Pennsylvania’s Innerpartysystem have been crafting some rather shocking music videos and clips over the course of their last two singles ‘Don’t Stop’ and ‘Die Tonight, Live Forever‘.
Playing with imagery and containing some rather intense sequences, the video for ‘Die Tonight, Live Forever’ is a must-see. What follows this video is the band’s top picks of some of the more ‘controversial’ videos out there.
Die Tonight, Live Forever – innerpartysystem
“Crossfire have asked us to make a list of our all time top 5 ‘controversial’ or ‘banned’ music videos. We’re huge fans of videos, film, etc. and very quickly realized we couldn’t cram it all in to 5. So, here’s a quick top 10 – Jared Piccone – drums, backing vocals.
1. Chris Cunningham- EVERYTHING – I think it’s no secret that we celebrate Chris Cunningham’s entire catalog of videos, commercials, and short films. From the grained out UFO footage in his Autechre video, to the Aphex Twin videos, the crazy Playstation ad with the alien, Rubber Johnny, through Sheena is a Parasite. His videos are all amazing, and stand as the video mark that we aspire to. Not that they’ve all been banned, but they’re all worth mentioning. If we’re talking about his videos that have been ‘banned’ or ‘censored’ Windowlicker would have to be our top pick. The dialogue in the beginning is brilliant.
2. Prodigy- Smack My Bitch Up (Director: Jonas Akerlund) – At the #1 on every list of Banned videos is always Smack My Bitch Up. It’s the ultimate in pushing a night out too far. Plus the track still slams. The twist at the end makes it a classic. It’s no secret that this was a huge influence on the ‘Die Tonight, Live Forever’ video.
3. NIN- Closer (Director: Mark Romanek) – CLASSIC AND AMAZING, enough said. – despite being ‘controversial’ it was still a massive hit. Again, these are the types videos that we look up to and aspire to create, we just hope by the time we get there, stations in America will still show music videos on television. It almost seems a shame to try and create something this beautiful only to have it live in a youtube box.
4. U.N.K.L.E. and Thom Yorke- Rabbit In Your Headlights (Director: Jonathan Glazer) – It’s impossible to watch this video and not get chills at the end. It’s brilliant. It got banned from stations but honestly there’s no reason why. It’s not nearly as well known, but for us this video is right up there with Smack My Bitch Up and Closer as one of the best ‘controversial’ videos, with amazing production and direction.
5. EBN – Emergency Broadcast Network (www.joshualpearson.com/) – EBN was an artist collective in the 90’s that made these amazing videos out of real TV footage. When we were brainstorming ideas for the “Don’t Stop” video, a good friend turned us on to EBN, and we became obsessed with their clips on youtube. It really became a huge influence on how the end product of ‘Don’t Stop’ turned out and the editing style of a lot of our video clips. Once Don’t Stop came out, we linked up with Greg Decampo, who used to be part of EBN. He’s working with a video DJ collective called Eclectic Method who created an amazing video remix of “Don’t Stop,” that mashes in real media clips, old and new, with the stems from the track. We’ve been slipping out a few bootleg DVD’s of it here and there at shows. They did an awesome job on it. I can’t imagine how many hours they spent manipulating the footage.
6. Madonna- Justify My Love – No list of controversial videos is complete without mentioning Justify my Love. In my mind I feel like it’s the first big ‘banned’ video I can recall, but I may have just watched one too many VH1 specials. I remember seeing it on VHS as a kid. I don’t think there’s been another video that became such a big deal that it got banned. The funny thing is, in hindsight, it’s really not as controversial as the media made it seem. Maybe that means that we as a society have made some progress…or maybe it just means that hip hop and pop videos have become so sexual that by today’s standards this seems edgy, but not totally shocking.
7. NIN- Early Videos: Help Me I Am In Hell, Happiness In Slavery, Pinion – We had no idea that Nine Inch Nails made these videos until the golden age of YouTube. I’m not even sure how they were originally released, but the fact that they put this kind of production video into videos that are completely fucked is awesome. Pinion is such a simple, pointed statement that you once you see it you will always remember it. Help Me I Am In Hell is just painfully unnerving, and if Happiness In Slavery doesn’t turn your stomach you’re definitely missing a few screws. We tried to stay away from “shock for shock’s sake” videos on this list (sorry Cradle of Filth and GG) but Happiness In Slavery will really mess your headspace up for the rest of the day.
8. Sigur Ros- Untitled #1 (Vaka)- While Glosoli might just be one of our favorite videos of all time, our ‘controversial’ video list would not be complete without Flora Sigismondi’s beautiful video for Untitled #1. It gives me massive goosebumps every time I see it; not just ‘woah that’s good’ goosebumps, but those fucking huge, all over your body crazy goosebumps. Not to mention, as studio rats, Sigur Ros is amazing. We’re huge fans. The imagery of the kids playing in the ash with gasmasks, and making the black snowman, always blows my mind.
9. Bonnie Prince Billy- I Gave You– This one might seem like a curveball for us as a band, but being a group that makes a lot of low/ no budget video content with big production aspirations, the simplicity of this one shot video, and the way it connects with the track emotionally always blows my mind. It’s beautiful. Ever since I saw it online it always stuck with me as one of my favorite, emotionally heavy, simple one shot videos.
10. Rammstein- Amerika – I’m not sure this video got ‘banned’ but I sure never saw it on American MTV. I think we as a group have always had this closet fascination with Rammstein. We aren’t huge fans of everything they’ve ever done, but ever since we were teenagers every couple of years they’ll come out with the craziest videos and we have a huge amount of respect for the scope of their live shows, if for nothing else then the amount of pyro they continue to use, despite a serious crackdown in pyrotechnic regulations over the past couple of years. This video isn’t really their most offensive, or even the biggest production value, but it was just really well done. A much needed statement delivered with poignant timing, if for no other reason than to get people talking and thinking.
And so there’s our top ten. Even as I’m writing this I’m thinking of other videos and other artists that should be on here. Fuck, I guess I’d make a terrible music journalist, I’d want to put everyone in the top 10. I’ll cut myself off here. If you haven’t seen these, We hope you enjoy them, and if you have seen them, we hope you enjoy them again”. – Innerpartysystem.
Innerpartsystem’s self-titled debut album is released via Island/Fallout Records on 29th September.