13 of the most laughably awful music videos ever made

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Avril Lavigne’s video for her new single ‘Hello Kitty’ has been rightly slammed for the brain-meltingly bad pastiche of Japanese pop culture it undoubtedly is.

But does it stand up against some of the true classics in the pantheon of bad music videos? Judge for yourself…

avril lavigne hello kitty

Avril Lavigne – ‘Hello Kitty’

If the song wasn’t bad enough, the video finds the Canadian emo-turned-pop singer walk a tightrope of bad taste. It’s already been branded “lazy”, “abhorrent”, “racist” and has received over 5,000 dislikes on YouTube.

Sample YouTube comment: “its not offensive its just horrible”

David Bowie & Mick Jagger – ‘Dancing In The Street’

Take two of the biggest rock stars on the planet, a classic Motown number, and get them to dance around like dads at a wedding. Sprinkle with dubious ’80s fashion, et voila… While David has to take some responsibility, we reckon it’s mainly Mick’s fault that this has gone down as one of the worst music videos ever made.

Sample YouTube comment: “what a weird video, watching old men who can’t dance, er dance

Cher – ‘If I Could Turn Back Time’

A then 43-year-old Cher shows the Mileys and Gagas of today how it’s done. All you need to do is straddle a cannon in front of an audience of sailors apparently.

Sample YouTube comment: “I don’t understand why she chose the context of the video to match the lyrics of her song.  They seem very discordant.”

Eiffel 65 – ‘Blue (Da Ba Dee)’

This Europop effort wormed its way into our ears back in 1999. What were we thinking? The video is just as bad, boasting the kind of animation you would expect from a high school student using Windows 95.

Sample YouTube comment: “i think this video about the hell?”

Another Level – ‘Freak Me’

Another dark, abandoned building, check. Snarling dogs, check. Ethnic artefacts, check. This video mixes all the clichés of the boyband promo up in a big steaming vat and produces something even more terrible.

Sample YouTube comment: “Whoever wrote this is brilliant and a complete Casanova.”

Nickelback – ‘Rockstar’

Chad Kroeger, who co-wrote the aforementioned ‘Hello Kitty’ with wife Avril Lavigne, is responsible for a second entry in our list. Presumably they thought the public had seen enough of his face, so why not get other people to lip-sync his words? These included offenders like Kid Rock, Gene Simmons and Nelly Furtado.

Sample YouTube comment: “I find this song to be a sample of a long lost era of the super-capitalist ”money/greed is good” era which began with Reaganomics in the early 1980s and ended with the global financial crisis of 2008. (1981-2008). Now we are in the hippie-hipster/99%/occupy wall street era of hating the rich.”

Rebecca Black – ‘Friday’

An obvious choice maybe, but how could this one not be included? So far it’s been watched over 60 million times on YouTube, but has also accumulated over 1.3 million dislikes. We think the latter figure is more telling.

Sample YouTube comment: “Thursday Is A Better Day”

Survivor – ‘Eye of the Tiger’

When you’re running through the park to ‘Eye of the Tiger’, you’re probably not picturing the video for this 1982 hit, but it’s worth a watch. Looking like the least hard street gang of all time, Survivor pace purposefully through town before indulging in a particularly cheesy performance.

Sample YouTube comment: “I tried to exercise to this and I had a minor cardiac episode.”

U2 – ‘Numb’

There’s probably no shortage of people who’d like to subject Bono to some form of torture, but it’s The Edge who has to put up with dripping water, having his head tied up in string and feet thrust in his face in this bizarre video.

Sample YouTube comment: “Poor Edge lol”

David Hasselhoff – ‘Hooked On a Feeling’

We move into so-bad-it’s-good territory now with The Hoff. You’ve got to love the CGI effects at work, making Germany’s favourite Baywatch star appear in glacial landscapes, the African Savannah and Alpine slopes.

Sample YouTube comment: “what the hell did i just watch?”

Jan Terri – ‘Losing You’

If some cruel YouTube user uploads your video titled ‘Worst music video ever’, what chance have you got? But even so, the video for Chicago singer Jan Terri’s 1993 single ‘Losing You’ is a badly-synced, low-budget disaster. At least they did shell out to hire a limousine.

Sample YouTube comment: “Damn, Jan Terri sure knows how to power dress”

Denny Blazin Hazen – Average Homeboy

We could have easily included any of Vanilla Ice’s videos, but Denny Blazin Hazen’s DIY classic is so much better. He’s just a middle class guy trying to express himself, OK?

Sample YouTube comment: “This video contains so much blaze, I watch it every day while eating fruit loops, driving a chevy, and shining my car.”

Ms Voice – Talk To Me

In her description of this video, Ms Voice writes: “I’m Ms Voice and I am gonna save the US music industry and the entire world!” So-bad-it’s-just-bad.

Sample YouTube comment: “I watched it all in the first go. I win.”

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Nick is an Edinburgh-based writer and editor, covering music, pop culture and comedy.

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