Worst music video ever?

To spark discussion. Not to ruin your Saturday.

The Worst Music Videos of All Time.

What do you think? I can’t argue with “Rock Me Tonite” — Billy Squier looks like Jennifer Beales’ dorky brother attempting to flashdance. His performance is astonishing: the stomping, the flailing arms, the perm…. the video apparently ruined his career. But it’s also absolutely compelling. It has a horrifying, Oh my GOD quality to it, the quality that causes you to laugh uncontrollably even as you feel intense pity for the singer. And by you, I mean me.

Warning: Do not watch if you value the neurons in your brain.


On the other hand, “If Nobody Believed in You” made me scrub out my ears with steel wool. Nothing else could get rid of the singer’s awful nasal drone. What happened in the recording studio? Did the engineer turn up the twang past Eleven, all the way to Super-Hick? And the lyrics — the message — made me try to reach through my computer monitor to throttle Joe Nichols. Let me summarize. Verse 1: A dad who screams at his Little Leaguer is awful. Verse 2: A son who takes away the car keys from his elderly father is cruel. Verse 3: Banning the Pledge of Allegiance from American public schools may cause God to destroy the universe.

That’s why there are fingernail scratch marks all over my screen. Quick — institute compulsory Christian prayer in U.S. schools, before the Almighty gets bored and disintegrates those tenth graders one by one. Gah.* And if anybody can give me hard evidence that the Pledge of Allegiance has been banned in even one American school district, and that such a ban has been upheld in court, I’ll make my own video of “Rock Me Tonite” and post it here.

However, I can’t bring myself to hate “Hip to Be Square.” And Sisqo’s “Unleash the Dragon” is merely seven minutes of grandiose posturing and stultifying CGI mayhem. Which bizarrely seems to feature Marco Rubio’s stunt double in a helicopter.

(Photo: Senator Marco Rubio.)

(Photo: Senator Marco Rubio’s stunt double.)

How about everybody else? What do you hate? And don’t say me, for exposing you to these videos.

*Besides, didn’t the notion that the universe is nothing but an idea in God’s mind go out of fashion with George Berkeley in the 18th Century?

IN THE COMMENTS: I debate whether “If Nobody Believed in You” implies that God is this close to blinking and snuffing out the cosmos, or whether it hints that he might instead curl up in a fetal position and cry because American public schools aren’t paying homage to him.

23 responses to “Worst music video ever?

  1. I am now absolutely convinced that Billy Squier built a time machine, went into the future, and stole Shakira’s dance moves from “She-Wolf” – particularly the inching forward on the floor and writhing around. What is that smell? Oh, burnt neurons. (It’s worth watching “She-Wolf” if only to watch its parody, “He Wolf,” immediately after.) However, I have to nominate Journey’s “Separate Ways” – that was the first time as an MTV-enthralled youngster that I realized just how goofy most of these things really were. (So, in a way, thank you, Steve and friends.) When they all lean toward the camera and rock imaginary instruments . . . Well, I’m sure everyone can find these delicacies on youtube, the Valhalla of brain cells that were killed by “friendly fire” in the war against pop culture delights.

    • And having now sacrificed what’s left of my neurons to Joe Nichols (which means I have none to spare to Sisquo, thankfully), I have to disagree with your summary, Meg: He doesn’t say God will destroy us. He says we’ll make the big Guy (as Nichols pictures Him) turn away . . . and sob, uncontrollably. If removing the Pledge of Allegiance from classrooms is all it takes to start the divine waterworks of despair, then we’re dealing with an awfully insecure absolute power. Maybe Joe can lend Him some silently strong support.

  2. First: I think Mr. and Mrs. Squier may have spelt their child’s name wrong, it should have been “Billie”.
    Second: After watching “If Nobody Believed In You” I have this (almost) uncontrollable urge to go and kill myself.

    Gee, thanks Meg, thanks alot.

  3. Worst video in recent memory: Rebecca Black’s rendition of (and it should mean what the CIA does to terrorist suspects) “Friday.”

    Balanced with one of my all time favorite parodies by Weird Al “Perform This Way

    And one of my favorite videos by Meat Loaf, Objects In The Rearview Mirror….

  4. We Built This City by Starship. Sorry, I don’t know how to post a link to it. But it was horrible.

  5. Flock of SEagulls – I Ran So Far Away,
    Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round

  6. Jason: You’re crafty. By disagreeing with my summary of “If Nobody Believed in You,” you’ve tricked me into watching the video again. Now I’m like Flakes: I want to kill myself. I guess I deserve it, for inflicting the song on everybody. Well played.

    Here are the lyrics to Verse 3. My interpretation of the song’s subtext is in parentheses.

    “We take His name out of the schools. The lawyers say it breaks the rules.”

    (Sneaky lawyers, using their tricks to scrub prayer from U.S. public schools. They hate God so much. And the rest of us just surrender to this “rules” garbage.)

    “Pledge of Allegiance cannot be read, and ‘Under God’ should not be said.”

    (Traitors. Atheists. Same diff.)

    “I wonder how much He will take. I just pray it’s not too late.”

