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EW reviews the latest in music videos

EW reviews the latest in music videos — We take a closer look at new VHS releases from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more

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EW reviews the latest in music videos

Red Hot Chili Peppers: Psychedelic Sexfunk Live From Heaven; Positive Mental Octopus (EMI, $14.95 each)
Some bands just play rock & roll; the Chili Peppers live it to the sweaty, butt-shaking hilt. Shot in typical post-MTV style with high-speed editinggand a crane-mounted camera, Psychedelic Sexfunk captures the shirtless wonders onstage in Long Beach, Calif., kicking out the jams on nine blistering funk- rock explosions (not, unfortunately, their best songs), with some rude backstage footage to pump p the bad-boy image. A vulgar powerhouse with muscles and brains, the Chili Peppers fill the screen with energy and nonstop motion. For maximum effect, run your VCR sound through the stereo and let Flea’s thundering bass pyrotechnics damage your walls. A-

If that’s not enough, the Peppers have also released Positive Mental Octopus, an eight-clip retrospective that proceeds from wacky (”Higher Ground,” ”Knock Me Down”) to utterly outrageous (”Catholic School Girls Rule” and a nearly nude live performance of Jimi Hendrix’s ”Fire”). B

They Might Be Giants: The Videos 1986-1989 (Enigma, $12.95)
In six short clips that haven’t been seen a million times on MTV, Brooklyn’s daring duo proves that ingenuity, not a big budget, is the key ingredient for wonderful rock videos. Director Adam Bernstein, who helmed all but one of the videos, assists guitarist John Flansburgh and accordionist John Linnell in visualizing their whimsical and kinetic pop tunes with appropriately offbeat imagery, turning irrational behavior into intriguing entertainment. With regular displays of their trademark psychotic semaphore dancing, the Giants delve into assorted levels of silliness, from the enormous hats in ”Don’t Let’s Start” to the rock parody and animation of ”Hotel Detective” and the disconcerting mouth collection exhibited in ”Ana Ng.” A-

R.E.M.: Pop Screen (Warner Reprise, $19.98)
Like other willful groups that rose out of the rock underground, R.E.M. initially regarded video as a necessary evil and resisted it by making ambivalent, vague clips (compiled on the pointedly titled R.E.M. Succumbs). But times change. R.E.M. has become hugely popular, and this new clip collection — eight of the nine songs are drawn from the band’s last two albums — positively embraces the medium. ”It’s the End of the World As We Know It” and ”Stand” display R.E.M.’s humanism and naturalism. (”Pop Song 89” also reveals more of singer Michael Stipe and three female dancers than you can see on MTV.) ”Orange Crush,” effectively shot in black and white, offers a strong but subtle antimilitarist message. B+

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