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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Most Controversial Music Videos of 2011 (So Far)

(Getty Images)

Controversial music videos are nothing new. In 1989, Madonna was thrown headlong into a scandal involving the Catholic Church after her "Like a Prayer" music video showed the pop star getting it on with a saint.

But in today's politically correct world, you don't have to piss off religious leaders to attract controversy. Hell, if you're the ever-threatening Selena Gomez, all you have to do is paint a horse and smile. Here's five of the most controversial music videos of the year -- so far.

1. Eminem - "Space Bound"

BY THE NUMBERS Release Date:              June 27
YouTube Views:          13 million
Peak Chart Position:  19
Slim Shady is no stranger to controversy. In the past he's ridiculed Michael Jackson, leveled sexually charged digs at Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, and called out his mom for being a dope head. Keeping tabs on Em's scandal-ridden past is like trying to remember the last time Charlie Sheen made sense.

That said, it's not hard to figure out why his latest music video drew some bad press. Not only does Slim fantasize about torturing his girlfriend (who happens to be a porn star), but he later shoots himself in the head in a bloody scene that the New York Daily News called disturbing.

2. Rihanna - "Man Down"

BY THE NUMBERS Release Date:             June 1
YouTube Views:          52 million
Peak Chart Position:  59
If anyone should have a good idea about whether or not a music video is controversial, it's the person who shot the damn thing. So when director Anthony Mandler predicted Rihanna's "Man Down" video would "flip people's minds," he wasn't that far off.

While criticism of the video wasn't entirely universal -- the National Organization for Women came to its defense -- many felt the scene where Rihanna shoots a man in the head out of retaliation for sexual assault ended up glamorized violence. Fifty-two million YouTube views later, it's up to you to be the judge:

3. Lady Gaga - "Judas"

BY THE NUMBERS Release Date:              May 3
YouTube Views:          87 million
Peak Chart Position:  10
Lady Gaga has over 10 million followers on Twitter. But we doubt the president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights is one of them. You've likely never heard of the guy, but all he needed was one viewing of Gaga's "Judas" music video to never want to see the pop star's face again.

He lashed out against the pop star and her video, calling her a "talentless, mundane and boring," artist "whose head is turned around." In his defense, the video isn't the most exciting thing Gaga's done. But her Mary Magdalene impersonation wasn't mundane enough to stop 86 million people from viewing the vid on YouTube.

4. Selena Gomez - "Love You Like a Love Song"

BY THE NUMBERS Release Date:             June 23
YouTube Views:          24 million
Peak Chart Position:  35
When it comes to controversial pop music, it turns out your career can survive after offending the Catholic Church. But don't you dare mess with PETA. Selena Gomez learned this hard lesson when she was caught frolicking around the set of her "Love You Like a Love Song" music video with pink horses.

The problem, of course, is that outside the world of My Little Pony, naturally pink horses do not exist. No, the animals had to be painted that color, and this didn't go over well with the animal rights group. "There are no safe ways to paint a live horse," a rep for PETA said at the time. Ironically, Pink (the singer) was also vocal in her anger, and helped get Gomez to ultimately cut the scenes from her video, leaving you with this masterpiece:

5. Kanye West - "Monster"

BY THE NUMBERS Release Date: June 4YouTube Views*: 408,000Peak Chart Position: 18

*see Kanye's website for the official, full-length music video.
Like Eminem, controversy and Kanye West go together like Robert Pattinson and awkward acceptance speeches. It was a forgone conclusion that the outspoken rapper would end up on this list, and frankly, we're surprised that the music video for "Monster" is his only representation. Though an unfinished version leaked months ago, the official video was released in June. And if you haven't seen it yet... well, brace yourself.

"Monster" features enough severed heads and bloodied models that many were left accusing West of promoting misogyny and violence. MTV requested heavy edits before they would air the thing, but West never compromised. We would sympathize more with the rapper, but we didn't realize the cable network still ran music videos. So we're fully content with this:

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