The 20 most shocking music videos of all time
First published in 2011
When Duck Sauce released the clip for their single Big Bad Wolf and had it promptly slapped with an 18+ restriction on YouTube, they defended the piece by claiming it wasn’t as bad as certain other videos over the history of dance music. This suggestion prompted inthemix to reflect back on all the other video clips that have shocked, sickened and outraged audiences over time – and trust us, there’s a lot. From the raunchy, to the political and the just plain disturbing, we’ve collected all manner of uncut and uncensored musical expression.
M.I.A – Born Free
Genocide on red-heads – we’ve all thought about it at some point, but MIA put it in a film clip and posted it on the internet. The Sri Lankan-born artist’s very-political video for Born Free caused a massive stir for its depiction of young gingers being shot, blown-up and chased by police. YouTube banned the clip a day after it was posted, but the debate about state violence and the absurdity of genocide raged on long after. M.I.A put some perspective onto the uproar though, stating that a Justin Bieber clip poses “more of an assault to my eyes and senses than what I’ve made”.
Prodigy – Smack My Bitch Up
Watching the protagonist in The Prodigy’s Smack My Bitch Up clip start fights, harass women, ingest various drugs and bang a stripper, it’d be pretty easy to accuse the group of misogyny…until the protagonist turns out to be a lady herself. Still, the clip’s subversion of domestic violence stereotypes led to it being banned by TV stations the world over and once voted the most controversial song of all time – quite the dubious honour.
Aphex Twin – Come to Daddy
Come to Daddy is one of those clips that you probably snuck out of bed and accidentally watched on Rage late one night in your childhood, leaving you horribly traumatised ever since. This is a million times more terrifying than every horror movie ever made, combined and multiplied by infinity.
Basshunter – Now You’re Gone
Not so much infamous as it is utterly terrible, Basshunter’s Now You’re Gone takes the already pretty low-brow realm of European DJ video clips to new depths. It’s hard to decide what the worst part is – the terrible acting, the way the characters only communicate via misspelt text messages and nonsensical end to the clip all add to the overall sensation that this, surely, must be one of the worst videos of all time. What’s most shocking is that Now You’re Gone has over 115 million views on YouTube…what?
Simian Mobile Disco – Hustler
Dance music is littered with music videos whose whole concept can be summed up in three words: ‘Girls in bikinis’. Enter Simian Mobile Disco, who turned the T&A template on its head with the tremendously demented video for Hustler. Sure, there are scantily-clad models, but they’re not following the usual script. We still can’t decide if this shoot would’ve been fun for the participants or just disgusting.