13 of the Most Controversial Music Videos Ever

From Kanye West to Madonna, these gory and graphic clips got people talking — for better or for worse.

Photo by Gordon Cowie on Unsplash

Music videos are a perfect opportunity to expand the story of a song.

The best music videos can showcase killer choreography, Halloween-ready attire, or movie levels of cinematic gold; others can spark controversies, no matter how well-intended. Whether centered around copious bloodshed or near-pornographic nudity (sorry, Mom and Dad), there's one thing all controversial music videos have in common: They get people talking.

Here are 13 music videos released over the past 30-plus years that have sparked disputes. Watch at your own risk.

Keep ReadingShow less

Jane Fonda

Photo by Image Press Agency/NurPhoto/Shutterstock

This Wednesday, April 22, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

Prior to the onset of the current pandemic, people across the world were planning on taking to the streets to celebrate 50 years of environmentalism–and the urgency of the climate crisis.

Keep ReadingShow less
Sufjan Stevens, Lowell Brams - Climb That Mountain [Official Audio]

Sufjan Stevens is constantly pushing musical and thematic boundaries, and now he's gone fully out into the boondocks (or maybe the far reaches of the stratosphere) with his new electronic-instrumental album, Aporia.

The album streamed live on March 23rd at 3PM, and it's a 21-track collection of glitchy, meditative sonic journeys that also feel like journeys through space and time.

Most of the album comes from Stevens' jam sessions with Lowell Brams, his stepfather and business partner. "You know how it is with jamming, ninety percent of it is absolutely horrible, but if you're just lucky enough, ten percent is magic," Stevens told Pitchfork. "I just kept pulling out these little magical moments."

Stevens said the record is mostly about his relationship with Brams. It "tells a bigger story of stewardship and mentorship. He's been there since I was five," he said. "This record is a synthesis of all of that history."

The album is almost all instrumental, but in terms of song titles, things get a little out there. Not all the song titles require a dictionary or a PhD in humanities ("Climb That Mountain" is pretty self-explanatory), but many of them are references to Ancient Greek philosophy.

The first track on the album, "Ousia," most likely takes its name from the eponymous Greek philosophical term. "Ousia" was used by Plato and Aristotle to describe the philosophical concepts of "essence" or "substance"—essentially the "stuff" that makes up all things. In Christian philosophy, the term refers to "divine essence" specifically, and since we know that Sufjan songs are always either gay or about god, there's a good chance this song might be an ode to some sort of divine being.

"Palinodes" refers to a kind of poem wherein the author retracts or disavows something stated in a previous poem. "Ataraxia" is a fundamental tenet of Pyrrhonism and Stoicism, meaning "equanimity" or "tranquility" or freedom from struggle. Many Pyrrhonists believe it can only be brought about by another process—"Eudaimonia," the name of the 20th song on the album, which is a state of ultimate happiness and purpose.

The album's title, Aporia, means doubt, uncertainty, or puzzlement. So perhaps the whole album is about Sufjan and Lowell vacillating between Ancient Greek philosophies, trying to find their purposes among life's murkiness. Or maybe it has another meaning unique to Sufjan's mind, something connected to fatherhood and his absent mother and ancient Greek philosophy's ever-present patriarchal shadow over human thought.

Until we find purpose or make peace with the lack of it, we can all languish in Aporia and let the music wash away our confusion.

New Releases

Norah Jones Quietly Persists With "I'm Alive"

The first song from her upcoming album features Wilco's Jeff Tweedy.

Norah Jones - I'm Alive

With seven studio albums to her name, Norah Jones has left an irrefutable impact on jazz and folk music of the 2000s onward.

But the Grammy-winning singer is also a fan of collaborations, too, having released albums with Willie Nelson, Jack White, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong, and more. The latest to team up with her is Jeff Tweedy, who's become revered in his own right as the leader of seminal indie rock group Wilco.

Tweedy co-wrote and played guitar on "I'm Alive," the lead single from Jones' upcoming album Pick Me Up Off the Floor. In Jones' typical fashion, it's a loungey, piano-driven tune that centers on her trademark smoky vocals (Tweedy's son, Spencer, provides drums). Although the track feels generally calm, its message is especially harrowing for women in the current political climate. "She's crushed by thoughts / At night of men / Who want her rights / And usually win," she croons, though by the song's end, an air of hopefulness takes over. "I care a lot / I know the things I'm not / It's alright, it's OK / And it's not / Maybe things will change."

Listen below:

Norah Jones - I'm

New Releases

Taehyung of BTS Makes History with Stunning New Song, "Sweet Night"

What other Korean solo artist has had a single debut as #1 on both the US and UK ITunes charts?

[MV] V (BTS) - Sweet Night [이태원 클라쓰 OST Part.12 (ITAEWON CLASS OST Part.12)]

V (real name Taehyung), member of international K-Pop super group BTS, has just released a touching new song for Itaewon Class OST.

The hit drama stars Park Seo Joon, a friend of Taehyung, undoubtedly adding to the star's interest in recording a song for the soundtrack.

Keep ReadingShow less

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry

Frank Augstein/AP/Shutterstock

I don't think I've ever been as interested in royals as I've been since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their "step back" from the Royal Family earlier this year.

Back in January, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex announced their plan to try being kind of normal in a divergence that's so cleverly been dubbed "Megxit." The couple are now splitting their time between the U.K. and North America, creating a perfect opportunity for Meghan to attend this year's Met Gala. Whispers have been circulating about the former Suits star maybe, possibly, getting back into acting, and this year's gala will serve as a perfect Hollywood homecoming for Meghan.

Keep ReadingShow less