Top 20 WTF Were They Thinking Music Videos

Top 20 WTF Were They Thinking Music Videos

These music videos will have you scratching your head in confusion. For this list, we'll be looking at the music videos that defied all notions of logic and/or good taste. Our countdown includes “You're Beautiful”, “This I Promise You”, “Do What U Like”, “Hello Kitty”, and more!

Top 20 WTF Were They Thinking Music Videos

Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 20 WTF Were They Thinking Music Videos

For this list, we’ll be looking at the music videos that defied all notions of logic and/or good taste.

What music video leaves you exclaiming expletives? Let us know in the comments!

#20: “You’re Beautiful” (2005)

James Blunt
“You’re Beautiful” is a tender, if corny, love song. While you might expect the accompanying music video would be full of romantic visuals, that’s not the case. Instead, it finds James Blunt singing to the camera on top a snowy cliff while stripping off his clothes. That might seem alluring in some contexts, but not this one. Mostly, it just makes us appreciate having the good sense to stay inside, where it’s warm. This song still managed to become a massive hit, but we don’t think this video is the reason why it connected with people.

#19: “Gimme More” (2007)

Britney Spears
If you need to watch a video where absolutely nothing happens for four minutes, then congratulations, you've found it. The video begins with a more innocent-looking Britney sitting down at the bar with her friends, before noticing her 'bad girl' alter ego begin to pole dance – well, if you can call that pole dancing. Bad Britney kind of bounces around for the entire video, but there aren’t any real pole dancing maneuvers. For a video that’s 96% centered on pole dancing, you’d expect that the pole would be used at some point. Perhaps the people behind it thought the location itself would be edgy enough, but all we could think while watching the video was: gimme more.

#18: “Get Down” (2000)

While this song sounded benign to most people when it was released, the lyrics are clearly talking about oral sex. So it was obviously a bad idea to have the accompanying music video centered on a child. What?! Yep, in it, we follow a young boy who is seemingly fulfilling his fantasies while looking into a View-Master he finds in the trash. In his dream, he attracts older women (older as in 20), by flexing his muscles on the beach, dunking a basketball, and showing off money, much to the chagrin of the b4-4 crew. But nobody wants to hear lyrics about making “you come tonight... over to my house,” while watching this. Why didn't they just cast an older person? Or, you know, make a video that makes… sense?

#17: “If Only I Knew” (1994)

Tom Jones
Who let the dogs out? And why? This Tom Jones track already has a weird enough origin, as it’s a cover of song by experimental hip-hop group Rise Robots Rise. However, the video takes an even stranger turn, as the sound of Jones' voice seemingly inspires a hoard of canines to run out in the night. There's no mention of dogs on this song, but if you didn't know any better, you might think they're his biggest fans. We’re not sure where exactly the idea came from. However, when this many adorable dogs are involved, we’ll let it slide.

#16: “This I Promise You” (2000)

What were they thinking with this one?! This ballad’s music video sees the boy band standing around in Redwood National and State Parks donning turtlenecks that have never really been considered stylish, despite being found everywhere in the early 2000s. On top of that, the members of NSYNC are surrounded by literal thought bubbles, which display the stereotypical slow motion action shots of actors awkwardly pretending to be in love. After a few too many minutes of this, the scene shifts to the band eating outside, during which we witness a boyfriend finally getting to the restaurant to see his girlfriend. The video was so baffling that MadTv parodied it soon after its release.

#15: “Hold You Down” (2014)

DJ Khaled feat. Chris Brown, August Alsina, Future & Jeremih
“You smart, you loyal, you’re grateful. I appreciate that.” Yes, this is the video that spawned that famous meme, and a full viewing of it makes it easy to see why. In what’s an already cringe worthy music video, we get to a part where DJ Khaled talks to his lady friend while giving her stacks upon stacks of money. It's hard to believe this was the best take of the moment they could use, as one of them is over acting and the other is barely acting. Add in more shameless product placement for the headphone brand that shows up regularly throughout the video, and the whole thing’s got us wondering why anyone would keep saying DJ Khaled’s name.

