Parade Magazine released its list of “The 71 Best Music Videos Of All Time” in July 2020. The list technically contains 72 music videos, but who’s complaining?
The song's music video is part of a one-hour film with the same title as its parent album, (Lemonade) which initially aired on HBO and was also included with the purchase of the album itself. The Jonas Åkerlund-directed video features Beyoncé destroying multiple cars and security cameras using a baseball bat.
Like a Prayer is iconic for most, but controversial among many. It features actor Leon Robinson as Saint Martin de Porres, who some perceived as a black version of Christ. The video's use of Catholic iconography includes a scene where Madonna develops stigmata and includes cross-burning imagery. However, it also garnered praise for its interpretation of discrimination, rape, and faith.
Norwegian band A-ha had their biggest hit with their 1985 re-recording of Take On Me. The video combines pencil sketch animation with live-action, using rotoscoping techniques. It took about four months for animators to complete the four-minute video. The romantic fantasy shows a comic book character and a woman reading about him join each others' shared worlds.
Sledgehammer cleaned up at the VMAs, winning nine awards - still a record. The video uses a mix of animation styles, including claymation, pixilation, and stop motion. Peter Gabriel had to stay under a sheet of glass for 16 hours while filming the video while animators moved objects above him, one frame at a time.
When Doves Cry opens with white doves emerging from double doors to reveal Prince in a bathtub. It also includes scenes from the Purple Rain film interspersed with shots of the Revolution performing and dancing in a white room. The video's final portion incorporates a mirrored frame of the left half of the picture, creating a doubling effect.
Freedom '90 features many supermodels, including Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford, and male models John Pearson, Mario Sorrenti, and Peter Formby to mouth the words. Michael refused to appear in the music video. Still, the video shows the destruction of various symbols of Michael's past, including the famous guitar, jukebox, and leather jacket of the Faith era.
Jeremy incorporates rapid-fire editing and juxtaposition of sound, still images, graphics, and text elements with live-action sequences to create a collage effect. Actor Trevor Wilson portrayed Jeremy, is an angry, depressed boy who commits suicide in his classroom. The edited version led to misinterpretations that Jeremy kills his classmates, not himself.
The incredible video shows Missy Elliott and others dancing to her song. Missy dances in a dark fantasy playground in some scenes -- and is covered by (real!) bees in another. Timbaland and Tweet make cameos. The fast pace and good humor made this video Missy's most iconic.
Waterfalls was filmed at Universal Studios Hollywood and features the group standing in a pool as they sing the song. The video tackles the issues of drug dealing and HIV. The video won 4 MTV Video Music Awards, including Video of the Year, making TLC the first African American group to win that award.
Hey Ya! is based on The Beatles' landmark appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964, but sets the action in London. The television presenter, portrayed by Ryan Phillippe, tries to calm a crowd of screaming girls on a show being broadcast live in black-and-white. The band performs while the girls scream; one girl is carried off by security after rushing the stage, and another faints.
Ironic features Morissette driving a black Lincoln Continental Mark V through a winter landscape. She also plays her passengers: one in a green sweater riding in the back seat; one in a yellow sweater with braided hair, the back seat; and one in a red sweater in the front passenger seat. At the end of the video, the car stalls. Morissette, as the driver, exits, but her passengers are nowhere to be seen.
Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It) is shot in black and white and choreographed by JaQuel Knight. The video features Beyoncé as her alter ego Sasha Fierce, dancing against a plain white background with two female look-alike backup dancers. Towards the end of the video, she flashes her wedding ring that camouflages with her glove. It's one of the most iconic videos of all time.
Oops!...I Did It Again begins with a room of scientists researching life on Mars. By contacting their astronaut on the planet, they find Britney, who rides down on a platform and makes her way into a dance scene with the other 'Martians,' wearing a tight-fitting red catsuit. This continues for a while and includes cuts to Spears lying on a stage, wearing a white outfit.
Black Hole Sun has a surreal and apocalyptic theme and features post-production work by 525 Post Production and Soho 601 Effects. The video follows a suburban neighborhood and its inhabitants, which are eventually swallowed up by a black hole, while the band performs the song somewhere in an open field.
