The Top 50 Music Videos of the 1990s

They were still a young art human body when the 1990s began, but by the end of the decade music video and video directors were arguably at their commercial and artistic acme. In 1999, MTV ‘s “ TRL ” was launching adolescent pop stars and serving as a better barometer of what Generation Y was listening to than the Billboard charts. interim, Spike Jonze — who about single-handed codified a genesis ‘s idealized music video recording by artfully employing Gen X totems such as sarcasm, 70s nostalgia, eccentric chic, intertextuality, and rubbish culture — was being nominated for a best director academy award for Being John Malkovich .
Throughout the decade, MTV — with a huge assist from clean Channel — glued together a pseudo-music monoculture in the U.S. like about nothing before. Songs like Nirvana ‘s “ Smells Like Teen Spirit ”, Dr. Dre ‘s “ Nothing But a G Thang ”, and Britney Spears ‘ “ … Baby One More clock ” altered the landscape of pop culture sol promptly in large part because they were delivered to all corners of the U.S. simultaneously by MTV. It was n’t just inevitable hits whose influence was quickened by MTV either ; oddities such as Folk Implosion ‘s “ Natural One ” or Danzig ‘s “ Mother 93 ” ( or, say, Green Jelly ‘s “ Three Little Pigs ”, to name precisely one of many abominable examples ) became out-of-leftfield hits for about no early reason than person at MTV decided they should become Buzz Bin video recording .
MTV ‘s ability to place a song and musician into the crop up music conversation was unparalleled at the time, and by the end of the decade that meant absurd levels of both fiscal and creative commitment to music television. creatively, videos at the time were dominated by a handful of visionary directors — Jonze, Michel Gondry, and Chris Cunningham — and there ‘s no getting away from that in our list of our top 50 video of the 90s. ( niobium : Whenever possible we ‘ve chosen official videos to limit the chances those videos will be removed at a future go steady ; the tradeoff is that those clips are more likely to have pre-roll ads. )
As always with a list such as this, comment is kept to a minimal ; the fun and joy should be watching the clips, whether for the first time or the first fourth dimension in years.

50. PJ Harvey
“Man-Size”
[dir: Maria Mochnacz; 1993]

arsenic deep as the mid-90s, it was novel precisely to see certain artists in music television. Hell, it was novel to see them in photograph, or magazines — in any context outside of their record sleeves and live performances. The alt-rock boom pushed some artists into a bright spotlight with larger music video budgets. But in the first gear half of the decade, clips for all but the biggest dad stars were modest affairs, typically without narrative or limited effects. Seeing person walk and talk and sing and move on video was a thrill in itself, and personality went a long manner. Polly Jean Harvey surely had personality. This simpleton yet arresting clip is a good exemplar of both the limitations of those early videos and how an outsize presence could transcend those limitations .
49. Beck
“Loser”
[dir: Steve Hanft; 1993]

decidedly lo-fi even still looking like an consequence right out of the box, Beck ‘s “ Loser ” nip introduced his entire aesthetic in fair a few minutes. It made the L.A. singer-songwriter look fun, fresh, entirely of the moment .
48. Frank Black
“Headache”
[dir: Adam Bernstein; 1994]

This cockamamie, highly re-watchable video recording from the ex-Pixies singer is pretty much what ‘s good about the above two video combined into one trot .
47. Ol’ Dirty Bastard [ft. Kelis]
“Got Your Money”
[dir: Nzingha Stewart/Scott Kalvert/ Hype Williams/ Durville Martin; 1999]

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By the end of the decade, 70s hook drama and blaxploitation films were an established part of the Gen X vocabulary. But seeing ODB and Kelis onscreen with Dolemite does n’t feel passé. The casual construction of the television hews close to the homemade YouTube mash-up clips of nowadays — there ‘s no campaign to make the cuts seamless, or let technical feats overshadow the stars. At a clock when many hip-hop videos looked like Michael Bay action films, there ‘s ODB turning the clock back and making helicopter and yacht rentals seem like the hideously amusing extravagances they are .
46. The Verve
“Bittersweet Symphony”
[dir: Walter Stern; 1997]

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The Verve wound up in hoc to Rolling Stones director Allen Klein for lifting the cardinal chain sample of their define individual ; they besides lifted the general concept of the birdcall ‘s television, this time from Massive Attack ‘s “ Unfinished Sympathy ”. In both cases, they improved on the original. Richard Ashcroft ‘s flashiness and dickish dismiss for other people probably did n’t require acting chops .
45. Dr. Dre [ft. Snoop Doggy Dog]
“Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang”
[dir: Andre Young; 1992]

basically the template for G-Funk video to come, Dre and Snoop ‘s 24-hour odyssey has its needlessly mean-spirited moments ( basically any time a charwoman is on screen ). But the little details — Dre laughing off getting a speculate, the fiddling child dance, the modified cars, the stock electric refrigerator, the tracking shots through Snoop ‘s theater — helped construct a panorama of an emerging cultural phenomenon .
44. Wilco
“Outtasight (Outta Mind)”
[dir: Bill Fishman; 1997]

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This is basically Wilco starring in a Mountain Dew ad, but the unlikelihood of it all somehow makes it more effective and attractive .
43. Snoop Doggy Dog
“Gin & Juice”
[dir: Dr. Dre; 1994]

Hockey jerseys, broad comedy, bicycles, Home Alone gag — this is basically the PG version of the Dr. Dre video .
42. Sonic Youth
“Dirty Boots”
[dir: Tamra Davis; 1991]

By the time of Mike Mills ‘ skaters-in-love snip for Air ‘s “ All I Need ”, seriousness was poised to creep back into indie rock candy young culture. You ‘d still show up at a Flaming Lips show and people would nervously laugh at covers of “ Over the Rainbow ” or “ ( What a ) fantastic World ”, but the land was shifting under our feet. All that was a few years off when Tamra Davis constructed this narrative of love in the moshpit. Note the Nirvana jersey break by the female protagonist, good before the dismissal of Nevermind .
41. Lauryn Hill
“Everything Is Everything”
[dir: Sanji; 1999]

A healthy acid of 90s positivity — about the final pant of it — and a bumbling music-is-all-around-us metaphor somehow redeem what fabulously turned out to be the last moment in the sunlight for Lauryn Hill .

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