#14: “Take on Me” (2000)

A-ha’s “Take on Me” and its video are both timeless pop culture classics. That’s not the case for this cover by A1, a British-Norwegian boy band. The song itself is a strikingly uncreative retread of the original. The video mixes things up but not necessarily for the better. Taking inspiration from 80s sci-fi classic "Tron," this video find the group entering cyberspace to stop a virus. It's a video that screams "early 2000s,” especially with its “Matrix” reference. While you might give A1 some credit for being willing to make such an over-the-top video, it doesn’t change how baffling this whole endeavor is.

#13: “I Love You” (1990)

Vanilla Ice
This song itself may make you shake your head throughout, especially considering it’s a BALLAD by an artist known more for rapping, but its video adds many extra degrees to that headshake. Produced by Michael Bay, yes THAT Michael Bay, things start off weird when you notice there’s a guy sitting on top of a telephone booth. Then, after a few minutes of Vanilla Ice and others attempting dance moves, the video takes a turn for the creepy when the rapper stealthily jumps off a phone booth and lands right beside the girl - without her noticing - inside it. Those moves would have been probably better suited for his “Ninja Rap” song. With wardrobe that goes from jackets that could probably pass for bed cover patterns to what looks like a mix of various national flags, this video should only be viewed with the lowest of expectations.

#12: “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” (1983)

Journey knows their way around a catchy song, and “Separate Ways” is no exception. But the video has one aspect so puzzling, we can’t begin to understand how it was given the okay. It starts with the band performing on a wharf, initially with no instruments. While their instruments do appear, they soon disappear again, as does our comprehension of what they were going for with this video. Is it supposed to be that their instruments went their "separate ways"? This puzzling aspect made the "Separate Ways" video notorious. We still love Journey, but we can't say we love this decision.

#11: “Break It Up” (1987)

Carl Lewis
Who didn't like flat top haircuts in the ‘80s? This video shows American Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis working out... kind of. He’s mainly just sitting at the machines and doing a few reps in a gym with an unrealistic male-to-female ratio. And then for seemingly no reason, the video is interspersed with actual footage of Carl Lewis participating and winning a track and field event. There’s also an equally random scene in which an older lady with comically large sunglasses starts blowing bubbles into Lewis' face, with an immediate cut to them flirting in a jacuzzi. He ultimately leads her into a sauna for privacy… Whatever floats your boat, Carl.

#10: “Do What U Like” (1991)

Take That
From the beginning of this low budget video, you get the feeling that anything can happen. Well, you would be wrong, because only one thing can happen, and it does. Gary Barlow, Robbie Williams, and the rest of Take That ultimately strip down, show their bare behinds and play with jelly, which gets all over their bodies. Robbie's face alone would have been worth the price of admission – if we had to pay to watch music videos, that is. If the video was made for attention, it certainly worked, because group got just that after the video was banned from being played at certain times of the day. Juxtaposed with the boy band’s other videos, “Do What U Like” is likely the black sheep they want forgotten – but it somehow still made it onto their 2nd video compilation in 2005.

#9: “Don’t Wanna Know” (2016)

Maroon 5
Feeling nostalgic for the days when “Pokémon Go” was the hottest new craze? You might feel differently after watching the video for this Maroon 5 song. In it, frontman Adam Levine plays a turtle-like creature pining after Sarah Silverman's orange. Along the way, he and his fellow bandmates, as well as Ed Helms, are hounded by people trying to "catch 'em all." It might have seemed like a cute concept in 2016, but now, it just seems dated and unfunny. While Kendrick Lamar contributed to the studio version of the song, he's completely absent from the video. He’s likely very grateful about that.

#8: “Dangerous” (2015)

Def Leppard
This video states that it takes place in 2215. But if this is how things will look in the future, we might as well give up now. While Def Leppard has given us some iconic tunes, this video is just a disappointment. It feels as if a high school graphic artist compiled it together the night before his or her project was due, as it features animation that’s reminiscent of 3D art from the 1990s. Except that, well, the video was made in 2015. It ends with one of the many battling androids getting shot off the top of a dome and falling into water. When she resurfaces alive and well, the blank look on her face represents everything we also feel after watching this video.

