They could last for a few minutes, or an hour. They could explore issues of identity and race, or show off some tight dance moves or both. They could take the form of DIY goofs or Hollywood extravaganzas. They could offer budding talents an outlet to splash their aesthetic, or give legends a way to say goodbye on their own terms. In not one but two videos, Drake lustfully watches Rihanna dance, first in a smoky club and later alone in a pink-lit room. Bottom line: Whatever their status actually is, Drake continues to follow Rihanna around like a puppy, and she continues to relish being his boss. The clip wrings out every last tear as the relationship between boy and his pet builds before quickly disappearing.
9. Coldplay - "Hymn for the Weekend"
These are the year's 10 best. Ignoring Battleship , Rihanna's Harmony Korine-directed "Needed Me" video makes the case that the obscenely photogenic superstar deserves a starring role in an action-thriller at some point. The cinematic clip is a slow build to Rihanna's execution-style shooting of a dude making it rain in a strip club in the finale. At the very least, she better make an appearance in a James Bond movie in the near future. From Wallace and Gromit to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, stop-motion animation tends to look precious and adorable by default.
First point of order: To keep a level playing field, there are no repeat artists and no longform music videos on this list. Even in a vacuum, this video deserves to be on the list; considering the context of how Bowie used it to say goodbye to his adoring fans prior to his passing is further evidence of his creative genius. What a rare chance for an artist to have control over how they say farewell, especially when we have lost so many greats so unexpectedly in recent years. Teyana Taylor — with a exquisitely sculpted body to launch a thousands of gym memberships — exhibits charisma, uniqueness, nerve, and talent with each dance move. The cyberpunk fashions. The doodles popping up onscreen. The blood rave straight out of Blade.
This year the music video became more powerful than it's ever been in the post-MTV era. Using social platforms like YouTube, music videos have become more ubiquitous than at any point in history. And musicians and directors are working together like never before to create truly incredible works of art through images and sounds. These are more than just visual accompaniments to music. Consider Frank Ocean's Endless , which was released as a visual album to subvert his record company ahead of Blonde. Radiohead's series of Paul Thomas Anderson-directed videos are a beautiful feat of filmmaking. David Bowie's "Lazarus" is the artist's powerful farewell.