Papa Video 1998
We watch a lot of music videos. We want to talk to you about it.
MK: Okay, this is the first installment of Papa Video. And these are your Video Papas, Papa Megan…
MH: …And Papa Mark.
MK: So what’s our premise?
MH: Here at Papa Video, we review two music videos from a great year of our choosing.
MK: The first year we’re doing is 1998, a year when I was a child. I would have been 8 years old. And that was the year I discovered Harry Potter, so I would call it formative.
MH: Wow! I don’t know what I discovered that year, but I did look on Wikipedia and I saw that’s the year of the Bill Clinton Sex Scandal.
MK: 1998 is also the year that brought us these two great videos.
Faith Hill, This Kiss
MK: Steve first showed me this video—shout out to your boyfriend Steven—and it’s a good choice. Steve was right: We love it, and we watch it a lot. And we make people watch it a lot.
MH: And it’s worth it. When you think, “Oh, a Faith Hill video from 1998,” you have something in your mind. And it’s absolutely not what you are delivered.
MK: We asked our friend Lindy, “Have you seen this?” and she was like, “Yes, of course I’ve fucking seen this, you guys make me watch it all the time.”
MH: So the first thing we have to talk about is the aesthetics. They are distinct. It reminds me of A Bug’s Life. Everything is all big. Faith is small. She rides on a rocket.
MK: It’s like a CGI tampon commercial, but slightly hellish. Welcome to a weird fantasy world full of bright colors with Faith, herself, standing in a flower, riding a butterfly, swinging on a nectarine. She straddles that nectarine and just takes it for a ride—just swings and swings from the branch of a nectarine. What do you think she was actually sitting on? It can’t be an actual nectarine.
MK: A big green foam ball.
MH: Faith has a very strong 90s haircut. It ages her. She looks older in this video than I’ve seen her recently.
MK: Very Dharma and Greg. Her dancing is not good. It’s a lot of flapping her arms.
MH: She dances like a bird. And it’s really bizarre. Sometimes she’ll use her legs. It’s almost like when people do the chicken dance, and they’re like, clucking. They have feathers. Whatever.
MK: She’s trying to flap away! It’s like they blew all their money on CGI and they couldn’t afford even a local dance school choreographer.
MH: But let’s talk about what they could afford—the paychecks for a lot of little kids.
MK: Wow, that’s something we haven’t touched on—this video has a lot of kids and teens kissing.
MH: A flower will bloom and inside is preteens making out. It’s really weird. At first, when it happens it’s two little kids. They get older through the course the video. We’re watching them age—they’re blossoming.
MK: Also, like, how heteronormative.
MH: The kids can be passed off as, like, ‘Oh, they have a crush.’ The preteens, it’s like… They seem hormonal and moody and they’re in this flower. And then Faith Hill is always around, just smiling. Everything about it reads bad to me.
MK: God, what is this land? Where are they? Is Faith Hill their God?
MH: What was the pitch meeting? Was Faith Hill like, “Okay, I’ll be around, and all these kids are going to make out.” And everyone was like, “For sure, Faith.”
MK: “Then I’m gonna straddle a nectarine and just swing the fuck around.”
MK: Each round of the chorus, she does the “This kiss, this kiss—adjective.” She says “This kiss, this kiss—unstoppable.” Then on the last one, she says, “This kiss, this kiss, it’s criminal.” Which, like, unstoppable and criminal seem bad for a kiss! You know what I like? A kiss with a lot of consent that’s fully legal. That’s what I’m looking for. A kiss I can stop whenever I want.
MH: “This Kiss” isn’t a song for 2018. More than ever, I feel very turned off by this song. You know what I did always connect this song with, though? In physics class when we learned about centrifugal motion. I remember in class being like, “Oh!”
MK: It’s centrifugal motion, it’s perpetual bliss! Is that…
MK: Hmmm. Nope. This song doesn’t do it for me. Sorry. But I will never forget the video.
MH: Now that I really noticed the emphasis on the kids kissing, I find this video weird. Someone should follow up now.
MK: We crash a red carpet and we’re like, “Faith, Faith, where are the kids from the ‘This Kiss’ video?” She’s like, “Oh, Brian and Ashley?”
MH: “They’re married.”
MK: “Kissing to this day!”
Take Me Back, Mya featuring Blackstreet, Maze, and Blinky Blink
MH: Our next video is from the Rugrats movie—the first one—where Dil was introduced. It was the theme song for the movie, and it’s called “Take Me There.” I want people to know, before we event into it, this song was #1 in New Zealand.
MK: It samples the Rugrats theme song, which is dope. That Mark Mothersbaugh xylophone! Which, you know what band he was in, right? DEVO! He did a lot of old Nickelodeon shit. So the song is built around the Rugrats theme song, which means it’s good by default, because that song is good. In a sad twist, Mark Mothersbaugh doesn’t have any writers credit on “Take Me There.”
MH: The video starts with the character Angelica Pickles turning on a TV. And then you zoom in and you’re in the video. The video is taking place in the Pickles home from the Rugrats.
MK: The sets are amazing. It’s like a 3D construction of a cartoon. Also, 1998—that’s probably my peak Rugrats year. I would say that these settings feel very rooted in my memory like a physical place. And to see Mya dancing around Tommy's crib in a furry pink bucket hat and a tube top—it’s thrilling.
MH: You never see the Pickles house without the Pickles family in the tv show. And it was a little jarring to see what feels like a family friend’s home with them all missing. It’s just Mya and Blackstreet dancing.
MK: Yeah, Blackstreet dancing in the kitchen! The table is big so they look like babies!
MH: I kept wondering, where are the Pickles?
MK: Mya’s at the top of her game. Soon she will be gone.
MH: I wrote in my notes: "It’s too bad about Mya." We could have gotten so much more.
MK: She was literally the top pop star of 1998. Where is she now? We just checked her Wikipedia and we can’t even answer!
MH: The song is on Now That’s What I Call Music 2. So it’s a part of history.
MK: I did a little digging on the directors. Luke Nola—when you google that you just get a restaurant called Luke in New Orleans. I dug a little deeper, and it turns out Luke Nola made a New Zealand children’s show called Let’s Get Inventin. No G at the end. The other director, Steve Saussey, is also from New Zealand. Slim pickins on his IMDB, but I think they were both involved in New Zealand children’s media, so they made the sets. Which is cool.
MH: I bet you this is why it charted so high in New Zealand.
MK: The video probably got a lot of local play. I feel like New Zealand has a lot of pride.
MH: A beautiful land.
MK: I would love to go to New Zealand, the land of Take Me Back. “Where are the Rugrats? Where is Tommy?”
MK: MAZE and Blinky Blink—two rappers that we don’t really remember—are in a Reptar-mobile, and they rap about the Rugrats. They go character by character and say a trait.
MH: There are some great lines.
MK: “If I was a Rugrat it woulda been so real, me and my twin woulda been like Phil and Lil.” I would call that the highlight.
MH: We should watch Rugrats!
MK I would love to. I think Rugrats was probably very formative to my current visual aesthetic. Do you connect to the lyrics, Mark?
MH: I just remember the Rugrats so well, so when they rap about them, I’m like, “Yes!”
MK: Do you remember the Rugrats episode with the Reptar musical? Reptar on Ice?
MH: So good.
MK: Have they ever made that a real musical? I would see that. I wish the video referenced Reptar on Ice.