Old people dancing, over-animated tweens, over-sexed jocks, it’s all here. We present the worst music videos ever from Susan Boyle to Milli Vanilli and back again. Let’s start with Cher…
50 Cher – ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’
Nope, it’s not a Rihanna gig. That big-haired lady straddling the cannon is Cher. Although back in 1989, it stirred up just as much controversy, due to Cher’s nearly-naked self frolicking around for some overly-hormonal sailors (who also seem to enjoy dancing together on a boat). It’s a shame none of them seem to care when Cher passes out on the stage at the end, though. Maybe they’d have preferred… watching Meg Griffin dance.
49 Paris Hilton – ‘Stars Are Blind’
So this is what you can do when your daddy has buckets of money – pay someone to film you roll around in a bikini in the sand with a guy in order to distract us from the fact that you’ve been auto-tuned (quite poorly) to high heaven. Good on you, Paris Hilton – you successfully created something that sucked more than the song itself (which, frankly, we thought would be impossible to do).
48 Daniel Bedingfield – ‘If You’re Not The One’
First we see a montage of Daniel against a black screen, stringed together by someone who seemingly just discovered iMovie (or whatever they had back in 2002) for the very first time. Then cue cheesy dance-in-some-clouds-with-an-unbuttoned-shirt-flapping-in-the-wind moment. Oh look, now he looks like some kind of prodigy, scrawling undistinguishable markings on the wall with a serious look on his face. But if you were Stateside, you got to see a forlorn love story, as told by a leather jacket-donning Bedingfield.
47 Axel F – ‘Crazy Frog’
At least this one kicks off with a warning that it features “the most annoying thing in the world”. If you feel like putting yourself through three minutes of pure masochistic torture then by all means, watch the video of an animated frog-like creature riding an invisible motorbike around a fictional futuristic world. It will leave you wishing those rockets hit him, putting an end to Crazy Frog once and for all.
46 Milli Vanilli – ‘Girl You Know It’s True’
No one should ever have to see two guys (wearing those awful shoulder-padded blazers) dance like this. But if you’re really hating yourself today, then watch the stalker-advocating promo. Sadly, the original appears to have been banned from YouTube, so you’re gonna have to do a bit of digging if you want to watch it. That, or sit through eight and a half minutes of an extended remix version. (Warning: don’t do it).
45 Vanilla Ice – ‘Ice Ice Baby’
Sorry, Vanilla. We know you’re trying to look “street”, writing your name on walls in spraypaint and dancing around under a bridge or something with your “crew” (some of them look like cater-waiters doing the conga), but you really just look like an idiot. But at least you come across as a nice guy at the end, dancing around with a kid (who looks scares shitless) on your shoulders. Really, we can’t imagine why your career ever ended…
44 Wham! – ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’
Filmed at what is now Camden’s KOKO venue, we see the Wham! crew dancing around in “Go-Go” and “Choose Life” tee-shirts. Sadly, the brightly-coloured short-shorts are a bit much. But wait, it gets better – the black light comes out and the band begin to glow. And doesn’t George look so dreamy, hugging himself against a smoke-filled backdrop, wearing neon yellow fingerless gloves? We love you George, but this wasn’t good.
43 Journey – ‘Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)’
This was the first video the band ever shot a music video for, so we’ll excuse them a little bit for this cinematic atrocity. They went a bit camera-angle crazy with it, flickering from one woman’s ass-shot to another, to a world where instruments don’t exist and the band simply play air. But it just gets weirder, when the keyboard’s attached to a wall and the guitar’s missing a piece. Then it all ends with a girl asleep in bed. Was it all a dream? Dear god we hope so.
42 The Darkness – ‘I Believe In A Thing Called Love’
Who doesn’t want to see a pink-haired Justin Hawkins’ pixellated naked bum, or close-ups of those weird faces he makes when he sings?
