10 Essential ’90s Beach Party Music Videos

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It’s summer (well, allegedly, anyway), and if you live near the beach, that means beach parties! If you’re in the middle of Brooklyn, however, it means drinking warmish beer on a grubby rooftop and pretending that, hey, you could be on a beach if you close your eyes and pretend hard enough. Alternatively, you could also retire back into your fan-less bedroom and watch music videos on YouTube. Specifically, you could watch videos featuring beach parties, of which there have always been a large number — and never moreso than in the 1990s, when pretty much every remotely upbeat song had a video featuring sun, sand, surf and skin. Here are ten of the best (along with a special bonus that really is the best).

Coolio — “Fantastic Voyage”

This endlessly enjoyable 1994 video opens with Coolio and his friend Spoon discussing how great it would be to have a beach barbecue, ideally in the company of some ladies. Unfortunately, they don’t have a car — just a sad, broken-down bike. But in our hero’s fantasy, that contraption is transformed into a classic convertible, ready to ferry a literally unlimited number of Coolio’s pals to an epic — and crowded! — party at what the map identifies as “da’ beach.” Was it all a dream? We may never know. — JB

Chris Isaak — “Wicked Game”

Not exactly a party, in fairness, since there are only two people involved — but then again, if I was rolling around with a very-nearly-naked Helena Christensen on some secluded beach, I’d be calling it a party. And counting my blessings for years afterwards. –TH

Salt-n-Pepa — “Shoop”

When they’re not dancing under a “Girls Girls Girls” sign in this 1993 classic, the ladies of Salt-n-Pepa are on the boardwalk and at the beach in Coney Island. The bits where they watch a pack of studly dudes playing football in the sand and Salt ogles a man in a three-piece suit as he strips down to a Speedo are masterly examples of the female gaze. Also: the bathing suits on everyone in this video are perfect. — JB

Joan Osborne — “One of Us”

And from Lilith Fair staple Osborne, an entirely different view of Coney Island, from 1995. In between closeup shots of the singer (sweet nose ring!) and glimpses of regular folks posing for photos as bearded, robe-clad visions of God, we get plenty of sweeping, overexposed views of the boardwalk, the beach, and the rides. Fairly sure this somber party is supposed to make us contemplate life’s rich pageant. — JB

Sisqó — “The Thong Song”

True story: Sisqó’s real name is Mark Andrews. Mark Andrews is probably a pretty regular dude, but Sisqó… Sisqó is a state of mind, and once you get into that state of mind, you too can don some silly one-fingered gloves, roll up to a beach in multiple personalized buses, drop an entirely gratuitous key change, and throw the sort of outrageous glow-in-the-dark party you’ve always dreamed of. –TH

Wreckx-n-Effect — “Rumpshaker”

Remember this?! Either way, it’s probably gonna be stuck in your head for the rest of the day, and the video involves a beach party that looks truly epic — there’s even a girl playing a saxophone in the ocean! (Also: more neon bikinis! Never enough neon bikinis!) –TH

Inner Circle — “Sweat”

Really, this is all about the moment when singer Calton Coffie dips his head in the Caribbean and then flicks his epic dreadlocks back, sending water cascading everywhere. If I were a massive Jamaican dude with dreads, I would spend pretty much all day doing exactly that. Also, when you think about it, why does anyone live anywhere that is not the Caribbean?–TH

Christina Aguilera — “Genie in a Bottle”

The elusive nighttime beach-party video, complete with bonfire! As a grown adult, there’s surely something a bit unsavory about watching teenage Aguilera writhe on a Malibu beach as she exhorts the object of her affection, “You gotta rub me the right way.” But in 1999, we were probably all just relieved not to be watching teenage Britney, in a schoolgirl uniform, begging to be hit. — JB

Mariah Carey — “Honey”

Filmed in Puerto Rico, 1997’s “Honey” is Mimi’s own version of a spy movie, complete with a daring escape and a dance number with a troupe of sailors. (Apparently, since it was released in the midst of her divorce from Tommy Mottola, critics wondered whether her captivity was a comment on his control of her.) By the end, she’s washed up on the beach, where she frolics with a beautiful man and an adorable dog. Victory party! Also: Is this what heaven looks like? — JB

Will Smith — “Miami”

The days when Will Smith wasn’t a lizard person! Instead, circa 1997, he was a fairly amiable pop rapper who’d ditched The Fresh Prince and hit it big with his debut solo record (which was called, gulp, Big Willie Style). Among other things, it featured this ode to taking one’s talents to South Beach. The obligatory beach party ticked all the boxes: palm trees, copious implausibly proportioned women in neon bikinis, references to the party in question lasting “until the break of dawn.”–TH

BONUS

Aphex Twin — “Windowlicker”

And finally, if your beach party doesn’t involve terrifying metamorphosing ogre women, then is it even really a beach party?