20 Best 90s Music Videos

the spice girls
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A golden era that set the landscape for how we see music today, the 90s was truly an extraordinary time to be alive for music fans across all genres. From the continued development of multiple genres like rap, disco, and funk to serving up some iconic music videos that shaped a generation, it’s no wonder that the decade is still being referenced more than 30 years later.

For this article, we’re going down memory lane as we showcase the 20 best 90s music videos that defined the iconic decade. 

1. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana

What better way to start our list of the best 90s music videos than with the embodiment of what 90s grunge looks like: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana. The music video perfectly captures teenage angst and destruction when Cobain asked fans, who volunteered to fill the bleachers, to destroy the set they were in for almost 12 hours. 

Due to its popularity, the band won Best New Artist and Best Alternative Group at the MTV Music Video Awards, with “Smells like Teen Spirit” reaching platinum. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame later hailed it as one of the “Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

Related: Dave Grohl’s Net Worth

2. “Vogue” – Madonna 

It’s not a lie when we hear that Madonna paved the way for artists today. Her hit song “Vogue” not only shed light on the underground ballroom community of New York but also paid homage to Hollywood’s golden age. Whenever we hear “Vogue,” we think of glamor and retro elegance, reminiscent of its monochromatic music video.

Related: 41 Interesting Facts About Madonna

3. “Wannabe” – Spice Girls

This list of best 90s music videos would not be complete without the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” which still makes any playlist better when it’s included. The music video captured the girls’ charming antics in a London hotel while perfectly embodying 90s fun and fashion, making the song skyrocket in the UK charts. The popular video would later win at the MTV Music Video Awards as the Best Dance Video of 1997

Related: The Spice Girls

4. “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)” – Missy Elliott

No one can do music videos better than the OG, Missy Elliott. From serving timeless outfits and showcasing what could be the most stylish garbage bag the world has ever seen, Missy Elliott secured her spot as one of the decade’s icons, successfully launching her solo career. And the music video for “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” directed by Hype Williams, is just one prime example of this everlasting truth. 

Related: Missy Elliott’s Net Worth

5. “Freedom! ‘90” – George Michael

Along with arguably the best music in years, the 90s are also known as the era of supermodels. Well, “Freedom! ‘90” by George Michael perfectly fused music with style and fashion. Spearheaded by the most-in-demand music video director at the time, David Fincher, the video featured supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Cindy Crawford, thereby turning them into timeless art and subsequently making one of the most iconic and best 90s music videos of all time.

Related: How Did George Michael Die?

6. “… Baby One More Time” – Britney Spears

The debut single that turned Britney Spears into a pop star was the pop song of all pop songs: ” Baby One More Time.” The new music video that followed only further solidified its success. The video shows the eventual “Princess of Pop” as a bored schoolgirl, making conservative parents across all parts of the USA clutch their pearls.

With the new single, Britney Spears pioneered a whole new generation and made way for different pop stars in the 2000s like Christina Aguilera and Jessica Simpson. To this day, the song remains Spear’s best-selling single, with more than 10 million copies sold worldwide. 

Related: Britney Spears Biography

7. “Cryin'” – Aerosmith

Next on our list of best 90s music videos is “Cryin’” by Aerosmith. Featuring rising Hollywood star Alicia Silverstone, we’re taken into a journey of self-discovery when Silverstone’s boyfriend cheats on her in the music video. With captivating visuals that end with a humorous and liberating twist, this music video is one to beat when discussing the best of the 90s.

Related: Steven Tyler’s Net Worth

8. “Waterfalls” – TLC

TLC has always advocated for many social issues, and their music videos often shed light on the escalating issues of drug crime and murder and the prevalence of HIV during the 1990s. “Waterfall” featured two cautionary tales about taking unnecessary risks. The song grabbed four awards at the MTV Music Video Awards 1995, making it among the best 90s music videos. 

Related: Glaive

9. “Karma Police” – Radiohead

This eerie, insidious, and minimalistic approach to how karma works is perfectly done by Radiohead’s “Karma Police.” From the perspective of the driver seat, we chase a man running from a car, and as the man finally collapses, he turns the table around by setting ablaze the leaking fuel that’s coming out all this time.   

“Karma Police” leaves a lasting impression, making it one of the most memorable and best 90s music videos ever, thanks to this favorite 90s alternative rock band. 

