Sometimes, you find a song that you love, only to discover that the music video that goes along with it is… not good.
There’s songs that we know would have weird music videos: ones that are already considered bad (“Friday” by Rebecca Black), meme-y (“Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence), or intentionally humorous (“What Does the Fox Say?” by Ylvis). But there’s a section of songs that, while genuinely good and well-respected, were just cursed with bad music videos.
In order to save the inevitable YouTube rabbit hole, I’ve compiled a few icons.
“Cut to the Feeling” by Carly Rae Jepsen
Why the song is good: We’re starting off with a clear banger—this is a power song, a pop icon with soaring vocals and empowering lyrics. Let’s just accept Carly Rae as our queen, kk thanks.
Why the video is bad: I’m not mad at this video, I’m just… disappointed. It starts off with this tacky PowerPoint-like transition and looks like it’s supposed to be a behind the scenes tour of Jepsen, but it looks like an eighth-grader put it together with Windows MovieMaker. For a video that does this song justice, check out Mark Kanemura’s lip-sync.
“Cornerstone” by Arctic Monkeys
Why the song is good: This is one of my favorite songs and any indie kid of the late 2000s will sigh fondly at Alex Turner crooning about a night out and the lost love that he can’t find.
Why the music video is bad: Okay, this one’s not so much bad as… weird. If you, like me, are a hardcore Alex Turner fan it’s an oddly delightful three minutes and 14 seconds of Turner’s ridiculous red turtle neck, old school recording equipment, and middle school dance moves. If you could care less for Alex Turner then, well, it’s just uncomfortable to have him stare at you.
“Un-break my Heart” by Toni Braxton
Why the song is good: An anthem of broken hearts everywhere, Braxton’s ballad is emotional and heart-wrenching. You can hear the pain in her crooning voice.
Why the music video is bad: For whatever reason, overly dramatic auto deaths seem to be a popular hit with songs about lost loves (see the next entry, and Katy Perry’s “The One that Got Away“). This one also stands out because, come on, that crash wasn’t even that bad.
“It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” by Celine Dion
Why the song is good: Celine Dion is the Queen of Power Ballads and this song is no exception. She croons, she swoons— it’s an anthem that mourns a love that has soured and longs for the times of the past that may have been forgotten.
Why the music video is bad: Once again, overly dramatic automobile death. This one gets another separate mention for Dion running around in some mansion in a ballgown with weird clips of her “memories” floating around her and the hunky ghost that rides his ghost motorcycle out of the house. The song definitely sounds more like looking back on the good parts of a relationship gone wrong than mourning a hot ghost boyfriend, I’m just saying.
“Oops, I Did it Again” by Britney Spears
Why the song is good: I shouldn’t have to explain why this song is good. It’s iconic. It’s Britney at peak Britney, it was a the anthem of our childhood and adolescent rebellions, it’s a legend. It’s Britney, bitch.
Why the music video is bad: There were some good parts of the early 2000s aesthetic…and there were some bad parts. Red, pleather jumpsuit, shiny metallic low-waisted paints, the hair bump…if you want a time capsule to the “What NOT to wear” of the 2000s, this is it. There’s also the goofy special effects, the sassy head swivel, the… reference to Titanic at the end??? It’s honestly so overwhelmingly 2000s that it transcends to Iconic.
“Adventure of a Lifetime” by Coldplay
Why the song is good: Alright, so I’m not a huge Coldplay fan, but as far as Coldplay songs go, this is solid. Catchy, upbeat, could be meaningful if you listened close enough, but you probably use it to dance or to drive and hey, that’s okay. Coldplay makes decent music. This one is no exception.
Why the video is bad: Listen, any video that has anthropomorphic creatures singing usually ends up being uncomfortable. This one is no exception.
“Californication” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers
Why the song is good: Say what you want about the Red Hot Chili Peppers, but this song is good. It’s definitely one of the more overused ones, but there’s always a reason for popularity.
Why the music video is bad: Most RHCP videos are… weird, to say the least. This one is notable for its unsettling late ’90s graphics, but it’s the copious amounts of bare chested band members that pushes it over. Cool concept, unsettling execution.
“Accidentally in Love” by Counting Crows
Why the song is good: Look, the Shrek movies have AMAZING soundtracks. “Accidentally in Love” has iconic lines such as “Well baby I surrender / To the strawberry ice cream / Never ever end of all this love,” surprisingly evocative for a movie that’s become a meme.
Why the music video is bad: Whatever you’re expecting out of a music video for “Accidentally in Love,” I can guarantee it wasn’t about a giant anthropomorphic rabbit with dreadlocks seducing a scantily clad lady as her clueless boyfriend makes breakfast in the adjacent room. Yes, you read that correctly.