Don’t you just hate when the video for a brilliant song totally ruins it? Maybe the singer isn’t how you’d pictured them. Or maybe seeing the video forces a dodgy storyline into your head, so that forever when you see ‘Seven Days’ by Craig David, you think of him telling the whole thing to his barber. Weird. Craig, why did you do that? Here are ten of the worst instances where music videos utterly destroyed a perfectly good song.
1. Gotta Get Thru This – Daniel Bedingfield
Poor old Daniel Bedingfield. It was always going to be harder for him with such a terribly normal name. (See also: Peter Andre). These guys would be absolutely fine working at Costa, but in the music charts? No. Usually in these circumstances, people change their names completely. Like Harry Webb who became Cliff Richard or Reginald Dwight who became Elton John. But not Bedingfield. He soldiered on confident that the music would help us see past the name and actually, he was right. ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ was brilliant electro-garage and the vocal sounded sincere and tortured, like Michael Jackson at his very best. Bravo Daniel. Your name is clearly just a mistake. But then came the video. Encouraged by his success, the video featured DB sitting on a bench in Canary Wharf, looking a lot like a magician who takes magic very seriously, with a goatee beard, a black polo neck jumper and a leather jacket from the market. Mouthing along, he runs up and down sets of stairs, whirls around, acts confused and all in pursuit of a woman who keeps making sexy eyes at the camera and swaying at the railings of Millennium Bridge. It continues in this vein, with Daniel chasing the woman all over the London transport system as desperately she tries to shake him off (and who can blame her). Sometimes he’s wearing his leather jacket. Sometimes he’s not. But always, he looks like a magician. Suffice to say, by the end of the video, ‘Gotta Get Thru This’ has lost its sparkle.
2. Believe – Cher
Cher never grows old and over the years she’s given us some killer tracks. ‘The Shoop Shoop Song’, ‘Love Hurts’ and ‘Walking in Memphis’ to name but a few. Who cares that we haven’t opened our eyes since 1989 when they snapped forever shut during the horrific ‘mankini and bodystocking’ video for ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’? That was terrible, but we got used to living with our eyes closed and over the years, the searing image of Cher’s crotch on our retinas began to dissolve. So nine years later, when we heard the brilliant fading in and out intro of ‘Believe’ and that rich voice poured into our ears once more like warm rain, we thought, ‘OK, maybe it’s time to take a little peep.’ Boy oh boy, did we make a mistake. It was the end of the millennium and ‘Believe’ had a futuristic sound, a wistful refrain and was refreshingly ballsy about auto tune. It was a dance track with a big heart. Plus, if you stopped dancing and listened to the words, they were beautiful. But in the video, Cher stars as a form of feathered witch, presiding over the dance floor like an animated corpse doing embarrassing-mum dancing. It’s scary and it’s weird. Song? Wrecked. Eyes? Shut.
3. Fairground – Simply Red
This is an open letter to Mick Hucknell *Clears throat* Dear Mick, congratulations on your career. Woooeee, it’s a good one. You must be chuffed. And really nice job on ‘Fairground’ man, what an ace track. We love how it mixes cool Bossa nova with house and pop. Also your singing is really good. But Mick listen, we’re really sorry and hopefully you won’t be offended, but if there was ever a case for not appearing in your own videos, it’s you in this one. This was such a great song and you totally ruined it but making us watch you drive around Blackpool Pleasure beach. Why are you wearing a gold suit? And then a cream mac? Why are you wearing sunglasses at night? Why are you singing into the camera lens with that strange vacant look? Is that your sexy face? We’re glad you and your friends had fun on that rollercoaster but your dancing is terrible. And your hair needs a good brush, but we’re sure you know that. Anyway, next time can you stay out of it? Thank you.
4. You Are Not Alone – Michael Jackson
A surprising turn next towards the pioneer of the music video. King of Pop himself, Michael Jackson. ‘What?’ you say, shocked. ‘There are no bad Michael Jackson videos. This list is flawed’. But we’re afraid you’ve forgotten about ‘You Are Not Alone’. The one he made during his short- haired reflective period, whilst married to Lisa-Marie Presley. It was the whitest he ever looked, with his full torso out in an open velvet shirt as if to demonstrate the whiteness, and inexplicably sometimes wearing just some curtains, he lies awkwardly on the floor while a naked Lisa-Marie bends down to him, puzzled. From smooching and giggling with Lisa-Marie to arms out stretched in a desert, it’s incoherent and confusing leaving us feeling strange and worried. It wasn’t one of his best songs, but it was still Michael and therefore it was brilliant. But the video…What the…? Why was he…? Where in the…? Dreadful.
5. Toca’s Miracle – Fragma
You probably first heard this on the radio and thought, ‘ooh turn that up’. Melodic and catchy with a great hook, it was an instant hit. Despite the applied special effects, the singer had a great voice with a richness that could have made her into a big star. Great start. So who was this singer? What did she look like? The video gave us the answer: She was a bad, Britney rip off, filmed through a very soft lens so we wouldn’t notice and yes, she was pretty and had quite nice hair, but catastrophically for the song was the detectable lisp which you hadn’t picked up on the radio, but now could see in all its glory. From that moment on , whenever you heard ‘It’s more physical what I need…’ the lisp was there. That, combined with some disastrous indoor womens’ football, and the song was a dead duck.
