Three weeks ago, in anticipation of MTV's 30th birthday today (Aug. 1), we asked our readers to celebrate three decades of music television by voting on the best videos of the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, each week in a separate poll. Now, we are proud to present the top ten of the '90s, as voted by you, the Billboard.com readers.
Properties of motion ain't no thing for Jay Kay, the leader of U.K. funk-pop band Jamiroquai. In the group's breakthrough, one-shot video for "Virtual Insanity," Kay takes his place in a small grey and white room, effortlessly dancing about as the floor and furniture moves below and around him. But as director Jonathan Glazer explained, the room's walls are actually moving in the video, which was nominated for ten VMA nominations and won Video of the Year in 1997.
9. "November Rain"
Guns N Roses (1992)
Strings, weddings, funerals and nightmares, oh my! It takes a powerhouse rock band to pull off an epic, nine-minute long video complete with a cryptic, dramatic storyline involving the lead singer at his wedding/funeral -- or is he dreaming? Axl Rose pounds the piano after emoting his way through the clip as Slash shreds and an orchestra vamps and you know you've just seen Guns 'N Roses doing its bombastic best.
Crazy, sexy and cool, the ladies of TLC were ankle-deep in a seemless pool of serene blue water, dropping knowledge about the pitfalls (er, waterfalls) of modern life as the clip cuts to sad scenes in sepia tones.
7. "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)"
Missy Elliott (1997)
Hype Williams' fisheye lens trained on a black-lipsticked Missy in a partially inflated trashbag rapping eerily? Yes, please!
6. "My Name Is"
Not only did Eminem make a huge splash with the lippy lyrics on his debut single "My Name Is," but also with the track's imitation-filled video. Shady as a mental patient (and Dre as his doctor) shocked many, but it was far from the most memorable imagery in the "My Name Is" video. Em as Bill Clinton, Marilyn Manson, and in the "Brady Bunch" takes the cake.
5. "Smells Like Teen Spirit"
In his striped green sweater, Kurt Cobain led Nirvana through the high school pep rally from hell, complete with Anarchy cheerleaders, that no one will soon forget.
4. "Freak On A Leash"
In a violent video that had everyone and their mother (especially their mother) talking, a speeding bullet makes it way through the world, bringing visually shocking destruction in its path. The Todd McFarlane-directed clip, which won a Grammy in 2000, switches between animated imagery and live action shots, both of the band performing and of suburban life.
Madonna, like Jacksons Janet and Michael, knows that one way to make your video a must-watch is for it to couple a great song (check) with an irresistible dance routine (check). Add a black-and-white look that's straight out of 1940s Hollywood's glamorous silver screen era, and you've got "Vogue," which continues to remind all just how well Madonna knows how to strike a pose.
Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson (1995)
Black and white. Set in outer space. Directed by Mark Romanek on a budget of millions. Featuring not one but TWO superstar Jacksons: Michael and Janet. What's not to love?
1. "Baby One More Time"
Britney Spears (1998)
Kicking off a fruitful career, the teenaged Britney won the fervent love of millions of fans with this instant pop classic set inside a high school and prominently featuring Ms. Spears dancing in her mini-skirted take on the school uniform. You loved it too: "Baby One More Time" took 40% of the vote for 1990s videos.