3. Madonna, "Justify My Love"
A four-minute homage to French cinema that snuck its way into the pop charts, the black-and-white clip for Madonna's woozy devotional "Justify My Love" featured bondage play and group sex amidst its dreamy tableau. "I didn't have any concept at all, except the idea that [Madonna] was arriving in the hotel tired, broken; and when she was going to leave the hotel, she was full of life, she was full of energy, full of everything," director Jean-Baptiste Mondino told Rolling Stone. Madonna's "energy source" proved to be so outré for 1990 that MTV refused to show it, leaving ABC's Nightline – and the revived concept of the "video single" – to pick up the slack. "Why is it," Madonna told The New York Times as the controversy blew up, "that people are willing to go to a movie and watch someone get blown to bits for no reason and nobody wants to see two girls kissing or two men snuggling? I think the video is romantic and loving and has humor in it."