A YouTube search for “Worst Music Video Ever” yields an unsettling number of results. They’re all terrible, but there’s only one “The Worst.” And thus, “Which music video is the worst music video ever?” becomes a debate that deserves an answer.
To sort out the wreckage, we decided to live blog five of the first-page videos and determine—frame for frame—which was indeed the worst. We watched each video only once, pausing so that our typing could catch up with our reactions, and we played no favorites. None of the people behind these videos were acquaintances of ours at any point prior; this is objective reporting on the baddest of the bad.
Contestant No. 1: Jan Terri, “Losing You,” 1993
“Losing You” opens with a shot of Chicago taken from a Lake Michigan shoreline. Then a cut to another scene from Lake Michigan, then a pan down of the city’s Méridien hotel to find a black limousine pulling up to the entrance. A crotchety old woman wearing a big black jacket emerges from the hotel. She looks like a cross between Marge Schott and Madeleine Albright. She gets into the car, the bellhop shuts the door, and we all hope that we never have to see this woman again.
It should be noted at this time that Jan Terri’s droning, monotonous voice has already reached the tired hook that comes one verse into “Losing You.” Augmented by some degree of the chorus effect in post production, the song’s lyrics arrive out of rhythm and with little reverence to any type of rhyme scheme. The music, synthesizers and a busy bass bump bump bumping over a downright iconic set of 1980s electronic drums, is just about the definition of “cheesedick.”
Sadly, this is not the last we’ve seen of the subject, whom we’ll call Margeleine, since that’s what she looks like. The next shot we see is of her in the back of the limousine, looking off into the distance as her car drives about 35 miles down the highway.
But alas, Margeleine is now Jan Terri! It’s something we should have Googled. And Terri’s sitting outside in a park singing rather half-heartedly about what it’s like to lose the love of your life. Now she looks a little bit more like Divine, the protagonist from Pink Flamingos, more than anything else. Her hair, a strawberry blonde that could surely use a new shampoo type, flails without structure in what looks like an autumn wind.
Back to Chicago’s skyline before cutting to a supposed “bad boy” with a mullet who’s parked his motorcycle in a no parking zone.
Jan Terri’s back in the limo now, presumably headed for the bad boy. She’s looking out the window and—now she’s walking arm in arm with the bad boy! Holy moly, they’re waving at nobody like they’re walking through a parade.
It becomes quite clear at the 2:30 mark that Jan Terri has absolutely zero understanding of timing. She’s with him then without him, back in the park then talking to him on a pay phone. But alas, now she’s off to the airport and jetting away to somewhere else, some other city on a lake with a motorcycle man and a dream.
Contestant No. 2: Zladko “Zlad!” Vladcik, “Elektronik Supersonik,” 2004
The first seven words you hear from Australian do-it-all Santo Cilauro’s Italian disco alter ego Zlad!’s top single are “Hey baby, wake up from your asleep,” and it’s easy to understand why. This is a video that you have to see to believe. Shot murkily with some legitimately cheese effects on what might be a $3 camera, the 2004 clip finds Zlad! and his fembot bassist swaying back and forth while computer generated images splash and morph on a green screen in the background.
It’s hard to really know what’s going on here. Zlad!’s basically like an early version of Sacha Baron Cohen’s German Bruno character, a Yamaha playing spaceman with Richie Sambora hair and a John Holmes mustache. He shares the same face as Dustin Hoffman in Hook. But he’s not doing anything but standing there behind the keyboard.
Is it a bad music video? Yes. It it the worst music video ever? Child, please. Have you heard about Jan Terri?
Contestant No. 3: Ilkka Johannes Lipsanen and Armi Aavikko, “I Wanna Love You Tender,” 1978
A popular Finnish track that Internet encyclopedia Know Your Meme attests had a string of YouTube success in 2006, “I Wanna Love You Tender” opens with a sort of Weird Science, Total Recall image of a blue, nebulous blob gyrating like a jellyfish in front of a spacey black screen.
Enter eight Scandinavians in red pants and white sweaters dancing like idiots on a stage that looks like it was cut out of a Star Wars control room. These moves are bad, people. Elaine Benes wouldn’t even go for the guys out there performing them. It’s all elbows and knees, then a dig and a slide. Only a couple of the dancers are in rhythm. They’re all finally gone.
A blond chap with an unbuttoned shirt emerges at the 43 second mark singing about how much he loves someone and how much he wants to love them tender. He’s smiling. His head’s nodding. He looks like a creep. I bet he’s a creep.
The girl, Ilkka Johannes Lipsanen, breaks through at 58 seconds to explain her concern, questioning whether it’s even possible for her to be sure that he’ll love her tender before engaging in this slow “make room for the holy ghost” dance that’s accompanied by the eight original dancers who are doing some northern iteration of the conga mixed with the lawnmower move that all the kids try in sixth grade.
Now everybody’s in a line, but the two main subjects haven’t moved. In fact, they’re still swaying back and forth about a foot and a half from each other, seemingly unaffected by the alarming dancing going on in front. In the back, a Milky Way galaxy illuminates the scene. This is some deep space shit, y’all.
The serenade continues. The main characters join hands. Armi gives Ilkka a twist and they depart. The eight cheerleaders go ballistic. They’re dancing like they’re in the North Korean army. Armi and Ilkka depart on a flying convertible.
Contestant No. 4: Ajdar, “Çikita Muz,” 2009
Set atop a speedboat in a Mediterranean cove, this Turkish video finds the dance artist Ajdar, a sleek looking fellow with an excess of linen shirts, dancing with two bikini-clad women while he sings about Chiquita bananas. At one point, just after the 1:30 mark, he reveals two handfuls of radishes before pushing them back and forth and then throwing them into the lake so that he can reengage in his dancing with the two women.
That’s when the bananas come out, and we’re subject to Ajdar and these two women eating two bananas, sharing them, splitting them, and generally acting as seductively as possible while steel drums and short keyboard strikes lead an instrumental break.
The second half of the clip is much like the first: Ajdar turning around and pirouetting without reason. He’s an awful singer. He’s an awful dancer. This video’s terrible, but Ajdar’s also foreign. Maybe this is just what Turkish people do when they make it out onto a boat.
Contestant No 5: TheNickFever, “Untitled,” 2012
Stretching 1:50, TheNickFever’s video, titled, we guess, “Worst Music Video Ever!,” is the only video of the lot created specifically so that the individual behind the video could lay claim to the title of “Worst Music Video Ever!” That’s no good for real NickFever; for that, your video’s already out of contention.
Anyway, the video kicks off on Election Day, with a woman standing outside a polling booth who’s obviously the object of TheNickFever’s affection. We see Nick just a few seconds later; he’s dancing in front of some 1980s graphic imaging, dancing out of rhythm and singing with some chipmunk style effect attached to his voice.
The girl emerges onto the scene and they’re dancing together. God, this is awful. Nick’s shaking his butt. The girl’s doing some weird tarantula dance. We’re just gonna cut this off here. The Daily Dot maintains no respect for losers who go out there and try to just lose.
Photo via Ryan RR/YouTube