41 Steel Panther – ‘Fat Girl (Thar She Blows)’
Well, at least the video sort of distracts us from how awful the lyrics are. Naw, that’s a lie. It just makes them even worse. Good luck getting the image of the bloke in a leopard-print skin-tight dress out of your mind. But then again, what would you expect from Steel Panther?
40 Duck Sauce – ‘Big Bad Wolf’
Don’t get us wrong, we’re fans of NSFW. And we love a bit of surrealism in our music vids. But this is just the wrong kind of wrong. Whatever kind of mind conceived this sub-Plastic Little carnival of face crotch weirdness needs to be locked up a lot of miles away from us thank you very much. By all means make bizarre promos to get our attention if you can’t be arsed to make a proper track, but this is just all kinds of no.
39 The Ting Tings – ‘Hang It Up’
Two people that are way old enough to know better re-enact their youth in a skate park while a succession of losers fall off their wheels like a particularly tiresome re-enactment of Dogtown and ZZZ Boys. Hard to believe this is made it passed the censors.
38 All Saints – ‘Chick Fit’
As with most pop acts, All Saints signed out with a whimper rather than a bang, as the final drops of anything that might have been special dribbled out of them. This swansong to a largely forgettable track about something we can’t remember saw the girls in their JJB finest getting vaguely friendly with some rent-a-crunkers and demolish a cheap drum kit somewhere in the CD:UK studio. They had a good innings, and this was them way, way past their prime.
37 Sisqo – ‘Unleash The Dragon’
Let’s just get this vid’s crimes down to a top three shall we? 1) First, there’s the rampant egotism that sees Sisqo set himself up as a global hero playing to the masses 2) Then there’s the completely fake marauding dragon that interrupts the track (not that we were enjoying it anyway) for far too long. 3) The worst, thing, though, is just how underwhelming the actual track is. Get back to singing about panties, big boy.
36 Rednex – ‘Cotton Eye Joe’
Of course, 1994 was a care home for all manner of ill-advised popstrosities, but Swedish bell-ends Rednex can probably claim the retrospective crown for that era’s nadir. When these guys get to the pearly gates and explain how they lived their lives, and what they achieved, and they sort of shuffle their feet, look down and mutter something about about a big trance barn dance tune, we wouldn’t want to be there.
35 Eiffel 65 – ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’
For fuck’s sake, really? As if this piece of sub-Crazy Frog, lazy-ass, cynical, turgid, brain-numbing dross wasn’t enough of a boil on the anus of the music industry, to slap together this kind of shitty animated half-baked sci-fi as a visual accompaniement is really taking the piss. It’s hard to tell if the hastily-animated alien thing thumping its head to the beat is into the music or trying to shake its brain loose of its spinal chord, because that’s what we’re doing right now.
34 Route 1 feat. Jenny Frost – ‘Crash Landing’
Hard to believe, but in amongst the illustrious Atomic Kitten career and a stint on ITV’s Snog, Marry, Avoid, Jenny Frost made one of the most crass videos of all time. Part Babestation, part Little Boots nightmare, and wholly crap, this clip is either the laziest promo effort we’ve ever seen or a smart satire on those fools that, you know, assign a budget to music videos. No wonder MTV decided to ditch real vids for clips of people stapling their balls to the wall around this time.
33 Dannii Minogue – ‘This Is It’
At first glance a promo video for holidays in da Caribbean mon, as conceived by the losing team on last week’s Apprentice, Dannii’s audiovisual monstrosity descends into a melee of sandpit aerobics, gruesome hunks on swing sets and cheap props. The guy in the white dungarees, though? What a hero.
32 Color Me Badd – ‘I Wanna Sex You Up’
You know what really gets us in the mood? Watching a proto-Hoxton twat with a bum fluff tache get his freak on in an executive leather chair on a load of TVs looted from a Dalston Tandy’s. As seduction goes, this sex-face-filled raclette of cheesy cliches is about as alluring as a threesome with Dominque Strauss-Kahn and Dappy. So badd it’s good.
