Top Ten Hilariously Bad Music Videos of All Time
Music in the Age of Music Video Production
With the advent of music videos, songs were brought to the multitudes in the quickest and most far-reaching medium then created - TV. Since more people had access to music, musicians, producers and record companies went nuts over the prospect of selling more albums and getting more people to come to concerts.
The frenzy was wild, culminating in the birth of MTV, a channel that many claim to be one of the defining aspects of today’s generation. Video after video was churned out in an effort to get the "music out."
Yet, as Walter Benjamin commented on how mechanical reproduction degrades the "aura" of art, the outburst of music videos means that the few good ones will be swamped by the mediocre, if not downright pitiful.
Not all the videos you see on TV are veritable works of art. Some are so bad, they’re completely hilarious. Here’s a list of some of those videos.
10. “Gimme More” - Britney Spears
Okay, what’s hilariously bad about this video of Miss Britney is not so much the fact that it’s a blatant attempt to salvage a career on the rocks. It’s not even in its raunchy choreography, which pop stars (or has-beens), like Britney, take on to veer away from their bubble gum personas.
Just look at the scope of the video. Remember how Britney Spears’ first few videos had large, elaborate sets. The production value in those videos was intense, making this new video pretty much a really bad joke.
9. “Total Eclipse of the Heart” - Bonnie Tyler
The 80s is marked as the time of decadence and frivolity that gave birth to the whole idea of a music video. Right around this time, power ballads were the big thing. Such songs reveled in the outpouring of intense emotions, like heartbreak, depression and longing.
You’d think that this combination would make really beautiful videos that people would easily consider works of art. Of course, there were those videos that were so good that watching them was like having novels unravel on your TV screen. Some, however, like Bonnie Tyler’s “Total Eclipse of the Heart” took things a little too, well, literally.
A line in the song goes "Turnaround, bright eyes" speaking of the hope the heartbroken keep. Unfortunately, the director Michael Kunze decided to take this line too literally and have the eyes of some of the boys in the video glow in the dark. The reference is too obvious, so watchers can only cringe in the inanity, or laugh at it.
8. “It’s Raining Men” - The Weather Girls
Sure, you can’t expect all videos to have high production values. After all, the amount of money spent on making the video isn’t a good gauge of its effectiveness as a message carrier. Yet sometimes, it’s so obvious in some videos that there was significant fund-scrimping involved.
Just watch the video of "It’s Raining Men." Supposedly set in a cityscape, it was pretty obvious that the video was shot on a sound stage. Cardboard cut-outs and cellophane were used to stand-in as the city line. It’s possible, though, that the money went to all those muscular men, so that wearing nothing but purple trunks and dancing shoes would be bearable.
7. “Thank U” - Alanis Morissette
When it was released in 1995, people immediately loved “Jagged Little Pill.” Why wouldn’t they? What’s not to like about an angry, yet good-looking woman with a good singing voice? Listeners only had to pop in the CD to feel some affinity with this Canadian songstress.
After the success of “Jagged Little Pill,” Alanis returned with “Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie” (1998) with the song “Thank U” as the lead single. The song was written as Alanis felt immense gratitude when she returned from a trip to India. The video, however, was nothing short of hilarious as it featured a naked Alanis getting hugs from random strangers in various places in a city. She must’ve taken something very interesting while she was in India.
6. “Party All the Time” - Eddie Murphy
This video presented a lot of the things that were awfully wrong in the 1980s. Whatever got into Eddie Murphy’s mind to make him believe he could sing, let alone release a single, is beyond normal comprehension. Yet, the video is in this list not so much because of Eddie Murphy.
The single was produced by well-known funk producer Rick James, who also played a part in the video. Whatever got into Rick James’ mind to sport the same hairdo as Raggedy Anne is beyond any level of understanding.
Funk and disco music is supposed to be sensual and sexy, but all of that is non-existent with Rick James looking very misplaced in the video. What was even more hilarious was the fact that he went about the entire thing with so much enthusiasm that it was as if he didn’t mind looking stupid at all.
5. “Lemon Incest” - Serge Gainsbourg
Serge Gainsbourg was a French poet, director and actor, but was more renowned for his work as a singer-songwriter. Though it took him 20 years to reach the pinnacle of fame, his forays into various genres earned him the respect of his peers.
A lot were irked, however, when the single “Lemon Incest” was released. Though Gainsbourg was known to have dealt with the taboo, the video for “Lemon Incest” was pretty controversial as it featured him lying half-naked on a bed with his then teenage daughter, Charlotte, without pants on.
At first glance, you might feel a bit uneasy. Sticking to it though, you might find yourself laughing out loud because of the inanity of the entire thing. Sure, incest is a very deep and dark topic to talk about. However, with such a song sung over a synthesized version of one of Chopin’s Etudes, it’s quite a feat to refrain from laughing your head off.
4. “Journey” - Separate Ways
Today, entire air guitar competitions are organized, with winners becoming immediate celebrities. However, if you really think about it, these competitions merely reward people for making fools of themselves on stage.
Just look at Journey’s video for “Separate Ways” and see how stupid (and therefore funny) it is to go through the motions of playing instruments without the instruments actually being there. What’s really hilarious about this video is that Journey still made a point to pour enthusiasm into playing their non-existent instruments.
3. “Ice Ice Baby” - Vanilla Ice
At a time when Hip Hop was still the newest thing to hit the music scene, Vanilla Ice came out with “Ice Ice Baby,” which soared up the charts. Its video showcased Vanilla Ice’s dance moves, which, at best, were caricatures of the real soul of Hip Hop.
Sure, people were dancing in the streets, but you wouldn’t call it a street party when there were only 15 of them, right? If anything, the video for “Ice Ice Baby” is hilarious just because Vanilla Ice, and everything he represented, was worth laughing at.
2. Pretty Much Every David Hasselhoff Music Video
Aside from playing Mitch Buchanan in the lifeguard drama “Baywatch,” David Hasselhoff had a pretty successful recording career, at least in some parts of Europe. True, he may have some talent with music, but his string of videos only points to his inability to conceptualize good music videos.
True, his video for “Hooked on a Feeling” is entertaining, but only because its absurdity goes beyond surreal. The video features Hasselhoff looking happy, and from time to time, flying off to various locations across the world. The concept behind this could actually work, but it fails with comedic effect when it’s obvious that the green screen work is below standard. Go through all his other videos, and prepare to roll on the floor laughing.
1. “I Wanna Love You Tender” - Armi and Danny
Probably the worst, yet funniest music video ever made came from Finland. Not really getting much airplay on MTV, the music video for Armi and Danny’s “I Wanna Love You Tender” reached notoriety through the Internet.
This video is so hilariously bad that you wouldn’t believe that there were some people who took it seriously. Set in what looked like a dance hall floating out in space, the video showcased some of the most outrageously off-beat choreography in the history of music videos.
Likewise, all the dancers were clad in white long-sleeve shirts that read “D&A” and red jogging pants. Imagine that - a geeky cheerleading squad out in space. It’s no wonder, since it seemed that they had no problem making fools of themselves.
So Bad, It’s Funny
It’s interesting how things that are so bad can actually be really funny. These music videos may not be considered masterpieces in themselves, but watching them surely makes for one entertaining experience. If you enjoy reading this article, you’ll surely be entertained in reading how to make music everywhere and as a bonus learn how to direct a movie.