What Makes a Music Video Bad

One of the many weird things that happens in the music video for Nicki Minaj’s “Stupid Hoe.”


About a week ago Meghan-Annette was watching a program on Fuse on sexy music videos when the show mentioned the music video for Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro.” This is not a music video either of us would associate with being sexy, especially since we placed it on our Worst Music Videos list for 2010. After watching a little bit of it on the television, Meghan-Annette asked if we could just name it the worst music video for this year and I said no, because there is a music video from this year that is truly worse.

On my way to meet Meghan-Annette at Union Station on Friday, I was listening to “Alejandro” on the train and realized that the awful music video it had ruined the song for me. While eating at our favorite fast food restaurant, we then questioned if a music video is truly bad if it ruins the song or if it’s a terrible video paired with a terrible song.

In 2010, our worst music video list had two videos above “Alejandro”: Breathe Carolina’s “IDGAF” and Ciara featuring Ludacris’ “Ride.” If we could redo the list, we’d probably put the video for “Abigail” by Motionless in White at number one because that video is really disturbing. The rest of the list had a Selena Gomez video and two videos from 30 Seconds to Mars where they’re really pretentious. Last year’s list had Lady Gaga being pretentious, Beyonce using sex appeal to defeat men, Rhianna doing S&M, Mariah Carey acting like a cougar around Justin Bieber and Adele moping in Paris (in Black and White). This year’s list currently includes an incredibly cliche video, a video that reminds us of the book “Methland,” a Selena Gomez video, Nicki Minaj doing stuff and a video so awful that I am refusing to watch it again until December. (It has cockroaches and rodents.)

Of these lists, there are only two videos where the song is brought down by the video and both videos feature songs by Lady Gaga. To be fair, “Born This Way” isn’t that great of a song to begin with, but the bizarre video makes the song even more annoying and preachy. This could be viewed as a problem with Gaga’s music videos, but the music video for “Judas” actually made the song more tolerable by having such a ridiculous video.

However, there are levels of awfulness. For example, I discovered with Meghan-Annette that the music video for “Alejandro” could actually be improved by our mother muting the song and narrating the video. Similarly, the music video for “Stupid Hoe” can be improved by muting the song and playing something else, like an ABBA song. (For maximum hilarity, play Kelly Clarkson’s “Because of You.”) But “Stupid Hoe” is so bad that it’s hilarious (and the song is awful) while “Alejandro” is awful and bloated. While watching it recently, I commented, “Oh God, there’s still three minutes left.”

The music video for “Alejandro” has more in common with a music video for a 30 Seconds to Mars song than a typical pop song. It’s a music video that is trying so hard to be art that it ends up feeling longer than necessary and like a joke. This is also the problem with the music video that’s currently in the position as “worst” on our list, but it’s also incredibly disturbing.

I personally feel that “Alejandro” is still not one of the worst music videos I’ve ever seen, but I can see that a music video making a song no longer be enjoyable could be a good criteria for a video to be considered the worst of a year. What do you think makes a music video bad?

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