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Is it really worth it? A video that costs a lot more than a lifetime earnings of an American family? Music videos can be a mixture of many arts-music, acting, dancing, writing and simply everything connected to any visual art imaginable. Still, most of them aren’t. They simply accompany the song so that it can be presented to wider audiences. So, what about the most expensive ones? Are they worth it? Just to show you how expensive they are, the video for “Bad” by Michael Jackson was directed by Martin Scorsese, it took 6 weeks to complete and, in its full version, it lasts 18 minutes (you are probably more familiar with the four-minute version) featuring writer Richard Price, Roberta Flack and Wesley Snipes. And it’s NOT on the list. We will list the ones that are here, and give a bit of explanation, and you be the judge.

10. Celine Dion “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”

At the time of its release in 1996 it cost $2,300,000. Directed by Nigel Dick, it was shot in Prague in Czech Republic in the palace of the Austrian Emperor. It is somewhat similar to “Total Eclipse of the Heart”, and the song is based on Wuthering Heights. It’s a melodic song with several parts that get stuck in your ears immediately, but not very different from some other songs of the time when this kind of soft pop-rock was in its heyday. Here it is.

9. Busta Rhymes (feat Janet Jackson) “What’s It Gonna Be”

It was released in 1999 and it cost $2,400,000 since it was full of special effects, with memorable beginning section with a glass of water breaking and water forming Busta who starts the song, and changes his shape many times over as the song progresses.

8. Mariah Carey (feat Jay-Z) “Heartbreaker”

Released in 1999 as well and costing $2,500,000. The song generated many differing comments, since it was actually very similar to another Mariah’s song “Fantasy”. Even though people considered it highly unimaginative it became a worldwide success. In the video Mariah plays two different characters fighting over the same guy who is cheating on them both. Jay-Z could not appear in the video because of his contract at the time, so he is presented as a cartoon character. It’s a girl-pride song so REAL MEN don’t like it.

7. MC Hammer “Too Legit to Quit”

Yes, Can’t Touch This guy actually made more than $2,500,000 to pay for this video. It came out in 1991 and the entire album had many references to a dance showdown with Michael Jackson MC Hammer desired. It also featured James Brown and it lasted 10 minutes. The song itself turned out to be a big hit even though it was no different than many other songs of the time, and much of its fame was attributed to the long video and self-generated controversy of challenging Michael Jackson. Smart business move, if nothing more.

6. Puff Daddy (feat The Notorious B.I.G. & Busta Rymes) “Victory”

Released in 1998, cost $2,700,000. The video is homage to the film The Running Man and it lasts almost 8 minutes. It also features Dennis Hopper and Danny DeVito. The entire video is very similar to the mentioned film, and the movie-like scenes interrupt the song several times. Busta Rhymes sings the chorus next to the statue representing victory, but Biggie did not appear n the video since he died the previous year.

5. Guns N’ Roses “Estranged”

Came out in 1993 and cost $4,000,000. Believe it or not, this over-nine-minute song is only the second longest G’n’R number. Guitar sections are what first comes to mind when you think of this song. Slash himself says that recording this song was very difficult and that performing it live still presents a challenge. This is a very rich and varied 1990s video with mansions, aircrafts, oil tankers, dolphins and walk-on-water guitar solo, but Axl claimed that the song itself had to do with his feelings after a break-up.

4. Michael Jackson (featuring L.B.T.) “Black or White”

Released in 1991, cost $4,000,000. The song itself lasts a bit over 4 minutes, but the full video is about 10 minutes long. It features actors Macaulay Culkin, George Wendt and Tess Harper in. There was much hype surrounding it and it was released in 27 countries simultaneously. The song promotes racial equality and harmony and shows spite against the groups promoting racial superiority. And all this through a cheerful dance song with rock sensibility.

3. Madonna “Express Yourself”

At the time of its release in 1989 this was the most expensive music video to date costing around $5,000,000. The song promotes gender equality, but it soon became almost an anthem for all the disadvantaged. The video was based on the film Metropolis. It portrays Madonna showing what a powerful position a woman can hold.

2. Madonna “Die Another Day”

The most recent song on the list came out in 2002 as the theme-song for the film of the same name and it cost $6,000,000. Not all reviews were favourable to say the least, but through clever marketing surrounding Madonna and the James Bond film it became a hit. The video looks back on many of the characters from previous Bond films, paying tribute to the entire series. And it is action-packed at times even showing her being tortured, and escaping in the end.

1. Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson “Scream”

Released in 1995 and cost $7,000,000. This song severely attacks the tabloid media and their constant attacks on Michael Jackson even during the eighties, but more than anything, their reports surrounding the accusations of child abuse made against Michael Jackson. This was not the first song against the press by Jackson-the previous one being “Leave Me Alone”. The video, as well as the song, met with favourable reviews, winning many awards.

 

 


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