(The video begins with Sage in his normal set up, holding a PS3 controller. He then acknowledges the audience.)
Sage: Oh, hey folks, Sage here. You may know me from my video game reviews and Anime Abandon here on That Guy With The Glasses. But, like most people, my interests wander elsewhere.
(Cut to: the Michael Bolton section from Top Five Best and Worst Covers of All Time)
Sage (VO): A few months back, I did a top five list of the best and worst covers of all time and. I had a lot of fun making it. Though I'd like to keep making music related lists, I don't feel like it should be an ongoing thing. Maybe reserved for every once in a while.
Sage: And wouldn't you know it? It has literally been once in a while since that video came out. (Sets down the controller off-screen) So, let's put the controller down, and keep the anime shelved. But this time around, let's not focus on the music. And instead focus on the accompanying video. Specifically, how it makes NO goddamn sense.
(Cut to Sage talking in the background while the music video for Fatboy Slim's "Weapon of Choice" plays in the foreground.)
Sage (VO): I use the term "What the Fuck?" as a catch-all term for any kind of video that makes you scratch your head or just plain confuses you. They can be funny, scary, or a combination of both. But they all share something in common. You sure as hell aren't the same after watching them. And before you ask, no you're not going to see what I like to call "Forced Weirdness". Nothing that is transparently weird or abnormal for the sake of being weird and abnormal. So rest assured that Lady Gaga will be nowhere on this list.
Sage: Have (Pulls out a bottle of) crazy pills on standby and be sure to remember not to swallow your tongue! Because we're going to be diving balls deep into the crazy pool with....
(Cut to: The music video for "I'm on Crack" by The Left-Rights, which serves as the interlude for the video)
Sage (VO): The Top Ten Most What The Fuck Music Videos.
Sage: When I was compiling this list, I was surprised to find out that a good majority of the entries were from the 90s.
(Cut to: The music video for "I Stay Away" by Alice in Chains as Bennett talks)
Sage (VO): It's more than just the fact that music videos began to expand their boundaries in the 90s. It was also that music in general slanted itself toward the abstract, the quirky, the, alternative if you will. While their are many musicians and bands that pioneered the alternative sound, for my money, no man was more instrumental (or more confounding) then Beck.
(Cut to: the Music Video for "Where it's at." by Beck)
Beck: There's a destination
A little up the road
From the habitations
And the towns we know.
Sage (VO): It's kind of hard to pin down what exactly makes Beck Beck. Since his sound is as hard to pin down with a genre. Proto, Neo, Techno-Funk, Hip-Hop, Country and Western, Folk music?
Sage: Putting it as simply as possible, Beck is what every hipster today wishes they were. I was tempted to keep Beck off this list because of my aforementioned abstaining of forced weirdness. But at the end of the day, I'm just not sure what Beck intended to convey in his videos, and the ambiguity eventually won out.
Beck and the backing chorus: Do do. Do do do do do do do do do.
The New Pollution
Sage (VO): Much like the nature of the song, The New Pollution is plain incomprehensible. Beck's songs have been known to literally be about nothing, and that seems to be the case here. Words just kind of flow into each other with little regard to connectivity or coherence.
(The Lyrics (or at least, what are presumed to be the lyrics) are shown onscreen as well with question marks ending them.)
Beck: She's got a carburetor tied to the moon.
Pink eyes looking to the fruit of the ages.
Sage: But, hey it's got a nice beat.
Sage (VO): So with a song that isn't really about anything, we get a music video that really isn't about anything one would think. And yet, you can't shake the feeling that there's something you're not getting. Beck himself directed this (Surprise, I know), so maybe this is him portending to have some sort of deeper meaning then their actually is.
Sage: But then you're compounded with questions like, "Why?"
Sage (VO): Why are there dancers that look like Wednesday Adams sashaying around power mowers? Why is there a bearded man chugging a glass of milk? Why is there an 80s hair metal breakdown? I mean, these had to be thought out. This had to be intentional.
Sage: The 60s style and décor I get, because the song itself feels very, um, Mod-Rocky? I guess is the word? But, everything else, I'm drawing a complete blank on.
Sage (VO): The New Pollution. It's Beck's world. And we're not supposed to get it.
