The 40 Best Music Videos of the ’90s
The ’90s were a great time for music videos because MTV still played them and bands started experimenting in a whole new way. They were no longer just shots of concerts to accompany a song, but rather stories set to the soundtrack of their choice. Out of all the fantastic videos of the decade, here are our 40 favorites.
Remember those glorious days when Lauryn Hill was that amazing singer from The Fugees and not a borderline crazy person? Ah, what a wonderful time in the world. This was the defining Lauryn Hill track and will go down as her biggest hit.
Before every song has 6,000 terrible parodies on YouTube within a week of the video coming out, Weird Al was taking the parody game to another level. The “Amish Paradise” video was one of his greatest works.
You had to sneak and watch Marilyn Manson’s videos because if your mom caught you she would be convinced you were worshipping the devil. I’m just glad he turned out not to be the kid from “The Wonder Years.”
Did Radiohead invent planking with their “Just” video? Probably not, but the simple video about a man simply lying on the side of the road is still one of the most intriguing videos ever made.
A cool thing to do in the ’90s was to make a music video that was just the lead singer walking down the street and belting out the lyrics. Many tried it, but none made it as cool as The Verve.
If only there were one other person in the car to let the group of Alanis Morissettes know that most of the things she was describing aren’t actually ironic. Unless she was doing that on purpose to be even more ironic. If that’s the case, then she is a secret genius and we all owe her an apology.
Everyone loves this song, but if you asked any of us to explain what a single verse out of it meant, we’d have no clue. RIP ODB.
That fish eye lens shot of Mase and Puff Daddy dancing in various windbreaker jump suits could be the official state flag of the ’90s. It pretty much summed up the decade.
The bullet time wasn’t quite up to the standards “The Matrix” set, but it was definitely one of Eminem’s most daring videos and continued to push him from a novelty to a full-fledged superstar.
Remember when you’d wake up in the middle of the night and turn on MTV so you could listen to music while you fell back asleep, but then the “Black Hole Sun” video came on and that lady’s crazy, inflated face kept you up until morning?
There was a line drawn in the sand for videos in the ’90s; on one side were the weird, artsy videos and on the other were goofy, fun videos that you could tell were just as fun to make as they were to watch. This is definitely the latter.
The director’s cut of “Closer” feels like if the opening credits of “Se7en” took a journey to the deepest parts of Hell. Trent Reznor took us on a dark journey and to call it disturbing is an understatement.
All of Beck’s videos have that unique style and feel to them, but there was just something about “Devil’s Haircut” that stood out from the rest. It seemed like an innocent story of a man walking around carrying a boom box, but by the end there are so many layers you aren’t sure what to believe.
Alicia Silverstone and Liv Tyler became the obsession of every teenage boy as they lived it up without a care in the world. It was basically the sexy version of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
“In Bloom” was actually the first video filmed by Nirvana and parodied a variety show from the ’60s. The difference is that this wasn’t a wholesome, innocent pop song like the feel of the video creates. Eventually they crash the stage and turn everything on its head. Seems only fitting, doesn’t it?
This is the best video Radiohead has ever done. The symbolism of watching a man desperately try to escape a chasing car with no driver is haunting and heartbreaking because we’ve all felt like that at some point. Thom Yorke truly struck gold with this hit.
Battling with a giant, poorly constructed robot may seem out of the ordinary for most bands, but for the Beastie Boys it’s just another stellar video to add to their near-perfect résumé. Good luck finding a Beastie Boys video that isn’t fantastic.
Beck was doing alt and weird before it became the norm. His “Loser” video was bizarre, but it didn’t feel like it was weird for the sake of being weird. He wasn’t trying to shock; he was simply doing things how he envisioned them.
No one had the choreography and dance skills of Michael Jackson so with those abilities combined with the stunning visuals of “Scream” made it an instant classic and his best video of the decade.
The Foo Fighters decided to parody the popular Mentos commercials with their “Big Me” video and the results were hilarious. Honestly, I wish all of their videos were parodies of gimmicky ’90s commercials.
