At their best, music videos can be amazing and even groundbreaking. At their worst, music videos are really, really bad. Even artists who are known for their videos don’t always have the best ideas for their very first one. Most musicians’ first videos are boring with them standing there miming the lyrics, but others who wanted to get creative ended up with corny, cheesy, and disastrous results. These are videos that the artists don’t even want to watch themselves. Here are 13 of the most awkward and shameful videos ever.
13. Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough- Michael Jackson
It may not be the worst video in MJ’s catalog and it’s definitely better than the other entries on the list, but compared to his other videos this one just doesn’t cut it. I give him credit for being ambitious because this video is still memorable, but some parts are just plain lame. First, it’s just Jackson standing in front of a green screen while random images that have nothing to do with the song, like marbles and jewels, move behind him. Also, it’s like he held himself back from dancing. He’s doing nothing but shuffling around and while it’s adorable to see that cute smile on his face, we know he’s capable of more.
12. We’ve Got It Going On- Backstreet Boys
Usually, boy band videos suck anyway and this one isn’t any different. There’s nothing too cheesy about it; it’s just lame. It’s standard footage of the guys dancing and singing and even playing basketball to show the girls that they’re just regular guys they have no chance with. What makes the video even funnier is to see how young and fashionable they look in the best clothes people in the 90’s could buy. And don’t forget those sweet ass dance moves. How any girl thought they were hot in this video is beyond me.
11. Take Me to Your Leader- Incubus
Incubus’ first video obviously has a message; what that message is I have no idea. Really, I was too distracted by singer Brandon Boyd’s semi nude body and dreads. I had no idea he used to look like a hippie. From what I can gather, the band is some sort of tribe running around in loincloths and makeshift spears throughout the city, trying to figure out where a water bottle came from. Boyd’s freaky facial expressions, the weird hardcore sound, and pale bodies running around all make for a weird and what I imagine embarrassing first video.
10. Uno (1st Version)- Muse
You know a video is bad when the band themselves not only stated that it was embarrassing, but they actually made two more versions to make up for it. That’s what happened with the clip for Muse’s debut single. This thing is just a mess. The video is made up of footage of the different members standing in a middle of a busy street. At one point two of the members randomly fall and the editor thought it was so great, he repeats it several times that makes it look funny. There’s also a moment when an old black and white Latin dance scene is thrown in. All of this, plus the ridiculous club shirt Matt Bellamy wears, is enough to hide your head in shame.
9. I’d Do Anything- Dead or Alive
This is a practice in narcissism and vocabulary all in one. Just about all of the video is filled with a pre-plastic surgery massacre Pete Burns wiggling around, shaking his gigantic hair, and bugging out his eyes as if he wants to eat us. When he’s not being creepy, there are random people singing parts of the song while various words scroll across their faces. The clip goes into scary territory when the singer reveals his all black contact lenses that make him look like a transvestite alien. I don’t know what’s worse: Pete’s dancing, his hair, or the fact that he’s wearing a blazer with no shirt underneath.
8. Dream Street- Janet Jackson
We see a very young, very cute Janet Jackson transported (I think) to the 30’s in order to find fame. It’s hard to tell because everyone around her is wearing fedoras, newspaper boys hats and the like, while she sports the most outrageous fashion from the 80’s. Also, for some inexplicable reason there’s a scene where Jackson is obviously standing in front of a green screen, awkwardly dancing while various scenes and designs fly around her. Definitely 80’s technology at its finest. Not only is the video hard to follow, it’s just painful to watch.
7. Just Can’t Get Enough- Depeche Mode
They may be known for their groundbreaking moody albums now, but when they first started out Depeche Mode were a bunch of geeky lads desperately trying to look cool or at least that’s what you get from this video. Really weird dance moves, S&M inspired clothing, uninterested girls dancing around, and an adorable David Gahan can all be seen here. The band looks so young that in the bar scene you think it was a bunch of 15 year olds trying to order drinks. They may have a bunch of cool looking videos now, but this isn’t one of them.
6. Same Old Madness- Ministry
Before they were considered the godfathers of Industrial movement and creating music that intrigues and scares you, Ministry were trying to make it as a new wave band. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. This is their first video and it’s really hard to believe that it’s Al Jorgensen riding a merry-go-round looking like he stumbled out of Rob Halford’s closet. There’s also some of the finest dancing from the 80’s to be found in this clip. The best part? The video randomly shows a seen of a typical 80’s gentleman watching two women make out. It may be terrible, but this is something every Ministry fan has to see.
5. I Want You Back (1st Version)- Nsync
Later in their career, this boy band had some pretty awesome videos, but of course that isn’t the case here. Not only is it bad, it has to be one of the gayest videos ever. First, the shirts they’re wearing are so tight you can see their nipples whether or not you want to. Also, this is obviously before they had their sweet dance moves down, so most of the choreography here comes off as weird, silly, and a little too friendly. My favorite part is when they’re jumping up and down wiggling their arms like wacky arm inflatable tube men. Another thing that’s weird about this video is that for some reason it’s set on a space station. We know this thanks to the laughable CGI used to make the ship. But the best part is the look on Justin’s face before the video ends. Talk about way too hard trying to be sexy.
4. Mean Machine- Sugar Ray
You can’t have a soundtrack for the 90’s without these guys, but before they made immensely catchy tunes, they were a hard rock band. From the aptly named Lemonade and Brownies album, the “Mean Machine” video has Mark McGrath trying his hardest to be a badass. He breaks records, does his best head banging, and even break dances? It’s just as bad as it sounds. There’s also this poor bulldog stumbling around trying to escape the band and a guitarist that looks like he should be in Korn. What makes it even worse is the part where they try out their Beastie Boys impression. Just horrible.
3. Everybody- Madonna
This is the epitome of cheap 80’s video: shoddy effects, lame background, and uninteresting people dancing. This clip looks like it was made on a $100 budget. What’s even worse is that Madonna is so awkward here. She’s wearing the baggiest clothes I’ve ever seen her in, she’s not commanding the stage like she usually does, and she can’t dance for shit here. It looks like she’s teaching some aerobics class who is not getting paid . Maybe she knew it was bad because she looks so bored.
2. Planet Earth- Duran Duran
This is one of the worst and hilarious videos I’ve ever seen. The clip starts off with Simon LeBon’s best Carlton impression while the band stands on a stage that’s supposed to look like it’s hovering in the clouds. FYI, it doesn’t. You also have to give it up for their pirate inspired outfits. Aside from that, weird geometrical graphics fly around LeBon and at point he’s lying on the ground half naked. Luckily, the camera never pans down to show whether or not he’s wearing pants. And just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, stats about Earth flash across the screen while people dance. If you thought Duran Duran was bad already, this is even worse.
1. She’s Gone- Hall Oates
The only explanation for this video is drugs. That’s the only way this clip begins to make sense. It starts out with a Bowie inspired Hall and Oates with a full on beard sitting in chairs and smoking. They don’t really move til the end and they barely even “sing” the song. During the chorus, a woman with no shoes will walk through, followed by a guy in the cheapest devil costume, and one of the guys throwing what looks to be money. Then for some reason, Oates gets up to put on what looks to be part of a penguin costume and starts “playing” the guitar, while Hall stares into space wearing woman’s platform shoes. At the end, they just get up and leave. Even though it’s weird as shit, this is probably the most bad ass Hall and Oates will ever be.
Is there a debut video from your favorite artist that you think should be on this list? Let me know in the comments!