6. Mistletoe and Wine – Cliff Richard
Ok, so obviously this was always going to be a bit sentimental. It’s a Christmas song by Cliff Richard so we know what we’re getting into but if you can swallow the schmaltz, it’s a nice song. Twinkly and Christmassy, it ticks all the boxes and the video does too, with snow, children and a choir. Tick, tick, tick. But, there’s one particular bit that we look forward to every year. We rewind it and re-watch it. We point it out to strangers on the bus and encourage them to watch it on our phones. About two and a half minutes in, Cliff is singing away quite sensibly, admittedly with hair like Princess Diana, but still being fairly reasonable, when suddenly all hell breaks loose. He begins flailing from side to side, arms outstretched like Kermit the Frog, while his choir nervously begin to sway behind him, trying their hardest to make it work and looking extremely embarrassed. ‘What the hell is Cliff doing?? We didn’t rehearse this??’, ‘Just sway along, we’ve got no choice’. Aside from the turkey, that special minute of Cliff madness is our favourite thing about Christmas.
7. Katy Perry – E.T
With its catchy Queen-tribute beat, its power chorus and ethereal, haunting vocals, this was destined to be huge hit for K Pizzle from her massive album, ‘Teenage Dream’. The song is called ‘Extra Terrestrial’, so we expected a certain amount of outer-space action. However, there’s something about this video that shows way too much money was involved. It kicks off with Kayne West in a zero gravity situation and then reveals Katy dolled up like an alien, but not a normal one. She’s a sexy one. Sort of. With bulging contact lenses and a special drawn-in chin dimple, she’s got corn-rows and what looks like half a Vienetta ice-cream and half a television aerial bent round her head. She sings the song without moving her neck at all and all the while she’s plunging through space towards the Earth. It’s all parallel edited with VT of animals chasing each other and occasionally Kayne pops back up, still suffering from weightlessness and doing his rap. At the end, Katy has horse’s legs. It makes for uncomfortable viewing. Honestly, we wish we’d never seen it *throws all our Teenage Dream albums in the bin*
8. Gangster’s Paradise – Coolio
‘Gangsters Paradise’, from the soundtrack to the movie ‘Dangerous Minds’ was, for 90s kids, probably their first taste of rap. The opening bars with that menacing violin and leading to Coolio’s gruff tirade on the struggles that befall a 23 year old from the hood, it was a very cool song. Just listening to it made you want to wind down a window in your mum’s car and give evils to passers-by. ‘Dangerous Minds’ was basically ‘Dead Poets Society’ meets ‘Sister Act 2’, but with more fighting. A perfect combination. The premise is Michelle Pfeiffer inspiring a load of bad kids to pay attention at school, so there was plenty of scope for a cool video of clips from the film. But no, instead they decided have Coolio do the song, directly at Michelle across a table, in a shadowy basement. The sort of place you would never ever find Michelle Pfeiffer. She asks Coolio, ‘do you want to tell me what this is all about’ and then, exhaling a cloud of smoke, Coolio begins his liturgy, while a regretful Pfeiffer looks immediately as though she wishes she hadn’t asked. Coolio seems very cross and shadowy throughout. If this is what happens, we’re certainly never going to ask him anything.
9. Unbreak My Heart – Toni Braxton
This maybe the saddest song in the world. It should definitely come with an advisory sticker, just in case people are thinking of listening to it when feeling a bit down. In the wrong frame of mind, it has real potential to encourage you over the railings. Don’t do it. Turn it off. Not content with singing the world’s saddest song , Toni Braxton matches it with an even sadder video. Opening with her super hot boyfriend, model Tyson Beckford, being killed on his motorbike, Braxton proceeds to cry and wail despairingly throughout. Wearing her underwear and holding her stomach in so much that its positively concave, she cries in the shower, she collapses sobbing in the hallway and she roams alone around her house, remembering the good times she had with Tyson, like that time they played Twister and then remembering that he’s DEAD. Ugh. By the end though, she’s perked up a bit and managed to get a dress on, all be it one with a massive cut out hole so we can continue to marvel at her concave stomach. It’s too tragic and too full of stomach voyeurism. We don’t like.
10. Hung Up – Madonna
Criticism of this video actually doesn’t include the common issues people tend to have with Madonna thrusting her crotch at them in a leotard, although that isn’t exactly a highlight for anyone. Madonna has worked very hard to maintain that body and she’s always been a provocative performer so, good on her we say. Go for it Madonna. The problem with ‘Hung Up’, is that she’s such a big show off. The song itself is great. Apparently Abba hardly ever give anyone permission to use their riffs, but for this one they made an exception. Madonna dances around in front of a huge studio mirror, doing the splits, wrapping her legs around her neck and jutting out her hips as if to say, ‘Look everyone. Look at my youthful hips.’ But it’s not done in a self-confident, ‘if you’ve still got it, flaunt it’ way, it’s done in a creepy and medical sort of, ‘here are my bones’ way. It’s like she’s dedicated her living body to medical science and watching this video is like being in a forensic lecture on the perkiness of Madonna’s flesh, given by Madonna. She’s a massive show off and the whole thing is a big song ruiner.
First Published by CollegeHumour.com