10A -- The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 8, 1997
'Insanity' rules at virtually lifeless Video.Music Awards
By Aaron Rennie
Daily Music Editor
For all the endless commercials and hours of air-
time MTV spends year after year hyping its biggest
annual event, the Video Music Awards, the station
could at least once put on a decent show. Alas, MTV
has again proven to underwhelm, as the 1997 Video
Music Awards ceremony was three hours of mostly
boring live performances, annoying presenters read-
ing idiotic banter off the teleprompters and generally
Comedian Chris Rock hosted the 1997 VMA, held
at Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan, and made the
lbst of the situation as possible. Hell, he made fun of
tihe Spice Girls twice with them sitting in the audi-
ence, as well as countless musicians who won't be
back next year for the 1998 VMA, given the "here
today, gone today" fickle tastes of the music-buying
public and MTV programmers.
The evening got off to a rather conspicuous start
when No Doubt won the award for Best Group Video,
for its song "Don't Speak."
The ubiquitous, sample-happy and mediocre Puff
'Daddy was going nowhere fast in his live performance
for the Notorious B.I.G. tribute "I'll Be Missing You"
before he was joined by the elegant-looking Sting,
whose vocals were, as usual, quite stirring.
In a sure sign of the apocalypse, the Spice Girls beat
out the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy for Best
Dance Video. Mel C's dedication of the award for
"Wannabe" to the late Princess Diana was touching,
but then Geri interrupted, saying Di had "Girl Power;"
cheesifying a poignant moment.
Madonna then introduced her Maverick signees the
Prodigy, who played "Breathe" via satellite from
England. After the Prodigy's performance, Rock dead-
panned, "I'm always a sucker for a good melody."
Let's see, what next? Oh, yes, Will Smith won Best
Video from a Film for "Men In Black," Sublime won
Best Alternative Video for "What I Got" and Fiona
Apple won Best New Artist. Then U2 played a stirring
rendition of "Please," off its relatively poorly-selling
new album, "Pop," but nobody in the audience seemed
Beck deservedly won Best Male Video for the
super-cool "Devil's Haircut, defeating such musical
luminaries as Babyface, R. Kelly and Will Smith.
After LL Cool J won a Video Vanguard award, Puff
Daddy (with Faith Evans and 12) won Best R&B
Video for "I'll Be Missing You." At least Sting is mak-
ing some more money off the whole deal.
Beck then charismatically performed "The New
Pollution," doing all kind of splits and twists, before
Sheryl Crow interviewed the soon-to-be-touring
Rolling Stones. Asking Mick Jagger if the group will
be working with Puff Daddy in the near future, Mick
said, "Only if he gets his teeth fixed."
After Jamiroquai played a solid version of "Virtual
Insanity" (complete with the video's flat
escalator/conveyer belt effect), the Prodigy won the
Viewer's Choice award.
Jewel defeated such musical heavyweights as
Meredith Brooks and Paula Cole to win Best Female
Video before Jamiroquai took home the grand prize,
Video of the Year, for "Virtual Insanity." While this is
entirely more acceptable than, say, Celine Dion's vic-
tory at the Grammy Awards for Album of the Year, all
it did was wind up a boring evening.
Actually, it didn't. Marilyn Manson finally did, per-
forming a tuneless rendition of a tuneless song, "The
Beautiful People." After the song ended and Marilyn
Manson removed his buttock-exposing self from the
stage, Rock articulated that it might be good for view-
ers to run to church. They should - to pray for a
decent show next year.
Above: The lads of Jamiroqual took
home four awards at Thursday's MT
Video Music Awards for their ground.
breaking funhouse video, "Virtual
Insanity," including a surprise win for
Video of the Year; Left: Host Chris
Rock unsuccessfully attempted to keep
this year's VMA's alive with his witty
quips and video parodies.
Morrissey's 'Maladjusted' needs no adjustments
Regardless of the tiresome reports of
his evasive tendencies (not to mention
being branded as "devious, truculent,
and unreliable" by a London High
Court judge during last Spring's messy
courtroom battle over royalties with
former Smiths drummer Nike Joyce),
die hard Moz fans will always look for-
ward to the release of his new material.
With the same corps of musicians by
his side, namely the venerable
Alain Whyte and Boz Boorer,
as well as long time produc- P
er Steve Lillywhite,
the similar style of songs
that have composed
Morrissey's catalog over
the past few albums. The
first single "Alma Matters"
has a "Vauxhall and I"-era feel
to it, enhanced by a lazy-yet-
engaging melody in which Moz confi-
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dently reveals, "So the life I have made
may seem wrong to you /IS
I've never been sure
it's my life to ruin
! 5 my own way
" R o y 's
Keen" is the
best song on
S' "4 M al -
b o a s t s
tone in recent mem
With superb harmony from
Alain in just the right places, the sound
stomps down angular steps behind an
almost psychedelic combination of gui-
tar and bass. The title track of the album
lacks an identifiable chorus, and
although it requires several listens
before any semblance of melody
becomes apparent, it does have the
potential to be a powerful live track
the upcoming fall tour (Morrissey
play Hill Auditorium on Wednesday the
24th). The same holds true with
"Ammunition", a surprisingly uplifting
tune about the constant pains and
strains of revenge. On this gem,
Morrissey croons, "I don't dwell on
things I'm missing, I'm just pleased
with the things I've found'
Like most all of his other solo efforts,
"Maladjusted" is not without its share
of heart-wrenching ballads, the'
successful of which is "Wideo
Receive". Here we are witness to
Morrissey's first ever 'internet song' as
he sings of the sorrows of being unre-
quited with attention, begging for
"almost anything you'd care to give?'
A more traditional Morrissey theme
bleeds from "Trouble Loves Me,"
where the lyrics are as poignant as evet:
"Trouble loves me, trouble needs me /
two things more than you do, or w
attempt to' This song is also one of the
strongest musically on the album, as it
showcases frequent shifts back and
forth from jazzy piano-laden verses into
crunchier guitar-heavy choruses.
Morrissey's position in the current
world of pop music is unlike any other
artist's. He is owed the respect and cred-
it of laying the groundwork for today's
slew of independent bands, and even
more so, Brit-pop in general. Yet,
Morrissey has still seemingly nr
been forgiven by the British press and
others for allowing the beloved Smiths
to run their course into their eternal
resting place in music history.
Regardless of media scorn or chart
placings or record sales, Morrissey still
has one of the largest and most obses-
sive cult fan bases of any artist today
And even though "Maladjusted" will
never be a top-five album, or "
Matters" a No. I single, his new ma r
ial will always be welcomed with oper
arms by the people who still crave the
touching moments of magic thal
Morrissey has once again proven he is
more than capable of delivering.
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