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MTV 20 - Rock
Image Entertainment/Warner Vision . R4 . COLOR . 76 mins . PG . PAL


August 1st last year MTV, Americaís most prestigious and well-known music television station, celebrated its 20th year on the air. With this came the perfect opportunity to release a whole new swag of celebratory merchandise covering everything from the ever-creative t-shirt line to the now well established collection of priced-to-own DVD box sets. To my knowledge they have already released MTV 20 - Pop, and MTV 20 - Jam, and currently in my hands Iím looking at the MTV 20 - Rock disc, a DVD with some of the best music and yet worst haircuts of the last 20 years.

It's been close to a year since their 20th birthday and finally we are receiving this disc. After looking at the artist track listings I was a touch curious as to whether this was the best of 20 years of MTV rock music, or just a mismatched pick of random songs that were easily available. After watching the disc a few times Iíve now decided that this is just a collection of the most influential songs and film clips covering all extremes of the diverse rock industry. Just as badly as pop music swings with the fads so does rock, and this disc is a tribute to that if nothing else.

Not only is this a great collection of rock tracks, but this is a set of some seriously entertaining and occasionally funny film clips. The surreal feeling of Soundgardenís Black Hole Sun and the hilarious take off of the pop industry in Blink 182ís All the Small Things are but only two examples of some classic clips included on this shiny little disc. If youíre a rock child of the '80s then you will probably enjoy this disc, as it fetures some of the best songs we grew up with, setting the standards both audibly, and visually with some of the wackiest film clips ever to be released.

Now to the disappointing side of things, and this could be a big deciding point for most folks, especially when considering value for money. Despite the grandeur of both '80s rock music and the potential for the DVD format, we still only get a pretty shoddy 16 track, 76 minute "long" disc. MTV really could have afforded to double the size of this disc to something close to two hours worth of footage and it would have made my job so much easier. 76 minutes is a pretty standard running time for a CD, but this is DVD and weíre within our rights to demand more. With only 76 minutes to its name this disc could get pretty tiresome very quickly, and despite that, I now have to finish a review for a good disc that really should have been brilliant.

Tracking Listing:
Robert Palmer - Addicted To Love
The Cult - Fire Woman
Red Hot Chili Peppers - Higher Ground
Jesus Jones - Right Here, Right Now
Aerosmith - Livin' On The Edge
Counting Crows - Round Here
Soundgarden - Black Hole Sun
Blues Traveler - Run-Around
Primus - Wynonna's Big Brown Beaver
Everclear - Santa Monica
Goldfinger - Here In Your Bedroom
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones - The Impression That I Get
Monster Magnet - Space Lord
Cake - Never There
Blink 182 - All The Small Things
Godsmack - Voodoo


We are talking about individual film clips here and thus the quality varies depending on the track. As to be expected the older tracks suffer worse from film artefacts and low level noise. There are a few MPEG artefacts and some very brief outbreaks of aliasing that might be noticeable to some, but not terribly distracting to most. Overall I think youíll be impressed, any other faults with the video would be due to the source material as the transfer itself has come up looking very nice. The footage is presented with a full screen aspect ratio of 4:3 and is of course not widescreen enhanced, this appears just as it would have over the air.

This is a music disc so what should be more concerning is how has the audio come out sounding, and donít let me alarm you, because it sounds great! Presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 the music comes blasting out of all five and a bit speakers. The surrounds and sub-woofer are working full time and put out at a lovely 448Kb/s.

Lip syncing is not a problem, however there is some very rough guitar syncing which is pretty common in Addicted to Love, but that has to be blamed solely on Robert Palmer and the musical disaster that was 1981. Excusing Mr Palmer and friends, the rest of the audio comes out quite well. There is also a 2.0 stereo soundtrack which lacks the real oomph of the 5.1 track, but might be a choice for those who prefer good old two channel stereo, without all those extra, annoying speakers (believe it or not these people do exist).

The disc is organised with some relatively simple, but visually pleasant, animated menus. Everything is clear to access and fast to load. A nice addition is a few of the original commercial bumpers that are presented between the film clips, just as they would have been in their time. Other extras include brief interviews with the artists that are screened prior to their respective film clips, and discographies for most of the artists. The final extra is a little Ďfast facts and short statsí option which can pop up during the film clips and mention little bits of trivia about the song and the artists. These are basically mindless and short-lived extras, but they are there all the same, showing that theyíve tried to put some effort in.

Overall this is a good disc with my only concern being that a lot of people will get a little peeved about the track selection. Not to say that this is a bad selection, itís just that there really were so many others to chose from. Ultimately the cure for this would have been a longer disc, but unfortunately this was the last DVD in the MTV 20 series and as such it will likely be dependent on how well these discs sell before MTV re-invest in further titles, hopefully with more tracks on each. My recommendation is to check out the track listing, if this music suits your style then make the investment, it is a funny watch if nothing else.

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  •   And I quote...
    "Despite the grandeur of '80s rock music and the DVD format, only 76 minutes of footage denies this good disc from being a brilliant one."
    - Nathan Clark
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-636
    • TV:
          LG 80cm
    • Speakers:
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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