31 Survivor – ‘Eye Of The Tiger’
So it starts off OK: some guys in leather jackets are walking down the street in a choreographed “V” shape. It’s not all that cool (they’re no Rocky Balboa), but it’s bearable. But then they go from playing in some dingy garage to standing in front of a shimmery golden backdrop. Then suddenly, they all get really sweaty, and it begins to rain. Yea, it doesn’t make any sense to us, either…
30 Shayne Ward – ‘No U Hang Up’
“Artful” black and white photography, “smouldering” eye contact that looks like Mr Ward’s been in accident, and lots and lots of cringeworthy seduction. Oh, and a fair amount of pretending to be on the phone. This is dire, dire, dire and clearly shows Shayne has never seen the David Brent rendition of ‘If You Don’t Know Me By Now’.
29 Supersister – ‘Coffee’
If you’re wondering who Supersister are, or rather acurately, were, stop wondering now. Knowing the answer will only ruin your life. OK, they were a ropey girl threesome, one of whom was called Louise Fudge, who created a thumping piece of headache pop about men being like, you know, coffee. There’s more random aural buggery in the first ten seconds of this video than most people should have to endure in a lifetime.
28 Miley Cyrus – ‘Can’t Be Tamed’
Miley Cyrus, in a cage, wearing huge feather wings like a Poundstretcher version of Kanye’s angels, engaging in all manner of pop cliches and tiresome dance routines. Whatever that noise two minutes in is, it doesn’t sound of this earth. Can’t be tamed. Should be maimed.
27 Mika – ‘Big Girl (You Are Beautiful)’
We did everything we could to stop this guy. Mauled his singles, albums, and live show, but still you bought the records. Or someone did. Well, time to pay the price. If we wanted to see larger than life characters strutting round run-down markets, we’d sit in front of an Eastenders omnibus.
26 Britney Spears – ‘Gimme More’
It’s Britney, bitch. This was filmed way back when, and it really shows. Goodbye early noughties MTV…
25 LMFAO – ‘Sexy And I Know It ‘
Thing is, these guys think they’re making a funny parody video here. But really, this is probably what they’re really like – strolling around in shiny leopard-print thongs and bragging about how sexy they are (hate to break it to you, LMFAO, you ain’t sexy. Soz. Please stop “wiggling”). It looks like the cast of Jersey Shore were barfed up on the set of a music video, only to be classed up by a camero from Ron Jeremy.
24 Huey Lewis And The News – ‘Hip To Be Square’
Ever wanted to see up Huey’s nose? Curious if he’s got any fillings in his teeth? Not only is the concept of this video boringly dull, but it also lets us get more up close and personal with the main man than we’d ever, ever want to be. Frankly, we’d rather watch Patrick Bateman hack away at a dude with an axe to this song than watch this nonsense.
23 Akon – ‘Lonely’
Strange that a song featuring what appears to be Alvin Chipmunk (or indeed perhaps either of Alvin’s brothers) on vocals should have such a blub-some video. And by ‘blub some’ we mean ‘contains every mid-00s pop video cliche in the book’. Singer emoting to an empty arena? Check! Singer emoting sadly in the rain? Check! ‘Shock’ unreconciled ending? Check!
22 Bloodhound Gang – ‘The Bad Touch’
A great mind once asked: ‘what IS humour?’. And amongst the many answers was one: five grown men dressed up in monkey costumes, dry humping the pavement and grinding up against the elderly? We’re pretty sure the answer was ‘No sireee. It’s not that. Definitely not.’ Tipped into the musical drain that was nu-metal, in ‘The Bad Touch’ video The Gang came across like men on a mission. A mission to be as unfunny as possible. We’re glad they succeeded.
