Old Favourites: Jamiroquai – “Virtual Insanity”

“And I’m thinking what a mess we’re in, hard to know where to begin…”

Every so often, a game changer of a video is released. One that blows minds, gets people talking and raises immortal questions of just how they pulled it off. Jamiroquai has done a few of these in their time, but it’s safe to say that Virtual Insanity is the pick of the lot. It remains one of the most talked-about and revered music videos of the past 20 years. I never got to experience it first-hand – my generation of Jamiroquai hits pretty much went from Canned Heat onwards – but reflection upon this masterful clip has certainly allowed me to appreciate it for what it is and its standing amongst the all-time greats.

Virtual Insanity revolves around a simple optical illusion: The floor is moving. It isn’t actually, for the record – the walls are. It’s complete wizardry, however, watching the video with this in mind and getting a full understanding of director Jonathan Glazer‘s vision for the clip. The artistry of the illusion isn’t the sole selling point, however: you just can’t take your eyes off Jay Kay, try as you might. He steals the show constantly, playing off the illusion with brilliant choreography and a few choice oddities – the black crow and the bleeding couch immediately come to mind. A full embrace of the weird and wonderful – pop videos were taking notice from this point on.

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