left for us by all of the above.   So: MTV removed all references to anything violent from every video they played, and radio followed suit, and now, in the glorious future of 2010, we have eliminated all forms of violence and all international disputes are settled with games of Beer Pong and Don’t Wake Daddy.  You’re welcome.

Final Judgement: Well, look – I love this song.  I love this band.  And if they want to play fast and loose with one of the darkest chapters in American history, then they can damn well play fast and loose with one of the darkest chapters in American history.  Enjoy the chili.  (B+)

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2010 in history, music, nostalgia, youtube

 

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Dude! It’s The ’90s!: Spacehog, “In The Meantime”

Spacehog – “In The Meantime”

Summary: We start with a sullen, sullen shot of a sullen, sullen guitar amp.  And an hourglass, because Spacehog has the SECRET OF TIME TRAVEL!!!!  Yes, Spacehog, playing like their lives depend on it, in front of a room full of bitchy hipsters who don’t care.  They don’t even seem to care that Spacehog’s drummer has a double-freaking-kick-drum. You gotta hand it to ol’ Spacehog – they had the balls to shoot a video full of people who absolutely hate Spacehog.

Things to notice:  A girl dressed exactly like your My Chemical Romance-lovin’ kid sister, except this video was filmed 13 years ago and no one had heard of Hot Topic.  I have elected to take this as further proof that Spacehog has access to a Delorean or a Tardis or whatever Scott Bakula used on  that show. (1:25)

Lots of transvestites, if you’re into that sort of thing.  They’re not necessarily drag queens, as drag queens are gay and the first tranny we see is obviously hitting on a girl.  He’s what Eddie Izzard once called a “male lesbian.”  Or an “executive transvestite.”  Anyway, there’s lots of gender bending in this video, because Spacehog wants to be Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie so bad it hurts.   (2:20)

Sammy Davis Jr. I swear to God.  What’d I say about time travel?  (3:20)

The same “broken film spool” effect that’s in, like, every video from this period. Everybody drink.  (3:26)

The hourglass runs out, and goes crowd surfin’ (4:08). Because time has run out for you, Spacehog.

Verdict:  You ever dream something, and then it happens in real life a week later?  It’s never anything important.  You never dream about the right lottery numbers – it’s always something like “I had a dream that I was drinking a Jamoca shake, and then I ran into Jim, and he was wearing a blue shirt, and the next day it totally happened!”  This video is sort of like that.  There’s a room full of sullen hipsters that look like they rolled in from an Elefant show circa 2003, and a girl dressed up in a style that was commonplace in 2006.  Yet the video was filmed in 1995.  Nothing warning us about 9/11 or Hurricane Katrina or Clay Aiken  – Spacehog’s crystal ball only shows boring art parties at “hip” lofts in Allston.   Thanks for nothing, Spacehog.    (C-)

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2010 in music, nostalgia, youtube

 

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Dude! It’s The ’90s!: Nirvana, “Heart Shaped Box”

Behold!  A new feature on Geek USA!   The name of this one, unless someone can come up with something better, is “Dude! It’s The ’90s!”  In it, we explore the pop culture landscape in the age of Clinton – the hits, the misses, the highs, the lows, from Pearl Jam to Primitive Radio Gods , from Snoop to Skee-Lo.

This is something I wrote for a WBCN blog I was supposed to write.  What happened was, our web guy told us “hey! We want our DJs to blog!” and I said “sure! I’ll let you know when I have something!” and he said “sure!” and then I came up with something and e-mailed him for the password and he never got back to me.  That sort of thing happened a lot at WBCN.  I think they didn’t like me very much.

Nirvana – “Heart Shaped Box”

Category: Music Video

Summary: Flowers, death, fetuses, man-orexia, little girls in Klan robes, hearts, Visible Women, scary trees… this is what it was like in Kurt Cobain’s head.  All. The. Time.

Things to notice: Santa Christ (0:24) – Skinny old man with a Santa Claus hat is climbing up a latter onto – yes – it’s a cross.  This video is probably why, every year at Christmas, my Jewish friends are like “I’m Jewish.  I celebrate Hannukah.  I don’t worship Santa, ha ha.”

Do not look directly at Kurt Cobain (0:52) – This is a “theme” in all of Nirvana’s videos: you never see Kurt in focus for very long.  He’s either got hair all over his face or he’s hiding behind glasses or a waterfall or Krist Novoselic.  Here, he’s a big blurry mess for most of the video, but when you finally see him, you realize how much he looks like a skinny, crazy version of Sawyer from LOST.  .

Actually, do not look directly at the other two guys either (1:25) – Anton Corbjin has opted to focus (and unfocus) entirely on Kurt, shooting Krist and Dave from a distance at all times.  Mr. Corbjin got his start taking pictures of, and filming videos for, Joy Division, which makes me think that Anton might have taken one look at Kurt, thought about what happened to his old buddy Ian Curtis, and decided to get as much footage of Mr. Cobain while he was still among the living.

The little Klan girl (1:30) – Kurt’s original idea for the “Lithium” video was about a little girl whose parents were KKK.  Eventually, she rebels against Mom and Dad..  They couldn’t afford to make that version as the band blew their video budget playing NBA Jam and drinking Ecto Cooler (citation needed).  Now, you’re probably thinking this is where Li’l Klan-ette comes from.  Except… that’s not a Klan robe, it’s a Druid robe – the same costumes show up in Anton’s video for Joy Division’s song “Atmosphere.” Which, come to think of it, was Joy Division’s last video before their lead singer killed himself.  We should put this man in touch with Chris Daughtry.

The little Klan girl has lost her hat (2:46) – She’s really not in the Klan.  There are no eyeholes, and there’s no Iron Cross on her chest.  But yeah, her hat flies off and lands in a dark puddle.  It soaks up the Black Goo of Evil (like in The X-Files) and all of a sudden, she’s The Little Druid Girl Of Death.  She stands beside Santa Christ’s hospital bed in her new black robes… there’s a cross on the ground, there’s ravens everywhere, there’s funeral flowers… I honestly can’t tell if Kurt was trying to tell us something, or if Anton Corbjin wanted to flood Kurt with as much death imagery as possible in a sick attempt to add another “tragic martyr of rock and roll” in his portfolio.  Creeeeepy.

Nirvana Shops At Target! (3:43)

Fetuses. (all over the place)  Kurt used to collect plastic fetuses.  I used to collect Pez dispensers.  To each his own.

Final Judgement: It’s like reviewing someone else’s dream.  There’s a lot of images that sort of fit together, but nothing really makes sense unless you know certain things about the person having the dream.  We know Kurt well enough to know that this video is exactly what he would come up with if given free reign, so there’s a certain honesty and purity to it.   Here’s the thing, though: druid children, crucified Santas, old men in hospital beds, fetuses… on MTV.  During the day.  Think about it the next time you’re watching Jersey Shore.  (A+)

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2010 in music, nostalgia, radio, youtube

 

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