Related: 29 Musicians Who Were Born Rich

10. “Around The World” – Daft Punk

With an innovative concept, mesmerizing design, and hypnotizing choreography, Daft Punk’s music video for “Around The World” checks everything. This music video effortlessly takes you back to the exhilarating spirit of the 90s, delivering a synchronized dance masterpiece where each movement harmoniously aligns with the beat and rhythm of the song.

Related: Who is Daft Punk?

11. “Let Forever Be” – The Chemical Brothers

Next on our list of best 90s music videos is The Chemical Brothers’ “Let Forever Be.” If there’s only one way that we can think of to describe the music video, it is that it feels like a fever dream. From the hypnotizing choreography to manipulating dimension and scale, The Chemical Brothers created a music video that will surely leave a mark on those who watch it. 

Related: 10 Things We Learned from the Woodstock 99 Documentary

12. “Doo Wop (That Thing)” – Lauryn Hill

When you hear “Doo Wop (That Thing),” you can’t help but pretend to be in two eras, largely thanks to its music video. Using split-screen, Lauryn Hill played two roles 21 years apart, one as a woman in 1967 and the other in 1998. As a result, it perfectly blends two genres that the Black community proudly forged: soul and hip-hop

“Doo Wop (That Thing)” earned four gongs at the MTV Music Awards in 1999, solidifying its status as one of the best 90s music videos.

Related: 24 Famous Musicians Who Went Bankrupt

13. “Black or White” – Michael Jackson

If you’re looking for the embodiment of ‘90s pop culture, Michael Jackson’s “Black or White” serves precisely that. The music video, consisting of cameos of different icons from the 90s and celebrating culture worldwide, premiered simultaneously in 28 countries, resulting in a record-breaking 500 million viewers. The King of Pop did it again!

Related: How Did Michael Jackson Die?

14. “California Love” – 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman

“California Love” by 2Pac feat. Dr. Dre and Roger Troutman was truly ahead of its time. While most music videos by some artists in the same genre featured blinged-out productions, 2Pac changed the game by putting this song on a dystopian epic set in a post-apocalyptic Oakland. 

Related: How Did Tupac Die?

15. “All is Full of Love” – Björk

Björk has always been known to express her artistic spirit in all mediums she touches, and her music video on “All is Full Of Love” is no exception. This science-fiction-themed music video is a compelling testament to her steadfast dedication to creativity and the artistry she brings to her work.

Related: 66 Famous Celebrities Who Are Atheists

16. “Criminal” – Fiona Apple

Yet another example of grunge and 90s aesthetic done right is Fiona Apple’s music video for her hit song “Criminal.” The provocative visuals, coupled with lyrics that explore the exploitation of one’s sexuality, initially sparked controversy. However, ultimately, this combination catapulted “Criminal” to become one of her most famous singles.

Related: Jimi Hendrix Biography

17. “Sabotage” – Beastie Boys

“Sabotage” by Beastie Boys also lands on our list of best 90s music videos for being wacky and creative. Set with the premise of a 70s-style cop show, the music video features absurd chase scenes, ridiculous car stunts, and comical portrayals that will undoubtedly captivate your attention and keep your eyes glued onto the screen.

Related: Best 18 Songs About Food to Fire Up Those Taste Buds

18. “My Name Is” – Eminem

Eminem certainly left a remarkable first impression when he released the music video for his debut single, “My Name Is.” 

By incorporating iconic references like Marilyn Manson and the Spice Girls, along with controversial lyrics showcasing Eminem’s trademark abrasiveness, the rapper secured his first Grammy Award and earned the title of Best New Artist at the MTV Music Video Awards.

Related: Eminem’s Net Worth

19. “Heart Shaped Box” – Nirvana

Another golden rock music video from Nirvana throughout the 90s was “Heart Shaped Box.” This surreal video features an elderly man on a cross and a young girl in a KKK outfit. Throughout, the band lip-synches the song in eerie settings, creating a fever-dream-like experience that is impossible to forget.

Related: 10 Intriguing Nirvana Facts

20. “Scream” – Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson

Last but not least on our list of best 90s music videos is “Scream” by Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson. Renowned as the most expensive music video ever made, featuring a $7 million stage and, of course, the most anticipated collaboration at the time, this music video is one for the books. Therefore, it becomes the perfect way to end our best 90s music videos list. 

Related: Janet Jackson Biography

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Written by Angelo Ruelan


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