    (On the video: in a high school classroom, the Pledge of Allegiance disappears from the blackboard. Pictures of U.S. presidents dissolve. The American flag dissolves. The Bill of Rights dissolves. (Yes: the Bill of Rights. Which contains the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the one containing the “rule” that Congress shall make no law regarding an establishment of religion. I am now beating my head against my desk. But then I’m a lawyer. I’m probably demonically possessed.) Maybe these images are meant to be symbolic: i.e., “Without daily Christian prayer in U.S. public schools, God will withdraw his protection from the country and doom America to self-destruct.” But maybe not.)

    “What if God quit trying? He just turned away?”

    (Video: Teens in the classroom disappear one by one.)

    “There were teardrops on His face.”

    (More teens vanish. The classroom is empty.)

    “Tell me — how would you feel? You’d probably give up too. If nobody believed… in You.”

    (Video: Joe Nichols sits on the empty front steps of the high school, like a Stephen King character who’s the sole survivor of a sunny afternoon’s apocalypse. He seems to choke up. His puppy dog eyes nearly brim. Don’t all you secular humanists feel horrible? You’ve made Baby Jesus cry.)

    “Tell me — how would you feel? You’d probably give up too. If nobody believed… in You.”

    Okay, I’ve dowsed my head in cold water and can stop growling now. Jason, your interpretation of the song is absolutely legitimate: America’s failure to “believe,” defined as its reluctance to mandate compulsory daily public prayer, may cause God to “turn away” sobbing and blubbering.

    However, the long classroom sequence — in which the children dematerialize one by one — leads me to think there’s more to the phrase “You’d probably give up.” The song implies concrete, disastrous physical consequences if God gives up. Poof. Bye, bye, love. Bye, bye, happiness…

    In any case, I shall now go watch “He-Wolf.”

    • Now I feel guilty: I was so busy half listening to the inane lyrics that a part of my brain – I think as an act of survival – simply stopped processing the argument being made by the visuals. By the time the kids started disappearing, my eyes had already glazed over and I was drooling like Stimpy. And look what Nichols has done: He’s forced *both* of us (and undoubtedly others who read this blog) to consider his video much more deeply than any serious human being ever should. He’s actually like the evil energy ball in Star Trek that makes the Enterprise crew and the Klingons fight with each other (and feeds off their agonistic behavior) until they realize *it* is responsible and start laughing at it. So, it was not I that played well – it was Joe, with his deceptively laid back demeanor, who now gloats with a smug smile made more sardonic by the flames that flicker around him. Well played, Joe, you crafty devil.

      Worst music video of all time? No, but officially the most evil . . . 🙂

      • Don’t feel guilty. This stuff has bugged me for years. (C.f.: China Lake.)

      • “I. Will. NOT. Go. Watch. That. Horrible. Video. Again. You. Can’t. Make. Me.”
        (Oooh, The Force is strong on this one….)
        “No Joe Nichols, oh no you don’t!”

    • Or even more terrible (yet blackly humorous) to consider: Maybe Joe’s video is itself Phase 1 of God’s retribution. You know He’s turned away when He allows videos like this.

  7. And… thanks for pointing me to She/He Wolf. Hilarious.

    Where did Shakira get hold of Flo-Jo’s old one-legged running suit?

  8. So horrible, I can’t stop laughing out loud. Any man who videotapes himself skipping while holding his elbows tight to his sides is begging to be mocked into eternity. I am now about to try the Joe Nichols video.

    If I don’t report back, blame Meg. You’ll find me in a corner somewhere, sucking thumb and rocking, rocking, rocking….

    • No, Snart! Don’t doooooooooo it! 😯

      • I believe I am immune. It didn’t make me stutter or drool or anything. Just felt his voice at the back of my throat, choking me. But I coughed up a hairball and was okay. Thanks for protecting me!

  9. It’s okay. I’m back. It’s okay, Joe Nichols, somebody, somewhere believes in you, and in your hair. Not Meg, but she’s a hardcase!

  10. Oh my. Whoever thought letting that poor soul dance, in his own exceptionally special, rhythm-free way, was a good idea had, I hope, a short career. I couldn’t watch the whole thing.

    Then, oh my again. I liked the baseball, flag, and Mom (the one in the hat that bore a startling resemblance to a vet’s cone of shame) symbols-upside-the-head in the first verse. It would have been better if Mom had been eating a slice of apple pie, but I think the hat was too deep for the pie to reach her mouth. The God-as-divine-projectionist who, in a fit of pique at being ignored, on the evidence of the absence of one nation’s pledge of allegiance not to God but to a FLAG (sliding down the slippery slope of idolatry right there), gives up projecting so that all of the people and furniture disappear (but apparently the building stays standing) was absolutely magnificent. I might watch it again. This time, it has to be without the sound, though, because the slurred “s” sounds are causing me to flip reflexively through the phone book for “Shpeech Therapisht.”

    We Canadians pledge nuthin’ except the furniture. That might be why our very large country has such low population density–God already stopped the projector north of the 49th.

  11. Pingback: Poetry and prose, an anthology, oh my! | lying for a living

  12. This one oozes awesome Crappiness…

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