Saturday, June 30, 2007

(Some of the) Worst video clips ever

I was going to take some time this weekend to respond to the lovely Redcap, who called on me a while ago to write a list of 10 things I hate about people. I tried, but found I couldn't limit the list to just 10 things, as I tend to hate everything about everybody (but in particular: people who say "greazy" instead of "greasy", "ofTen" instead of "offen" and "shedule" instead of "skedule").

So instead I have decided to create a (by no means definitive) list of 10 of the worst music video clips of all time, presented in no particular order, and starting with:

Now That We Found Love - Heavy D and The Boyz (1991)

Picking up where Michael Jackson's Bad left off, Heavy D and The Boyz show just how rough and tough American street gangs can be by doing such dastardly things as wearing their caps on the side and playing dice in the street. It reminds me of a Rock 'n' Roll Eisteddfod entry in which some overzealous drama teacher has tried to create a hip, modern version of West Side Story to get kids interested in Shakespeare. Heavy D himself is the least BAD looking tough guy anyone's ever seen (which is ironic really, because he's dressed VERY badly indeed). Whatever stylist decided that a big muffin hat, a suit made out of Supa-Tuff bin bags and a stonking great pair of coke-bottle glasses said "cool" is probably working for Britney Spears right now. Everyone else in the clip seems to be preparing for the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina Part II, except the object of Heavy's affections who is merrily prancing away on a fire escape in nothing but a negligee and a pair of smart gold slip ons from The Shoe Shed. A masterpiece.

I Ran - A Flock of Seagulls (1982)

Not only do they have one of the worst band names ever and several of the worst hairstyles ever, they also have one of the worst music videos ever with this DIY effort for I Ran, their only real hit. I know it was 1982, but HONESTLY, you think they could have come up with a better idea than a few rolls of alfoil, mum's makeup bag and a lazy susan. When not doing a very credible impression of John Safran in a bad shirt, singer Mike Score spends the vast majority of the clip trying to find his way off of the set while simultaneously being attacked by a couple of rejects from Robert Palmer's Simply Irrisistible clip. Although it has to be said the girls are clearly ahead of their time fashion wise - Heavy D and The Boyz didn't discover the garbage bag outfit until nine years later! Despite the utter crapness of this clip, F.O.S are responsible for penning the only known pop song to use the words "Aurora Borealis", so I guess that counts for something.

Tainted Love - Soft Cell (1981)

A Roman emperor seems to have travelled into the future specifically to refuse to eat jelly with a character from an Oscar Wilde play while reprimanding a cricket player's young daughter for not allowing him to sleep at night. Then he steals her cricket ball. Let's assume that a lot of cocaine was sampled when this clip was thought up.

Party All the Time - Eddie Murphy (1985)

I don't know what's worse here - Rick James' triangle perm, Eddie Murphy's shirt, Eddie Murphy's guitarist's OPEN shirt, or that awkward looking random white guy. It sure as hell isn't that guy's spiffy white tracksuit, which is completely ACE! Unlike this song, which is the main reason Eddie Murphy never made it as a recording artist. Now that he is Scary Spice's babydaddy however, he can at least now say he has made it WITH a recording artist. The best bit of this video can be seen at the 2:59 mark, where Eddie pulls out a power note that sends Rick into a world of ecstasy and causes the 157 extra people in the mixing room to dance like pensioners with prostate problems.

Blue - Eiffel 65 (1999)

Contrary to popular belief (which has been backed by the band's Frenchy-sounding name and the steadfast fact that the French can't make pop music), we can actually blame the Italians for this, the worst song in history. The opening rap sounds like something I'd come up with after one too many beers - it's even worse than Debbie Harry's effort in Rapture:

And out comes the man from Mars
And you try to run but he's got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you're in the man from Mars
You go out at night eating cars
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too
Mercurys and Subaru
And you don't stop
You keep on eating cars
Then when there's no more cars you go out at night
And eat up bars where the people meet...

