20 Of The Most Controversial Music Videos Ever

Sex! Drugs! Rock’n’roll! Here are 20 music videos that would make your mother blush…

20 The Strokes – ‘Juicebox’

Controversy: Lots of people doing their ‘sexface’ in this. But what’s dirtier; the old lady and her dog or Julian’s unwashed ‘do?

19 Yeah Yeah Yeahs – ‘Y Control’


Controversy: Village Of The Hipster Damned as some cute child actors go ape shit after too many red M&M’s.

18 Justice – ‘Stress’

Controversy: Graphic gang violence hits the streets of Paris, filmed in a reality/ news style. There’s a notably absence of glow sticks or rave hands aloft.

17 Pearl Jam – ‘Jeremy’

Controversy: The bullied ‘Jeremy’ gets brutal revenge on his classmates, and Eddie Vedder does that weird growly thing with his mouth.

16 Erykah Badu – ‘Window Seat’


Controversy: Erkyah strips down to protest about the lack of free-thinking and ‘dies’ where JFK did.

15 Korn – ‘A.D.I.D.A.S’

Controversy? When Korn die in a car crash at the hands of a pimp they get re-animated in a pretty gruesome fashion. Sadly despite being dead, they still get to sport their bad 90s fashion styles (beanies, dreadlocks).

14 Nas – ‘Hate Me Now’

Controversy: Nas gets crucified, although why, in this altered reality, Will Smith gets off with just a stern telling off, we’ll never know…

13 Simian Mobile Disco – ‘Hustler’

Controversy: A different take on pass the parcel…

12 Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Try Try Try’

Controversy: Not the most cheery of vids, this saw a group of model-like misfits go through a load of prostitution, drug addiction and stealing. Possible not as dysfunctional as the members of the Smashing Pumpkins themselves, however.

11 Neil Young – ‘This Note’s For You’

Controversy: Neil has a go at corporate sponsorship in music, taking shots at Whitney and MJ as he goes. We’d love to agree, but frankly these free Puma trainers are too comfortable and this chilled diet Pepsi is much too delightful to put down.

10 The Cribs – ‘Men’s Needs’

Controversy: Ryan Jarman’s domestic bliss goes a bit haywire when a woman who in no way is supposed to be Kate Nash goes on a naked, knife throwing bender.

9 MIA – ‘Born Free’

Controversy: Ginger genocide, as the red haired among us are rounded up by a SWAT team and tortured.

8 The Prodigy – ‘Smack My Bitch Up’

Controversy: Heroin use, hit and run shenanigans and *spoiler alert!* it was a WOMAN ALL ALONG!


7 George Michael – ‘I Want Your Sex’

Controversy: Naked lady bits, a lipstick coated call for monogomy and George’s ‘Princess Diana’ barnet.

6 Bjork – ‘Pagan Poetry’

Controversy: Scarier than her dead swan dress or when she punched that photographer, this video featured shudder inducing body piercing along with graphic sex scenes.


5 Serge and Charlotte Gainsbourg – ‘Lemon Incest’

Controversy: If there was a good reason to be scared about going on your French exchange, this was it. Mon dieu!

4 Nirvana – ‘Heart-Shaped Box’

Controversy; Trippy fantasy involving foetuses and the Ku Klux Klan. Not for the faint hearted.

3 Nine Inch Nails – ‘Closer’

Controversy: A carnival of bad taste vibes, featuring S&M, nudity and animals being treated worse than some of NIN’s groupies.

2 Aphex Twin – ‘Come To Daddy’

Controversy: Richard D. James does Being John Malkovich if Malkovich was on some serious meds.

1 Madonna – ‘Like A Prayer’

Controversy: Madge gets off with an African American Jesus, jumps out of the sky and dances in front of some burning crosses. Just your usual Tuesday night, then.

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