Flashback Friday: Jamiroquai, ‘Virtual Insanity’


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It’s time once again for Flashback Friday, wherein I bring you videos from long-standing faves and one-hit wonders alike. Today’s video fits more into the latter category, but that doesn’t make it any less wonderful. It’s got moving floors, a furry hat and a bright, white, ’90s-tastic take on being “futuristic.” Ladies and gentlemen: Jamiroquai‘s “Virtual Insanity.”

A product of the London-based acid jazz movement of the early ’90s, Jamiroquai put out two albums in 1993 and 1994 (Emergency On Planet Earth and Return Of The Space Cowboy, respectively), which brought them moderate success in Europe. However, it was their third album, Traveling Without Moving, that finally broke through to the U.S. market. “Virtual Insanity” was the lead single off that record, and its modern update on smooth, catchy Stevie Wonder-style soul proved appealing across the board. It didn’t hurt that singer Jay Kay basically wrote the book on wearing furry hats, either.

“Virtual Insanity” was directed by Jonathan Glazer (Radiohead’s “Karma Police”) and employed some simple moving panels to create mind-bending visual effects. The moving (and occasionally bleeding) floors, walls and furniture created the perfect backdrop for Jay Kay to croon about his fears of 20th century technology. Moving walls?! I wonder what he thinks of all the crazy crap we’ve invented since then.

The video cleaned up at the 1997 VMAs, winning awards for Best Special Effects, Best Cinematography, Breakthrough Video, and Video of the Year. Although nothing they’ve put out since has matched that level of success, the band has continued to record and perform consistently; their last album, Rock Dust Light Star, came out just last year.

+ Watch Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” below, and wonder why you never noticed that Jay Kay was wearing what looks to be an Old Navy performance fleece in it.