So I present music videos that I have come to understand as good, though others may consider them as disturbing or weird or just plain ol' creepy. Why do I enjoy them? I'm still not sure entirely, but it has something to do with stepping into disorder while manifesting an artistic vision. It takes time, effort, and vision to create a moment on film that provokes a kind of psychic dissonance. And for some reason I find this beautiful.
My criteria for favorite disturbing videos include:
-An unusual visual presentation that conjures a potential or actual visceral response.
-Imagery that contains elements or references to violence - whether physical, psychological, or psychic.
-Elements of creative or artistic excellence.
-I like the song.
My first pick (to ease you into the bizarreness) is a video sung by Norwegian singer/piano player Susanne Sundfør. The song White Foxes is the first single off her latest album The Silicone Veil. In this video a strange X-ray leads to an equally strange surgery.
If you hate Kanye West, this is the video for you! Personally I'm a fan but I worry for his mortal soul now that he's dating Kim Kardashian. Here West is confined and restricted by an astoundingly gorgeous woman who has something wicked in store for the rapper. This is Flashing Lights.
Speaking of Rappers here is a video by one of the most serious of hip-hop hustlers HOVA a.k.a Jay-Z. On to the Next One was rumored when it came out, to allude to the purported cult of the Illuminati. Some of the imagery included: a creepy white guy with his face painted like an emo clown, a gun, bullets, a dude chewing gum while wearing lipstick, basketballs on fire, milk, Jay-Z flipping you off, an animal skull, and much more. Combine all of these elements and you have one bizarre ass video.
This is one more rumored Illuminati video. Run This Town belongs in the weird category for sure. Watching it I found myself wondering why Rihanna, Jay-Z, & Kanye are all so mad. I mean I'm Black and mad too but these folks are rich as fuck so it's time to chill. Anyway what's creepy about this is the sort of quasi-satanic Mad Max feel of it. Spikes, masks, people holding black sticks, and I shit you not, a guy in a cave wearing a Chairman Mao bomber jacket. Weird!
This video is brilliantly horrible. Featuring performance artist Bob Flanagan, Nine Inch Nails found a way to take their song Happiness in Slavery to the next super uncomfortable freaky level. This video has a distinct political message. The second half of the video is where things go bat shit crazy!
Hungry for the Power by the electro-neo house band Azari & III is a video with a message just like Happiness in Slavery. However the take here is not limited to a one man torture porn show. Instead a business man is overcome by his need for domination and in the end is forced to submit to something more horrible than even he could imagine.
Electro-pop musician Juan de Guillebon a.k.a DyE had his song Fantasy made manifest into video by the French animator Jérémie Périn. I showed my wife this video and her response was "that's bizarre." The video isn't necessarily scary but it has a certain existential quality that goes beyond nihilism. What starts out as typical teenage fare becomes something much more frightening.
When I was a kid this video was shown to our 3rd or 4th grade class as a treat for good behavior. When the song Thriller came out I didn't like it. It was a scary song and I when my babysitter would occasionally play it I literally covered my ears with my hands because it spooked me so. We didn't have cable at home and though I knew of MTV, I rarely saw music videos. Most of the other kids in my class had seen this video and thought is was the shit. For a moment I was excited to see it based on my classmates reverie. Then about a minute or two into the video I realized my classmates were utterly insane. This video scared me so much that I had to sleep with my mom for two years after watching it. No joke! Of course now I love it, but I didn't watch it again from that day in class until I was 31 years old.
In high school I became a Pink Floyd fan thanks to some of my stoner friends who listened to the band's music when we hung out (note- I was not a stoner then). Years before though I was a little girl up late watching television and came across the film The Wall. Honestly to this day I couldn't tell you what the film was about but a very disturbing scene haunted me for years. Children with distorted faces marched along...until they met the worst of fates. It was the first time I realized other children could be harmed and I cried to myself in horror. I had nightmares for months after watching what is now the video for Another Brick in the Wall. I hope to hell no children ever see it too soon!
Of course there are tons of fucked up disturbing videos out there and goodness knows I've watched many. Some honorable mentions include: Sweetest Kill by Broken Social Scene, Yonkers by Tyler The Creator, and Owner of a Lonely Heart by Yes. If you want to find more weird ass videos there are plenty but many of them are by metal groups and other bands trying to look "hard." Hope you can sleep tonight!