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Big 'Smack' Attack

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”TOGETHER AGAIN” Janet Jackson Miss Jackson’s ego reaches Michael-like proportions in her latest extravaganza. The curviest Jackson casts herself as Mother Nature, commanding an African plain’s worth of lions and tigers and bears (oh, my). She even acts as the ultimate maternal seer to herself — the clip features a mirror image of Jackson nestling at her own breast. No doubt the singer intended that last bit as a literalization of the need to ”love yourself” — a goal that might seem more poignant if Jackson hadn’t long ago heeded that instruction to the hilt. C

”BRIMFUL OF ASHA” Cornershop Fans who fetishize vintage album cover art should swoon for this piece. Director Phil Harden brings classic LP packaging to life, picturing Britain’s best bangra-rock group as moving figures on packages resembling old covers from labels like Blue Note, Atlantic, and Verve. The re-created images make a retro dream come true. A

”SMACK MY BITCH UP” Prodigy Outraged women’s groups may have labeled Prodigy’s song as cheap exploitation, but their video (unspooled exclusively in clubs, after a brief stint on MTV) proves a far more ironic beast. Employing a wit sick enough to impress the folks at South Park, the clip spins its lead character through a greatest hits of antisocial behavior. Our hero snorts coke, guzzles booze, assaults women, drives drunk, vomits in public — enough desperate acts to pack a John Waters flick. The result cleverly sends up the whole notion of shock value. Better yet, the final revelation (that our nutcase is female) upends easy assumptions about the relationship between gender and aggression. Shouldn’t feminists be cheering? A

”INTO THE OCEAN” Fretblanket The untested rock act Fretblanket took top honors on MTV’s 12 Angry Viewers show, which secured their clip a spot in MTV’s regular rotation. The piece certainly has eye appeal, aping kitschy ’60s Italian exploitation trailers. Its purposely crummy superimpositions and the lovingly distressed quality of the film also charm. But the band itself sounds like Bush gone surf rock. Meaning it could well end up as the A-ha of its generation. B