Aside from the blue little rap about the blue man who lives in a blue house with a blue window where everything is blue (OK, we fucking GET IT), this video is surely one of the best examples of why the mid to late 90s enthusiasm for computer animation was not warranted. I am sure there are TAFE students currently putting out more realistic shit than this. And what the hell is it all about? These Italians start out whingeing about how blue their poor blue friend is and how he has LISTEN...and then they fart about the galaxy shooting him and all his friends and torturing them with their shitty dance music. You wanna know why he's blue, Eiffel 65? IT'S CALLED GENOCIDE, AND YOU'RE RESPONSIBLE.

Rollercoaster - B*Witched (1998)

It's hard to believe that at one point, B*Witched were considered Ireland's best musical export. Actually, maybe that's not so hard to believe - what else have they given us? Damien Leith? This video had a habit of popping up on Rage at about 6.30 on a Saturday morning and making you want to kill yourself, instead of making a cup of tea and going back to bed like you were planning to do. The girls' Irishness and love of denim couldn't be more obvious in this clip - who else but the pasty white Irish would wear a full denim outfit to the beach? They must have been sweating their little paddy arses off. If you have the strength to wait until the 55 second mark, you'll be rewarded with one of the greatest scenes in a music video ever when the girls break into the most spectacularly crap dance you've ever seen while busking in front of a crowd of onlookers. Unsurprisingly, nobody gives them any money.

Poison - Bardot (2000)

Before Australian Idol ate the universe, and while there was still marginal interest in girl bands like The Spice Girls, there was Popstars, a Channel 7 series about forming an Aussie pop group. Bardot was the resulting band, and Poison was the inevitable #1 hit the girls enjoyed before sinking into obscurity - except for Sophie Monk who strapped on her celebrity floaties by managing to get hitched to one of the dudes from Good Charlotte, and is now spruiking underwear or something. Considering she got her start in this clip dressed as Big Bird's slutty mistress, that's fairly remarkable. Still, at least she didn't have to go all "techno lesbian" like poor old Katie Underwood, who was forced to wear rubber outfits and act tough just because she had short hair. As for the others - what others? Even the cameraman has forgotten poor old Belinda Chapple stuck in the disco room, as she's the only one not to get a solo.

Absolutely Everybody - Vanessa Amorosi (1999)

This is the kind of music video that you learn to make in the first week of the 10 week "Basic Music Video Making" course at the WEA.

1. Get subject three or four changes of outfit - no more than that, you don't want to get too flash.

2. Put subject in front of a green screen.

3. Start up Windows Media Player and play a CD (any old CD will do). Maximise the visuals to full screen width and project onto the green screen.

4. Get subject to dance stupidly.

Easy! In Miss Amorosi's case however, they've taken a few extra steps to make sure the result is as crap as possible, like not bothering to do anything with her sensible Price Attack haircut and dressing her in a khaki shirt and pants set that would best be described as "affordable". They've also sensibly ignored the fact that her stomach is not good enough to show off in a midriff top, and showed it off in a midriff top. Excellent stuff.

Hello - Lionel Richie (1984)

There's not much I can say about this video that hasn't already been said at Stereogum in this hilarious funny article, so I won't. Suffice it to say that this is one of the greatest worst videos in the history of the world, if that makes sense.

Pull Up to the Bumper - Deni Hines (2000)

Marcia Hines' less talented daughter Deni tries to pull a Madonna in this clip for her remake of Grace Jones' Pull Up to My Bumper. But while Mads had soon-to-be-superstar-and-cult-comedy-icon Ali G as her chauffeur in the clip for Music, Deni's only managed to score Nick Giannopoulos. It's no wonder she looks so thrilled. Throw in a couple of roided up extras from the local gym, some crappy computer animated effects, an optical fibre lamp from IKEA and a bubble machine from Ken's Party Hire and you've got yourself a craptacular video! Extra points for the home brand MC in the Kangol hat who takes us all back to 1993 with the obligatory rap break.

Got any other dodgy clip suggestions? I know you do. Leave them in the comments!


  1. What a litany of mediocrity you've recounted there, BC. The 80's must have been the zenith of the Unintelligible Gibberish movement in music videos. A song by The Residents from 1979?

  2. I'm guessing B*Witched stopped bringing out the hits after they all sustained serious injuries from all that head flicking?!

    I never noticed before. OOCH!

