Video Hangover: Blues Traveler – “Girl Inside My Head”

Every week, we dig in the archives for videos that we find noteworthy, memorable, or just unbelievably stupid. And then, Jon McMillan breaks ‘em down for you. Why Video Hangover? Because when you watch as many videos as we do, you’re going to feel it afterwards.

“Girl Inside My Head”
Blues Traveler, 2001

Warning: this is not your older brother’s Blues Traveler.

This does not bode well for the skinny dude from the Spin Doctors
What the hell happened to John Popper? I’m glad the guy got healthy and all, but I miss the roly-poly faux-bluesman whose whiny croon used to annoy the crap out of me in high school. At least I knew where that guy was coming from (a smoke-filled van, or a Steve Miller Band concert). This new John Popper has short hair and dresses like the guy from Sugar Ray. What gives? Apparently, A&M totally Queer-Eyed him in the late 90s, and then when the record tanked they kicked the whole band to the curb. Not cool. Six years later there’s good news and bad news. On one hand, the weight is still off. On the other hand, the relentless crash-dieting made him batshit crazy.

I’ve spent my life waiting for a solo that never comes
Although I was never a fan of Blues Traveler or their jam-bandy ilk (I’m looking at you, Widespread Panic), I always looked forward to the obligatory harmonica solo. Like DJ Shadow with a sampler, or R. Kelly with the machine that makes the “Trapped In The Closet” beat, Popper was basically a genius operating in uncharted territory. But, when the solo mercifully arrives (at the 2:16 mark), it goes to … the keyboard player? These were indeed dark days, my friends, when a whole Blues Traveler video could go by without an extended closeup of a man stuffing his hands into his mouth like they were a delicious, delicious hamburger.

On the plus side, it might be the best Third Eye Blind video ever
What do you call this type of music? It’s like a post-Sublime, pre-American Idiot, radio-friendly crapfest. No edge, no energy, just a contrived stylishness that seems better suited to Dr. Pepper commercials than individual listening. Visually, it’s the equivalent of Skinemax: toned legs, cleavage, every building and body spit-shined to a California clean. It’s not un-sexy, exactly, but it is sort of gross. Even the social “critique” of Popper’s big money playa character feels sanctioned by the suits in corporate. Yeah, yeah, I know: Big labels with bad ideas are easy targets, and I’m definitely catching Blues Traveler at its lowest creative point. Low-hanging fruit, etc. You’re right: no need to pile on, because I’m sure they feel bad enough about this already. I’ll stop now. Enjoy the sexy ladies!

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