Sage: Nostalgia bomb in 3. 2. 1.
(Cut to: the video)
Jeffery Jey: Yo Listen up here's a story.
About a little guy that lives in a blue world.
Blue (Da Ba Dee)
Sage (VO): Oh man! How long is it been since you last thought of this song eh? God this song was everywhere back in 99. Fuck, you could've kept track of the time of day by how many times you heard "Blue" playing on the radio.
Sage: This is probably the least likely hit I can remember growing up. Honestly ask yourself, how many Euro-Tech songs can you name off the top of your head that climbed the charts? And, more importantly, have you checked out the music video recently?
Sage (VO): You remember how impressive and groundbreaking it looked? We never saw music videos like this back in the day. But lord, this video has aged like fuck!
Sage: It goes beyond the horribly rendered aliens. Really, the whole video just feels like a child scripted it.
Sage (Doing a little kid voice): So like, they're playing a concert. But then aliens come. And the take the singer away and the band gets on a spaceship and chases after the aliens. And they go onboard and the aliens have these lasers but they can't hit anything like in Star Wars. And the goes "Boo boo" with their hands and they blow the aliens away. And they start punching them like "Boom boom boom!" and they all rescue the singer. But the aliens don't want them to go so they throw a concert. And the one guy in the band doesn't really know what to do so he just, kind of waves his arms around. The end.
Sage: Actually, if I have a favorite part. It's the moment when the abducted singer first realizes that he's now singing to aliens.
Sage (Impersonating the singer): What. No really, aliens!? What the fuck man?! (Normal voice) This entry really is the black sheep of the bunch, as it doesn't really assault you with oddball imagery or make you question reality. But the video is just so out of its mind insane, that it had to have a spot on my list.
Sage (Doing a salute): God bless you Eiffel 65. You insane glorious bastards.
Sage: A cursory glance at the bands and musicians on my list, show the theme that they typically tend to be outside the norm or the mainstream. This is not the case with our next entry.
(Cut to: The video for "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight" by Genesis)
Phil Collins: But it's alright.
Like a load on your back that you can't see.
Sage (VO): I kind of have a complicated history with Genesis. I'll admit, I'm one of those people who find the Peter Gabriel years to be superior than Phil Collins. If only because their music tended to be on the more eclectic side and thus more interesting to my ears.
Sage: Phil Collins may have brought Genesis the hits and fame they have now. But, I'd take "Lambs Lie Down on Broadway" over "Invisible Touch" any day. But this isn't about old Genesis versus, newer? Genesis. This is about how Phil Collins looks creepy as a puppet.
(Cut to the video)
Land Of Confusion
Sage (VO): For those of you who live in the UK, you may recognize the puppets at work here. But for the uninitiated, this is the work of the puppet based satirical show "Spitting Image", which ran for a decade overseas. The show was focused on the politics and pop culture of the era, so there were plenty of Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Regan, and Muammar Gadhafi puppets on display to go around. So with the socially conscience song, "Land of Confusion", it only seemed natural that "Spitting Image's" puppets were used.
Sage: And thus the world was given, unbeknownst to its unsuspecting public, the very face of death itself.
(Cut to the infamous image of all three band members in puppet form, surely to pop up in your nightmares soon enough)
Phil Collins: But I can see the fire's still alight.
They're burning into the night.
Sage (Shaking his head): You cannot un-see it. It is eternal.
(Back to the close up of the Phil Collins puppet, but in slow mo.)
(Voice clip of the fox from Antichrist): Chaos. Reigns
Sage (VO): It's very hard to take what good ol' Philly is trying to convey, considering that we're being assaulted with new nightmare fuel every twenty seconds. We got Ronald Regan's Deadite stare in the negative zone. We got what, I think, is Prince eating his own tongue like a hot dog. We got a vast series of decapitated 80s celebrities heads on display. And Madonna singing out of her, I hope to god that's her belly button.
Sage: I bet this idea looked so good on paper. Or at least, less, scream yourself awake nightmare-ish.
(Cut to the ending of the video, showing Regan hovering over two buttons, one saying "Nurse" the other saying "Nuke". He presses the "Nuke" button on accident, which shows stock footage of a nuclear explosion going off with him and Nancy in the same hospital bed, the room shaking as Nancy wavers in fear.)
