Rosanne Cash in a Melancholy Mood
“Give Peace a Chance"--the all-star video featuring teen-age Sean Lennon’s pale update of his father’s metronomic lyrics recited in we-are-the-rappin'-world style--may be on the shelf now, but another John Lennon theme is alive in one of the new year’s most moving pop videos.
Rosanne Cash draws off from the former Beatles’ idea--"All you need is love"--and gives it a more melancholy spin around the tape spool. “What we really need is love,” sings Cash, in the latest pretty, but brooding single from her “Interiors” album.
It heads this month’s edition of Sound & Vision, a roundup of recent rock videos reviewed and rated on a 0-100 scale.
CLIP PICK OF THE LITTER:
Rosanne Cash’s “What We Really Need.” (Director: Ethan Russell.) Photographer-director Russell has concocted a weird, two-dimensional world of paintings for Cash to step into, singing one of her latest songs of woe and miscommunication. It’s a visual effect that’s been tried in videos many times before, but never quite to this successfully surreal an effect. “I tried to make it feel right in somebody else’s world,” sings Cash late in the song, and the incongruity clicks. 81
WORTH A LOOK & A LISTEN:
Neil Young’s “Over and Over.” (Director: Julien Temple.) Much sexier than Madonna’s “Justify My Love,” for anyone keeping score. Young and Crazy Horse pump up the volume in a courtyard buffeted by extreme Santa Anas and inhabited by a handsome couple given to much alternating whoopee and whopping battles. The fellow penitently brings the lady flowers; she sets them on fire. This cycle of reconciliation gets all too corny, but a little romantic steam and a lot of wind and distortion add up to a fine time at the fights. 77
Sting’s “All This Time.” (Director: Alex Proyas.) How do you illustrate a heavy song in which Sting’s father dies, and the singer mocks the attending priests’ last rites, expressing a wish that “the old man” could be buried at sea and concluding by questioning the very words and existence of Jesus? Why, by remaking the Marx Brothers’ stateroom scene from “A Night at the Opera,” of course. The seriousness of Sting’s lyric is offset by comic visuals that have him struggling to finish his number on a rolling, overpopulated ship of fools. Curiously, it sorta works, with a dark color scheme that keeps the tone from getting too lighthearted. 73
Paul Simon’s “Proof.” (Director: Gary Weis.) Like Sting, Simon is also questioning issues of faith here, less arduously assaulting the heavens and merely insisting on proof as his test. Instead of summoning the spirit of the Marx Brothers for his theological treatise, Simon has Chevy Chase and Steve Martin in the flesh joining him for some lighthearted frolic on a parade float moving down a small-town street. Back at the studio, they don baggy pants and parody M.C. Hammer’s manic-insect dance. Slight, but cute. 64
The Traveling Wilburys’ “Inside Out.” (Director: David Leland.) Worth checking out just for Bob Dylan’s variations on a single theme--the ever-popular Pained Expression. In one shot, Dylan looks as if he just sucked a salty lemon slice dry; elsewhere, one imagines ulcers, hangnails and Albert Goldman as possible sources of Dylan’s obvious discomfort. And those are just the shots where he looks as if he’s having a good time. 58
The Peace Choir’s “Give Peace a Chance.” (Directors: Nigel Dick and Paul Rochman.) Everybody’s talkin’ ‘bout fad-ism, bag-ism, bad songs, overlong, hire a star, for just one bar, there goes little Sean, doing Daddy’s song wrong. All we are saying is give this a rest. 47
GAMMA RAY ROT:
Nelson’s “After the Rain.” (Directors: Paul Flattery and Jim Yukich.) Regarding Gunnar and Matthew Nelson as spiritual icons right out of a Carlos Casteneda peyote dream is like envisioning Bill and Ted as enlightened Eastern gurus. Here, the Nelson twins show up as spirit guides when a troubled kid goes to sleep in a sepia-toned world and wakes up in a colorful fantasy. While the mystical siblings look on serenely, a spooky Indian brujo hands a succession of feathers to the lad, who then ventures out of this cave onto the bluffs and finds his destiny in . . . an outdoor Nelson concert! Then he awakens to find it was all just a dream-- or was it , that doggone feather on the night stand begs to ask? Rick Nelson and “Dances With Wolves” both have a lot to answer for. 13
Vanilla Ice’s “Play That Funky Music.” (Director: Greg Synodis.) Kiss it yourself, buster. 0