Maddie Ziegler of Dance Moms fame spins, crawls, falls, and kicks around a dirty apartment in the video for Chandelier. Ziegler wore a blonde wig to resemble the one Sia wears. The success of this video spurred many more collaborations between the dancer and the musician who refuses to show her face.
If I Could Turn Back Time takes place onboard the USS Missouri, where Cher sings to a large group of sailors. Cher's outfit for the video (a fishnet body stocking under a very revealing black one-piece bathing suit) caused some controversy, and many television networks refused to show the video. In 1989, MTV banned the video and only played it after 9:00 PM.
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) is begins with Houston just finishing a performance onstage. She walks backstage, and the scene is intercut with more vivid, colorful images of her. The song then explodes into its beginning, with various locations and various outfits by Houston, as dancers trying to impress her as she dances around. The music video borrows from Flashdance, Grease, and Top Hat.
The video uses a style similar to the Censored Eleven cartoons, depicting several well-known stereotypes associated with African Americans. The video touches on African American culture, various roles within the black community, and how the black community is affected by money. O. J. Simpson (the song's namesake) is featured saying the rumored line, "I'm not black, I'm O.J.," a reference to the idea that wealth, notoriety, and fame can transcend race.
Swift has said that part of the premise of the video is rooted in the idea that, "If everything you write about me was true, this is how ridiculous it would look." It is a satirical send-up of media theories about her true intentions that have little validity.
Physical features a lusty Olivia, dressed in a tight leotard, working out in a gym with several overweight men, who eventually transform into attractive muscular young men. This was further emphasized by the video's twist comedy ending when the transformed men who are now oblivious to Newton-John's advances are ultimately revealed to be gay.
The video opens with a man dying in an explosive motorcycle crash after lightning strikes a tree down in his path. Dion's character is haunted by her lover's image, which she sees through a mirror, and images of them together through picture frames. Dion is seen running alone through a dark, gothic mansion, with the wind blowing through the open windows.
Director Jeff Stein made Alice in Wonderland the theme for this video. Actress Wish Foley plays Alice, who is cut up like a cake and eaten by Tom Petty and others. Future Vice President Al Gore's daughter saw the video and complained to her mom, who used it as a pretext to launch the Parents Music Resource Center - the group behind those infamous 'Parental Advisory' stickers.
Beautiful opens with Aguilera speaking the line "Don't look at me," followed by scenes of her singing alone in a room intercut with self image-related sequences of other people. One scene features a gay couple kissing on a bench and ignoring the stares of people who pass them. Another scene shows a drag queen putting on makeup, a wig, and women's clothing.
Smells Like Teen Spirit's video features a school concert ends in anarchy and riot. Inspiration was taken from Jonathan Kaplan's 1979 movie Over the Edge, as well as the Ramones film Rock 'n' Roll High School. Cobain disliked Bayer's final edit and personally oversaw a re-edit of the video that resulted in the version finally aired
Virtual Insanity features Jay Kay dancing and performing the song in a bright white room with a grey floor. The video earned recognition from critics for its special effects: the floor appears to move while the rest of the room stays still, allowing Kay to perform moves not typically seen in music videos.
The video starts with a shirtless Gambino dancing through a warehouse, interacting with a series of chaotic scenes. According to director Hiro Murai, the video was inspired by the films Mother! and City of God. It's dense with commentary on racism throughout American history.
Nothing Compares 2 U was mainly shot in Paris and consists almost solely of a closeup on O'Connor's face as she sings the song's lyrics. Toward the end of the video, two tears roll down her face, one per cheek. It was the first video from a female artist to win Music Video of the Year at the VMAs.
This quirky video for Cindy Lauper's breakout hit was made on an extremely low-budget. Lauper's brother, attorney, and secretaries from CBS made up most of the cast. Dan Akyroyd made a volunteer appearance as his SNL character Beldar Conehead. Lorne Michaels let Lauper use his digital editing equipment for free, helping to keep expenses down.
Bye Bye Bye features 'N Sync as puppets controlled by an evil puppetress, Kim Smith. She cuts the strings first on Fatone and Kirkpatrick, and they run across a speeding train to escape her. She cuts Timberlake loose next, and he out-runs her trained dogs. Then, Bass and Chasez are cut loose into a sports car and must speed away from her.