Regan: Eh, that's one heck of a nurse!
(Nancy gets offended and smacks Ronald in the back of the head with a snorkel before putting it in her mouth as Regan breaks the fourth wall and makes some weird sound as the video ends. It's as weird as it sounds.)
Sage: On the surface, my number 7 may look like another odd choice. But here me out. Sometimes the most innocent looking, are the most depraved.
(Cut to: the video for the next entry)
B4-4: Where did this and spring and then.
Life has passed you by.
Sage (VO): Ah, the early 2000s, the prime years of your wholesome boy band. While B4-4 never broke out of their native Canada, they had their share of hits on Canadian radio. Also, they beat Jersey Shore to douche, spray-on tan look by a whole decade.
Sage: Their most popular and endearing hit, "Get Down" is just a fun loving, light hearted tune, with "naughty" innuendo in their lyrics. Really, its just harmless fun. (Pause) Until you realize what the video is implying who they're singing to.
(Cut to: the beginning of the video, which shows a young black kid picking up a View-master out of the garbage and looking through it, showing one of the band members looking at him.
B4-4: I will be the one to love and cover you until the day I die.
I will take you to the places that you only think about in your state of mind.
Sage: (Nodding his head): Oh yeah.
Sage: I'll admit, the song itself has a lot to do with its placement here on the list. But, I can't believe how no one in the process of this video realized, that the editing is making it look like the frost tipped boys in the band, are trying to seduce a black kid. It also doesn't help with the Painfully placed innuendo.
(The lyrics are shown on the screen as well.)
B4-4: Communicate. And I'll go undercover.
Gonna make you come tonight.
Over to my house.
(Cut to: Sage visibly squirming from how uncomfortable this is.)
B4-4: No pressure to go all the way.
There's other places we can go.
Sage (Visibly confused by what he just heard): What!?
(Same clip, this time with the lyrics on the screen, with the word Other capitalized for emphasis.)
B4-4: No pressure to go all the way.
There's OTHER places we can go.
Sage: Was that him asking for anal sex? Was he vying to give that black kid the old Greek Uppercut? I feel like Chris Hanson is going to pop in at any moment and ask me to take a seat.
Sage (VO): The pedophile overtones are so insurmountable that they really distract you from the other stupid shit the video throws at you. Like, what the fuck is with those lifejacket vests the dudes are wearing in this shot? Are they scared they'll drown in the rain? Also, why the hell does every woman in the video think the kid is hot shit? Even towards the end when he's inexplicably dressed in a pimp suit, and is standing in front of a fancy car that appears for no reason, every woman is tripping over themselves trying to get to him. Ladies, the kid can't even drive that car!
Sage: Maybe they just didn't care, or maybe this was some practical joke on someone. But, somebody has to take responsibility for this! Because the cycle of abuse will never stop!
Sage (VO): After suffering the horror of three orange toothbrush looking fucks, the kid hands the nightmare viewfinder to a homeless man. As if to say, its now his turn to be molested.
Sage (In a scared voice): Will this nightmare ever end?!
Sage: I want to make it very clear that despite the confusing nature of the music video, I still love this song to death! So please keep this in mind when I go into it but, man. How could I make a top ten most What The Fuck music video list without putting Peter Gabriel somewhere on it?
(Cut to: The music video for Peter Gabriel's "Shock the Monkey")
Peter: Fox the fox.
Rat on the rat.
Sage (VO): I love Peter Gabriel's work, but I'll be the first to admit that he seems more like a performance artist than a musician to me. Call it art rock. Call it prog rock. But his music tended to be about theatrics and spectacle, given his penchant for performing far out live shows back in the 80s.
Sage: So it's no wonder that Peter Gabriel's music videos tended to be on the, weird side.
Peter: Hey hey, use it!
Hey, before you lose it!
Sage (VO): I'll come flat out and say that this may be one of the most technically impressive music videos I've ever seen. As the meticulous nature of the photography and camera work is nothing short of inspired.
Sage: But again, this isn't about how technically impressive a music video is. This is about how mind-fuckingly WEIRD a music video is.
