Virtual Insanity

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"Virtual Insanity"
Single by Jamiroquai
from the album Travelling Without Moving
Released 19 August 1996 (1996-08-19)
  • 5:40 (album version)
  • 4:04 (single version)
  • 3:46 (radio edit)
Label Sony Soho Square
  • Al Stone
Jamiroquai singles chronology
"Do You Know Where You're Coming From?"
"Virtual Insanity"
"Cosmic Girl"
"Do You Know Where You're Coming From?"
"Virtual Insanity"
"Cosmic Girl"

"Virtual Insanity" is a song by British funk band Jamiroquai. It was released as the second single from their third studio album, Travelling Without Moving (1996), on 19 August 1996. The song's award-winning music video was released in September 1996. "Virtual Insanity" was a number-one hit in Italy and reached number 3 on the UK Singles Chart. Peaking within the top 10 in Finland and Ireland, the song also peaked at number 38 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart upon the single's release in America in 1997.

Single information[edit]

The first B-side of the single is the song "Do You Know Where You're Coming From", which features M-Beat. It was released as a single earlier in 1996.[citation needed] The second B-side of the single, "Bullet", is probably one of the most mysterious Jamiroquai tracks ever written. The song starts with a 3-second percussion intro, and switches into a longer, very claustrophobic introduction. During this part, very faint vocals can be heard in the background, while the melody progresses.

In the beginning of the song you can hear a signal, that is taken from the film Alien. It is the sound sequence when the S.O.S. signal appears on the screens of the spaceship Nostromo at the start of the film.

Music video[edit]

"Virtual Insanity" is Jamiroquai's best known music video. At the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards in September 1997, it earned 10 nominations, winning four awards, including "Breakthrough Video" and the "Best Video of the Year." In 2006, it was voted 9th by MTV viewers in a poll on music videos that 'broke the rules.' It was directed by Jonathan Glazer. The single was released in the U.S. in 1997. At the 1997 MTV Video Music Awards, Jamiroquai performed the song, recreating the famous floor moving concept with two moving walkways on the stage floor, going in different directions, for Jay Kay to use to dance on.[1]

Video description[edit]

Jay Kay in a moving futuristic room in the "Virtual Insanity" music video. The video received critical acclaim from critics for its visual effects.

The video consists mainly of Jamiroquai's singer, Jay Kay, dancing and performing the song in a bright white room with a grey floor. Throughout the video, there are several combinations of couches and easy chair, which are the only pieces of furniture in the room. The video earned recognition from critics for its special effects: the floor appears to move while the rest of the room stays still. At some points, the camera tilts up or down to show the floor or ceiling for a few seconds, and when it returns to the central position, the scene has completely changed. Other scenes show a crow flying across the room, a cockroach on the floor, the couches bleeding and the other members of Jamiroquai in a corridor being blown away by wind. This became the second video released by Jamiroquai to be successfully done in one complete, albeit composited, shot; Space Cowboy being the first. In a short making-of documentary, director Jonathan Glazer describes how the walls move on a stationary grey floor with no detail, to give the illusion that objects on the floor are moving. In several shots, chairs or couches are fixed to the walls so that they appear to be standing still, when in fact they are moving. In other shots chairs remain stationary on the floor, but the illusion is such that they appear to be moving. The moving walls were not completely rigid and can be seen in some shots to wiggle slightly.


Year Organization Award Result
1997 MTV Video Music Award Video of the Year Won
Best New Artist Nominated
Breakthrough Video Won
Best Direction (Directors: Jonathan Glazer) Nominated
Best Choreography (Choreographers: Jason Kay) Nominated
Best Visual Effects (Visual Effects: Jonathan Glazer and Sean Broughton) Won
Best Art Direction (Art Director: John Bramble) Nominated
Best Editing (Editor: Jonathan Glazer and John McManus) Nominated
Best Cinematography (Cinematographer: Stephen Keith-Roach) Won
International Viewer's Choice Award for MTV Europe Nominated
1998 Grammy Award Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals Won

In popular culture[edit]

"Virtual Insanity" was parodied in the music video for Austin Mahone and Pitbull's "Mmm Yeah" in 2014, the FIDLAR video "40oz. on Repeat" in 2015 and in the Island 24PM video "Ole (When You Gotta Be Free To Me)" in 2012 but it was HD in 2016. The music video was parodied by Family Guy on the episode "Scammed Yankees". A cover remix version of "Virtual Insanity" is featured in the 2006 music video game Beatmania. In American comedy series Silicon Valley, the song is alluded to when the character Jack Barker has Jamiroquai perform a parody of the song entitled "Virtual Reality" as part of a release event for his company's new virtual reality venture.

Track listing[edit]

UK CD No. 1 single (663613 2)
  1. "Virtual Insanity" – 4:04
  2. "Do You Know Where You're Coming From?" (Original Mix) – 4:59
  3. "Bullet" – 4:19
  4. "Virtual Insanity" (Album Version) – 5:40
UK CD No. 2 single (663613 5)
  1. "Virtual Insanity" – 4:04
  2. "Space Cowboy" (Classic Radio) – 4:01
  3. "Emergency On Planet Earth" (London Rican Mix) – 7:10
  4. "Do You Know Where You're Coming From" – 4:59
US CD promo No. 1 (OSK 0857)
  1. "Virtual Insanity" (Peace of Mind Edit)
  2. "Virtual Insanity" (Radio Edit)
  3. "Virtual Insanity" (Album Version) – 5:40
  4. "Virtual Insanity" (Peace of Mind Mix)
US CD promo No. 2 (OSK 9857)
  1. "Virtual Insanity" (Radio Edit)
Cassette (663613 4)
  1. "Virtual Insanity" – 4:04
  2. "Virtual Insanity" (Album Version) – 5:40
  3. "Virtual Insanity" (Unreality Mix) – 3:54


Chart (1996–97) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[2] 75
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[3] 15
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[4] 15
Canada (RPM)[5] 64
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[6] 7
France (SNEP)[7] 16
Germany (Official German Charts)[8] 63
Ireland (IRMA)[9] 7
Italy (FIMI)[10] 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[11] 32
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[12] 19
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[13] 3
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[14] 37
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[15] 38
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[16] 34
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[17] 39

Sampling and covers[edit]

  • "Virtual Insanity" was also sampled in the song "Insanity" on the Hostyle Gospel's mixtape album The Calm which was released in 2012.[18]
  • "Virtual Insanity" was covered and performed live by Daichi Miura during his exTime Tour in 2012. The performance appears on his live album/DVD exTime Tour 2012.


  1. ^ "Beck, Jamiroquai big winners at MTV Music Awards". CNN, September 5, 1997
  2. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing. 
  3. ^ " – Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  4. ^ " – Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity" (in French). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  5. ^ "Top Singles - Volume 65, No. 22, August 04 1997". RPM. Retrieved 26 February 2012. 
  6. ^ "Jamiroquai: Virtual Insanity" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  7. ^ " – Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  8. ^ " – Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  9. ^ "Chart Track: Week 44, 1996". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Jamiroquai - Virtual Insanity" (in Italian). Hit Parade Italia. Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  11. ^ " – Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  12. ^ " – Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  14. ^ "Jamiroquai Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  15. ^ "Jamiroquai Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  16. ^ "Jamiroquai Chart History (Dance Club Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Jamiroquai Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Insanity". Who Sampled. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 

External links[edit]