Beautiful beaches, great weather and easy going people who don’t mind you filming “on location” makes Thailand the perfect country to shoot a music video. Surprisingly, however, not many chart-toppers have been created on Thai soil.
Though after digging though the archives, I’ve unearthed an eclectic list of 10 famous music videos you probably didn’t know were shot in Thailand.
From the debaucherous depths of Pattaya’s Walking Street to the innocent White Sands of Maya Bay, there’s a track here for everyone’s taste. So grab your headphones and a drink and enjoy the ride…
1. Spiller Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)
This classic nu-disco/house single from Italy’s Cristiano Spiller was a #1 club hit in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia in the year 2000, and featured disco diva Sophie Ellis-Bextor.
It sold over 2 million copies and was the first song ever played on iPod. The clip itself glamourises the familiar urban landscape of central Bangkok, showing off the grimy, busy metropolis off to best advantage.
Phoneboxes, crowds, restaurants, bathroom mirrors, all the people, everything is seen in Alice-in-Wonderland proportions from the gigantic DJ Spiller’s viewpoint. The smoggy reality of BKK, of course, is far detached from the setting of this clip. 😉
2. Duke Dumont – I Got U ft. Jax Jones
Released in 2014 and produced by Jax Jones, this track is another sublime house UK chart topper. The clip is a summer utopia virtual reality adventure. The protagonist transported to a spacious apartment decked out with pool, fruit platters, cocktails, etc.
He takes a speedboat around Railay Beach, hangs out with non-psycho monkeys, treks through jungle, rides elephants, hits up water sports, dances with white women in bikinis at beach bars with other westerners, gets massages, drinks coconut water, etc.
I guess when tourists elect to take off the virtual reality goggles, they can see things differently in Thailand…
3. The Libertines – Gunga Din
Anyone who’s been to Pattaya will recognise the notorious Walking Street here. The clip is an edgy and fashionable bad boy’s night-life fantasy backed by renowned rock n roll troublemakers – The Libertines.
This song was the first hit single to advertise their 2015 album, Anthems for Doomed Youth. It makes being drunk, dishevelled, lighting hungover cigarettes on dingy hotel beds, and getting rowdy with your mates look so chic!
I’m sure that hooligans and Australian football teams will be able to relate to this. Looking like crap never looked so compelling! But for the record, the song is actually a reflection on self-destructive patterns and changing.
4. Girls Generation – Party
K-pop Girl’s Generation massive 2015 hit “Party” was filmed in Koh Sumui, Thailand, and was well-received in reviews by such magazines as Vanity Fair and Teen Vogue.
This electropop sugar-coated auto-tune product has it all for budding young far eastern teenage grrls: selfies, light-hearted companionship with other good-looking girls your age, drinking tequilas, mojitos and lemon sojus, plane trips to exotic locations, wais galore, the syncopated dance moves, looking like an angel with just a hint of mischief, and somehow managing to look immaculate whilst swimming at the beach.
It’s been noted that it sort of sounds like Katy Perry’s “California Gurls”.
5. Rudimental – Right Here ft. Foxes
Rudimental is a group that made a successful bridge from the underground UK bass music scene to commercial success.
“Right Here” (ft. vocalist Foxes) was filmed near Kanchanaburi at the Theravada Buddhist Tiger Temple by director Josh Cole.
This clip actually has a great story. A monk’s tiger is taken from the temple by poachers. He battles poachers and evil kung-fu master, but is captured. A girl who works for the gang as a bullied worker rises up and releases the tiger. Monk, girl and tiger make it safely back to the tiger temple, and live happily ever after.
The End (or is it…).
6. Snoop Dogg feat Rita Ora Torn Apart
America’s most anthropomorphically confused rapper Snoop Lion (formery Snoop Dogg) released “Torn Apart” in 2013 as a single from his twelfth album Reincarnated.
Featuring UK singer Rita Ora, this track was produced Major Lazer (amongst others) and is a pop dancehall hit.
Filmed in southern Thailand, the clip is free with its gratuitous references of Thai dancing, Muay Thai, temple bling and young people smiling, whilst Snoop and Rita exploit reggae and the locals with their catchy Babylonian caricature.
A little less amusing are the chained monkeys and elephants doing tricks for the film clip, which came under fire by animal rights groups.
7. Rhianna – What Now
Barbadian babe Rhianna’s “What Now” was the sixth and last hit single recorded in 2012 (the film-clip was released 2013) for her seventh studio album, Unapologetic.
Filmed in Thailand, but you won’t see any actual footage of Thailand. The film clip is merely shot in Thailand, presumably to save on costs normally incurred at more expensive western country studios.
Basically it has Rhianna dancing, singing and having kayfabe choreographed emotional breakdowns to express her loneliness in a warehouse in Phuket. The main thing for me is that it has Rhianna in it.
8. Erica Sunshine Lee – You Make Me Wanna Believe
Nashville singer-songwriter and guitar player Erica Sunshine Lee came from America’s far southern country music capital to Thailand’s Koh Tao to film the clip for her single “You Make Me Wanna Believe”, which was recorded for her fourth studio album of the same title.
It was filmed at The Haad Tien resort. Clad in a bikini and with her man by her side, Erica shows off her curves in Thailand’s tropical sunshine.
Against the backdrop of the jade-green waters of Koh Tao and typical beach-side rustic huts that you’d expect to see in the south, Erica’s sweet tones ponder her new-found belief in relationship sincerity.
9. All Saints – Pure Shores
Featuring scenes from the movie The Beach – Hollywood’s most famous rendition of Thailand’s beaches as a magical and hidden getaway – the tropically and electronically ambient “Pure Shores” was sung by British-Canadian girl group The All-Saints.
It was released as the lead single from their second studio album Saints & Sinners in 2000, and used on the soundtrack for the aforementioned movie. It has sold over a million copies to date, and sold 775,000 in the UK alone, making it the second biggest single of 2000.
However, the shots you see the All-Saints in were actually filmed on Holkham beach in Norfolk, a little closer to home than Thailand for those of you from the UK.
10. One Night in Bangkok – Murray Head
This is more the thinking person’s rendition of Bangkok, grounded in retro chic and style.
80s synth-pop backs Murray Head’s complex lyrics of “One Night In Bangkok” (1984), detailing a man who thinks he’s above everything, from the city to the people to your intellect, because you clearly don’t see what he’s seeing in the city.
However, let’s get back to the simpler elements of the song, because what you see is generally what you get, right?
If you’ve been out past 1am in a bar your mother wouldn’t approve of, you’ve probably heard it. Cheesy, 80s, Muay Thai and silly trousers – all the ingredients required for a great music video.