CoS Exclusive FeaturesList 'Em Carefully

Top 10 Music Videos of 1994

on March 24, 2014, 11:27am
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It’s perplexing to think how we’re 20 years removed from 1994. While certain things have drastically changed, so much has stayed the same. The ’90s culture still seems much more prevalent than the ’80s did 20 years later — even if Nirvana’s now considered “classic rock”. For example, Pulp Fiction remains a shocking piece of cinema, critics and fans still obsess over Nas’ triumphant Illmatic, and the Clintons continue to make headlines. 

The ease and accessibility of online media certainly helps, especially the finesse of Google and the wealth of content on YouTube. For music fanatics like us, we relish the opportunity in being able to search and destroy any piece of pop culture, and that includes oft-forgotten live performances/bootlegs and, naturally, classic music videos.

Now, music videos from the ’90s are very “of their time.” Today, they’re slick, clever, and meme-worthy to generate enough Internet buzz and radiate with clicks. However, back in 1994, music videos were something that came on unexpectedly. Watching them on MTV was like playing video roulette; you rarely knew what was going to come next.

With that in mind, all of the videos on this list were jarring experiences that made us laugh, cry, cheer, and cower in fear in spontaneously shocking ways. They were groundbreaking for their time, and seemingly served a larger purpose for the band or artist. They weren’t based around gimmicks, but instead, great ideas.

And man did we dig ‘em.

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July 13, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Guys, I just want to say I’m proud of all of you for not posting a single comment complaining about “This Generation”. Congratulations!

Jordan Mayath
July 13, 2014 at 1:24 am

I can understand why people would expect “Closer” by Nine Inch Nails on this list, seeing as it’s a great video for an amazing song. HOWEVER, the video for it really kind of pissed me off strictly because there were countless moments where parts of the transitions in the song were cut out.

Even if you just cut out half of a long repetitive section of a song just to make a video shorter, you’re showing people something that the artist did not release! Trent Reznor made “Closer” a perfect song, with each phrase going as long as it should, but the video ruined the song for me.

If only they didn’t cut any music out,,, I really liked the whole atmosphere of the video

Jonathan A Wright
July 11, 2014 at 10:42 pm

I was sure #1 would be “Prison Sex”. It was a video that got banned from MT after a few plays and still managed to launch Tool’s career. And where’s Freedom? Sound City dominated 1994.

Jesse Hammer
July 11, 2014 at 9:25 pm

Switch 1 and 2 and you’re on the money. Sabotage changed the game. People still dress as Cochise for Halloween. Spike Jonze ruled the ’90s, that much is gor sure. Closer should be in there in as well. That video made me a NIN fan.

July 13, 2014 at 1:14 am

Agreed.. when I saw this list, I was hoping to see “Closer” on here. Amazing video for an awesome song from a legendary album.

March 25, 2014 at 1:30 am

Switching back to Pitchfork for good. Put “Closer” at 10 if you hate it that much and don’t tell me that anything on this actual list is better than “Sabotage”.
-a reader of 6 years

March 25, 2014 at 6:32 am

poor you only having time for one website

March 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

My favorite 1994 videos are “In the House of Stone and Light” by Martin Page and “Return to Innocence” by Enigma.

I’m not ashamed.

March 24, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Where is Closer – NIN???

March 24, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Did the NIN – Closer video not come out in 1994? Seems like a glaring omission…

March 24, 2014 at 6:44 pm

“Big time sensuality” is missing in this!

March 24, 2014 at 4:03 pm

Similar list of 20 here –

March 24, 2014 at 12:58 pm

NINE INCH NAILS CLOSER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Michael Roffman
March 24, 2014 at 11:53 pm

No doubt iconic to many, but I’ve always considered it too on the nose and derailed by so many other videos that attempted to do the same thing again, and again, and again. I’m definitely alone in that opinion and totally see other’s arguments for it.

March 24, 2014 at 12:20 pm

1994 was clearly a great year for music videos, though I’m undoubtedly biased (and obsessed with the 90s still). My faves of your 10: Black Hole Sun (Superunknown was my first CD), Last Dance with Maryjane (YES on the creep factor), and Fade into You (this song was my breakup anthem and therefore still holds a place in my teenage memories).


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