Written by Jamiroquai frontman Jason Kay and keyboardist Toby Smith, "Virtual Insanity" warns against the threat of insidious technology and its increasing control over humanity. Kay sings:
Futures made of virtual insanity
Now always seem to be governed by this love we have
For useless, twisting, all our new technology
"But I'll never get the credit for it," Kay tells Esquire, calling to mind his prescient concerns over third world debt and environmental issues from the group's debut album, Emergency on Planet Earth. "Just like I'll never be credited for releasing a song called 'Virtual Insanity' about genetic engineering the day before Dolly the sheep is on the front of every newspaper."
This song is known for its innovative music video, directed by Jonathan Glazer with creative assistance from Smoke & Mirrors founder, Sean Broughton. It shows Jay Kay dancing across what appears to be a shifting grey floor while furniture around him stays still, unless he bids it to move. While Kay looks like he's gliding along a giant conveyor belt, the trick didn't lie in the floor at all, but in the walls, which were built to move around the stationary floor.
The video won four (out of ten nominations) MTV Video Music Awards in 1997: Breakthrough Video, Video of the Year, Best Special Effects in a Video, and Best Cinematography in a Video.
For his MTV performance, Jay Kay actually did dance on moving floors. Two moving walkways, going in different directions, were set up on stage to recreate the video's illusion.
Pop singer Austin Mahone took notes from the "Virtual Insanity" video and borrowed the moving floor concept for "Mmm Yeah
" in 2014.