The 7 Most Disturbing Music Videos of All Time
As the 20th century progressed and technological advancements aimed at the millennium, music videos came into prominence. While the Beatles always viewed their music videos simply as promotional accompaniments to their singles, artists of the 1980s and 1990s began to view their music videos as an essential part of spreading their thematic vision.
This became especially important in the days of MTV and several other music TV stations dominating the airwaves. The general public could happily spend a day in the latter part of the 20th century watching the many visual explorations of a given song’s theme. Some videos were closely related in terms of plot and direction to the nature of the song.
For some bands, however, the opportunity to record and promote a music video was an opportunity to boost their artistic license, and especially for the sickest of individuals, it meant creating works of art that would terrify and disturb their audiences. In light of that, we’re going to run through some of the most disturbing music videos to ever appear on our screens.
The 7 most disturbing music videos of all time:
Marilyn Manson – ‘Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This)’
One of the sickest individuals in the industry announced his arrival on the scene with the video for “Sweet Dreams”. The God of Fucking walks around a nightmarish squat covered in shit, with all sorts of disgusting and bizarre happenings happening around him.
The camerawork induces the feeling of a drug-fueled frenzy, where you’ve woken up on the wrong side of town. The costume department has pulled out all the stops here, and Manson has foreseen the current fashion trend of ugly is beautiful very well.
Aphex Twin – ‘Come See Daddy’
Several Aphex Twin music videos are, shall we say, rather over the top. But one of the most terrifying and impactful was his short for “Come to Daddy.” The video opens with a traditional British council estate with eerie sounds from the depths of your worst dreams.
When the bass kicks in, a portable television turns on to reveal severely twisted creatures that come out of the set and terrorize the many grannies on the estate. Richard James’ face is then transposed onto several characters in the video and is both brilliant and truly disturbing.
Dir En Gray – ‘Dark’
Japan has often been praised for its disturbing art, and Dir En Gray did not disappoint with his video for ‘Obscure’. Any YouTube video that forces you to agree to watch its distressing content should earn a spot on this list, and “Obscure” certainly does.
Images flash across the screen in quick succession, including a demonic penis, a barely-knit Frankenstein monster, and writhing maggots and tadpoles. This should be monitored with caution.
Tool – ‘Sober’
Let’s face it; The tools always had to end up here somewhere. The iconic art-metal band have always had a penchant for theatrical disruption, and their stop motion video for “Sober” doesn’t stop at all.
We are immediately transported to a super scary house covered in darkness. Then, a strange hominid creature begins poking around with a mysterious box before being sent on a mind-bending journey through the house. In addition to the aesthetics of the video, perhaps the slow stop-motion animation makes it so unsettling.
Nine Inch Nails – ‘Closer’
Much like Tool, it’s no surprise to find Trent Reznor’s band here. Another age-restricted video shows Reznor dressed in bondage gear as a bloody heart beats to the sound of the song, prompting the cockroaches to squirm over the bassline.
The phrase “I want to fuck you like an animal” is particularly relevant as we experience several instances of animal cruelty, including a pig’s head spinning on BDSM gear and a crucified live monkey. Just normal Nine Inch Nails stuff, then.
Pearl Jam – ‘Jeremy’
Pearl Jam may be an intriguing entry on this list, but their video for “Jeremy” more than deserves their spot. It examines the vulnerable state of mind in which young children can find themselves. We are transported into the spirit of young Jeremy, who is near breaking point, having suffered at the hands of others.
Arguably the most politically significant of the videos on this list, “Jeremy” explores the violence that grows inside of someone who is on the wrong side of school bullying. The most shocking part of the video comes right at the climax in a truly unsettling moment, as Jeremy’s classmates watch in shock. Like us.
Prodigy – ‘Breathe’
While the Prodigy’s sound was mostly associated with 1990s raves, they transported their flex for the “Breathe” video to a run-down apartment filled with all sorts of disturbing visual aids, soon filled with crawling alligators.
Yet even with all the wild creatures, awesome costume design, and ever-flashing lights, what really haunts this video are the fucking walls. They are constantly on the move, looking like they are about to grab the apartment dwellers so that they never come back.
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