1. “Don’t Speak” by No Doubt
Starting out in a strange garden with bug-filled fruit, I’m pretty sure the beginning of No Doubt’s “Don’t Speak” scarred me for life. The rest of the video is a well cut blend of live performance, staged band practice in a garage, and a magazine photoshoot in which Gwen holds an orange that looks very much like the evil bug-filled orange from the outset of the video. Other than the weird beginning, it’s simple yet effective.
Favorite part: everything that doesn’t involve a horrifying bug-filled orange.
2. “Cowboy” by Kid Rock
Hours of watching TRL with my sister forever emblazoned this one on my mind. It begins with Kid Rock telling you exactly what he’s doing: packing up his game and heading out west. Also being a cowboy. I’ve yet to see what his being in a modern casino smoking cigars had to do with being a cowboy, unless we’re talking about his rescue of the bride from her old man companion in order to hook up with her being a particularly cowboy-ish deed.
Favorite part: Kid Rock rocking out and subsequently smashing what appears to be a bedazzled purple guitar. You can’t take the 90’s back, people.
3. “I Do (Cherish You)” by 98*
This at first appears to be the sappiest, soft-filtered must fest devoted to that girl from those old Doritos commercials. And Nick Lachey’s attempts to smirk while lip-synching. No fear, it turns out to not be as serious as it seems.
Favorite part: when the person the girl is marrying is revealed to be Dustin Diamond, usually known as Screech Powers from Saved by the Bell. The 98* boys are quite distraught come that reveal.
4. “(You Drive Me) Crazy” by Britney Spears
Britney and video co-star Melissa Joan Hart start the video as waitresses and end as…well, Britney ends as Britney Spears doing a choreographed dance in a shiny green crop top, whereas MJH ends up bartending with Adrien Grenier and dancing in the DJ booth, which isn’t the worst situation to be in.
Favorite part: I support every second of this video. Whatta classic.
5. “Bugaboo” by Destiny’s Child
Destiny’s Child struts down the street, singing their declaration of grievances about their annoying guys. I think it’s worth mentioning that Beyonce is sporting a cowboy hat at this point. In order to get away from said guys, these ladies escape into the locker room for a football team. In their travels they find gold majorette costumes (more cowboy hats!) and join the marching band on the field. Apparently everything is sorted by the end, since they climb in the car with those annoying boys, grinning like they’re having the best time ever.
Favorite part: I don’t know how you could choose anything other than the girls dressed in gold leading a marching band at the end. I just don’t know.
6. “Livin’ La Vida Loca” by Ricky Martin
Ricky Martin burst on to the American pop scene with this video of him singing, backed by a full band, in a nightclub. Most of the attendees are involved in a synchronized dance routine, exempting one girl in a really shiny shirt/skirt combo who seems to be more of a cage dancer sans the cage. Plus, there’s a little bit of dancing (and stripping) in the rain.
Favorite part: the synchronized club dance. I feel like the prom scene from She’s All That has left me forever wanting to be a part of a seemingly random dance routine that encompasses the whole club/prom.
7. “No Scrubs” by TLC
The girls are in some sort of futuristic compound wearing outfits that feature interesting cutouts and flashing reflectors. As with any TLC video, this one leaves me wanting to watch their fantastic episode of Behind the Music.
Favorite part: Left Eye’s rap, during which she either practices fighting or dancing in a metallic/metal blue costume with what looks like a vegetable steamer on her head. It’s hard to tell what she’s going for.
8. “Waiting for Tonight” by Jennifer Lopez
J. Lo and company go to a secret jungle island party to celebrate the new millenium. Before they were waiting around for the night to start. J. Lo dances in front of lasers and near waterfalls and stuff.
Favorite part: pointing out the moment she got burned by the lasers she dances in front of every single time I watch this. Thank you MTV’s Making the Video for that tidbit of information that I’ll have to reference for the rest of my life!
9. “Where My Girls At” by 702
702 is in a guarded compound, sporting lots and lots of leather and black eye makeup. Things shift a bit and it seems to turn a little more casual. Then they’re dancing in silver outfits while people dressed as chickens (but you know, in an understated way) do a dance routine around them. I never pretended to understand the happenings in this one.
Favorite part: the chicken costumes, natch. Sometimes I really want to talk to the people who create music videos to see what their motivation is behind some of the choices. Or to see what they’re smoking. Depends on the video.
10. “He Loves U Not” by Dream
MATCHING. PINK. PLEATHER. Desert driving! That weird 90s music video room that has weird lights and rotates throughout the video! Everything a 90s girl group video should have.
Favorite part: the truly important thing is that MTV did an episode of “Becoming” that centered around this video, and it was damn awesome.