20 Music Videos That Defined The 90s

The biggest and best videos from the 1990's.

The 80's gave us, among many other less savory things, the birth of the modern music video. More than a few stars from this era owed their success to the image created by their flashy, glitzy promo clips: Duran Duran, Prince, Madonna. Even Michael Jackson, already a huge star saw his success grow even further due to his massively huge "Thriller" clip. By the time the 90's came around, we as viewers were already used to the cliches of the form: Dry ice, lasers, cheesy editing and video effects were all old hat. Something new would have to come around to entice an increasingly jaded audience, and these 20 memorable videos managed to do just that, and in the process defined the era in which they were released.

20. Nirvana - "Smells Like Teen Spirit"

Universally declared the demarcation line between the death of 80's hair metal and the birth of Seattle grunge, the anarchist cheerleader video for Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is the moment where the 90's truly began. Bathed in a sickly orange glow, the video has an unsettling queasy feeling that perfectly complements the unfettered rage and angst of the music. Nirvana might have made stranger videos in the future (especially for 'Heart-Shaped Box") but they didn't have the initial impact of this clip. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hTWKbfoikeg

19. TLC - "Waterfalls" (1994)

Waterfalls 600x300 An unstoppable hit from the early 90's, this song perfectly captured the zeitgeist of the moment with a self-help chorus that could have been written by Oprah ("Don't go chasing waterfalls") and was the last major chart hit for the group before Lisa "Left Eye" Lopez's unfortunate death. In their new reunion line up, they recently played the American Music Awards performing this song, reminding us all of their brief moment in the sun. Or should that be in the water? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8WEtxJ4-sh4
In this post: 
Posted On: 

Hi there, What Culture-ers! I'm William Graff, a 40-year old freelance writer from the wilds of Capitol Hill in beautiful Denver, Colorado. I enjoy many things such as beer, Doctor Who, The Simpsons, record collecting, stand-up comedy, long aimless walks, and of course the Broncos, which is required by law if you live here. I appreciate all feedback for my writing, but I prefer cash and/or deleted Smiths singles in lieu of praise. Rock on!