Sage (VO): Let's see, Peter Gabriel's face made out of fruit. Claymation Gabriel procuring a sledgehammer to slam an egg onto a stage in which two uncooked chickens dance. Random people and objects surrounding Gabriel as a golem made of sledgehammers walks into frame. And it ends with Gabriel becoming a man made of stars as he walks into a night sky and waves goodbye to the audience.
Sage: Hmmmm, I think I'm going to have to check the dictionary on this one. (Pulls out an open Webster's dictionary). Yep, it's right here. Under "Ape shit nuts".
Sage (VO): Yeah the video makes no sense, but I can't help myself from loving it. Both on a technical level, and. Well, a guy has to lose his mind every once in a while to keep himself sane right?
(Cut to: the beginning of the next entry)
Chris Cornell: In my eyes.
In disguises no one knows.
Black Hole Sun
Sage: In an era of music that was infused with the nihilistic viewpoints of the Seattle grunge scene, Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun" resonated with alienated teenagers everywhere as few other songs did. An epic "life sucks" grunge ballad, tinged with elements of Acid Rock. That welcomes the apocalypse with a wicked gleam in its eye, and a jagged smile that crawls along its jaw. All that is frivolous, mundane, and just plain idiotic is swallowed whole, negating all existence and human endeavor in the process. This is not the world in which we imagine for ourselves, but rather a pale imitation. Lifeless homunculi that approximate the human form but can never duplicate. No, if this is the world, our so called paradise that we have built for ourselves. Then there shall be no world at all! Let oblivion be our final destiny!!!
Sage: (Sitting awkwardly in a "What?" sort of way): I mean, that's what I get from watching the music video. I don't know about you guys.
Sage (VO): It's pretty simple to see that this isn't the most cheeriest of songs, and the video obviously reflects this. But even when their intentions are clear-cut, its still hard to wrap your head around the many warped and melting faces, the odd juxtaposition of the editing, and why the hell Rocky from Rocky Horror Picture Show is doing pushups in a Neo-60s living room.
Sage: In a weird way, this twisted Leave It To Beaver motif fits the music pretty well. I got to hand it to the video, I recognize the method to the madness. (Beat) What does that say about me though?
(The video ends)
(Cut To: The music video for "Tragedy's A-Comin by Primus, which shows frontman Les Claypool dressed as a lobster. No, I'm not making that up.)
Les: From the middle of nowhere.
He rides it all alone.
From the edges of somewhere
He's grindin flesh and bone.
Sage (VO): Much like Peter Gabriel, there was no way that Primus could escape a list of the top ten most What The Fuck of, anything really. Front-man Les Claypool has always been a prominent figure in the counter-culture, and the weirdness surrounds him and his work is almost second nature to him.
Sage: Now, you might be asking yourself, "Bennett, if you're not allowing forced weirdness on your list. Why the fuck are you putting Primus on your list? They live for being weird!" To which I'd answer, "Because I'm not sure of Primus's ends."
Sage (VO): Whereas Gaga's all about the fame, Primus just seems to be in on something that the rest of us aren't, much like Beck from earlier. I mean, here's Les Claypool dressed as a lobster, while an astronaut rides a horse to a restaurant to order. Lobster.
Sage (Looking confused): Deep?
Sage (VO): Trying to pick one of Primus's videos as the most mind bending was a herculean task in of itself. But in the end, there was only one clear choice.
(Cut to: The beginning video of our next entry.)
Sage (VO): "Mr. Krinkle"'s brand of mind-fuckery is direct and simple. It's Les Claypool dressed in a pig mask and leisure suit, playing the Cello, while random shit happens in the background. The camera never cuts away, and there's no editing whatsoever.
Sage: In its own weird way, the video is pretty impressive, how they were able to time everything. But so much weird imagery is being forced at you at once into such a small space, that your eyes can't even decide what to focus on.
Sage (VO): From the girl in the straightjacket on a pogo stick. To the woman sitting on a block of ice with fish in it. To the man on fire, to the Chinese dragon, I'm surprised I don't see Waldo chilling in the background somewhere. It also doesn't help matters that the song itself is creepy as fuck
(Cut to: the part of the video where the room goes dark and Claypool is playing the cello in a way that almost sounds similar to the "Jaws" theme)
Les: Mr. Krinkle.