21 CJ Fam – ‘Ordinary Pop Star’
Oh the agony of fame! Damn that mansion, damn those millions in the bank and most of all, damn you, fickle fans. Because CJ Fam is sick. Sick of the sickly finger of fame pointing at her and making her be, um, famous. What’s that? Oh, you’ve never even heard of CJ Fam? Oh hush up. Surely you must be joking? OK, we’ll fess up, neither have we. ARK Music Factory progeny CJ’s rant againt the incessant flicker of the pap flashbulb is made even more ridiculous by the fact no one’s actually heard of her.
20 Joss Stone – ‘Baby Baby Baby’
Oh Joss, did ditching the shackles of your record label mean that you’d be hot-footing it to make hugely mis-judged steps like this? Of course the label didn’t want to release it! It looked like it was made by the same company who makes the adverts for those 1-2-1 ‘chatlines’ , just skip forward to the ‘electrodes’ moment. Before you ask: it’s better than that Brits appearance but not as bad as Superheavy.
19 Another Level – ‘Freak Me’
Five reasons never to go clubbing in town: 1) this video. 2) this video. 3) this video. 4) this video. 5) this video. Yes, the vague level of menace as the boyband head to “da club” just can’t be manufactured. Our advice? Just don’t look directly into Dane Bowers’ eyes and you’ll be okay.
18 Alice Cooper – ‘Clones (We’re All)’
This is a classic case of ‘When an older artist attempts to update their image and it all goes horribly wrong in the process.’ Here Alice attempts to go ‘new wave’ which roughly translates as: wrapping oneself in foil, covering oneself with some old wires from a car stereo and generally pretending to be Gary Numan’s ‘wacky’ uncle.
17 Beach Boys – ‘Kokomo’
The Beach Boys bandwagon continued rolling in the 80s (if only in desperate, retro situations). ‘Kokomo’ was indicative of where they were as a ‘brand’. It was as if Mike Love had taken the “Beach Boys” name straight out of Brian Wilson’s hands and we were forced to watch footage of Tom Cruise mixing up Bloody Marys. Thanks guys.
16 U2 – ‘Numb’
‘Zooropa’s opening shot was accompanied by this strange, slightly queasy-making promo. What could have gone so wrong? We can only surmise that The Edge was being slowly tortured after he confessed to stealing Bono’s special shoes and wearing them like ear-rings whilst singing ‘New Year’s Day’ in a high pitched, girly voice?
15 Jenna Rose feat. Baby Triggy – ‘My Jeans’
Hungry for a slice of pre-teen, suburbian angst? Enter Jenna Rose (and someone worryingly called ‘Baby Triggy’). Well versed in the Rebecca Black school of literalism, Rose is younger with even less legal ability to drive a car and a helluva lot more autotune.
14 Nickelback – ‘Rockstar’
The message we got from this video was that the face of Chad Kroeger was deemed so unpalatable for public consumption that they got various work experience students to lip sync along to the lyrics instead. In fact, the likes of KISS’ Gene Simmons, actress Eliza Dushku, Kid Rock and Nelly Furtado all joined in on “the fun”.
13 JLS – ‘Take A Chance On Me’
Clearly not having learnt anything from the many “pop groups do Christmas videos” (oh yes, The Spice Girls ‘2 Become 1’ and East 17’s ‘Stay Another Day’, we’re looking at you!), JLS spend all their hard earned customized condoms money on this ridiculous addition to the cannon. The quartet look like they’ve been trapped at Westfield after midnight and have decided to keep warm with some old clothes from River Island’s “Townie” range. It’s gruesome, gruesome stuff.
12 David Bowie & Mick Jagger – ‘Dancing In The Street’
Bowie and Jagger. Finally together. What could possibly go wrong? That both icons were in the drizzly autumns of their respective careers didn’t help (Jagger was about the release his 1987 solo album ‘Primitive Cool’, Bowie had his infamous Glass Spider tour to contend with). That their video treatment was basically ‘get them together and see what happens!’ helped even less.
