In August of 1981, MTV played its first music video, The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star”, helping to usher in a new generation of music fans and drastically changing the ways in which musicians promoted their music. Videos were now an expectation for musicians, and served as a commercial of sorts for whatever single an artist was hoping to promote. In a contest to stand out from all the other videos, however, directors and musicians often relied on dramatic and unconventional methods to get the viewers’ attention. In some case, this created some amazing art, in others, the overt incongruency with the lyrical content seemed far too bizarre to process and in turn created videos that are unintentionally awkward. So with that in mind, I’ve put together a list of five of the most unintentionally awkward.
5: Timbaland; “The Way I Are”
Timbaland’s “The Way I Are” is one of my favorite tracks to come out in the past ten years, but Shane Drake’s video? Before making the video, Drake set up loft goals, stating that he likes “to tell stories with [his] vidoes” and that the video for “The Way I Are” was “going to be unlike any other” and would utilize “the tools of incendiary cinematography and fierce lighting schemes”. The plan was to “sculpt an edgy masterpiece, oozing with style and impact… From the colors, to the wardrobe — to the edits” and that it would have “force and velocity”. Instead of a ‘edgy masterpiece’, the video looks like something a 14-year-old soccer fan with three flood likes put together in a back ally just before going home to masturbate whilst watching Bend it Like Beckham. It is a haphazard video that seems to have little in common with the track. Whoever Drake hired to do the wardrobe clearly didn’t listen to the lyrics because as Timbaland is bemoaning that he has no money, he’s wearing a suit that likely cost more than a good used car. As for “defying the genre”, I suppose Drake does that, but only because hip-hop videos don’t typically feature white kids from boarding school trying to impress each other with soccer ball tricks. Timbaland and Keri Hilson stand around a dark alley doing a conventional lip sync whilst ridiculously bright lights cast forward shadows onto them. There is no ‘story’ being told, just simple cuts from Timbaland and Hilson to three white dudes flipping soccer balls around whilst wearing suits.