In the spirit of our recent look at the fact that some of the ’90s TV shows we remember so fondly weren’t actually all that great, we also got to thinking about similarly overrated music videos. These are the videos that seem to enjoy continuing goodwill from the public and music critics alike, despite the fact that when you look at them on their own merits, they’re actually, y’know, not very good. At all. The ’80s were full of these, but there’s been a reasonable amount from recent years, too. We’ve pulled together a list of 10 — what did we miss?
Pearl Jam — “Jeremy”
It’s hard to separate this video from the mythology that’s grown up around it — the controversies, the Judas Priest-style accusations of encouraging copycat suicides, and the fact that Pearl Jam famously abandoned music videos for years after the shitstorm this one catalyzed. So 20 years later, it’s strange to look back and find that this video just wasn’t really all that good. If anything, the video lessens “Jeremy”‘s impact; while the song itself is lyrically ambiguous, leaving it open to question what actually happened when Jeremy “spoke in class,” the video’s onslaught of symbolism and imagery, along with the director’s decision to include a video Jeremy acting out the song’s narrative, has all the subtlety of a brick to the head. It comes across as more melodramatic than anything else — the only genuinely creepy thing about the video is Eddie Vedder’s weird fixed grin.