11 Cher Lloyd – ‘Swagger Jagger’
A Cbeebies cartoon about an annoying popstar has exploded all over Cher Lloyd. UH-OH! Manfully she decided to carry on and do her video anyway. That the many, many Simon Cowell-led focus groups behind Cher Lloyd came up with this is baffling. It’s a confusing, head-ache inducing lattice of colours, fashions and ‘concepts’. Ugh.
10 James Blunt – ‘You’re Beautiful’
It seems bizarre that in 2004 this former army officer would rule the charts with his combination of hamster-like voice and songs which breezed through the streets of Clapham like chilly, futuristic winds. For the video for this stalker-on-the-tube track he got all ‘new man’ on us, but to the more cynical eye it just looked like “A toothy minor royal strips off in the rain.”
9 The Fray – ‘How To Save A Life’
We don’t care how many Katherine Heigl rom-coms or moments in TOWIE this song soundtracked, the actual video is pretty damn awful. One key thing we learnt from it is that, remember kids, loneliness looks like a commercial for The Gap’s Spring collection.
8 Christina Aguilera – ‘Not Myself Tonight’
It must have been coming back in the wake of Lady Gaga, but really Aguilera could have done better than this couldn’t she? X-Tina went for the ‘shock’ factor, but her attempt to shock includes a bad perm, shirtless men dancing in the rain and some very painful looking rubber outfits. Urg. Made sex look a little bit ‘meh’.
7 Pixies – ‘Velouria’
It seems weird that a band who have so readily grabbed the reunion dollar were so uncomfortable making music videos during their initial period of existence as a band. And whilst their “anti video” stance was commendable, it meant that we had to suffer moments like this. An amazing song un-done by the video.
6 Razorlight – ‘Wire To Wire’
There’s a fine line between “arty moment which seems to encompass everything” and “dire plotless LOL-fest”. Which one do you think Razorlight made? In this ‘video’ it seem that our hero (J-Bo) has set fire to the other members of Razorlight and fashioned them into a nice ear ring and pearl necklace set which he waves about nonchalantly.
5 Eric Prydz – ‘Call On Me’
Steve Winwood’s ‘Valerie’ got sampled (by sampled we mean butchered) by Sweden’s Eric Prydz and it’s fitting that the promo had a lowest common denominator vibe to it. Imagine Oliva Newton John’s ‘Physical’ re-framed by Peter Stringfellow. Basically all you need to know is that: it’s LOTS OF ARSES IN LYCRA!
4 Lady Gaga – ‘Judas’
A video jam-packed with clichéd religious allusions, ugly high couture fashions and dancers who look like they haven’t had a proper meal since the nineties. An attempt to jump on the Madonna/Catholicism bandwagon that so incredibly misjudged it’s quite comical. It’s seems fitting that for Gaga’s worst single so far, the video was her very own Curate’s egg.
3 Susan Boyle – ‘Perfect Day’
In her first ever music video we see the reality show star Su-Bo walking along a foggy, dusky riverfront and the vibe is surprisingly…creepy. In fact everything has the air of slight menace about it. “Such a perfect day I’m glad I spent it with you,” she trills, possibly to the body she just bludgeoned to death and flung in the sea.
2 Kings Of Leon – ‘Radioactive’
You thought that The Kings Of Leon were a rock and roll band? Pah! You were so wrong. The Followills had a sideline as Christian missionaries sent to teach African school children about the best way to wear gnarly sunglasses and ripped jeans. The music industry gasped in disbelief as the Oklahoma boys leapt into a muddled mise-en-scene of questionable racial subtext.
1 Rebecca Black – ‘Friday’
Perhaps it was the £5 budget special effects or maybe the fact that there were dental braces everywhere we looked or even the bratty stage school kids pretending to drive around in a car. Black herself came across as kind of sweet and naive, but the sense of an evil puppet master behind the scenes controlling everything couldn’t be escaped. In the end, there was so much to dislike it was quite overwhelming. This was the equivalent of repeatedly getting bitten on the ankles by a yappy dog.