International singers who shot controversial music videos

Jul 12, 2015, 08:16 IST | Ria Lawrence

Rihanna’s recent video is replete with blood, murder, torture and bare bodies. Yet, despite all the gore, she’s not alone

In the world of music, some artistes thrive on the controversy, banking more on gimmicks than the quality of their music.
Or, perhaps we’re a sensitive lot who criticise things that are different from what we’re used to processing.

Rihanna’s new song, B***h better have my money, replete with nudity, gory violence, bad language and all the shock value you could imagine, has surprised fans all over.

With this single, she joins the likes of many other artistes who might have gone a little overboard with their notorious videos. We give you a lowdown of some of the most controversial videos made in recent times, and if you haven’t checked them out already and proceed to do so, you best be warned.


B***h better have my money
The self-directed video by Rihanna that has got feminists turning in their graves looks like a homage to all things that are nightmare inducing. Here’s the plot: Rihanna’s accountant has ripped her off, and to get her revenge she kidnaps his girlfriend who she then tortures ruthlessly throughout the video. Be it the sexualisation of all the violence or the masochism, Rihanna’s ire over losing her money and then torturing a woman to get to the guy (who gets to keep his clothes on, surprise!) leaves you with a somewhat bad taste.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj: Anaconda
The hit rapper more often than not courts controversy, but with this song even her fans were bummed out — quite literally. Most of the video only featured women with bare butts frolicking around making sexual innuendos and none too subtly at that. Throughout her career, Minaj has used the public’s fascination with her butt to her advantage and played on it.

Robin Thicke

Robin Thicke: Blurred Lines
Apart from being the most downloaded track last year, it also gained immense popularity for all the wrong reasons. A particular organisation, dedicated towards rape victims, even had a protest rally against the song. A very unapologetic Thicke went on record saying, “We tried to do everything that was taboo. Bestiality, drug injections, and everything that is completely derogatory towards women. Because all three of us are happily married men with children, we were like, ‘we’re the perfect guys to make fun of this’.” Kudos.


Sia: Elastic Heart
When the video of 12-year-old Maddie Ziegler and 28-year-old LaBeouf wrestling inside a cage in skin-coloured leotards and pants came out, critics instantly slammed it saying it had blaring pedophilic undertones. While this video might be closely contesting with Rihanna as the most controversial video of 2015, Sia defended her music saying, “My intention was to make some emotional content, not to upset anyone.” Considering that Sia has made it big based on her musical and lyrical quality unlike some others on this list, we can give her the benefit of the doubt.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga: Alejandro
The lyrics of the song sent people into a frenzy, and then came the video. Abounding with controversial imagery that included Gaga wearing a nun’s outfit while on the bed with a half-naked guy, several people alleged that the lyrics were about God and Jesus though Gaga never confirmed it herself. Add to this a bunch of soldiers who clearly look like Nazi soldiers and Gaga being raped by half a dozen guys and voila you have yourselves one of the most controversial videos of this decade.

Heart shaped box

Heart shaped box: Nirvana
Though not even half as recent as the other songs on the list, Nirvana single-handedly changed the face of grunge. Many even say that had Kurt Cobain lived to this day, alternative rock would’ve been a lot different than what it is. Apart from lyrics that say, ‘Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back’, the song shows an old man climbing up a crucifix in a Santa hat and a little girl trying to pick fetuses off a tree, and tons of other metaphors for death, sickness and depression. Thankfully, a new generation of rock lovers discovered Nirvana’s album ‘Nevermind’ with the commemoration of the album’s 20th anniversary. Maybe, there’s hope for rock and roll after all.

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