Everybody Hurts was filmed along I-10 in San Antonio, Texas, and shows the band stuck in a traffic jam. Subtitles show us the thoughts of the other people tuck in traffic. In the end, all the people leave their cars and walk instead. They then vanish.
Parents Just Don't Understand features Will Smith explaining that parents do not know that kids "are gonna make some mistakes." Will tells a story about his family's trip to the Gallery Mall, and while his parents are on vacation, he takes their new Porsche and rides around the neighborhood.
Umbrella features Rihanna singing the song and dancing solo with an umbrella and with background dancers while sparks rain down on them. Scenes include a Rhianna covered with silver body paint and a CGI effect of water splashing on her. Jay-Z appears at the beginning of the video.
Kanye West directed the video, drawing from director Stanley Kubrick as an inspiration. West drew inspiration from other long-form music videos and music-related cinema, including Purple Rain, Pink Floyd The Wall, and Michael Jackson's Thriller. The music video revolves around a love story between West (known as "Griffin" in the narrative) and a phoenix he discovers while driving through the woods.
Sabotage is an homage and parody of 1970s crime drama television series like Hawaii Five-0, The Streets of San Francisco, S.W.A.T., Baretta, and Starsky and Hutch. In the video, the band members appear as the show's characters. Each band member is introduced as a fictional actor and the character he plays.
Walk This Way places Aerosmith and Run-D.M.C. in a musical duel in neighboring studios before Tyler literally breaks through the wall that separates them. The video then segues to the bands' joint performance on stage. The highly popular video was the first rap hybrid video ever played in heavy rotation on MTV and is regarded as a classic of the medium.
Doo Wop (That Thing) was filmed using a split-screen technique and features Hill performing at block parties in two different eras: the mid-1960s and the late-1990s. The video was filmed in Washington Heights, Manhattan. It won four 1999 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Female Video, Best R&B Video, Best Art Direction, and Video of the Year.
All the Small Things parodies various pop videos produced by several artists such as the Backstreet Boys ("I Want It That Way"), 'N Sync ("Tearin' Up My Heart"), 98 Degrees, Sugar Ray, Britney Spears ("Sometimes"), Westlife, Christina Aguilera ("Genie in a Bottle"), Ricky Martin and Five.
Fantasy features Carey as she explores the amusement park on roller blades and rides on a roller coaster, before joining a group of hip hop dancers after nightfall. The video was filmed at Coney Island park in Rye, New York. This was Mariah Carey's directorial debut.
Tonight, Tonight draws inspiration from Georges Méliès's silent film A Trip to the Moon and other works by the French master. Actors Tom Kenny and Jill Talley star as a couple riding a Zepplin to the moon. On their colorful trip, they fight aliens, escape on a rocket, and meet a merman.
Mo Money Mo Problems features Mase and Combs in futuristic locations, including a tunnel lined with fluorescent lamps and a stark white chamber with pressurized air blowing out of the floor, allowing the two to float in midair. The video shows Combs competing in a golf tournament, where he's helped by The Notorious B.I.G's spirit.
No Rain stars Heather DeLoach as the Bee Girl, a young tap dancer wearing a homemade bee costume and large glasses, modeled after the Blind Melon album's cover: a family picture of Georgia Graham, younger sister of drummer Glen Graham. The Bee Girl's story is interspersed with footage of Blind Melon performing in a field against a clear blue sky.
The video, directed by Rupert Wainwright, features Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren, Krazy Dee, and DJ Yella. The video shows the group walking and posing throughout various parts of the city of Compton. Ice Cube and Ren are chased by the police during their verses, arrested, and put in a holding van. Eazy-E's verse shows him riding alongside the van in a convertible, yelling at the driver who ignores him. As the van leaves the neighborhood, residents throw rocks at it.
The video for Pynk features actress Tessa Thompson, a frequent collaborator of Monáe's. The plot finds Monáe and Thompson along with a group of other women dancing in a desert, having a slumber party, and sitting out by a pool while expressing appreciation for the vagina.
Wicked Game was shot in Hawaii and featured supermodel Helena Christensen rolling and frolicking on the beach with Isaak. Christensen was topless, and Isaak was shirtless through most of the video, although clever camera angles concealed any actual nudity. A previous version of the video was commissioned for the Wild at Heart soundtrack and was directed by David Lynch.
