Don't Talk Back, Just Drive the Car: The Best and Worst 80s Alternative Music Videos
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Don't Talk Back, Just Drive the Car: The Best and Worst 80s Alternative Music Videos

By Cindy Davis | Seriously Random Lists | June 7, 2012 | Comments ()


I miss my MTV. I miss the real MTV that actually showed music videos, which were sometimes like creative little mini-films that told a story we may or may not have understood. I miss the cool animations, claymation, surrealism and cynicism. I miss Michael Hutchence. But that's beside the point--which is--here are the slightly late 1980s Music Video Awards (as interpreted by me). Do add your own.

Best Overlooked Video Because of That Damned Sledgehammer Video:

Peter Gabriel, Digging in the Dirt

Best Muppet Dancing, Pre-Thom Yorke; Best Nonchalant Boobies (NSFW):

R.E.M, Pop Song 89

Best Sneering While Dancing in a Blade Runner Universe:

Billy Idol, Dancing with Myself

Best Use of Mannequins with An Unintended "Doctor Who" Reference:

A-ha, The Sun Always Shines on T.V.

Best Use of Preexisting Clones:

The Smiths, Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

Best Use of Spandex, a Plastic Flowerpot and a Whip:

Devo, Whip It

Best Beaker Immitation:

Depeche Mode, Master and Servant

Worst Video for a Great Song:

World Party, Ship of Fools

Most Unenthusiastic Performance By a Band Who Should Be Kicking Music Video Ass:

Violent Femmes, American Music

Egregious Misuse of a Charismatic Lead Singer:

Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kiss Them For Me

Cheesiest Ode to Mannequin:

Berlin, Sex (I'm A...)

Worst Dancing By a Hot Guy in a Ridiculous Outfit:

Duran Duran, Planet Earth

David Lynch Award--Most Incomprehensible Video:

New Order, True Faith

The Why Are We Watching This? Award (NSFW):

Soft Cell, Sex Dwarf

Cindy Davis has been banned in three countries.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • Carl

    I wonder if Sex Dwarf was inspiration for the Gimp in Pulp Fiction?

  • Turd Ferguson

    Our House, Madness. Just sayin.

  • Turd Ferguson

    Digging in the Dirt is one of my favorite Gabriel songs in a long line of favorite Gabriel songs. I loved the rage, the over-reaction and collateral damage in the slo-mo shots.

    I forget who I was listening to/watching, but they said the Violent Femmes were they're worst guests, the ones they were anticipating the most and who turned out to be rather large dicks. Kinda like watching Road Warrior after knowing what a dick Gibson is. Kinda stains it.

    I've always loved that New Order video.

  • it was the lead singer of the femmes, he was a dick, and did pretty nearly ruin live shows

  • Turd Ferguson

    It was Dr Drew and Adam Corolla's Loveline. Dr Drew was rather disappointed.

  • alwayssunnysomewhere

    Cool list. But "Digging in the Dirt" came out in '92..much removed from the 80s in my memory. The only reason I quibble is because that is one of my favorite Peter Gabriel songs..Well, that and "I Go Swimming" which was definitely 80s.

  • smaj

    Hush your mouth on Ship of Fools.

  • TheOriginalMRod

    What? No Bonnie Tyler, Total Eclipse of the Heart?

  • Anne At Large

    Gotta say it, didn't that Violent Femmes album come out in 1991?

  • The Most Pointless Music Video to One of the Bestest Songs Ever Award goes to Vanity 6 for Drive Me Wild.

  • Fabius_Maximus

    80s? Sorry, I don't do 80s.

  • e jerry powell

    Oh, dear Cindy; the entire Duran Duran music video body of work should be given that particular award.  They brought the pretty well enough, but their videos were dangerously uncool for the most part.

  • LinaBeana

    Pity Oingo Boingo didn't make the list. 

  • damnitjanet

     Eurythmics, Who's That Girl? With Annie Lennox as a guy kissing herself?

    Adam Ant...doing anything?


    Tom Petty, Don't Come Around Here No More? EATING ALICE IN WONDERLAND??

    No wonder my generation are so fucked up...

  • Slash

    Oh, the memories. From when MTV actually had music videos instead of scumbags from New Jersey and unmarried teenage mothers. 

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I was going to suggest "Safety Dance" and "These Are the Hands We're Given"...but they aren't alternative. Just one weird fun video, and one weird creepy video. That Reagan puppet...*shudder*

  • with the Spitting Image puppets. . .video stands up today still

  • Hiro_the_Eighth_Samurai

    If you're thinking of the video I'm thinking of, "These Are the Hands We're Given" is actually "Land of Confusion," by Genesis.

  • Lubeg

    I think Rick Rolling became passé when Astley got Rick Rolled

  • Jptaylorsg

    Worst dancing by a huge, bald future politician who kinda looks like House:
    Midnight Oil - Beds Are Burning 

  • Turd Ferguson

    You forgot to add male model post-headshave. Decent song, annoying video. Overused and overplayed.

  • SugarSmak

    Wow...had a flashback to late 80s FSU, Sunday nights, watching "120 Minutes" with my friends. God, I miss videos (and I love most of the ones you posted here). May I add to the list with "Video with Most Random Use of Hawaiian Dancers"? 

    Fishbone was the t*ts. Their documentary "Everyday Sunshine" is streaming on Netflix. Highly recommended!

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    And the header pic's not supposed to be a Claymation Tom Hanks with inexplicable hammer hands, right? Because I can't see anything but a Claymation Tom Hanks from That Thing You Do up there. And I think it will haunt my dreams.

  • Miss Laaw-yuhr

    I saw claymation Matthew MacFadyen myself.

  • Turd Ferguson

    Looks like Astley to me.

  • lowercase_ryan

    I think Dire Straights should be on here somewhere. Like it or not that video and song spoke volumes about the time.

  • Best in show: Tom Petty - every video.

  • Long_Pig_Tailor

    Shouldn't there be a Rickroll somewhere? For form's sake, at least?

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