Tuesday, May 19, 2015

10 Distressfully Dystopian Music Videos

A still from The Bug's "Function / Void." Photo via Vice

Because we are pedantic like that, we'd like to differentiate between dystopia and post-apocalypse. In the latter, people are dealing with the collapse of civilization as it is, in which event dystopia may or may not arise. In the former, a reasonably large society pretty much still exists, albeit warped and perverted to something else.

Here are those warped and perverted realms as seen in music videos.

"Spice Up Your Life," Spice Girls


When you think Spice, you think everything nice. So it came as a surprise to many when, for their second album's inaugural single, the guhls sucked the color out of their video. Welcome to SpiceWorld, a Blade Runner-inspired dystopia where the songs are so catchy even Katniss Everdeen would lay down bow and arrow.

"The Wild Boys," Duran Duran


Meant to be a pitch for a full-length movie, this clip cost a million dollars to become one of the most expensive music videos of all time. If you love and lived through Apple's "1984" ad, you're going to get nostalgic from this one too. 

"Born Free," M.I.A.


Welcome to a sick world where ginger-haired people are not only ostracized, they're also hunted down. Ed Sheeran won't love this. 

"Express Yourself," Madonna


A fixture in all-time lists of music videos, "Express Yourself" is a sexy, feminist tribute to Metropolis as only the Queen of Pop and David Fincher could envision.

"Radio Ga Ga," Queen



Double-clap and throw your fists in the air to Freddie Mercury's own homage to Metropolis.

"Function/Void," The Bug


Pills keep this society in line in a video that evokes George Orwell's 1984 and Christopher Nolan's Inception. 

"Never Close Our Eyes," Adam Lambert


Popping pills to scrub floors in unison? Fortunately Adam found the original use for them, partying and playing amid a world turned upside down.

"Back In Your Head," Tegan and Sara


Tegan & Sara should have rehearsed the choreo to "So Long, Farewell" from The Sound of Music to escape from this infinitely bleak fate.

"Bop 'Til You Drop," Rick Springfield


Rick Springfield plays a messianic minstrel against a literally monstrous, music-loving despot in this delightfully dated video, one of David Fincher's firsts.

"Seventeen," Ladytron



"They only want you when you're 17. When you're 21, you're no fun." You can't get any more anti-utopia than that.

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