John McCrea, frontman of Cake and budding music vid auteur, goes to the videotape with another brilliant idea: an homage to Iron Chef, in which two band members face off in the kitchen. Is there any connection with the song? Not really, but it's great music to cook by. And there's an awesome panel of judges: Rick James, for street cred; Jeff Smith, aka the Frugal Gourmet, for food cred; and Phyllis Diller for dead cred. Who knew this woman was still alive? She probably had a face transplant, but she can still move her mouth enough to eat. There's even the tasting at the end, with comments from the celebs. McCrea, who's now affiliated with Picture Park clip division Bad Company, is fast becoming the Chairman Kaga of pop promos. We mean this in a good way.
Director: John McCrea, Bad Company
Editor: Alan Chimenti
No Doubt: "Hey Baby"
This ultra-hit single gets a pricey, ultra-posted clip, and it works. Tons of visual appeal, with great use of groovy psychedelic backgrounds and plenty of cool typography. Heavy special effects suit the invariably overmade Gwen Stefani, who somehow looks too carefully coiffed and attired even when she's almost naked and metaphorically letting her hair down. The song is some sort of a salute to groupies, and the visual narrative has the band winning bets during a wild party at a bar. Whatever, Gwen's hip appropriation of houndstooth check doesn't bite.
Director: Dave Meyers, FM Rocks
Editor: Chris Davis, Motion Art
Ludacris: "Rollout (My Business)"
One of the last video projects out of the late Propaganda, this features more cool typography, and in a rap video yet! This could be just another of those dreary hip-hop cavalcades of conspicuous consumption, as Ludacris drives around in his mouf-watering Merc and women read about his latest material acquisitions in pseudo supermarket tabloids. But great effects save the day. Ludacris often has an oversized head artfully pasted on his body, intended to either match or mock his ridiculis ego, and his rhymes are frequently illustrated in beautifully acrobatic type treatments, all of which seem to be spelled correctly. For hip-hop, this totally rocks.
Director: Jeremy Rall
Editor: Steve Rees, Fencepost
Effects: Method Studios
Kid Rock: "Forever"
A feverishly cut, slightly Woodstockish look at a post-attack reaffirmation of American white trash party values, in the form of a typically raucous outdoor concert in 30-degree Motown weather - but there are still babes dancing in bikinis, of course. It's all here: motorcycle drag racing, monster trucks, Uncle Sam on a 10-foot-tall unicycle, Pamela Anderson . . . And there are so many American flags in this video, you'd think the song, which is really quite catchy as these things go, was about the enduring power of democracy or something. But it's the usual bollocks-load of braggadocio. "Forever," indeed.
Director: Wayne Isham, A Band Apart
Editor: Nathan Cox, The Cutting Room
Effects: Damon Chernyavsky/Brett Smith, The Cutting Room