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2013’s Most NSFW Videos and Album Covers

Think twice before checking out this list on company time

NSFW earned some new caché in 2013. This year, Billboard altered their chart rules to include YouTube streams, thus incentivizing the making of videos aiming for instant virality. Perhaps the quickest way to blow up online is nudity (female, mostly), a rule that proved itself when two songs accompanied by racy videos shot to the top of the Hot 100: Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball." Skin wasn't the only reason those songs hit number one, but it certainly didn't hurt — just something to keep in mind as you peruse our highlights of all things that probably shouldn't have showed up on your office computer in 2013. BY JORDAN SARGENT

See Also:

The Hottest Sex Symbols of 2013

Courtesy Capitol Records

Sky Ferreira, ‘Night Time, My Time’

Shot by Argentinean director Gaspar Nóe, the cover for Sky Ferreira's debut album Night Time, My Time aims to implicate the viewer, showing as it does the singer nude and vulnerable in the shower. Considering that Ferreira was chewed up and spit out by the major label industry before she could legally buy cigarettes, the allegory seems clear.

Courtesy Total Trebel

Against Me!, ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues’

The upcoming album from Florida punks' Against Me! details singer Laura Jane Grace's new life as a transgender woman. Revealed in 2013, the cover for Transgender Dysphoria Blues is grisly but poignant: a breast presented as a slab of flesh. 

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David Bowie, “Love is Lost (James Murphy Remix)”

We'd guess that the stark first video for David Bowie's "Love is Lost" cost a total of, oh, $12.99 to make. The second, which shows two people turning from polygons into real humans before getting it on, probably cost just a bit more than that.

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Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, “Jubilee Street”

For the visual to accompany his single "Jubilee Street," Nick Cave enlisted actor Ray Winstone and director John Hillcoat, both of whom had worked with the singer on his 2005 film The Proposition. Here, Winstone plays a man who takes a prostitute into a room and then proceeds to hug her feet while she undresses. It's both very weird and very Nick Cave.  

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Miley Cyrus, “Wrecking Ball”

On account of its being shot by famed provocateur Terry Richardson, one could've easily predicted that the video for Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" was going to strive for lascivious shock value. The result — Cyrus swinging nude on a wrecking ball — was one of the most parodied clips of 2013.

 

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Daddy, “Love in the Old Days (Ted James 1999 Remix)”

For the remix of his band's single, James Franco roped in left-field artist and personal hero Kenneth Anger to direct a video that depicts an occult wedding held in a strip club. The clip is in the vein of classic Anger projects, which, Franco explained, blend the celebrity with the occult to "achieve a greater, spiritual-aesthetic significance."

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Depeche Mode, “Soothe My Soul”

The clip for the second single from Depeche Mode's Delta Machine laid out a formula more or less followed by Justin Timberlake later in the year in his video for "Mirrors." We see shots of the band clothed and performing, then we see "tastefully" shot footage of nude women. Rinse, repeat.

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FIDLAR, “Cocaine”

The name of the L.A. skate-punks FIDLAR is an acronym for "Fuck It Dog, Life's a Risk," a sentiment not exactly taken to heart by Parks & Recreation's Nick Offerman, who stars in the video for the band's "Cocaine." In the clip, we see Offerman playing a carpenter who's fired from his job via text message and then goes on an epic bender. Everything culminates in a full-frontal shot of a rather believable prosthetic penis. Well, believable apart from its water cannon flow. 

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Franz Ferdinand, “Evil Eye”

Director Diane Martel shook the landscape this year with her controversial videos for Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" and Miley Cyrus' "We Can't Stop." Less celebrated was her treatment for Franz's "Evil Eye," a delirious VHS-style clip celebrating the campy gore of crappy horror films, replete with severed limbs and an omnipresent detached eyeball.

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Albert Hammond Jr., “St. Justice”

The video for the lead single from the Strokes guitarist's AHJ EP is a black-and-white mini-movie showing the blossoming and eventual dissolution of a relationship. Hammond Jr. stars in the video, which also features a protracted sex scene involving a mirror, though thankfully not in an ultra-skeezy Patrick Bateman American Psycho kinda way.

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The-Dream, “Pussy”

IV Play, the May album from R&B virtuoso The-Dream, was his least well-received effort both commercially and critically. Perhaps unencumbered by expectations, the videos for unofficial singles "Pussy," "Turnt" and "High Art" went riiiiiiight to the edge of porn, and past the point where YouTube would host them.

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The Knife, “Full of Fire”

Helmed by "feminist porn" director Marit Östberg, the clip for the Knife's "Full of Fire" plays with the societal sexual norms. Östberg shows us biker women in bondage, an androgynous couple in leather groping each other, and a woman on the street urinating through her stocking. All of this, of course, is tonally perfect for a song containing the mantra "Let's talk about gender, baby / Let's talk about you and me."

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The Weeknd, “Kiss Land”

The Weeknd's entire persona is steeped in seediness. Appropriately, in the video for "Kiss Land" he sings while sitting on a bed as two Japanese strippers make out behind him. Just another day in the life.

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Robin Thicke, “Blurred Lines”

Before "Blurred Lines," Robin Thicke had cultivated an audience of hardcore R&B heads who supported his light, often unassuming tracks but didn't boost him to the status of a pop star. That all changed early this year with the help of Pharrell Williams, who co-wrote "Blurred Lines," an obvious crossover smash. But director Diane Martel undeniably helped propel the song to unforeseen heights with the uncensored version of what was originally a goofy, light-hearted video. Thicke wasn't the only beneficiary: model Emily Ratajkowski parlayed her role in the video into a part in David Fincher's forthcoming film Gone Girl.

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Justin Timberlake, “Suit & Tie”

Justin got David Fincher to direct his comeback "Suit and Tie" video and essentially made out with himself in the dour funhouse treatment of his second single "Mirrors." For "Tunnel Vision" — the third and final single from the first edition of The 20/20 Experience — Timberlake evokes the song's perspective of fractured distance by having nude models interact with projections of his face and body. Or, in the imagined war between him and Robin Thicke, this was his "I want a 'Blurred Lines,' too" salvo.

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Kanye West, “Bound 2”

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian were the most talked about couple of the year, a status they cemented with the hilariously dry video for West's single "Bound 2." Backed by a green screen showing stock images of landscape Americana, Kardashian lies topless on a motorcycle as West straddles her while they mimic sex. You could read a lot into Kanye's juxtapositions here — or not.

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