11 Worst Villains in Music Videos

August 26, 2013

Fiona Apple in the video for "Fast As You Can." Photo via The New Fiona Apple

Musicians have the best jobs in the world. They not only get to sing and dance before millions but also do some acting on the side. 

While most of this acting won't be up for Golden Globes anytime soon, some of them exude villainy enough to go down in our little awards show: 

11. Sisters of Oz, "Once in a Lifetime"

We figured these monochromatic Sirens do not really like men.

10. En Vogue, "Riddle"

Homegirls playing out domestic revenge fantasies and serving face at the same time? Living. 

9. Britney Spears, "Criminal"

It's Britney, (the) bitch. Watch her grow up from braided schoolgirl to this Bonnie-type miscreant terrorizing London with real-life squeeze Jason Trawick as Clyde.  

8. Janet Jackson, "Son of a Gun"

That's Janet, Miss Jackson if she's nasty. The pop doyenne plays a witch scorned, who conjures a phalanx of bad spirits to serenade her ex-lover with the hook from Carly Simon's "You're So Vain." Now that's comeuppance.

7. Paula Cole, "I Don't Want to Wait"

Anthem of many a lovelorn, virgin teenager in the late 90s, this iconic theme from Dawson's Creek could not have a more counter-intuitive video. The vid envisages Cole as an ageless/endlessly reincarnated black widow who has known one too many men since all of ancient Rome. No, you wouldn't want to wait for an immortal's life to be over. 

6. Lady Gaga and Beyoncé, "Telephone"

Lady Gaga & Beyoncé put on their best Thelma & Louise impression in the video for their second collaboration after "Video Phone." Clocking in at nine minutes, the short film finds Gaga in lesbian heaven after murdering Alexander Skarsgård in the promo for "Paparazzi." Featuring cigarette-stub-sunglasses, the Pussy Wagon from Kill Bill, and more angry faces from Beyoncé than the 2013 Super Bowl, "Telephone" is poison for your minds.

5. Gwen Stefani, "It's My Life"

Here's the No Doubt vocalist channeling Jean Harlow in anticipation of her star turn in The Aviator. While the thought of Stefani playing maneater on her bandmates begs more suspension of disbelief, remember that she dated bassist Tony Kanal once. So you could only imagine the catharsis for her between this and the videos for "Cool" and "Ex-Girlfriend," the latter a worthy addition to this list, by the way.

4. Alison Goldfrapp, "Alive"

Brawny metal rockers leering at Goldfrapp and her Jane Fonda acolytes should be the least of your worries in this video.

3. Shirley Manson, "The World is Not Enough"

Viewers would initially see this as homage to the video for Björk's "All is Full of Love." However, the video to this James Bond theme segues into a can't-look-away spectacle of mass murder that becomes all Garbage's own. 

2. Nina Persson, "My Favourite Game"

Just get the hell out of her way. In a foreshadowing for future Jonas Åkerlund videos (see number 6), The Cardigans' frontwoman rampages through a Mojave Desert highway with a Felix the Cat stuffed toy and a humongous rock sitting on her Cadillac's pedal. Five treatments of the video were released to cater to all points of the retching threshold. Still, MTV UK nearly refused airplay on this one.

1. Madonna, "What It Feels Like For a Girl"

American MTV banned this for a surfeit of violence that was rare for music videos in 2001. Not too surprisingly, trigger-happy Guy Ritchie was behind the camera. "...Like For a Girl" basically sees his ex-wife in a suicidal drive-by aboard that imperative for all violent, villainous women: a yellow car. Ever the Material Girl, Madonna took the ban in stride and released the video straight to DVD.

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