#7: “M.I.L.F. $” (2016)

This one's a doozy. In what was meant to be an empowering message to women, we get explicit sexualization and innuendo. In this song and video, the acronym MILF is meant to refer to Moms I'd Like To Follow, as in role models, instead of well – you know. So yes, while the celebrity moms that are crammed in along Fergie are rich and somewhat powerful, the video doesn't really portray them as the roles models they’re supposedly trying to promote here. Meanwhile, the use of milk throughout the video is an overused and maybe even misplaced innuendo, as there isn't a real milkman in tow. Instead, we get a milfman that doesn’t actually have much to do with the beverage. So in essence, there is really no reason for the video to ultimately turn into a Got Milk spoof either.

#6: “Hello Kitty” (2014)

Avril Lavigne
Avril Lavigne has a devoted following in Japan. So, there are some good intentions behind this song. However, good intentions don't necessarily yield good results. The "Hello Kitty" video is basically a showcase of just about ever possible Western trope about Japanese culture at once, with sushi and choruses of “kawaii.” The video was swiftly met with criticism for its stereotyping and visual overwhelm. It doesn’t help that the electropop song is a generally grating attempt at a crossover hit. While Lavigne defended the video, she hasn’t ventured back into a J-Pop inspired sound. That’s probably for the best.

#5: “Numb” (1993)

U2 have long been known for being a dignified band. But “dignified” is definitely not the word we would use to describe this video. Guitarist the Edge sings to the camera, while others, including his bandmates, interrupt him in a range of unsettling ways. This includes, but is not limited to, feet. Though there’s nothing explicitly stomach-churning about it, it’s still the kind of video that’ll make you want to take a shower after viewing. It's great that the Edge got to be in the spotlight, and “Numb” is an otherwise excellent song. But this odd video makes us feel a little, well, numb.

#4: “BB Talk” (2015)

Miley Cyrus
This is one of those videos that you cannot unsee. It features Miley Cyrus dressed as an adult baby and trying to look as innocent as possible. Since the song itself is about Cyrus being unhappy with how her partner “baby talks” to her, its video just seems like an excuse for Miley and friends to roll around on the ground and dress up in bibs and bonnets. However, with the lyrical content in mind, we’re sure we’re not the only ones bewildered and slightly disturbed by the sights and sounds of a “baby” like this.

#3: “Hooked on a Feeling” (1997)

David Hasselhoff
In his home country of the U.S., David Hasselhoff is best known for acting and reality shows, he's actually something of a pop star in Europe, particularly in places like Austria and Germany. "Hooked on a Feeling," his ninth album, was a commercial flop. And we don't think the video for the title track helped matters. Before we even get a glimpse at the Hoff, we're already baffled. And once we do, it's no less comprehensible. The video uses green-screen technology to such an absurd extent, we're surprised anyone wanted to use it after this. But then again, where else are you gonna see David Hasselhoff flying through the air or snowboarding down a mountain with a whole fish in his mouth?

#2: “Rock Me Tonite” (1984)

Billy Squier
Is it possible for one bad video to ruin a career? If you’re looking for evidence, “Rock Me Tonite” would be a prime example. This video find Squier getting out of bed and getting dressed, bursting with energy. How much? He's crawling and writhing on the floor and dancing around his bed, decorated with satin sheets. Reaction to this video was unkind, and Squier's commercial appeal suffered in the aftermath. While male artists pushing gender boundaries didn’t start or end with this video, it seems the world just wasn’t ready for “Rock Me Tonite.”

#1: “Baby Baby Baby” (2007)

Joss Stone
Music videos for songs about romantic obsession can get a little intense. However, that doesn’t begin to describe this video from British singer Joss Stone. Made, unsurprisingly, without label EMI, the video stars Stone as a bride who's left at the altar and who proceeds to inflict some brutal punishments on her would-be groom. While the video is clearly going for a humorous tone, the graphic violence deployed doesn't exactly inspire laughs. That is, unless you're someone who finds firing squads uproarious. The “Baby Baby Baby” video is certainly an interesting experiment, but “interesting” is the nicest word we can use to describe it.