Following the release of Rihanna’s eyebrow-raising new video for her song ‘Needed Me,’ it seems ideal timing to look back at other occasions where bands and pop stars have ruffled copious feathers.
From the terribly tasteless to the jaw-droppingly audacious, here are the most controversial music videos ever made.
Warning: Some offensive and frankly bizarre imagery below!
Rihanna – Bitch Better Have My Money
If this isn’t controversial, then what is? Including nudity, murder, implied torture, hard drug use and graphic blood shots, this one is definitely x-rated.
Rihanna obviously isn’t one to be messed with. Don’t EVER owe her money.
Eminem – Stan
The video for Eminem’s ‘Stan’ may be brilliantly executed – but it’s also a bit iffy.
Hip hop fan Stan completely loses the plot due to his obsession with Eminem, tying his pregnant girlfriend up before putting her into the trunk of their car. He then accidentally drives the car off a bridge mid-rant, killing both of them and their unborn baby. Nice.
Miley Cyrus – BB Talk
Known to cause a stir pretty much every time she appears on stage, Miley Cyrus just had to be on this list. Wearing a nappy and taking on the mannerisms of a baby, her recent video for ‘BB Talk’ is just plain bizarre.
She rolls around in odd positions, sucking on dummies and smoking weed while singing ‘f*ck me so you stop baby talking.’ Creepy right?
Madonna – Like A Prayer
Madonna dancing in front of burning crucifixes is just one controversial element in her video for ‘Like A Prayer.’ Jesus was also played by an African American actor – and this caused a (ludicrous) uproar at the time.
Oh, and she kisses Jesus – and there are implications of a relationship between the two. That caused even further shock for viewers.
Nicki Minaj – Anaconda
His ‘anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun.’ Well Nicki certainly has, and she spent plenty of time showing off her assets in this music video.
She issues the rather blunt statement ‘f*ck you if you’re skinny’ before declaring ‘I got a big fat ass.’ We can see that. Thanks for clarifying.
t.A.T.u – All The Things She Said
Caused a lot of gossip when it was released back in 2002.
t.A.T.u themselves are dressed as school girls while kissing each other in the rain, but they can’t escape from a judgmental crowd of onlookers.
Queen – Body Language
Interesting fact: ‘Body Language’ was the first ever music video banned by MTV, in 1982. Freddie Mercury moans throughout the song to sweaty bodies rubbing up against one another.
It may not come close to some of the inappropriate music videos of today, but in ’82 it was pretty shocking apparently.
Boogie Pimps – Somebody To Love
This video involved babies eyeing up a woman’s boobs for milk before then parachuting from the sky to land on them.
The woman lays on the land giving the babies seductive looks in her underwear. Who thinks these things up?
Duran Duran – Girls On Film
Implications of fetishes and lots of mud fighting; just two of the awkward factors that Duran Duran’s ‘Girls On Film’ video included.
Banned by the BBC in 1981, the video had to be edited hugely to even be allowed on brand new edgy channel-of-the-time MTV. You can watch the ‘clean’ version above.
Robin Thicke Feat. Pharrell & T.I. – Blurred Lines
As though the song wasn’t twisted enough with the lyrics ‘I know you want it,’ the uncensored version of the ‘Blurred Lines’ music video involves a cringeworthy Robin Thicke slavering over young topless models. Classy.
For some reason there’s even a goat thrown in there. You know, just for laughs.
Kanye West – Bound 2
Kanye West is annoying enough on his own, but he felt the need to bring his wife Kim Kardashian along for this video too. Double the annoying, they pretend to ride along on a motorbike while a naked Kim bounces on top of a clothed Kanye.
Get real Kanye, who wants to see yet another video of Kim naked?
Serge Gainsbourg – Lemon Incest
Rather stomach churning, Serge Gainsbourg made this distasteful music video with his young daughter. The song title ‘Lemon Incest’ is vile enough, but the video shows Gainsbourg lying next to his daughter on a bed while she’s pictured looking terrified and helpless.
How did they get permission to make this? It’s just wrong on so many levels.
Rihanna – S&M
Before Rihanna was murdering people in her videos she was apparently into bondage, eating bananas in slow motion and whipping people who are taped to a wall. She really pushed the boundaries with this one.
The line ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me’ says it all really.
Benni Benassi – Satisfaction
A video every teenage boy of 2003 will remember, ‘Satisfaction’ was full of boobs, bums and sexual facial expressions. Oh, and a lot of oil.
It pretended to advertise building equipment when it was actually advertising, well, other ‘equipment.’
The Prodigy- Smack My Bitch Up
Welcome to a chaotic night of drugs, reckless driving, nudity, sex, violence and vomiting. The protagonist then looks in the mirror after having sex with a female stripper to reveal that she is also a woman.
MTV called it the most controversial video of 1997, and it remains a memorably anarchic short film for anyone who saw it back then.
George Michael – Outside
After being arrested by an undercover police officer for getting up to ‘mischief’ with another man in a public toilet, George Michael basically directs an up yours at the incident by promoting the idea of public sex in his video for ‘Outside.’
He made a stand against the fact he was arrested and finally came out to the public as gay, all while dressed as a camp police officer – breaking women’s hearts everywhere in the process.