Songs that have been ruined for you by the music video

A band as big as U2 may well have a recording contract which allows them complete creative control of their music videos, but that’s more the exception than the rule. Usually, the video is a product of the efforts of recording company executives who solicit concepts from one or more directors and/or production companies, and the musicians themselves may or may not have any input into the process.

In my experience, it often seemed to come down to this: whoever has the most standing in their particular field will exert the most creative control. So for instance, when you hire a director like Sam Bayer, you’ll know that he’s better at his job than you are at yours, so pretty much everybody else just gets out of his way and lets him work.

The musicians, really, usually seem like just props in somebody else’s play.

The Police’s “Don’t Stand Too close To Me”.

An interesting song about forbidden temptation that was completely ruined by the video of the group dancing around with silly, black graduation caps on…


As much as I hate to enable madsircool evasiveness, that video does leave you wondering WTF? It is unclear what Squire was trying to achieve and it does diminish his “coolness” factor substantially.

You mean the video that (according to Wikipedia) won the MTV Video Music Awards for Best Male Video, Best Cinematography and Best Video from a Film, was ranked #13 on VH1’s 100 Greatest Videos, was ranked #4 on VH1’s 50 Sexiest Video Moments, was ranked #73 on Rolling Stone magazine’s “The 100 Top Music Videos”, and was ranked #1 on Fuse’s “40 Sexiest Videos” in 2010?

I do not like that one either. They made it to quickly cash in on the song’s surprise success, but I do not think it really captures the theme of love lost. As you note, it plays like generic soft porn. The original video, directed by David Lynch, was more traditional but at least it captured the mood of the song.

Are you referring to the original version, or the dance remix?

For me, it was Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin”. Great song, terrible video.

I must also be the only R.E.M. fan who has never liked the “Losing My Religion” video.

It’s Squier, not “Squire”. Google is your friend.

Unless that song was getting a ton of airplay on MTV when you were 10-13 years old and for the rest of your life you’ll always have fond memories when you hear the it.
My vote is for Somebody That I Used To Know. I first heard it by Walk Off The Earth (and just assumed it was their song), then I went and found their video and was even more amazed and then forgot about it for a while. A few weeks/months later I started hearing it on the radio (by Gotye) and didn’t think too much of it…until I saw the video. That painted up half naked guy cringing around on screen took a whatever song and really made me hate it. It’s still one of those songs that I’ll get up and change the radio if it comes on.

Lunatic Fringe

just don’t,
Just don’t.

Eddie Money - “Think I’m in Love”

The song is good mid-tempo rocker. The video goes at a slow pace by comparison which seems to drag the song down with it, and then has a lame “twist” at the end. I can enjoy the song if I block the video out of my mind.

It’s funny because I came in here to post that the Literal Video parody made it so I could no longer take this song seriously anymore.

I’m not a country fan and didn’t watch the whole video, but it looked like while a lot of it is just the singer looking pretty it does show her going through a box of mementos – love letters, a dried corsage, a class ring, etc. That seems directly related to the lyrics in which she reminisces about her high school sweetheart.


The Red Rider song? That video must have had a budget of about $25.

For a few 80s videos, they unwisely decided to add some sound effects – that is, here and there letting you hear the ambient sounds of whatever action is taking place onscreen.

This ruins the song for me, as I can never again hear it without those stupid noises running in my head. There were several of these, but the first one that comes to mind is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ You Got Lucky. Creaking doors and jangling boot spurs? Yechh. Not Petty’s best song anyway, but still.

I can’t say it ruins the song, but if you listen to Bowie’s new single Blackstar without watching the extremely creepy video, it’s a gorgeous, gorgeous song.

Beavis and Butthead were elated to hear the start of Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law.” Eventually they decided that while the song kicks ass, the video sucked and so IIRC they “changed it.”

Make that two.

That song was on heavy rotation during my one brief MTV/VH1 binge nearly 25 years ago. And the video pretty much ruined the song for me. I can’t stand the song to this day, even though I like pretty much everything else R.E.M. has done.

But that’s really the only song where that’s happened for me. Nowadays, if I YouTube a song and the video is detracting from my enjoyment of the song, I look at some other web page while the song plays.

Check out the literal version of “Take On Me”-it’s better.

They’re still making music videos?

I have never found a song was “spoiled” by a bad video. On the other hand, I routinely hit the mute button whenever a TV commercial comes on and the soundtrack is a rock/pop song (even ones I don’t particularly like). I am not going to associate that song with your shitty product.

In case you want to know, the girl in the video is supermodel Helena Christiansen.

If it’s worth anything, Opus the Penguin shares your pain: