FHM Music Channel
FHM has launched its own music channel and intrepid Natalie Smith finds a common theme in the videos. (Can you guess what it is yet)?
Notorious lad mag FHM has recently expanded its empire, starting a music channel available to most of us with a Sky or NTL subscription. The channel that used to be Q with its blend of modern and retro alternative music has now turned the evening programming to music videos for him. It seems strange that a magazine which seems mostly composed of Kelly Brook interviews, half naked Hollyoaks girls, tales of men who've wet themselves when drunk and sex surveys suddenly has an interest in music. But hey, musically I'm an open minded girl, and I'm not too offended by the sight of women in bikinis. So sitting down with my notepad I was half hoping that my first impressions of the channel were wrong.
I was disappointed to see that little after 4pm the first video I spied was 'Dirty' by Christina Aguilera. For those unfamiliar to pop music, let me set the scene. Aguilera is a boxer (or something that involves her fighting with another woman), who parades around in a bikini and a pair of crotchless trousers. She then proceeds to sing about how she's going to sweat until her clothes fall off and dance until 6 in the morning whilst doing a dance which seems to involve crouching as low as possible and shaking her booty wildly. The rest of the video is pretty much the same rubbish. Half naked men also feature, but this is hardly a consolation. There is mud wrestling, simulated sex and fake orgasmic groans and pouts from Aguilera. Not exactly suitable viewing material for the kids that have just come home from school. The whole thing is incredibly silly, a bit like watching a Carry On movie. The sheer desperation to be liked is etched on Aguilera's face, especially when she's on all fours.
C'mon 50 Cent - let's see you cycling in your next video
A couple of mind numbingly bland videos later we have 'I like it' by Atomic Thrust. This video follows a trend in music which I really find irritating, dressing grown women up as cheerleaders. Since cheerleading is associated with girls at High School (i.e. underage) I found this video a little creepy. I'm not quite sure whether the women in this video are the group Atomic Thrust or not. Nobody mimes and the women are all dressed uniformly. I suspect that the female vocalist in this song is too 'ugly' to appear in the music video, hence the visual distraction. That aside, this is incredibly tedious to watch. The women are in black cheerleader outfits with red pom-poms. They have also been made to look 'punk' with fake piercings and spiky hair. They cavort and try to look moody; The choreography seems to involve moves that keep flashing their white lace panties. The song gets more and more high pitched and grating. Oh god make it stop!
Next up is 'How We Do' by The Game featuring 50 Cent. Finally, a male artist on FHM! The music sounds like the sort you hear blasting out a souped up Vauxhall Nova as it whizzes past, nothing but very loud repetitive bass. The rappers drive around in the biggest Jeeps I've ever seen (Don't they care for the environment? C'mon 50 Cent - lets see you cycling in your next video!) and basically go on and on about how great their cars and guns and women are. Yawn. You can't hear half the words as they're beeped out and there are panoramic shots of the big city, neon signs for strip clubs and women gyrating in hotpants or mini skirts. Why do they bother showing these videos in the late afternoon? The music is interrupted every 5 seconds to beep out gun/drug references or swear words anyway. But you can look at the nice shiny cars and women I guess. 50 Cent again turns up in another video with big cars and women later, but I didn't pay enough attention to get the name of that one down and it was exactly the same as this one, but on the beach.
neon signs for strip clubs and women gyrating in hotpants - yawn
Suddenly I start to think it's the 90s again. Summer after summer of repetitive 'Ibiza Anthems' come flooding back with Jason Nevins' 'I'm in Heaven'. Of course it's not Jason Nevins singing, but a nubile young lady in a tiny bikini with hugely pronounced nipples. Given that she's posing in such a warm climate, I'm not sure why her nipples stay out for the entire video. But I'll try not to be too pedantic. We don't ever learn this females name, she's given no credit for this song, but that might be a godsend. After a couple of minutes of this song I'd be tempted to look her up in the phonebook and think of suitable punishment for participating in this dirge. Oh and guess what happens next? A lot of other women in bikinis (although to be fair some have a sarong too) turn up and start gyrating, exposing flat bellies and dodgy tattoos with Chinese symbols.
Later on that evening I flick over to see one of the most appallingly crap videos I have ever had the misfortune to see. 'Stacy's Mom' by Fountains of Wayne is about a boy who has a crush on his friends mom. Mom is an all-American type blonde beauty who seems content to walk around in a bikini and get topless massages in the back garden. But that's not what I most objected to. Stacy herself is a cute blonde girl who looks 13/14 who seems to share her moms hobby of walking around half naked. She sits by the pool in her bikini, sipping a drink wearing heart shaped sunglasses, no doubt in direct reference to the movie 'Lolita'. When not relaxing by the pool she wanders round in hot pants and a sweatshirt. She constantly giggles at her little friend with the crush on her Mom and catching him masturbating over her in the bathroom is particularly amusing. No matter how much Fountains Of Wayne try to pass these situations off as comedy, I can't help but feel they're sexualising children. And what of our little blonde Stacy? I can't help but feel that in a few years time she'll be shaking her ass in some dire RnB video.
24 hour big-pimpin'
Perhaps it's not the tackiness the constant stream of women in bikini type music videos I object to. Just the fact that this channel is utterly pointless. On NTL alone there are already so many channels with exactly this kind of bland garbage on them. Smash Hits, The Box, MTV Dance/Base and Kiss (to name a few) with 24 hour big-pimpin' and "celebration" of the female form. There are very few 'alternative' channels which aren't also laddish, and losing the Q channel to this insufferably dull nonsense is insulting. After about half an hour of this channel I was biting my nails with boredom. I also came to the realisation that music has started to be split by gender. Already if you go to a gig, you're likely to see a huge gender divide in the audience. So come on people, lets all let the music unite us!