This is the recipe for nightmares. You’ve probably tried your best to block the Aphex Twins horrifying video out of your mind, but here it is and it’s ready to torment you all over again.
Before Spike Jonze became an award-winning film director, he was the go-to director for unique and groundbreaking music videos unlike anyone had ever seen. Bjork’s “It’s Oh So Quiet” may be the most underrated of all his notable videos, so if you haven’t seen it, you should definitely check it out.
Spike Jonze created a viral video before viral videos were a thing. “The Praise You” video was secretly shot in front of a movie theater as a group broke out in a dance that’s still absolutely hilarious.
Instead of creating an elaborate video, Sinead O’Connor stripped away everything except raw emotions with this Prince cover that simply stays on shots of her face the whole time. Despite her other controversies, this video defined her career.
Garth Brooks has made it extremely difficult to watch his videos or listen to his music online, but the story in “Standing Outside the Fire” was powerful and poignant without being the least bit preachy or heavy-handed.
Busta Rhymes always had videos that felt like they could accompany a Missy Elliott track as well as his own. “Put Your Hands” was visually stunning with everything from black lights to impromptu karate battles.
Missy Elliott was doing things that no one else was doing. This was her craziest video that featured some sort of inflatable garbage bag outfit along with faces that would magnify with the beat. It was a trip to say the least.
This crazy backwards Spike Jonze video is considered by many to be the greatest hip-hop video of all time. After watching it, you’d have a hard time arguing against that statement.
As great as the song was, the crazy video of TLC morphing into water like a deleted scene from “Terminator 2” made it even better. It almost made you want to start chasing waterfalls just to see if they’d be there.
If you just listened to “Around the World,” you probably wouldn’t expect much from a video considering how simple and repetitive it is, but as each instrument comes to life and starts interacting with the other instruments you realize this is anything but a typical video.
The guys from Blink 182 made a habit of poking fun at the video culture of the ’90s as well as pushing the boundaries in the most hilarious ways possible. That culminated beautifully in their “What’s My Age Again?” video that simply featured the guys running around town naked.
Tool always took the road less traveled when it came to videos, but Sober’s claymation tale may be their greatest visual accomplishment. It’s deeply effective and manages to tell more of a story in five minutes than some feature length movies.
The whole thing feels like a stunning early 19002 space exploration movie created with junior high school props, but did you know the star of the video, Tom Kenny, is the voice of Spongebob Squarepants? This awesome tribute to Georges Méliès’s silent film “A Trip to the Moon” never gets old.
Who can forget the amazing Weezer video that was included on every Windows 95 disc? The group superimposed themselves into a dance at “Happy Days” and even features a fantastic dance number from The Fonz himself.
“Smells Like Teen Spirit” wasn’t just a great song with a unique video; it was a complete game changer. It got away from the glossy, clean sound of the ’90s and pushed for a grungy, outside-the-lines sound that wasn’t anywhere near mainstream at the time. It changed the face of music.
If you ever did drugs then watched the video for “Everlong” you were either thoroughly entertained or completely horrified. There are giant hands, bizarre monsters, and Dave Grohl with a Coolio-style hairdo. Basically, it has it all.
Of all the Spike Jonze music videos, this is the best. It seems almost impossible to match the excitement of the Beastie Boys track, but Jonze created a fake ’70s cop drama that’s so fun you almost wish it was a real show.
Fiona Apple’s video for “Criminal” was grimy and sexy without being vulgar. It just felt like you were in the middle of a party that the cops would be raiding any minute. It’s still one of the sexiest and most recognizable videos to this day.
Say what you will about Korn, but their “Freak on a Leash” video was pure awesomeness. Watching a seemingly never-ending list of things blow up in slow motion followed by that cool, black room full of tiny holes piercing light through each one was pure brilliance.
You will never forget that crazy Dr. Seuss-like hat moving around a room that your mind simply could not comprehend. Every time you think you’ve figured out how the room is set up, something completely random happens and blows your mind once again.