Words by Angus E. Leslie of Sex On Toast.
In my research and of the obsessing I have done over this, I have compiled my ten fave videos of the fabled late ’80s/’90s new jack swing era. This inspired a lot of the sound on our upcoming EP Rough (the counterpart to 2016’s Ready) that will be coming out this year.
With a little help from SOT keys virtuoso/Ricky’s Salad Bar employee James Bowers, here are the top 10 best music videos of the NJS era.
Think you know new jack swing? Take heed from Sex On Toast – these are the 10 best clips that glorious era managed to spit out.
Bell Biv Devoe – Poison – 1990
JAMES: An absolute roller coaster of nonsensical plot lines and early 1990s video clip editing, this clip really does something for me. Sick outfits, great dancing and the obligatory basketball court scene.
Michael Jackson – Remember the Time – 1992
ANGUS: Ancient Egypt. Exotic Animals. Eddie Murphy as the Pharaoh. Iman as his bride. Michael Jackson as their jester.
Bad CGI. Incredible moves. Thrilling climax. Remember the Time?
Johnny Gill – Rub You The Right Way – 1990
ANGUS: I feel like child star turned New Edition member Johnny Gill had a bit to prove with this one. Mocked as a newcomer in New Edition for being the worst dancer, Johnny delivers a rip-snorter of a dance video – showing his post-MJ moves and trademark facial intensity.
Guy – Groove Me – 1988
ANGUS: It should all start with this one. Some of the earliest NJS from pioneer/creator Teddy Riley and his cohorts Aaron Hall and Timmy Gatling. The drum diamonds and keytars show it’s exact vintage, and Aaron Hall commands the screen.
Damn this looks like a good party!
New Edition – If It Isn’t Love – 1988
ANGUS: Classic dance studio clip. New Edition gears up for their first tour in a while with their new ‘adult’ image and freshly produced Heart Break album produced by Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.
Their unified movement is astonishing and the song is a some of the most refined songwriting and arranging you’ll ever hear in a swung 16th-driven banger.
Janet Jackson – Miss You Much – 1989
ANGUS: Another almost dance studio style clip with that black and white grainy look that so many of the great 90’s clips seemed to utilise. Janet’s amazing Rhythm Nation-era choreography is centre stage here.
Bobby Brown – Every Little Step – 1988
ANGUS: Bobby sings about being a badass on a white backdrop of letters that say Bobby Brown. Simple as that. Lots of killer dancers. Babyface and LA Reid on the beat. KILLIN’!
Keith Sweat – Something Just Ain’t Right – 1987
ANGUS: Bit more of an obscure one but Sweat is a pioneer of production, showmanship and having a weird ass voice.
It’s been said that Teddy Riley told him to push his singing more in that nasally direction in order to be noticed.
This is the first track of his first LP. He stares our a rainy window a lot. Band’s jammin’.
Mint Condition – Forever In Your Eyes – 1991
ANGUS: Minneapolis genius band Mint Condition drop an incredible tender slow jam. Amazing fake skies as backdrops. Stokely and the band survey footage on the security cameras in the boardroom.
Beautiful love interest. Fake pillars. Huge synth solo. Tonay.
Kut Klose – Surrender – 1995
ANGUS: Athena Cage is one of the best R&B singers ever, period. Criminally underrated girl group Kut Klose treat us to their incredible ’90s styling and fake marble walls as a musclebound hunk does his thing, washing himself and wandering around an abandoned castle. Essential.
Sex On Toast’s latest video wasn’t made in the ’90s, but damn if it doesn’t look just as good. Check it out below, and be sure to head along to their upcoming single launch if you reckon it’s a jam:
March 24th – Max Watts, Melbourne – w/ The Do Yo Thangs & Tiaryn
$20 pre-sale, $25 on the door. Full details here.