10 Controversial Music Videos

Over the years, we've had the opportunity to witness 10 music videos that stir up discussion and leave us speechless, for one reason or another. In this article, we've compiled 10 music videos that have sparked debate and still evoke strong reactions in viewers today.

Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to witness 10 music videos that stir up discussion and leave us speechless, for one reason or another. In this article, we’ve compiled 10 music videos that have sparked debate and still evoke strong reactions in viewers today.


A true documentary on the plight in South America (or in developing countries, in general). For Spanish speakers, the song’s lyrics may provide a clearer indication of its intent, but the visuals speak for themselves. Scenes of urban decay serve as a backdrop to the art of music, demonstrating that a meritocratic society cannot also be hierarchical. “Senor Matanza” (or Mr. Slaughter) refers to the politician, the entrepreneur, the policeman, the dictator, all encompassed in one person. A person atop a pyramid, looking down and doing whatever it takes to preserve their interests. The military, the mine, the plantations, the union, the school, the pawnshop, and even “that bar” are all owned by them, and one cannot even walk without collaborating with Mr. Slaughter. The screen shows the direct consequences of their actions, worthy of the fiercest mythological beast in classical literature.


In 2009, after a vast videography filled with sensational, provocative, and cinematic videos, Rammstein decided to push the boundaries further. How do you go beyond extreme if not by touching on porn? And here we are, our beloved band exploring various genres of classic porn cinema. We find them as a millionaire cowboy, a patriarchal office boss, a homeowner with a French maid, a BDSM slave, and the keyboardist as a tranny. Obviously, all made possible by the wonders of computer graphics, considering none of the band members could dream of having a physique like that shown, not to mention that some of them have private lives with wives and children. Let’s say that when certain goals are achieved in an artist’s career, almost anything is permitted.


With “Outside,” George Michael takes us to a parallel universe where sex is prohibited by law. To the tune of a disco dance track, we see how clandestine encounters dominate when people decide to mate anyway, leaving an aura of prohibition and extremity for something as ordinary as sex. As for explicit scenes, the director leaves no room for ambiguity because they are all straightforward and explicit. We witness free sex, pansexuality, and unlimited transgressions, all fought against by the American police as if they were acts of terrorism. Needless to say, despite the arrests, two policemen reserve the freedom to share a passionate kiss at the end of the video. The icing on the cake comes during the playback, when a public toilet transforms into a disco where good old George vents in a virtuous song dressed as a police officer.


The video is a narrative of what a relationship between a fan with severe social issues and their musical idol might be like. The photography is dark, and that alone is enough to convey the kind of sadness and depression that only a barely meritocratic society can instill in you. The plot is simple and direct, with emulations and mistreatments, struggles, and moments of closure. Everything revolves around a one-way correspondence between the fan and the artist, which, due to the lack of responses, abruptly ends in tragedy. Needless to say, the emotional success of this video was directly proportional to the need to censor it. Perhaps a story too harsh but certainly too common to tell, perhaps dangerous.


The Guardian called it “virtuosic grossness.” The video was shot by the undisputed genius Chris Cunningham. The plot is simple, mysterious amateur shots of a shapeless humanoid mass in a wheelchair. This character named Johnny delights us with a macabre dance to the minimalist music of the artist, interrupted only by someone scolding him and a line of cocaine leading him to perform his choreography to the fullest.

Originally passed off as official evidence of the existence of aliens, on which conspiracy theories had already given ample space to the most bizarre theories. The video was an international success and still represents a true manifesto in the world of music videos.


The video begins with a subjective shot that puts us directly in the shoes of a person during their unrestrained life. They wake up, tinker in the bathroom with a razor, put on a record, and start drinking. When they go out, we notice that it’s night, and the evening program primarily includes getting drunk, as the first stop is a bar where they drink and harass women, unsuccessfully touching them. The night continues in a nightclub where they engage in a frenzied dance and start a fight, causing panic and disorder among everyone, including the DJ.

Once kicked out due to security, the heavy drug phase begins with all its consequences, ending up in a strip club where they pick up a stripper. After a night of paid sex, the lady leaves, allowing us to see the face of the protagonist through the mirror. It was a woman.


Perhaps one of the few cases where the visual impact slightly surpasses, though barely, the artist’s musical composition. The impact is devastating and takes you directly to a world that anyone would deny. Banality is exacerbated to the point of emerging from its status of banality and transforming into a grave awareness. Four alternating settings compose the video’s progression, alternating four types of devastation. We are shown natural devastation in the Amazon, depicting indigenous people in front of a deforested forest, animal devastation, showing an unarmed African tribe in front of elephant corpses, human devastation showing the consequences of a war (presumably in the former Yugoslavia), and total devastation in which Michael Jackson performs playback. The happy ending is brought about solely by the dream of a better world, demonstrated by Michael Jackson’s artistic omnipotence.


It’s easy to talk about controversies when it comes to metal bands, especially black metal. It was practically impossible to leave this video out of the discussion, and it’s almost banal to talk about it, but with all the effort the director put into conveying all those infernal sensations, it seems the least. In the video, the band plays in front of what seems to be Satan himself, collecting their souls one by one, showing what they did in their earthly lives. Violence, death, sex, blood, and malice reign as they cry out “this is the end of everything.”


We remember the ’90s as an outlet for any youthful rage that could be expressed through music in any parent’s garage. After decades of rock rebellion, lumberjack shirts, and acidic lyrics. None of this matters when we talk about the Bloodhound Gang, an American group with provocative veins that released the single Fire Water Burn, unfortunately used as the soundtrack by soldiers in tanks during the Iraq War (as seen in Michael Moore’s documentary). The video is quite hardcore, depicting them in an unrestrained performance in a retirement home full of seniors. The situation is particularly amusing when we notice how the frontman tackles the concert, exactly as if he were in front of teenagers.


With the album “La Radiolina,” Manu Chao was already at the peak of his solo career, which is why his project took an almost social turn. No more studio videos but amateur videos shot spontaneously and thrown onto what was still the lively market of music videos. We had already seen how Manu Chao chose as the subject for a video of the song “La Vida Tombola” a serenade outside Maradona’s house, complete with tears of emotion from the latter, and in all this, we were already ready for another video full of reflections rather than virtuosities. With “Me Llaman Calle,” we find Manu and the guitarist who follows him in concerts, playing seated at the bar surrounded by ordinary people, alternating shots of the area’s prostitutes and documenting the pure expression of their routine. The song addressed the theme of prostitution with a certain poetic almost magical key, and the video welcomes the discomfort and genuineness of a still poorly understood world.