Annie Lennox, “No More I Love You’s” (Annie Lennox and Joe Dyer)
Wide-eyed and presumably possessed by her desire, despair and other said demons, Annie Lennox takes center stage at a Moulin Rouge-style brothel in “No More I Love You’s.” Like many of Lennox’s videos, “No More I Love You’s” is drunk on high drama and pushes the boundaries of socio-sexual norms. The clip was inspired by the work of 19th century French painter Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec; like his piece “At the Moulin Rouge,” the video is darkly textured but its characters’ faces are lit with the warm glow of life.
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, “Mary Jane’s Last Dance” (Kier McFarlane)
This video directed by Kier McFarlane gave Tom Petty his biggest hit in years and made him cool to a whole new generation. It also did wonders for Kim Basinger, who—in her best performance to date—appears in the video as a corpse brought home by Petty’s mortician for some wining, dining, dancing and possibly some romancing. Far more impressive than the delirious mise en scene is the mournfulness that overwhelms the video. In courting Basinger and setting her adrift in the ocean by his gothic abode, Petty seemingly suggests that he may never light up again.
Deee-Lite, “Groove Is in the Heart” (Hiroyuki Nakano)
Sprung from NYC’s then-thriving club scene, the members of Deee-Lite joined forces with guest artists like Maceo Parker and legendary funkateer Bootsy Collins for “Groove Is in ihe Heart,” a retro-visual feast of Laugh-In proportions. Kazoos, fake fur, and Q-Tip, oh my!
Guns N’ Roses, “Estranged” (Andy Morahan)
Andy Morahan collaborated with Guns N’ Roses on more than a half dozen videos. “Estranged” was the band’s most pretentious and self-involved creation to date. This, though, was part of the video’s genius. More so than any other Guns N’ Roses video, the evocative “Estranged” was a frank look at Axl Rose’s celebrity, his obsessive need for control and a haunting foreshadowing of the band’s expiration. Rose’s transcendent communication with the video’s dolphins suggests that the he was more than aware of his delusions of grandeur and evokes the singer’s isolation within his self-imposed spotlight.
Live, “Lightning Crashes” (Jake Scott)
In the post-Nirvana landscape, Live seemed poised to take the alt-rock crown. Their 1994 album, Throwing Copper, sold 8 million copies, fueled in part by the anthem “Lightning Crashes” and its striking video. A young woman dies during childbirth, leaving a baby to be watched over by a bald, female angel. Silver coins are placed over the eyes of the dead woman, a cross-cultural custom meant to protect the soul of the deceased. Years later, a second woman (the baby perhaps) gives birth without complication, the angel once again presiding over the event. Superstitions aside, its message is a visceral one: the body may cease to exist but the spirit gets a second chance.