EW ranks music videos with a message -- Soul Asylum, Good Charlotte, and Pearl Jam have all put out clips that teach lessons or try to change lives

By Leah Greenblatt
October 08, 2004 at 04:00 AM EDT

EW ranks music videos with a message

Recovering junkie and ex-jailbird Scott Weiland may not have benefited from the lesson-filled Afterschool Specials he grew up with. But the former Stone Temple Pilot and his new band, the ex-Guns N’ Roses-heavy Velvet Revolver, don’t want you to make the same mistake. Their hard-hitting clip for the song ”Fall to Pieces” continues the tradition of what we like to call the Very Special Video. As with all PSAs, there were powerful ones that changed lives, and there were?well, have you ever seen Angel Dusted?

SOUL ASYLUM, ”Runaway Train” (1993)

Synopsis Photographs of real missing kids accompany dramatic reenactments.

Pivotal Moment A preteen prostitute is beaten, gang-raped, and apparently killed.

Lesson Learned Rock & roll videos can actually make a difference! (Twenty-two of the 36 missing children featured in the clip were eventually found.)

VSV Grade A

GOOD CHARLOTTE, ”Hold On” (2003)

Synopsis Friends and family remember suicide victims as the band reworks R.E.M.’s ”Everybody Hurts” message, punky-style.

Pivotal Moment Midsong silence cuts to heart-wrenching real-life testimonials.

Lesson Learned Life — and adolescence in particular — can be unbearable at times, but it does get better. VSV Grade A –

PEARL JAM, ”Jeremy” (1992)

Synopsis Disturbed young Jeremy hates his teasing classmates, neglectful parents, white dress shirts.

Pivotal Moment As singer Eddie Vedder’s maniacal ”Whoo!”s reach fever pitch, Jeremy takes his own life in a manner that eerily foreshadows the events of Columbine.

Lesson Learned Beware the quiet kid; he’s pissed.

VSV Grade B

VELVET REVOLVER, ”Fall to Pieces” (2004)

Synopsis Weiland struggles to maintain sobriety, fails spectacularly.

Pivotal Moment Bassist Duff McKagan discovers Weiland slumped in picturesque state of OD, applies tough love; phrase ”Duff love” thus coined.

Lesson Learned Drugs are bad. But in Weiland’s warped world, they also make you supersexy skinny!

VSV Grade C-