  3. Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat - "Opposites Attract".
    Even back then, Paula was too off her chops to be able to look an animated cat in the eye.

  4. You're so shit, Petstarr. Not only do you bag people like moi for using words like greazy (so tell me how you pronounce 'Easy' again?), your list of shit vids is also spectacularly lame. Flock of Seagulls, Soft Cell and Lionel Richie can be excused to due them being released in the '80s, when film clips were still a novel experience and MTV hadn't yet started to kick some serious arse (because once Dire Straits released the super polygon computer graphics of Money For Nothing, the wonders of video blew wide open!). I reckon Aussie wonders Peter Andre (Gimme A Little Sign), Nikki Webster (Strawberry Kisses), Savage Garden (I Want You) and Tina Arena (Machine's Breaking Down) all outdo your '80s shitlist, plus there's other '90s gems such as Here's Johnny (wow! Computer graphics!), Sometimes When We Touch (check Newton's lip gloss!) and Macarena Christmas (same as the first one, but with Santa hats!) all come to mind.

  5. hahahaha.. how monumentally spectacularily shite.. like wow.. and just like the above comment from SCOOTIKINS you missed out soooo many even worse ones too.. gotta laugh at all the golden moments tho'.. the spectacularly crap acting you find in all those 80's videos (that FLOCK OF SEAGULLS and all the square eyeshadow robot shit is fucking gold) then there's the "I'M RICK JAMES BITCH!" in his full glory.. damn.. they're congratulating Eddie for WHAT NOW!? Tainted Love!? how the fuck did that song get popular with late night tragics at SHOTZ, since clearly it's not because of this video.. and the less said about LIONEL RICHIE (and that damn video with the freakin' blind woman that tormented me through the 80's almost as bad as all those freaking WHAM songs) the better..

    the pain, OH THE PAIN!

  6. Loved the Bardot flashback. As for Belinda Chapple (BC - same initials - are you really her?) I saw her on the promos for Fox8's Confidential. She was busting out some very similar moves to those she exhibited in the poison disco room - expect this time she was wearing hot pink. Not black. More dodge girl bands please.

  7. lad litter - Which song by the Residents?

    enny - Does that B*Witched video remind you of the Brady Bunch movie spoofs? Is it serious? Seriously?

    jo - Funnily enough we were discussing this on the weekend, and raoulduke and I concluded that the aforementioned Paula Abdul video was, in fact, crap, while our friend SCOOTIKINS declared it to be a wonder of modern animation.

    scootikins - Yawn.

    spoz - I haven't forgotten that business proposition.... let me work on things a bit more and get back to you.

    makeitwork - I love your name. Have I ever told you that before? It reminds me of Tim Gunn and therefore it is fabulous. But no, I'm not Belinda Chapple...

  8. this is indeed good news PetStarr.. especially if this business proposition of yours involves giving me my very own deathstar to play with.. then I'll be very very happy.. MU AH AH AH AH AH!! oh, and btw I namedropped you in this week's music blog (in reference to a cheesy WHITE STRIPES cover band in everything but name I saw on Saturday night.. although, yes.. the lead singer had nothing on JACK WHITE..)

  9. I looked the Residents up on Wikipedia and they were a long-standing NY avant-garde band so they probably weren't even trying to make a good clip. Nevertheless it looked like shit. Don't know the song. In the clip they wore newspaper KKK outfits and pushed shopping trolleys around.

  10. The prosecution rests:

  11. Since music videos for me stopped when Courtney Cox was dragged onstage to dance with Bruce Springsteen, I have no idea what you're talking about with most of these. Except for A Flock of Seagulls, of course. And I ra-a-an, I ran so far awa-a-ay...

  12. Fuck. Guess that makes me old, doesn't it?

  13. That Paula Abdul one with the cat is SO disturbing. She must have been the world's first open furry.

    I wonder whatever happened to B*witched. They were spectacularly awful.

    But my personal favourite in the terrible video (with matching terrible song) countdown will always be 5 6 7 8 by Steps.

  14. the worst video clip ever is this:
    Ah, good old Paul Robinson.

  15. I think that the people can watch these videos and enjoy a lot these videos because It is so good music and I love two singers Lionel Richie and Vanessa Amorosi.