Music video roundup -- We review the latest from Janet Jackson, Mariah Carey, and more

By David N. Meyer
Updated October 06, 1995 at 04:00 AM EDT

From the self-indulgent (Mariah Carey) to the self-referential (R.E.M.), we offer the latest roundup of music videos:

”Fantasy” Mariah Carey Directed by Carey and featuring the same visual components as every other video of hers: sunlit shots of her face; close-ups of her little-girl smile; quick cuts showcasing her buffed-out torso; and Mariah dancing with her arms above her head. When Mariah’s record company markets her in such a corporate manner, it’s business as usual. But it’s depressing to see Mariah do it to herself. C-

”It’s Oh So Quiet” Björk
Björk’s strange beauty and weird playfulness are captured by director Spike Jonze in a series of 20-second dance numbers that recall Technicolor movie musicals. Jonze’s cinematic talents — his willingness to attempt difficult camera movements, his intuition for linking images to an artist’s emotion — are unsurpassed. A-

”Runaway” Janet Jackson In the wake of ”Scream,” Janet goes for big-budget technology and is lost in a sea of special effects — she is less compelling than the surprisingly childish travelogue projected behind her. Add to that an odd, slapdash feel and choreography that seems especially silly. And who talked her into that nose chain? B-

”Flavor” The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion No zooms, no fancy effects — no production values of any kind, really. The editing is amateurish, the camera work elementary, but it works, thanks to the energy and attitude of the Explosion. Spencer dances like Peter Wolf, Beck provides a typically eccentric rap, and Beastie Boy Mike D makes a cameo. A low-budget triumph of gags, ideas, and sheer will. B+

”Tongue” R.E.M. Cutting between the band in concert and folks at home watching them on TV (postmodernism alert!), R.E.M. crams 20 years of media theory into four heartbreaking minutes. Using rich blue light and stately tracking shots, they present MTV as the new fireplace around which the home life of a certain age-group gathers. While not technically innovative, the video has big ambitions: to smash the wall between watcher and watched. A