You've probably heard it said that a song without a video may as well not exist now, at least to a certain demographic, and given how easy it is to make short films these days thanks to the availability of technology and software, the pop promo is everywhere. With all that extra competition from talented upstarts filling up video-sharing websites, you'd think big record labels would have upped their game. Like bollocks they have.
So behold these prime examples of lowest common denominator trash made "for the win" but mostly eliciting a massive "WTF!?" From the sexist to the exploitative to the plain silly, here are eight of the worst videos of the last 12 months…
Some of the perils of child stardom were presented to us way back in 1935 when Noel Coward wrote 'Don't Put Your Daughter On The Stage, Mrs Worthington', but Mr Coward never forewarned us that these teen superstars would wind up licking sledgehammers evocatively for money or swing disrobed on a wrecking ball once they hit adulthood. Miley's been building up to this, of course. There was that wince-inducing video for 'We Can't Stop' where she simulates slapping a friend's arse and gets off with a doll in a swimming pool, and then she went one better, faux-masturbating with a foam wrestling hand in her undercrackers as foil to priapic older swinger Robin Thicke at the VMAs. In a list of Ms Cyrus's greatest achievements, surely top is having almost single-handedly forced the Oxford English Dictionary to submit the word 'twerking' in all new editions, though she's been accused of misappropriating black culture and sending it mainstream as a result. So it's OK when The Beatles do it, but not when it's the 20-year-old daughter of a redneck renowned for a 90s novelty hit best consigned to the dustbin of history. Why there was nary a whisper when John, Paul, George and Ringo slipped off their things and knocked down some old tenement buildings in the raw. Back to the VMAs, and Will Smith, sat in the audience, looked particularly gobsmacked, because while you were witnessing a couple of twonks exhibiting themselves in the basest way possible, he was potentially beholding the Ghost of Christmas Future. God, let's hope not, eh?
Oh Dizzee, where did it all go (unfortunately) right? Ten years ago young Dylan Mills' debut 'Boy In Da Corner' was a critical smash and went on to win the Mercury Music Prize, but trinkets alone don't feed mouths, and after a ho-hum second and third the East London-born rapper decided it was time to go Überpop. No.1s were plentiful and duets with James Corden made the eyes water, but nothing could have prepared us for this alliance with anti-Christ Action Man will.i.am, the man who puts the "i" into d.i.ckhead. Where to start with what's wrong with the video? The creepy lyrics and the objectification of bikini-clad women in submissive poses might be enough. Short of feasting on cooked babies in the back of a Hummer with Simon Cowell, Dizzee has no place left to stoop.
And speaking of stoop, how stoopid is this video featuring Azealia Banks? The former coolest person on the planet stars in a bluescreen nightmare with flying dolphins and fluorescent pyramids, and it has all the dignity of falling over drunk in a New Age shop and being showered in healing crystals and gold leaf Buddhas.
Diane Martel, the director of 'Blurred Lines', insists the whole thing is about female empowerment: "I wanted to deal with the misogynist, funny lyrics in a way where the girls were going to overpower the men," she recently said in defence of a video that features fully-clothed male musicians juxtaposed against naked girls. "I directed the girls to look into the camera, this is very intentional and they do it most of the time; they are in the power position." It's when Robin Thicke looks directly into the camera that it makes you think: "The GQ photo shoot of David Brent's dreams has manifested itself before my very eyes."
For those unaware, Corey Feldman was kinda a big thing back in the 80s, starring in amazing films like The Lost Boys… and, er… The Lost Boys, what a movie! (He also did the voice of Donatello in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and was in The Goonies, movie fact fans). Michael Jackson cultivated a close relationship with Feldman back when he was but a teen, and it's Jackson's moves the 43-year-old channels from beyond the grave in this mildly irritating promo that reeks of LA delusion. The 'concept' seems to revolve around a day in the life of Corey Feldman, and filmed in one take it makes 'Wannabe' by the Spice Girls look like the work of Alfred Hitchcock.
As the fatuous, frat-boy goons who once put out an album called 'Chocolate Starfish and the Hotdog Flavored Water', there was surely no toilet u-bend left to sully for Fred Durst and his risible jokers. Wrong, obviously. Bearded now and rocking urban camper chic, Durst invites the cameras in to the john this time around so you can witness with your own eyes an abhorrent excuse for a human being taking a dump. Don't watch while you're eating. Actually, don't watch at all.
At the risk of being gutted like a little fishy or waking up with a horse's head in my bed (they're committed those One Direction fans, and some should be committed), the video to 'Best Song Ever' is surely contender for worst video ever. This small screen 'shitcom' doesn't bode well for the movie made with McDonalds-bater and Edge-impersonator Morgan Spurlock.
One assumes the pitch to make this was a short one. The narrative, if it could be described as such, involves two scenes essentially – one where Liam sits at a table eating dressed in full vicar vestments, the other with him laying on a pile of naked women like they're a carpet with his sunglasses still on. It's the kind of good, solid, simplistic, no-nonsense inanity Beady Eye have forged their reputation on. More tea, vicar?