Sage (Visibly shuddering in fear): I wouldn't be surprised to know that this is the sound every creeper has in his heads whenever they're sneaking up on their target.
Sage (VO): Still, I don't want to diminish the creativity that obviously went into this video. Claypool himself went on the record that he was frustrated that this video, in which he and the crew obviously worked hard on, was only briefly put into MTV's video rotation before being swept under the rug. Although, to be fair to MTV. I can see why they did that.
Sage: Well, what else is there to say? (Beat) Oh yeah. (Throws up the devil horns) Primus Sucks!
(Cut to: The famous music video for Bjork's "All is full of love")
Bjork: You'll be given love.
Sage (VO): Oh Bjork, you weird sprightly woman you. I'm not the biggest fan of Bjork around, but I can't bring up the bile and hatred that her harshest detractors can muster up, seemingly on a whim. Her voice can strain on your patience after a while, but I find some of her songs to be at least memorable in their own right.
Sage: Also, without her, we wouldn't have the awesomeness of the "All is full of love" video. Then again, if it wasn't for her, we also wouldn't have this.
(Cut to: The beginning of the next entry)
Army of Me
Sage (VO): Once again, we hove into the area of not knowing what the fuck the message of the video is trying to convey to us. But at the very least it tells a, semi-coherent story? Bjork is, driving a truck that breaks down and a hobo climbs out of it and, then her tooth hurts so she visits a gorilla dentist, who pulls a diamond out of her mouth. But Bjork manages to steal it back, and uses it to fix her truck, and delivers a bomb to the least guarded museum in the history of ever and blows it up? And the guy she set the bomb next to just wakes up and she hugs and cries black diamonds.
Sage (Trying to wrap his head around the events before stuttering): Well, clearly. This is a treatise, on the subjugation and the plight of the hapless bourgeois, uh, brought upon by the industrial, eh, proletariat. Heh,heh. Oh, isn't it obvious?
Sage (VO): Yeah, your guess is as good as mine over what the fuck is happening. Are you starting to notice a pattern by the way?
Sage: At this point in the list, its really hard to discern which video is more, "What the fuck" then the others. But what eventually won out was, at least this had a narrative. The other two? Well, you'll see.
(Cut to: the next video, which shows three putty faced figures standing around a table as one puts a black carrying bag on the table. Yeah, I don't know either.)
Sage: You know your watching a weird video, when the first thing you see is. Something you can't even describe.
Sage (VO): Much like Primus, it was difficult to find just one of Tool's opus length videos to be the most weird and fucked up. But eventually "Parabola" won out just because of the sheer range of the video. I'm not even sure if there's something to "get" here or if its just imagery for the sake of imagery.
Sage: Hey! (Raises hand) Raise your hand if you can concisely explain what the hell we're watching.
(Cut to: One of the men from the video raising his hand. Like he knows.)
Sage (VO): Upbupbup! Put your hand down you liar! So what happens after the council of, um, play-doh faced men meet up and, make a perfect circle by spewing black shit from their mouths? Well, a stop motion puppet visits a hideously deformed black man. And a sentient gathering of grapes kills the puppet. And the black guy dissects the corpse and then goes on a nature hike, Then a leaf opens up his third eye, and aligns his chakra so that he attains nirvana and assimilates with the universe.
(Cut to: A montage of the finale of the video which shows two flaming eyes meeting up with each other and going into the head of the black guy in order to make his third eye, who by this point has become a CGI human body showing muscle, arteries, veins, and bone standing in front of a background of conjoined eyes to make a kaleidoscope pattern. All while it intercuts to shots of Bennett looking absolutely confused as to what in gods name he's even witnessing at this point, probably mirroring the viewer's reaction quite well. Then the video ends)
Sage (Still looking lost): Even on shrooms, this wouldn't make a lick of sense.
Sage (VO): Creative? Yes. Mesmerizing? Most definitely. Coherent? HELL NO!
Sage: Being honest, "Parabola" was (holding up his fingers in the standard motion) THIS close to being my number one. But, when all is said and done, there is still one more video that can top the weirdness of even that. Your limits, will be tested people.