I know it’s hard to image now, but there was once a time when music videos were more than racially ambiguous women standing around in bikinis with dead looks on their faces.
In the ’90s, artists treated us to videos with amazing choreography – we tore up our parents’ living rooms trying to act out every step.
Let’s look back at 20 of the decade’s most memorable routines (in no particular order). Now remember, we’re talking about the ’90s here, so some of your favorites – including Paula Abdul, New Edition and most of those 21st century boy bands – didn’t make the cut.
So move the couch and coffee table out of the way and get ready to recreate your favorite moves.
Usher, “My Way” (1997)
Ursher battle dances Tyrese’s crew in this weird homage to “A Clockwork Orange.” You Got Served, Black Ty.
Michael Jackson, “Remember the Time” (1991)
Egyptian MJ steals the Pharaoh Prince Akeem’s girl, makes a ton of soldiers look very stupid, then disappears in a pile of glitter. That’s why MJ is the king.
Quad City DJs, “C’Mon ‘N Ride It (The Train)” (1996)
Yeah, I know it’s corny but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fun.
Janet Jackson, “If” (1993)
Every girl I knew, including my wife, studied this video move for move.
TLC, “No Scrubs” (1999)
This one is mainly here for T-Boz’s weird robot dance near the end of the video.
Heavy D & The Boyz featuring Aaron Hall, “Now That We Found Love” (1991)
The Overweight Lover was never afraid to hit the dance floor. And, as always, he looked like he loved every minute.
Salt-N-Pepa, “Shoop” (1993)
I’ll admit, I forgot how strong the choreography was in this video until I gave it a second look. The girls went in.
Ginuwine, “None of UR Friends Business” (1999)
This is here solely for the “dancing broom” routine. It gets a little corny at times, especially when the broom starts levitating, but G’s footwork is impressive.
TLC, “What About Your Friends” (1992)
As a kid, nothing got me more hype than seeing a couple dozen dancers simultaneously killing a routine. It’s a great visual.
Madonna, “Vogue” (1990)
Honestly, I think this one has gotten a bit overrated over time. Still, you can’t overlook its legacy and influence.
NSYNC, “Tearing Up My Heart” (1997)
Their greatest success would come in the following decade but this track laid a very strong foundation.
Usher, “You Make Me Wanna” (1997)
Usher dances so hard he literally comes out of his shoes. That was an epic routine at the time.
The Boys, “Crazy” (1990)
Bet you forgot about these guys. Their homage to ’80s dance pioneers made for a great video.
Aaliyah, “Are You That Somebody” (1998)
Baby Girl mixes flamenco with hip-hop in one of R&B’s most memorable routines.
Jordan Knight, “Give It To You” (1999)
The homie from New Kids on the Block went solo at the end of the decade and proved he still had moves.
Kid N Play, “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody” (1991)
Those Kid N Play boys practically reinvented the dance scene in the late 80s/early 90s and this might be their best video.
Britney Spears, “Baby One More Time” (1999)
Brit Brit’s pep rally routine (with the stuffy teacher gettin’ funkay) immediately pushed her to superstar status.
Busta Rhymes, “Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Could See” (1997)
Bussa Bus might not do any dancing but his weird collection of concubines make up for that, putting on a spectacular show.
MC Hammer, “U Can’t Touch This” (1990)
Oh, you can try to hate on this now, but in 1990 even the hardest thug was trying to do the Hammer Dance across the living room floor.
Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson, “Scream” (1995)
Greatest video of all time? It’s hard to argue against it. Plus, the siblings looked like they were having the time of their lives. They were born to do this.
Which videos did I miss? Let a brother know in the comments.
(Featured Moonwalker image courtesy of Malcolm Jackson on Flickr)