We’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of MTV all month on Popblerd! Did you check out our list of the Top 50 videos of the ’80s?
While the ’80s marked the genesis of the music video revolution, the ’90s found videos in full flower. It was almost a prerequisite that any song released as a single had a video to accompany it (seriously–name one hit song from the Nineties that didn’t have a video). By the Nineties, music had changed as well. While MTV stuck to it’s mainstream rock guns for most of the previous decade, alternative rock and hip-hop shone for most of the Nineties. Several members of the Popblerd staff put their heads together and came up with a list of the decade of Generation X’s fifty best videos. Check out our first ten entries from the decade and let us know which video YOU think will be Number One.
The list begins after the jump.
50. “Black Hole Sun”-Soundgarden (1994)
This video became so ubiquitous on MTV that I actually grew to hate both it and to a degree, the song, but when it first appeared on MTV, the portrayal of an utterly demented suburbia was a great deal of fun (except for when the little girl is spitting out her vanilla ice cream….that just flat out grosses me out every single time).-Nick
49. “Virtual Insanity” Jamiroquai (1997)
Jamiroquai may have been mighty groovy long before “Virtual Insanity” – it was the first single from the funk-jazz band’s third album, after all – but it was the Jonathan Glazer-directed video that made the general public stand up and take note. The technical marvel of a video features frontman Jay Kay busting some physics-defying moves in a long, sterile gray room with sparse furniture (which, um, apparently bleeds when under the influence of funk); it’s all an optical illusion created by a set of four moving walls, of course, but it’s appropriately bizarre and disorienting to watch, like attempting to navigate the labyrinths of an M.C. Escher composition.-Drew
48. “My Name Is” Eminem (1999)
“My Name Is” may have only given us a hint of the fearsome lyricist that Marshall Mathers would become; still, the video was a lightning bolt to the safe core of pop music, and Marshall’s irreverent and once-timely impressions (Clinton, Marilyn Manson) helped make his skewed perspective and damaged psyche palatable to the masses. The pure manic energy of a hungry talent on the rise. Drew
47. “Tha Crossroads” Bone Thugs ‘n Harmony (1996)
“Tha Crossroads” was already an uncharacteristically tender moment for Bone Thugs, a mournful meditation of mortality added gravitas by its dedication to fallen comrade Eazy-E. Coupled with its video, though, the song takes on added layers, as an ominous-looking black-clad reaper accumulates souls (including, in a brazen and heartbreaking moment, a newborn); the video transforms from downbeat to poignant with a triumphant, ghostly, soul’s-ascent to Heaven. Watch for Eazy-E in the parade of spectres – downright haunting.-Drew
46. “Remember the Time” Michael Jackson (1992)
At the turn of the decade, Michael Jackson was still the biggest pop star around. Consider the fact that his epic video for “Remember the Time” starred Michael alongside Eddie Murphy, Iman and Magic Johnson. Consider the fact that the video was directed by John Singleton, fresh off the success of “Boyz N The Hood”. Consider the fact that the video debuted on FOX in the plum spot right after “The Simpsons”. Consider the fact that the vid…short film got almost constant play on MTV, VH-1 and BET and lifted the song to a top 5 berth on the pop charts (it hit #1 R&B). And let’s celebrate that the video correctly portrayed the people of ancient Egypt as black, and try to ignore that MJ was swathed in pale makeup that made his visage an ill fit against the various shades of brown on the screen.
45. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott (1997)
Whatever you think of Missy Elliott (and I’ll cop to finding her extremely overrated), you can’t deny that she brought a fresh and interesting perspective to the portrayal of women in music videos. Obviously incapable of playing the role of a typical femme sex symbol, Missy (and director Hype Williams) decided to make her the most bugged-out chick on the planet. Add a few shiny garbage bag-esque outfits and voila! A classic video is born! Even the celebrity cameos (which now seem hopelessly dated) are cute.
44. “Freedom ’90” George Michael (1990)
There was something a little off about George Michael’s videos from the Listen Without Prejudice album. Oh, wait! I get it! George himself wasn’t IN any of them! That hardly mattered with the “Freedom” video, in which a series of supermodels ranging from Naomi Campbell to Linda Evangelista strut and pout, occasionally miming the words to George’s unofficial coming out. Most memorable part of the video? The symbolic burning of George’s then-trademark leather jacket, as originally seen in the “Faith” video.
Haven’t we all, at some point, wanted to dress up as a woman, put on a fake belly, go the grocery store and hide pineapples in said fake belly?-Nick
42. “Smack My Bitch Up” The Prodigy (1998)
A dizzying, violent, uncomfortably sexual first-person portrayal of a night of unspeakable depravity on the town, “Smack My Bitch Up” is manic, coke-fueled, and difficult to take in; fortunately, its brilliance lies in the payoff, and that game-changer of a final shot is worth it all in the end.-Drew
41. “My Name is Mud” Primus (1993)
Is it just me or when they show Les Claypool dressed up as a backwoods “Deliverance” extra with his mouth full of chewing tobacco, doesn’t he look like Christian Bale’s twin brother?-Nick
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