30. “Vogue” Madonna (1990)
“Vogue” is an homage to classic Hollywood dance and film stars, many of whom are given a roll call in the song’s breakdown. In fact, many of the video’s scenes are recreations from film and still shots of Hollywood’s Golden Era, which nearly provoked a lawsuit from one photographer. David Fincher’s black and white video is as classy as it is sexy. Madge is in full on Blonde Ambition/Breathless Mahoney mode here, titillating as ever (pun intended) – especially for 9-year old Gonzo. So much so that some overseas markets deleted the scenes where our favorite Boy Toy dons a sheer lace top sans underthings. However, the video’s biggest pop cultural impact was what became known as “vogueing” – siimply striking a pose. Everyone could do it, and everyone did. Shit, you know it’s big when it gets a mention on Full House.-Dr. Gonzo
29. “Paranoid Android” Radiohead (1997)
“Ok Computer” the album has a pretty hallucinatory flavor, so it only makes sense that the video for it’s lead single continues in that direction. Sure, it’s animated (and fairly crudely at that), but it’s impossible to turn your head away for even a second. Plus, cartoon boobies!
28. “Karma Police” Radiohead (1997)
If Radiohead were the undisputed kingpins of the short-form music video in the 1990s, Jonathan Glazer was their Scorcese, directing them in excellent clips for “Street Spirit” and this unnerving, minimalist little number. The viewer is thrust into the role of antagonist, forced into running down a frantic victim, vehicular-manslaughter style, and occasionally glancing back at a sleepily malevolent Thom Yorke in the back seat; when the tables are turned and we recieve karmic justice in the form of an errant fuel leak, Glazer’s eleventh-hour twist ending occurs during that delirious car fire, when we turn around only to see that Yorke has disappeared. Was he ever there to begin with? – Drew
27. “Learn To Fly” Foo Fighters (1999)
“There Is Nothing Left To Lose” is my favorite Foo Fighters album (for now at least…I think in time “Wasting Light” will surpass it) and “Learn To Fly” is one of a few hit singles from it. As evidenced in previous videos like “Everlong” and “Big Me”, the Foos are not at all opposed to dressing up in costume for the sake of entertainment. The band plays themselves, flight attendants, pilots, Foo Fighters fans and the duo of Jack Black and Kyle Gass, also known as Tenacious D, play two miscreants trying to smuggle drugs aboard the plane. What ensues is a mini-comedy film and a video that is worthy of repeated viewings. –Nick
26. “Waterfalls” TLC (1995)
Fresh from directing “Friday”, F. Gary Gray peered through the pot smoke and helmed this clear-eyed video that turned TLC from superstars into megastars (with a budget that probably contributed to the group’s filing for bankruptcy). Featuring the special effect group literally dancing on water, “Waterfalls” had as much going for it visually as it did topically. For those that can remember the mid-Nineties clearly, it also stole the thunder from Michael Jackson’s “Scream” at the MTV Video Music Awards, claiming many of the top prizes, including Video of the Year.
25. “In Bloom” Nirvana (1992)
Forget the fact that ’50s nostalgia is a practically ancient concept by now, and that the fake-variety-show is almost as well-worn a music video format as the rom-com meet-cute. After a career of utter seriousness, sometimes it’s just nice to see the boys in Nirvana – particularly a Buddy Holly-bespectacled Kurt Cobain – bopping around on a faux-Sullivan performance stage in suits for a few minutes. And, um, dresses in a few shots. – Drew
24. “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers (1993)
Something tells me that Alec Baldwin’s watched this video and pondered some “what if”s more than a few times. Kim Basinger plays a dead woman, and Tom Petty (who has maintained his “regular guy” rep despite starring in some of the creepiest music videos in history) plays a mortuary assistant who takes Kim’s corpse, goes on a “date” with her, and then releases her into the sea. Despite the heebie-jeebie action, it’s an incredibly striking video, and probably a more enjoyable viewing experience than the majority of movies Basinger’s starred in since.
23. “Mama Said Knock You Out” LL Cool J (1991)
“Mama Said Knock You Out” is far from LL’s biggest hit, but over the years, it’s become easily his best known song, and that has much to do with the power of it’s video. LL was obviously on a mission when he recorded the song, as his King of Rap title was being threatened. Adapting the boxing metaphor of the song into the video, the black and white clip is all tension, which doesn’t get defused until Grandma Cool J shows up at the end of the video, asking the rap legend to throw out the garbage.
22. “One” U2 (1991)
One song-three videos, all powerful in their own way. Whether you’re watching Bono sitting in a café, wondering what the hell the band is doing dressed in graphic, or watching slow motion footage of buffaloes running, somehow it all makes sense and fits in with the song. My vote for the best song of the Nineties, Bono can be forgiven for a lifetime of pompous ass-itude just by virtue of having written this song.
21. “November Rain” Guns ‘n Roses (1992)
Guns ‘N Roses were one of the few, if not the only, “hair metal” bands (I don’t think they are hair metal at all, but that is a discussion for another forum) to survive the grunge take over of the early 90’s. The band had gathered a well-deserved reputation for their excess and larger than life personas and the videos from the “Use Your Illusion I and II” albums were mostly mini-epics. “November Rain” is almost nine minutes long which is completely against the norm for singles in the music industry (then and now), but Axl Rose was not known for doing what was expected or sticking to convention. I found this video grew tiresome after seeing it a couple times as it is basically the length of one sitcom segment, but it is still one of the band’s many triumphs.-Nick
Incoming search terms:
- kim basinger music video
- mtv dance back to the 90s top 50