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Top 10 Controversial Music Videos January 16, 2009

marilyn-manson-12I’m on a music video kick right now and since I’ve been bed-ridden the past few days by the Flu From Hell, this is my list of Top 10 Controversial Music Videos. Controversy and music videos have gone hand in hand almost as soon as there was a name for this new medium. It was an extra way for musicians to help kids piss off their parents, authority figures and Tipper Gore and most of the time, it really worked. Hooray! Some were condemned for the presentation or lyrics or story or lewd content but – for the older videos; resourceful children, such as myself, always had one friend whose folks were a bit lax in the ’strict’ department and we found a way to watch them. For the newer ones, huh, well I can watch what I like, so there. (Please don’t tell my Mammy!!!!!)

The Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up: Banned from MTV and most other music channels for showing excessive drinking, drug use, violence and casual sex, this night-in-the-life clip was mostly shocking to people not for those things but for the fact that in the end, it was a chick who was the source of all those madcap antics. Kind of like a reverse ‘Crying Game’. The people who were shocked by this had obviously never been to Fibber McGee’s off O’Connell St. or The Olde Chinaman in The Liberties in the ‘90’s. (Hey, Dublin people! I know The Chinaman is no more. Is Fibber’s still around?)*Vid not available.

Marilyn Manson – Heart Shaped Glasses: Basically, Rachel-and-Brian-Make-A-Porno, and not in the fun, ‘Kevin Smith’ way.

(Dear Rachel Evan Wood, I’ve seen you in a couple of movies and you seem like a very talented, pretty girl, if a little easily led and needy for attention. Since there’s no evidence you have any parents or friends, I have a request; girl to girl. Please stay away from creepy weirdoes like Brian Warner who would exploit their relationship with you because, in my thinking, having sex with you for a music video(and telling everyone who would listen that it wasn’t simulated), then letting blood rain all over you to represent your virginity in said video and showing it to the world in the name of ‘art’ is not something a loving, caring boyfriend would do. Cheers, Erin)

Girls, I’ll bet you thought it was bad when that guy spread all those ‘slut’ rumours about you all over school, right? Believe me, it could have been worse!

NOTE – Link is to a very explicit video. Watch at yer own risk, people.

click to watch

click to watch

N’sync – I Drive Myself Crazy: Hard to imagine N’sync offending anyone, apart from those not charmed by their brand of mushy pop but they managed to create a stir with mental health advocates due to this video with them acting all ‘Cuckoo’s Nest’ in padded rooms (*“Giiiiirl, you drive me sooo ker-azy that I’ve been admitted to the loooooney biiiiiiin/and, no, I won’t take my meds, ooooooh”) Hmmm, sometimes I wonder about PC, seems nobody can say or do much anymore without it causing a whole heap of trouble. Have we gotten more sensitive or more pissed off? It’s a chicken-or-the-egg question, I guess.
*Not the actual lyrics.

Nine Inch Nails – Closer: A surreal trip through Trent Reznor’s subconscious, director Mark Romanek refused to re-shoot and instead inserted ‘SCENE MISSING’ title cards for the bits the censors didn’t deem suitable for broadcast. Such as; crucified monkeys, Trent in bondage and a bald, naked woman spinning eggs. It’s a beautiful piece but the thing that disturbs me is the images of the curly haired girl because of the sexual nature of the song and accompanying video. Maybe she’s supposed to represent innocence. I hope so cos I like NIN.

Pat Benatar – Love Is A Battlefield: One of the pioneers of the ‘story’ video – the actors have lines and everything (If you’re a Coen Brothers fan, you might recognize ‘Nathan Arizona’ from ‘Raising Arizona’ as The Dad). Parent’s groups took issue with the fact that she was playing a runaway-turned-thinly-veiled-hooker and, because it was Pat Benatar, they were worried that she’d make it look glamorous. I don’t know about anyone else but even though I liked her smokin’ dance moves, I was happy not to be walking around the streets or having to throw a drink in that crazy-looking guy’s face.

Nelly – Ride Wit Me: Women’s rights groups don’t like most rap videos at the best of times but they were up in arms over this clip that showed the female dancers being transported by cattle trucks (!!!! You’re just ASKING for it). I honestly can’t figure out if Nelly’s intention was to be sexist or to satirize. I prefer to think that it’s a satire, because I like the song (LeSalle!) and if it is, it’s hilarious. And if not, it’s just a stupid video. I don’t see him writing to Congress to ask for a repeal of the vote for women or anything. Please remember also that these are all guys that go home and get smacked around by their ‘moms’ for not cleaning their plates– I’ve seen it – so I doubt it. And, years after this, I saw an episode of ‘Flavor of Love’ and most of those girls on that show look like they got dragged BEHIND the cattle truck; so, Yes, Virginia, there are real-life skanks and hos. *Guess what? Song has rude lyrics!!!!!

Cliff Richard – The Young Ones: Elvis gets so much play for being controversial for his time that people sometimes forget about Cliff. Now Cliff wasn’t as hip-shakingly offensive to the church elders as Elvis BUT his filmed performances of this song were banned in Ireland for lyrics that suggested (gasp) procreation WITHOUT being married!!!!! Scandal-amity!!!! My Mum used to delight in telling us this when we’d call her a ‘goody-goody’ for liking Cliff over The King

Fatboy Slim – Right Here, Right Now: It may seem like a harmless and very cool use of special effects but Creationists were PISSED at this video that visually describes Evolution in 3 and a half minutes. Norman Cook makes his usual cameo toward the end as, well, a cook.

Eminem – Stan: Famous people have some strange, obsessive fans. Once, when I worked for a well-known director, we had to vacate the building because some crazy woman threatened to jump off the roof if he didn’t speak to her (the director bought us all ‘In and Out’ burgers, so it was a good day for me!) Eminem got one fan letter in particular that really disturbed him and he created a song and video out of that experience. I think it’s one of his most sensitive and insightful compositions and it feels as though he truly sympathizes with this mentally unbalanced kid who’s scary but pathetic at the same time. But some folks were maaaaad, although it’s hard to remember a time when he was popular that Eminem wasn’t upsetting somebody.

Wang Chung – Everybody Have Fun Tonight:This one, directed by Godley and Creme, was banned by some channels because the network higher-ups though it would cause seizures. If the ‘Bourne’ movies made you feel sick, don’t watch this. When I was a kid I loved it but I was so hyper, I think I thought it was playing in slow motion.

There are no ‘Kabbalah enthusiasts’ in this list, on purpose, because I am sick of that woman.

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