So Many Music Videos From The '90s & Early 2000s Featured Carnivals & Here Are 7 To Prove It

As one who considers herself a connoisseur of music videos from the '90s and early 2000s, I've noticed something very interesting as of late. Pretty much every smash hit that became a regular fixture within my Discman (which is what we used to play music before iPods and smartphones) back in the day boasted a music video that took place at some kind of carnival, boardwalk, or amusement park. If your favorite pop star wasn't crooning from atop a ferris wheel, they were likely practicing choreography in outer space. That's just how it was then — music videos took place at a boardwalk or somewhere near Saturn. There was no middle ground. It didn't matter if the amusement parks were in any way relevant to the song's lyrics, either. The song could have been talking about snuggling by the fire in the dead of winter and a video would invariably come out featuring cotton candy stands, rollercoasters, and whack-a-mole machines.

Yes, some of the music videos were a bit nonsensical, but that only added to their appeal. As one who likes my music videos to be as off-kilter as humanly possible, I couldn't get enough of these carnival-laden vids. Between Grease reenactments, bouncy houses, and face-offs with Tyrese Gibson (more on that in a bit), these videos were worthy of binge-watching. Without further adieu, let's take a look at seven music videos that proved carnivals were the ultimate party destination during the '90s and early 2000s.

1. Ja Rule Ft. Ashanti, "Mesmerize"

JaRuleVEVO on YouTube

What in the name of everything is happening, here? The video starts with Ja Rule — or Ja, as he is oft called — being involved in some kind of covert crime operation. From there, Ashanti's friends start talking about a phallatio-themed crossword puzzle, and we are immediately taken to a carnival where Ja Rule and Ashanti reenact a classic scene from Grease. It is ridiculous and I love it.

2. Jessica Simpson, "I Think I'm in Love With You"

jessicasimpsonVEVO on YouTube

It takes a while into the video, and some particularly unsafe driving (buckle your seatbelt, Simpson!), but Simpson and her crew of gal pals and warehouse workers enjoy a raucous day at an amusement park. You never figure out who she "thinks" she's in love with, but this video is such a fun ride (get it?), that it doesn't even matter.

3. Jordan Knight, "Give It To You"

JordanKnightVEVO on YouTube

Oh look, another carnival and Grease reference combined into one video. Also, can we talk about how NSFW the lyrics to this supposed teen pop anthem are? For reals, though, this is still my jam.

4. Usher, "My Way"

UsherVEVO on YouTube

Before he was doing stints on The Voice and falling in love courtesy of DJs, Usher squared off against Tyrese Gibson at a carnival complete with a clown-headed bouncy house.

5. Mariah Carey, "Fantasy"

MariahCareyVEVO on YouTube

I could do without the creepy clown at the beginning of this video, but — other than that — Carey's classic video from 1995 is a magical rollercoaster ride.

6. LFO, "Summer Girls"

snowontheweb on YouTube

Throughout LFO's carnival-themed trajectory, we learn way more information about the lead singer's likes and dislikes than any of us could ever imagine would be able to be crammed into four minutes.

7. Alice In Chains, "I Stay Away"

AliceInChainsVEVO on YouTube

Here's something to give you nightmares. A bunch of claymation clowns wreak havoc at a macabre carnival after dark until they watch the entire thing burn down — definitely a departure from some of the more bubbly videos on this list.

Image: VEVO