10. “Closer” Nine Inch Nails (1994)

A truly terrifying parade of grotesqueries unsuitable for late-night viewing, NIN’s clip for “Closer” is brilliant in both sheer depravity and the innovative choice to use worn film stock, contributing to the video’s house-of-horrors atmosphere. Even the “frame missing” slides insinuate something horrifying, although what’s present – beating hearts, pig’s heads, horned skulls, and, perhaps most disturbingly, a silhouetted Trent Reznor seducing a decidedly breast-shaped microphone – should certainly do the trick. – Drew

9. “Buddy Holly” Weezer (1994)

Nostalgia trips, particularly of the 1950s variety, aren’t anything novel in music videos – check out Outkast’s clip for “Hey Ya!”, or Nirvana’s “In Bloom” – but what makes “Buddy Holly” so special is how seamless it is. Plunking Weezer square in the middle of a “Happy Days” episode, the guys bat their big, nerdy eyes at gum-smacking ’50s gals, soundtrack a virtuosic Fonzie dance sequence, and even interact with diner proprietor Al. More than fifteen years later, “Buddy Holly” doesn’t show any cracks – it’s simply blissful.-Drew

8. “Everybody Hurts” R.E.M. (1994)

This emotionally charged video seemed to appear on MTV every 10 minutes during the summer of 1994 (a year that produced many of the videos on this list and the year I probably most associate with watching MTV), and almost twenty years later, I still can’t get through it without welling up. The members of R.E.M., dressed in funereal black suits, are stuck in what looks like a horrible traffic jam (must be inL.A.) The camera switches over to other people in their cars, in various states of sadness or mourning. By the end of the song, everyone has left their vehicles and they’re walking…somewhere. Combined with the song’s lyrics, this video packs quite a punch, as you’d expect from an album as emotionally raw as “Automatic for the People”, which still gets my vote as the best long-player of the decade.

7. “Tonight, Tonight” Smashing Pumpkins (1996)

Let’s face it: using the equation Billy Corgan + (Anything) = A Song, Corgan and his ’90s rock outfit Smashing Pumpkins hit just as much as they miss. But when they’re on, they’re on, and “Tonight, Tonight” as a song is somehow both distinctly of its time and curiously timeless, four minutes of impossible grandeur and hope, a lifetime of U2 records culled into one beautiful track. And as the video, a tribute to the silent-era short “A Trip to the Moon”, exemplifies, grandeur and hope are utterly timeless. The effects are primitive, the garb period-piece, but the whole enterprise is irresistable, spacious, and optimistic. – Drew

6. “Losing My Religion” R.E.M. (1991)

Bizarre, creepy, obsessive, spiritual, and, most importantly, achingly moving, Tarsem Singh is more than just the guy who finally got Michael Stipe to lip-synch in a video. In this video (as well as his film work), he’s an artist, an intensely visual filmmaker who can represent the spirit of a song in a series of surreal tableaux without literalizing it; blame a lot of this video’s gravitas on Stipe, too, whose frantic dancing seems almost unbearably lonely in that darkened room, even as his gyrations seem to originate in the elbows. – Drew

5. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Nirvana (1991)

The first time I saw this video was on MTV’s “Totally Pauly” one day after school. It sounded familiar, yet totally new and they didn’t dress or look like anyone else on MTV at the time. I couldn’t get the song, nor the video out of my head for days and rushed out and bought the CD single for “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by this “new band” Nirvana. The rest they say, is history.-Nick

4. “Wicked Game” Chris Isaak (1991)

Directed in exquisite fashion by the late Herb Ritts, the black-and-white video for Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game” is the sexiest video of the Nineties, and perhaps of all time. Shot on aHawaiibeach, Isaak and Helena Christensen writhe around in most sensual fashion. Now, with the internet (and adulthood), it’s merely a sensual video, but in it’s day, for the average teenager, this was prime spank bank material. Oh, and the song ain’t too bad either.

3. “Everlong” Foo Fighters (1997)

Arguably the Foo Fighters’ most well known song, “Everlong” is probably also their second most bizarre video (the most bizarre is easily “Low”: http://bit.ly/oI8HHz). Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins (dressed as a woman) are a couple and Pat Smear and Nate Mendel are two hooligans wishing to presumably cause them harm. Dave and Taylor are having separate nightmares about Pat and Nate until Dave jumps into Taylor’s dream in a Dreamscape-esque move and rescues his damsel in distress. I’m not sure what, if any, the significance of Dave’s hand becoming huge twice in this video is and my guess is that there really is no true point to this video at all.-Nick

2. “Jeremy” Pearl Jam (1992)

Twenty years on, Pearl Jam’s clip for “Jeremy” is still the stuff nightmares are made of. Mark Pellington’s cryptic, swirling visuals set the tone, but the song – still a benchmark of real-life horror, thanks to a chilling, pre-Columbine recount of schoolroom violence – is a masterwork of creeping terror and deep-seated trauma. Watch for the shot where Pellington’s camera slowly pulls around on a molar-grinding Vedder, glazed eyes fixed on something offscreen: decades of horror movies distilled into ten excruciating seconds. – Drew

1. “Sabotage” The Beastie Boys (1994)

Spike Jonze teams up with the Beasties for a send up of television detective shows of the 1970s.  Jonze took so many shots straight out of the action film handbook that the video’s hilarity is accompanied with a certain sense of authenticity as well.  It almost makes you wish that it was a real show.  I mean, who wouldn’t tune in every week to see MCA as Chochese? Though nominated for five VMA’s in 1994, the Beastie Boys were robbed and went home empty handed.  But they didn’t leave without proving their bad-assness by tearing the roof off when they performed the song live: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c78B8PRiQ2o Dr. Gonzo

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