Ode to the Winter Rotation
by Carrie Hoffman and Rusty W. Spell


We especially enjoyed the music video rotation on MTV during the winter of 2003-2004. You have to stay up well past midnight, but MTV does show videos uninterrupted a la the olden days--and we're always up past midnight. Now that this specific rotation is over, we felt we should commemorate it in some way. So Carrie and Rusty are going to say a few things about these videos. The following is about as insightful as anyone can get.

Britney Spears: Toxic

When Rusty saw this video, he told Carrie, "Britney Spears is doing that thing where she’s a stylish and slick sexy woman, but she’s also deadly and she goes around seducing and then killing men." Then Carrie said, "A femme fatale," because Carrie is lots more succinct than Rusty.

Visually, the plane and Britney’s outfit reminds Carrie of what she feels is Mike Meyers’s worst movie – one even worse than Austin Powers in Goldmember – which is A View from the Top. Rusty sort of likes the video, but not because Britney is being a sexy femme fatale. Rusty doesn’t think Britney is too much sexy because he knows in real life she’s just this goof with a stupid smile. Her acting isn’t convincing enough. But he would hang out with her if she asked him to. But, yes, the video seems well-put-together enough for Rusty—and even though he doesn’t like the song, he thinks it’s probably the best Britney Spears song she’s released. It’s got those 1970s strings.

Personally, we’re tired of being compared to damn Britney Spears. She’s so pretty. That’s just not us. We’re like Pink. We’re Pink where it counts.

The Darkness: I Believe in a Thing Called Love

Someone told us that The Darkness "appropriates 80s hair metal ironically." We hope not. In fact, we know not. In fact, The Darkness is not even "hair metal." Also in fact, they’re more 70s than 80s. They do Queen-based music with a genuineness; otherwise we wouldn’t like this video or song. Here’s the news, people: you don’t have to be ironic anymore. Irony does not charm us anymore, if it ever did.

Carrie likes to hoot the word "love" along with the lead singer, and Rusty likes to sing any part that allows him to show off his beautiful falsetto. The thing about this song is that it’s "refreshing." We haven’t had a Queen renaissance since Wayne’s World. Rusty enjoys any video where a Jules Verne squid attacks a spaceship. There are no less than two thumbs-up in this video.

Kelis: Milkshake

Kelis has gone from a song about how much she hates men to a song in which she brags about her abilities to get the men she hates so much. Carrie has a whole image in her head of what this song is about and sees Kelis on a playground in some tight jeans, lots of guys lined up along a fence about to swarm her, and she’s singing to some sad-looking girls who don’t have her milkshaking capabilities. Rusty simply appreciates the fact that the entire video is about jism. But it’s not just the women getting it like the usual videos with water hoses, etc. Instead, Kelis is a powerful spewing force that soaks everyone within her radius with her milkshake. All of this happens because of all the boobs and butts flying around (they’re in the eggs, the biscuits—everywhere) that suddenly appear with her presence.

Did we mention we love that bell? And the internal rhymes? "You want me to teach thee techniques that freak these boys." Perhaps the single best moment is when Kelis leans over with her just-legally-above-nipple outfit and demonstrates her milkshake. It might just be the sexiest video ever made.

OutKast: Hey Ya!

Although re-enacting The Beatles has been done in videos a bunch of times (we remember Nirvana doing it, badly), this video seems fresh and full of life to us. Andre 3000 is a great and joyful and original dancer – up there with Michael Stipe and the little girl from the Missy Elliot videos – and so it’s even better that we have so many of him at once. We don’t know anyone who doesn’t like this song. Carrie’s mom and dad even danced to it at her cousin’s wedding.

We like the introduction with Big Boi talking to Andre. We like the green outfits. We like the names of the multiple Andres. We even like the cliched old white woman who is annoyed at first by the loud music and screaming, but is eventually compelled to shake it like a Polaroid picture herself. We especially like the little children watching at home. They are great dancers. Some might feel that they are being too sexy for eight-year-olds, but they seem blissfully unaware of that—they’re just dancing like they know how.

It is absolutely perfect. It makes us shake it, just like Andre tells us to.

Yin Yang Twins: Salt Shaker

We don’t really have much to say about the video, but we feel terrible for the Yin Yang Twins because there’s no better simile for "shaking it" than "shake it like a Polaroid picture." They fell just short of one of the most brilliant lyrics ever, and their video came out at the same time as Andre 3000’s. A tough blow for the Yin Yang Twins. For a similar misfortune, see Alicia Keys below.

