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Hot (and not) music videos

Hot (and not) music videos — See what we thought of the latest offerings from Janet Jackson, Beck, and others

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Hot (and not) music videos

1. JANET JACKSON, ”Rock With U”
The Concept Miss-Jackson-if-Yer-Nasty cribs the title (and a not dissimilar chorus) from her older brother’s 1979 hit. Damita Jo’s signature dance moves ensue.
The Execution She’s done better. The darkly lit set and writhing dancers jibe oddly with her whispery vocals and the tinkly backing synths. Plus, it’s visually kind of dull; we preferred Michael’s fabulous sparkle jumpsuit and booties of yore. B-

2. VAMPIRE WEEKEND, ”A-punk”
The Concept The rocket-launched indie outfit’s bouncy, fluting rhythms sync up with herky-jerky edits and a Blue-Man-Group-in-Izod vibe.
The Execution Unexpectedly adorable. The guys frolic like kids at recess, playing giddily with a bubble maker, finger paints, and a bucketful of instruments, and that innocent fun is contagious. A

3. SILVERSUN PICKUPS, ”Little Lover’s So Polite”
The Concept Who’s got a flatbed truck? Joaquin Phoenix, that’s who! The actor-turned-director cruises the SoCal indie favorites through their hometown at dusk (or is it dawn?), while two young kids run free.
The Execution Not amazing, but cool. Phoenix aptly captures the strange, sprawling emptiness of twilight L.A. and the sweet aimlessness of youth. B+

4. Beck, ”Timebomb”
The Concept Remember Van Halen’s 1992 consciousness-raising clip, ”Right Now”? In lieu of appearing on camera, Beck lets a litany of disconcerting, mostly environmental facts do the talking.
The Execution We sort of miss his usual art-kook approach, and it’s a little didactic, but still sobering. Did you know Americans use 60,000 plastic bags every five seconds? You do now. A-

5. JAY-Z, ”I Know”
The Concept Hova subs in Lenny Kravitz’s daughter, Zoe, for real-life boo BeyoncĂ©. Watch as she wanders both the streets and the confines of her luxurious apartment, pining prettily for lost love.
The Execution Good, just not his best. The clip sets a nice mood, but the narrative is nearly lost in atmospherics. B

6. HOLLERADO, ”Americanarama”
The Concept Kids in the Hall alum Dave Foley stars as a mock Dov Charney, the mustachioed, media-hungry CEO of the controversial clothing line American Apparel (or, um, ”American Arama”), as this Canadian quartet kicks out the pop-rock jams.
The Execution Low-budget awesome. If the sight of Foley booty-dancing through his own factory in lavender man-panties doesn’t get you, the song’s punchy, addictive chorus will. A

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