13 reasons why music videos peaked in 1999

1999 was a landmark year for rock music videos. If you don't believe us, just take a look at these iconic clips…

13 reasons why music videos peaked in 1999
Dan Slessor

1999 was quite the year for quality music, and it’s arguably the peak year when it comes to rock and metal videos too. From high-concept and big-budget to cheap and cheery outright silliness, the whole gamut was run by Kerrang!’s favourite bands and it’s made for an unforgettable collection, many of which still feature regularly on music television, testifying to just how damn good they are. These are our favourites.

Foo Fighters – Learn To Fly

For the first video from There Is Nothing Left To Lose the Foo Fighters got whimsical, making for one of the silliest – and most fun – videos of the year. The band hamming it up in multiple roles, the action unfolds on an airliner, foiling the nefarious scheming of their buddies Tenacious D and saving the day by landing the plane against the odds.

Read this: A deep dive into Foo Fighters' Learn To Fly video

Slipknot – Wait And Bleed

There are two videos for Wait And Bleed; one a live clip shot during Ozzfest and the other a more artistic take featuring claymation versions of Slipknot's members. Reminiscent of the opening credits to the movie Seven, the footage is distressed and damaged, which perfectly suits the disturbing imagery that unfurls, the band ultimately surrounding and setting fire to the video’s sole human character.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Scar Tissue

Featuring a shorter-haired, bleached blonde Anthony Kiedis, the Scar Tissue video captures the band a little worse for wear. Bruised, bleeding and bandaged, the quartet drive through the scorched desert in an open-topped car, pausing occasionally to play broken instruments. Moody, brooding and somewhat melancholy, it’s the perfect visual accompaniment to the standout track from Californication.

Korn – Freak On A Leash

Winning a GRAMMY for Best Short Form Music Video, Freak On A Leash is a unique clip. Bookended by animated segments, the video follows the trajectory of a bullet fired from the gun of an animated police officer that breaks into the real world, causing damage as it maintains its flightpath, only to be commanded back to where it began by vocalist Jonathan Davis. As imaginative as it is visually thrilling, it’s by far Korn’s best video.

Read this: A deep dive into Korn's Freak On A Leash video

blink-182 – What's My Age Again?

Back when blink-182 didn’t take anything particularly seriously, they delivered this unforgettable video, boasting the most simple concept going: running naked around the town! Cue three pasty men with patches of pixels protecting their modesty taking a jaunt through the streets, drawing eyes everywhere they go, and in the process searing the image into the mind of anyone exposed to the video.

Nine Inch Nails – We're In This Together

Directed by Mark Pellington (Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains), NIN's video for We’re In This Together is a distinctly and suitably moody affair. Shot entirely in black and white and featuring flashes of abstract imagery interspersed with hundreds of black-clad figures running, it grows steadily more claustrophobic and intense, and by the time it’s done you feel like you just watched an entire sci-fi movie condensed into six thrilling minutes.

Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch

Another simple and silly concept – which is not exactly surprising given it was the work of Bloodhound Gang – The Bad Touch caught the band frolicking around the streets of Paris, dressed as monkeys. Performing, tranquilliser darting attractive young women, netting mimes, taunting the (stereotyped) locals and eating live worms, it all came together to make for a lively clip that brings a smile every time.

Silverchair – Anthem For The Year 2000

Getting a head-start on the millennium, rebellion is the name of the game in the clip accompanying Silverchair's bludgeoning track. Pitting protestors against riot police armed with water cannons and tear gas, the masses attempt to take down the government led by a (quite literal) human puppet while Daniel Johns and co. tear things up. A metaphorical middle finger in the air from start to finish.

Rage Against The Machine – Sleep Now In The Fire

Having roped in socially-conscious filmmaker Michael Moore to direct the video, Rage play an unsanctioned show directly outside the New York Stock Exchange, protesting the greed at work on the other side of the doors. Intercut with a faux game show – the questions of which all point to the wealth disparity in the world – it’s a searing indictment of capitalism, with Rage occupying Wall Street nearly 20 years before the movement began in force.

Read this: A deep dive into RATM's video for Sleep Now In The Fire

The Offspring – The Kids Aren't Alright

Spending their entire production budget on high-end special effects, the video for this track is a dizzying headfuck. With the camera never ceasing to revolve, the setting continually alternates between the lounge of a nicely kitted-out house to a stripped down husk of the same, with various characters constantly morphing through different phases of life in the middle of it all. Oh, and The Offspring are intermittently there playing too.

Limp Bizkit – Nookie

Proving that a dumb chorus can’t ruin a music video, Nookie helped Limp Bizkit jump to the next level. Walking the city streets in Rocky Balboa fashion, Fred Durst draws a legion of followers - albeit one made up entirely of attractive women - and leads them to an alley where a stage is set up and the band put on a show for fans of all genders. It’s not big, it’s not clever, but it’s effective and definitely memorable.

Marilyn Manson – I Don't Like The Drugs But The Drugs Like Me

Always reliable when it comes to visuals, Marilyn Manson didn’t disappoint with this clip. White-haired and clad in white, he spends much of the video strapped to a crucifix made of televisions, and even more of it being pursued by headless men in uniform. Having his arm bloodlessly sawn off and taking a death dive at the video’s climax make for particularly memorable moments.

Metallica – Whiskey In The Jar

Another simple concept done very well, Whiskey In The Jar is one of Metallica’s most fun videos. Setting up in a house and rocking out their cover of the classic track, what starts out as a reasonably sedate party populated entirely by women grows gradually more debauched and in turn destructive, culminating in a full scale smash-fest with the band getting in on the action. Perfect.

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