From Dazed and Confused to Superbad, high school has provided the backdrop for some of the best comedies ever made. The hallowed halls of high school have also been the setting of iconic music videos — a fact Free Energy certainly took into consideration while conceiving their brilliant new video for “Bang Pop.” The power-poppers Rolling Stone named one of the best bands of 2010 have managed to combine a bunch of classic clips, neon and Cheap Trick riffs into one of the most enjoyable videos of the year. “Bang Pop” seems to pay homage to everything from Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher” to the locker room scene in Porky’s to every John Hughes flick in between. The band also makes sure to hit all the touchstones of over-the-top high school clichés: smoking in the girls’ bathroom, yearbook portraits, perfectly timed fire drills and dudes wearing gorilla suits. (OK, maybe not that last one.)
Here are five more classic clips set at schools, from Britney Spears’ hallway dance-off to Nirvana’s anarchic pep rally:
Nada Surf’s “Popular”: A how-to guide to the rules and regulations of high school social circles, the video’s epic love story between the first-string quarterback and the head cheerleader almost makes us forget just how similar the song is to Weezer’s “Undone (The Sweater Song).” (Pause the video at 1:47 for the best Rivers Cuomo impression you’ll ever see.)??
Phoenix’s “Lisztomania” (Unofficial Brat Pack version): Phoenix would later admit that this viral sensation, composed entirely of iconic moments from ’80s high school flicks like The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, was far superior to their official “Lisztomania” music video.
Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”: The music video that defined a generation, “Smells Like Teen Spirit” finds Kurt Cobain, Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic as the marching band for the most riotous, brooding pep rally in history. Inspired by the 1979 students-versus-faculty drama Over the Edge, Rolling Stone‘s David Fricke once said the Samuel Bayer-directed video looks like “the greatest gig you could ever imagine.”
Britney Spears’ “…Baby One More Time”: Before Britney was courting controversy with salacious videos for songs like “I’m a Slave 4 U” and “3,” the video for her debut single simply had a doe-eyed, pig-tailed Brit and her entourage dancing around the hallways wearing belly-exposing Catholic schoolgirl uniforms. There’s nothing controversial about that…
Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirt Bag”: It’s not clear why Wheatus’ “Teenage Dirt Bag” video was set in a high school — the song itself is from the soundtrack of the film Loser, which is about the virgin from American Pie wooing the Lolita from American Beauty in college. Regardless, “Teenage Dirt Bag” is undoubtedly the perfect high school song as it lyrically defines roughly 17 percent of any graduating class.