The 90s was such an awesome time to live. The economy was booming, tamagotchi’s were pop’n — it was an all around vibe, but there was something equally important: there were a wide variety of quality music videos. From the classics to the ballads, there were absolutely stunning music videos for lovers of entertainment and good music.
It was different from what is obtainable today, where you could access a variety of music videos by simply flipping through different television channels. Record labels invested massively into producing the best videos as that was crucial to their eventual success in the market.
Here are five of the best 90s music videos:
Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” is an embodiment of everything unique and awesome, and no music video better represents the essence of the grunge music era of the ‘90s. Set in a high school, the music video is a simple film with no elaborate special effects and no complex storyline. Director Samuel Bayer was hired. The director’s vision ends up being a punk-rock pep rally with the characters looking disinterested or even hypnotized, creating an amazing effect.
Having reached peak status, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” earned Nirvana a host of accolades and awards. While the music wasn’t expected to be a hit, Nirvana’s audiences responded positively to its release and requested the video so often that Nirvana eventually won the Best New Artist and Best Alternative Group at the MTV Music Video Awards. Nirvana also went on to clinch two Grammy nominations in the “Best Hard Rock Performance with Vocal” and “Best Rock Song” categories.
George Michael – “Freedom! 90”
Having the most popular supermodels in the world lip-sync your music in a video may feel like a simple project, but it’s simply genius. After declaring that he would never step in front of a camera again, George Michael’s “Freedom! 90” featuring Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford, and Christy Turlington, was something special. Rather than focus on love interests, Michael’s song is a reflection of his struggles throughout his lifetime.
Bjork – “All is Full of Love”
No artist – whether its Beck, Madonna, or even Michael Jackson – created such an awesome collection of music videos throughout the 90s. In fact, the most memorable images anyone would have of any music video of the 90s would likely come from this unique clip that involves the story of two robots being constructed, ultimately serenading each other and falling in love. It can now be said that the effects used in “All is Full of Love” were far ahead of its time considering similar effects used in the movie “Ex Machina” (2015).
Fatboy Slim – “Praise You”
“Praise You” – a video which provided the first hint of the flash mob concept – was released by Spike Jonze in 1999. With the emergence of YouTube in later years, this concept began in earnest, but there was nothing like it in 1999. After sending his solo dance video “The Rockafeller Skank” to Fatboy Slim, Jonze achieved a unique creative force for the “Praise You” video. Here, a fictional dance troupe was unleashed on an unsuspecting California movie theatre. Towards the end of the video, Fatboy Slim can be seen looking into the camera – a concept Jonze describes as “b-boy moves”.
Beastie Boys – “Sabotage”
There was so much room for improvement in the production of the badass “Sabotage”, a track by the Spike Jonze and the Beastie Boys. The blend of Jonze’s chase scenes, car stunts, and camera angles were responsible for the video’s explosiveness and uniqueness in the song’s dynamics, making for a distinct visual appeal. The wigs, moustaches, and retro costumes worn by the Beastie Boys helped to portray different fictional characters, giving the music video a ridiculous humor and ensuring it is engaging for the target audience.
After losing out in the five categories in which the video was nominated in, at the MTV Music Video Awards in 1994, MCA — disguised as Nathaniel Hornblower — interrupted Michael Stipe’s speech, arguing that “Sabotage” was yet to receive any awards. However, some 15 years later, “Sabotage” won the Best Video Award.
The ‘90s were a great time for good music. While music has continued to evolve, some of the music videos released in the ‘90s continue to stand the test of time. Relive the ‘90s with the list above, and enjoy.