There are basically two kinds of music videos: either the band just stands around playing in a series of generic shots for a few minutes, or you get a brief period of complete and utter madness. The latter is common enough that it may seem pointless to draw attention to them, but there are some that take it to the next, absolutely insane level, and we feel they must be recognized. And then avoided, for the sake of your mental health.
Nine Inch Nails - Closer
Closer is a song about Trent Reznor, the man behind Nine Inch Nails, having angry, angry sex. And what demonstrates this theme better than mad scientists, detailed diagrams of female genitalia, a spinning pig head, animal carcasses and, um, a crucified monkey? Look, we’re not experts, but we know enough about sex to understand that none of that is either necessary or recommended. OK, we guess the diagrams could come in handy if it’s your first time, but really, you should just try to operate on instinct.
Anyway, this video proved to be fairly controversial, although the song’s pretty explicit lyrics and the odd shot of a naked woman probably fuelled most of that. Despite that, it still became a hit, proving to be both an immensely popular song and video. We’d like to think that had something to do with the totally bitching aviator glasses Reznor wore for parts of the video.
Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy
Aphex Twin are famous for their weird music videos (they’re not famous for making enjoyable music, so we guess they had to get their name out somehow), and while we could have easily just populated this entire list with their filmography and called it a day, Come to Daddy represents the cream of the messed up crop.
We start off with an old lady walking her dog, and, as is the point of this activity, it pauses to urinate. In particular, it does so on a broken television, which sets off a series of completely insane events. First, a creepy face shows up on the TV and scares the hell out of the woman. We then see a bunch of weird looking kids (or possibly midgets, it’s hard to tell) take the television and run around town, causing trouble and rioting and just generally doing things that troublesome kids/midgets tend to do.
Then the old lady gets screamed at by a sort of alien thing, and we close with a bunch of rapid-fire shots that are pure nightmare fuel. Man, we’d love to meet the elderly woman who agreed to take part in this video. Assuming they actually hired one and didn’t just harass one on the streets, which, frankly, wouldn’t surprise us at all.
Tool – Parabola
OK, so how do you top that in terms of creepiness? Simple, just do basically the same thing except make it just over ten minutes long. Tool is also known for their strange videos, but this one takes the crown because of its sheer length. Hell, they even combined two different songs into one in order to get the video this long. So, what concept did they have that was so amazing it needed ten minutes of your time?
Well, the first few minutes involve a bunch of orc-like figures in nice suits very slowly cutting fruit. Great, that was worth all the extra time. Oh, and then they vomit a bunch of black sludge. Is this some sort of anti-fruit statement by Tool?
Oh, but we’re just getting started. The next seven minutes involve a slightly more human looking dude and a stop-motion alien having all sorts of wacky adventures. And by wacky we mean the guy yells at some spheres, and then he dissects the alien, and then you get bored and turn off the video.
Depending on how generous you’re feeling you could describe this as anything between “imaginative, abstract imagery” or “a bunch of random, pretentious crap.” Given its sheer length we tend to lean towards the latter, but at least it’s not going to give you nightmares like the previous video.