Growing up with a teenage sister in the early 2000’s, MTV ruled our television screen. Counting down the top charts while we fought over whose turn it was to take over the control, we spent the weekends dancing to music videos in the living room. But in an age where Spotify and TikTok now take precedence as the top video and music entertainment platforms, we may question whether music videos are still relevant today.
However, with the release of Blockbuster album length videos like Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’, and Taylor Swift’s short film production of ‘All Too Well’ which took the internet by storm and turned the world against Jake Gyllenhaal, it seems that we’re on the verge of a new music-video golden age.
Having become a key part of an album rollout to have at least one music video accompany a single, music videos have become a staple of music in the 21st century. Designed to promote the creative vision of new and existing artists with artistic visuals that allow listeners to see the world of the music through the performer’s eyes, it’s no wonder that the music video scene continues to thrive as they function as an essential marketing tool to boost a musician’s visibility and exposure.
So, in celebration of the art of the music video, here’s my top ten list of cult classics and artistic explorations in order of their release:
1. ‘Thriller’ – Michael Jackson (1983)
A Halloween classic featuring the King of Pop’s iconic zombie dance.
2. ‘Take on me’ – a-ha (1985)
A surreal sketch-pad moment that helped redefine music videos for MTV.
3. ‘Sabotage’ – Beastie Boys (1994)
A grunge-rap song accompanied by a parody of 1970’s American cop dramas.
4. ‘Baby One More Time’ – Britney Spears (1998)
Features Spears’ iconic schoolgirl dance routine.
5. ‘Stan’ – Eminem feat. Dido (2000)
An obsessed fan named Stan writes the rapper multiple letters.
6. ‘Weapon of Choice’ – Fatboy Slim (2001)
Christopher Walken struts his stuff to a groovy number.
7. ‘The Scientist’ – Coldplay (2002)
Moving in reverse motion as Chris Martin sings his lyrics backwards.
8. ‘Single Ladies (Put a ring on it)’ Beyonce (2008)
A black and white clip featuring Queen Bey’s signature dance moves.
9. ‘Wrecking Ball’ – Miley Cyrus (2014)
A nude Miley Cyrus swings in on a wrecking ball.
10. ‘HUMBLE.’ – Kendrick Lamar (2017)
Winner of Video of the Year at the MTV VMA’s and Best Music Video at the Grammys.