In today's era of appreciation for throwback elements of previous decades, the 90s are now looked upon as a pop cultural Renaissance. Highlighted with eclectic taste and style, 1994 stands out as the decade's very own Wild West. MTV's influential role on mainstream music provided a diverse variety of genres with a home in which they could coexist, and its videos ranged from completely hysterical to cultural eye openers. With many monumental 20th anniversaries being celebrated this year, the time felt appropriate to commemorate the 20 best music videos of 1994.
Soundgarden "Black Hole Sun"
At the Seattle scene's peak, Soundarden's "Black Hole Sun" resembled an emotional rollercoaster of drug tripping proportions. The groundbreaking video depicts a satirical apocalypse in suburban society. In an effort to acknowledge the loss of individualism, the array of melting faces and sinister smiles showcase the cerebral fakeness within mainstream culture. The year's biggest rock hit became a moment of self-reflection by providing honesty in a music world consumed with deception.
Beastie Boys "Sabotage"
In 1994, The Beastie Boys and director Spike Jonze commanded the attention of every MTV viewer with "Sabotage." Beastie Boys' visual mayhem connected to the reckless energy of 90s teen spirit through a hilarious spoof of 70s cop sitcoms. The chaotic camerawork, fake mustaches, and chase scenes visually complement the radical assortment of scratchboards, guitars, and drums. Make no mistake; the comedic aspect of "Sabotage" balances perfectly with the in-your-face attitude of the famous Brooklynites.
Weezer "Buddy Holly"
Any video with "The Fonz" deserves instant gratification. Weezer's fun-loving display of nerd galore took a trip to Milwaukee, Wisconsin with a tribute to the timeless Happy Days. With stunning visual edits, Weezer magically became the house band for one of America's dearest television series. Self-admittedly, they actually resemble Buddy Holly in the video.
Notorious B.I.G. "Juicy"
The highlight of Biggie's video catalog, "Juicy" features the changing circumstances of his personal life with his blooming musical career. Born and raised in Brooklyn, the rapper connected with mass audiences by openly discussing the struggles of his upbringing. Biggie's famous word play is delivered with confidence thereby showing his ability to overcome adversity while rising to the top. And today his song remains a timeless classic that every college kid loves to sing.
Rollins Band "Liar"
With a legendary intensity, Henry Rollins looked straight into the camera and unleashed his ferocity onto the viewer. As Rollins alternates between spoken word delivery and punk anger, "Liar" captures every emotional swing of his multi-faceted masterpiece. Once the viewer begins to sympathize, Rollins joyfully admits he fooled them by shouting, "Sucker/Sucker/I am a Liar!"
The ultimate-female trio of the 90s changed the course of modern RnB with an essential 'cool-factor' showcasing their innovative dance choreography, gorgeous looks, and signature style. "Creep" became the catalyst by turning CrazySexyCool into an all-time success. Its visual success allowed fans across the world to grow attached to the dazzling members of TLC.
Green Day "Basket Case"
Dookie is one of 1994's pinnacle masterpieces, and its iconic single "Basket Case" introduced the world to the genre-defying characteristics of pop punk. By turning a hospital into the center of punk-infused hysteria, Green Day's playful melodies and aggressive tempos took their sound towards unprecedented heights. With grunge popularity dwindling, Green Day's brand of pop punk became the defining blueprint for a new decade and a new generation of bands.
69 Boyz "Tootsie Roll"
This sweet combination of hip-hop and dance music became a cultural staple for any prom, wedding, or bar mitzvah in the 90s. With the group rocking now-vintage Orlando Magic jerseys, the contagious energy of "Tootsie Roll" commands the viewer to get up and move, "To the left/To the left/To the right/To the right/To the front/To the front/To the back/To the back."
The Cranberries "Zombie"
In a modern day society fascinated with zombie-culture, "Zombie" is the furthest thing from The Walking Dead. The Cranberries' "Zombie" provided frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan with a visual outlet to air her political frustrations.
Coolio "Fantastic Voyage"
What elements were considered integral for hip-hop videos in the 90s? Driving with friends in low riders? Block parties? Women in bikinis? Coolio filled all of the listed criteria with a music video bound to get the party going.
The Offspring "Self Esteem"
This could be considered as a major catalyst for the pop-punk festival culture. The punk-infused video combined extreme sports with teen frustration. With Dexter Holland rocking Dreadlocks, the shots of skateboards and dirt bikes personify its influence on the X-Games, Jackass, and Warped Tour culture of the following decade.
Live "I Alone"
Live's Throwing Copper turned the band into one of the premier alternative rock acts of the 90s. As the band performs in a frozen forest, the slow motion brings Live's dazzling display of energy to life. From a viewer's standpoint, the camaraderie within the band is highly contagious.
Alaiyah featuring R.Kelly "Back and Forth"
Aaliyah's triple-threat talent helped her debut single "Back and Forth" become a breakaway hit. She mashed style with elegance unlike any of her RnB contemporaries.
R.E.M.- "What's the Frequency, Kenneth?"
R.E.M.'s mainstream popularity began in the late 80s, and "What's the Frequency, Kenneth," off Monster (1994), continued R.E.M.'s chart-topping success with the help of this brilliant video that brought the song to life.
Becoming the surprise hit of 1994, the spontaneous video for "Loser" resembled Beck's perfection in melding folk, alternative, and hip-hop. "Loser" tapped into the conscious of MTV viewers with its wild celebration representing Beck's ability to transcend different styles with uniquely infectious substance.
Pantera "I'm Broken"
As heavy metal dwindled in the eyes of the mainstream in the 90s, Pantera ignored the status quo by continually growing heavier with each release. The band's 1994 album Far Beyond Driven became the heaviest sounding album to ever reach number one on the Billboard Charts. The video for "I'm Broken" personified their Southern toughness during the height of their prime as they stood their ground and carried the heavy metal torch.
Method Man "Bring The Pain"
While Biggie, Jay Z, and Nas are often considered the de-facto faces of hip-hop in New York City, The Wu Tang Clan are the true ambassadors of rap in the New York Boroughs. Method Man's solo material is a continuation of the virtuosic mic skills and raw production associated with Wu-Tang, especially on 94's "Bring the Pain." Seriously, does anything symbolize New York better than Method Man riding on the subway with no windows?
Counting Crows "Mr. Jones"
If a historian chose a hit-single to personify rock music videos in the 1990's, Counting Crows' "Mr. Jones," would rank atop the list. With a video-vixen displaying some sense of artistry, the shifting scenery and lighting brought the band's 90s fashion sense to a life with an extremely hooky chorus.
Outkast "Player's Ball"
Outkast's arrival to the mainstream signified the Southern invasion of hip-hop artists. During a time when the scene was experiencing tension between the East and West coasts, the Atlanta duo brought an appealing indifference to these issues and changed the rap game forever with their rhythmic and funked-up jams.
Nirvana "All Apologies" (MTV Unplugged)
A generation lost its musical ambassador after the tragic death of Kurt Cobain in 1994. The loss itself left a huge void to fill, no other rock band since has had such a widespread impact on mainstream culture. Shortly before his passing, "All Apologies" highlighted the band's iconic Unplugged performance and became visual sendoff for fans looking to pay respect to the iconic songwriter.