Alicia Keys: You Don’t Know My Name

The first time Rusty came over to Carrie’s apartment, she had an Alicia Keys CD in her stereo. It wasn’t playing or anything, but when he saw it in the stereo, he thought that must be the kind of music she listened to all the time, even though it wasn’t. There was some small amount of concern. Carrie bought it at K-Mart because it was cheap and because Alicia Keys’s song "Fallin’" was on MTV all the time in those days, and Carrie liked the way Alicia sang the phrase "with you" – which sounded something like "with-a YOU." We're sure you’ve all heard it and know what we’re talking about. Anyway, nothing on that CD was as good as that line, even the rest of the same song. Nothing in this new song is as good either. The only thing to really say about the video is that it’s unfortunate for Alicia Keys that she made it in a diner, since Kelis did the ultimate diner video.

OutKast: The Way You Move

This song is probably best when you’re with someone sexy or someone you love, or both, and you can both dance to it. When you’re not with someone sexy that you love, you can watch and enjoy all of the little things in here. You can enjoy Big Boi’s suit and way he stands with his hand on his hip (that’s called the "Waiting for Your Car to Get Fixed" dance). You can watch Bentley Farnsworth, P. Diddy’s butler, oiling up a woman’s leg. He dances good for a butler. He dances good for anyone. Rusty was a little scared of the transfigured mechanic woman’s giant ass at first, but he learned to accept it. Clearly the best looking woman in the video, says Rusty, is the woman with the white stripes in her hair. There’s also Big Boi making music out of breathing, flapper dancing, and light saber fights. It’s all great.

Beyonce: Me, Myself, and I

Carrie thinks Beyonce is hot stuff and likes everything she does. Rusty thinks Beyonce is hot stuff too (though not as hot as Carrie thinks she is), but only likes a few of the things that she does. In this video, she wears a short blonde wig that makes her look very strangely like Claire Danes. Only she’s better than Claire Danes because she’s Beyonce and she looks good purposely throwing her hair around in slow motion and jiggling her boobs up and down in slow motion, and she can crawl around the floor with her booty in the air like a cat.

Maybe you’ve noticed that this video is backward chronologically. It’s pretty much a remake of Memento, except that at the end of this video – instead of us learning what the Memento guy did – we learn that she’s upset because she found some other girl’s panties in her man’s apartment. Women in movies and television are always catching their men cheating by finding other girls’ sexy underwear. But we wonder what girl leaves her Underoos behind: you have to put them back on to go home, and it’s not like you wouldn’t notice that you don’t have any underwear the way you wouldn’t notice, say, that you left your umbrella behind. It makes no sense unless the woman wants Beyonce to find them. Also, the found-cheating-underwear, as it is in this video, is always the extra-lacy thong kind. We suppose mistresses don’t wear the big white Hanes Her Way or the pink cotton Strawberry Shortcake cute-college-girlie underwear.

Something else interesting about this video is that the guy’s apartment is very fancy-looking, and the guy is wearing a tux, and has one of those shiny dining room tables that signifies his richness. And yet if you look at the table, you will notice a box of Lucky Charms sitting on it, like she interrupted him in the middle of eating his sugar cereal.

No Doubt: It’s My Life

When Carrie first heard that No Doubt did a remake of an old song called "It’s My Life," she thought it was that Bon Jovi song, but instead it was a remake of a song not many people aside from Rusty has ever heard of. Rusty even has a copy of the original Talk Talk song on one of his 80s collections.

Gwen Stefani does her typical thing where she dresses in vintage clothes and does her hair like she’s from the 1920s or 30s. We hear she’s playing Jean Harlowe in a movie that’s coming out soon. She does that vintage role well, though, so we don’t have a problem with it.

Gwen, like Britney Spears, plays a femme fatale.

Twista (featuring Jamie Foxx and Kanye West): Slow Jam

Jamie Foxx steals Eddie Murphy’s act and becomes the comic who sings. When VH-1 does I Love the 00s sometime in the future, We're sure the future Mo Rocca will take him to task for this and wonder why Jamie felt the need to sing a slow jam.

We like the party when everyone holds identical Solo cups in the air while dancing. That’s how it is at a party, you know. Aisha Tyler is in this video, and we like her. There’s one part where she and the dude singing with her do this quick mug to the camera, which confuses Rusty because he’s never really heard what they say to cause them to do that. Rusty watches these videos in mute a lot, but even when he turned on the sound, he was confused. With the sound on, you get to hear "It’s gonna be" repeated a million times in a chipmunk voice. That’s Kanye West’s production trick. There’s also a large section of the video where Twista raps to a dancing stripper, which is equally confusing.

Norah Jones: Sunrise

Carrie’s favorite thing about this video are the guys who have white Christmas lights outlining their stringed instruments. Rusty’s favorite thing about this video is when Norah and the Asian chick break into a little dance by the lake. Carrie expects to hear this song playing in a movie starring Winona Ryder. It will be playing while she walks down a New York City street, late at night, after being disappointed in love. Rusty thinks the men in the video looks like walking puss-bags, but he kind of likes them anyway because he knows they secretly lust after Norah. We’re not sure what to think about the Teletubby motif.