Lady Marmalade features all four performers in lingerie on Los Angeles sets built to resemble the actual Moulin Rouge night club around the turn of the century. The colorful, energetic video has become inseparable from the song itself. The videos used props and costumes from the movie Moulin Rogue! in which the song was featured.
Wannabe features the group running, singing, dancing, and creating mischief at an eccentric bohemian party at the Midland Grand Hotel in St Pancras, London. Among their antics is Chisholm's back handspring on one of the tables. Each of the girls' personalities are introduced in this lively video that put the Spice Girls on the map.
Stan features Devon Sawa as Stan, the obsessive fan, and British pop singer Dido, who sings the chorus, as his pregnant girlfriend. There are multiple versions of the disturbing video, which features scenes of violence and cruelty by the fanatical Stan.
Freak on a Leash opens with an animated sequence of children climbing over a chain-link fence to play hopscotch. A guard runs as he sees one girl near the edge when he trips and the gun he is holding fires. The bullet breaks out of the animated world into the real world as it destroys things while narrowly avoiding hitting people.
Michel Gondry directed this Lego-animated film just a couple years before he made Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Lego refused to partner with the band on the video. The company changed its mind once it became a hit, but this time band leader Jack White said no.
The video opens with Aaliyah sitting in a dark room in a black dress and also appearing on a TV screen performing the first verse. For part of the video she wears on a glass bed. Later, she wears a snake around her neck in a pit, wearing snakeskin underwear. Aaliyah performs a dance routine with other dancers during Timbaland's verse, wearing a dragon T-shirt.
The music video for the song was directed by Antoine Fuqua and featured Michelle Pfeiffer, reprising her earlier role in Dangerous Minds. Initially, Coolio was concerned with the video's treatment stating, "I wanted some low-riders and some shit in it; I was trying to take it 'hood.'" Despite this, he trusted Fuqua and was ultimately pleased with the final result.
Amish Paradise parodies "Gangsta's Paradise" music video with Yankovic dressed in Amish garb and has a beard and features Florence Henderson in the role originally portrayed by Michelle Pfeiffer. The video shows many aspects of regular Amish life, such as raising a barn. It took Coolio more than a decade to warm up to the parody, which he initially loathed.
Waiting for Tonight centers around a millennium party for the year 2000 in a jungle setting and humorously portrayed the Y2K bug worries when the tropical skyline blackouts during the millennium party but immediately lights back up seconds later.
The video is a role-reversed version of Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" and "Simply Irresistible" music videos. Twain starts the video dressed in a long coat and a veiled top hat, white dress shirt, black tie. But throughout the video, she strips off clothing until she is left wearing a black corset, mini skirt, thigh-high boots, a black choker, and black gloves.
The music video for "Juice" was released the same day as the single. The video, directed by Quinn Wilson, features the singer in an '80s-style workout program, late-night talk show, and selling products on an infomercial. It also contains references to Soul Glo commercials and a reference to ASMR YouTuber Spirit Payton.
The music video opens with the seven BTS members exploring a museum filled with European Renaissance replications and weeping angels and switches to showing the band posing together. Throughout the visual, the band members are seen dancing in multiple sets or being confined by luxurious rooms with classic white sculptures kept in the dark places, tied up or trapped.
Genie in a Bottle begins with Aguilera lying on a beach, wearing a white midriff and tiny shorts. The video suddenly breaks into a dance scene. Aguilera's friends in the music video come over to her house, where they meet up with a group of guys driving a red Chevrolet. The music video ends with a guy chasing after Aguilera, and together they sit with a group of friends while a bonfire is lit.
The video begins with Clarkson in a video control room, watching select flash mob videos submitted by various participants in different monitors. Throughout the video, Clarkson's scenes performing the song in three different settings (alone on a stage, with her band in a garden square, and in the control room) alternate with various flash mob videos. Towards the end of the video, Clarkson, along with the people in the garden square, forms a flash mob featuring the same choreograph.
The video follows Adam Levine, alone with a microphone in the center of a room, with the band playing instruments in the background, then a rotating assortment of women dancing and lip-syncing around him. Sarah Silverman, Gal Gadot, Tiffany Haddish, Ilhan Omar, and Jennifer Lopez are among the women who make cameos.