Jessica Simpson: With You

Jessica Simpson is famous for being dumb-as-shit, and she reenacts all of her dumb-as-shit moments in this video, just in case you didn’t see them on her show. This song is about how she loves her husband Nick Lachey because she can be her stupid bimbo self when she’s with him. Also, her boobs are so big she can’t golf. Once upon a time Jessica Simpson was famous for being a virgin, but now that she’s married she’s allowed to talk about her sex life every chance she gets. That’s how it works.

Rusty turns the channel when she brings out the BBQ, because it’s gross. He also can’t get over the butt-hole in her chin, so he distracts himself by staring at her golf prevention devices.

Blink-182: I Miss You

There’s something about the way the band looks in this video that reminds Carrie of Phantom of the Opera. Something about the chandeliers or something. We like that they got formal for this video, and it’s not the typical "I’m a hipster in a suit with my lip piercing because I’m smug" kind of formality. Travis sends you this one from his heart.

Carrie likes the line about having Halloween on Christmas, though she thinks she would rather have Christmas on Halloween. Or maybe she would want Halloween on Halloween for all the candy and the fun costumes, and then would want Christmas every day except for the days of other holidays. Rusty understands the line about having Halloween on Christmas, because many people are depressed on Christmas, whereas even the most cynical and joyless among us look forward to having fun on Halloween. The Devil wins again. This has nothing to do with Blink 182, of course, but you’re not interested in them as much as you are in us, right?

Kanye West: Through the Wire

Kanye West is an odd fellow. Here he glorifies himself for making a crappy hip hop song while his jaw was wired shut. Even if he had gone into the studio to make a good song, it would have been stupid; but all he’s doing in this song is talking about his jaw. Like he’s a hero or something for being in a car accident. And then a further hero for recording a song while having a wired jaw. Congratulations. You were injured once and you went back to work.

This is a series of conversations that might have taken place between Kanye’s friend and Kanye, beginning a few days before the accident:


FRIEND: Hey, Kanye, what’s going on?

KANYE: Just sitting around, producing other people’s songs. You know, the usual.

FRIEND: Think you might record your own song one day?

KANYE: Nah, I have no reason to.


FRIEND: Hey, Kanye, still sitting here just doing other people’s songs and not recording your own voice?

KANYE: Yeah, man. That’s what I do.


KANYE: [driving] Oh shit! A car! Ahhhhh!

FRIEND: [later, at the hospital] Kanye, they told me you’re going to have to get your jaw wired shut due to what happened to you in the car accident. I’m sorry, man. But at least you don’t have to like sing or anything, right? I mean, when you go back to work, nothing much will change since you are a producer who doesn’t sing his own songs or anything. I mean, careerwise, there’s no reason to change your lifestyle much. What a relief, eh, Kanye?

KANYE: [after thinking to himself for a few seconds] I’m not going to let this accident stop me! I can’t let my fans down! The show must go on! I will sing a song with my jaw wired shut!

FRIEND: What are you talking about, Kanye? Do I need to tell the nurse to not give you so much painkiller?

KANYE: Yeah, do that, man. Because I want to feel the pain. I want my fans to feel it while I sing a song for them. I’ll sing about this right here: I’ll sing about my jaw.

FRIEND: Just calm down, Kanye. You’re not making sense. You’re scaring me.

KANYE: Don’t be scared, man. Get Chaka Khan on the phone!


KANYE: [doing his adlibs in the studio for the song] Yo, G, they can't stop me from rapping, can they? Can they, huh? I spit it through the wire, man. Too much stuff on my heart right now, man. I'll probably risk it all right now. It's a life or death situation, man.

FRIEND: Kanye, really. If you feel like this is going to hurt you, don’t do it. Look, we can do a song about your experiences after you’re better. Why do you feel you have to do this now? Kanye? [watching Kanye continue to record his song] I’m going home, dog. You’re wack.

During the video, there’s a shot of a Polaroid that says "My jaw was wiard shut" [sic]. We can’t say why that made it past the video editors, unless he’s as proud of his bad spelling as he is of getting jaw wired shut.

At the end of the video, he kisses his hand and touches a huge poster of Chaka Khan. He then looks at the camera all serious as "thank you" fades onto the screen. Rusty can’t watch this part of the video without breaking into tears-caused-by-absurdity laughter. Yeah, thanks, Chaka: you let me steal the only thing that makes this song remotely good, allowing Carrie and Rusty to say "To the limit" over and over again like chipmunks.


We don't seem to like the new rotation as much, but it was nice to be teenagers for a while. Thanks to MTV (and VH-1 too, we suppose) for the soundtrack for this past Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day eras.

Copyright 22 Feb 2004 We Like Media.
You may email Carrie Hoffman and Rusty W. Spell.