I love music videos. I love music videos more than I love absolutely ANYTHING ELSE on this earth and would happily spend the rest of my days watching them in an endless reel while I cried with all the various emotions that I experienced. In light of this pure and beautiful love, I have chosen the best music video from every year since 2000. It was hard and some difficult decisions had to be made, but what follows is the Official Objectively Correct Best Video Of Every Year Of The 21st Century. Enjoy and please do not @ me.
2000: JAY-Z - 'Big Pimpin' ft. UGK
This is early 2000’s hip-hop opulence at its finest: yachts, cigars, mansions, money being thrown into the air and approximately 6 million beautiful women having champagne poured on them. A golden era.
2001: Fatboy Slim - 'Weapon Of Choice'
Maybe one of the best music videos of all time, this won six MTV awards in the year of its release and features Christopher Walken dancing - and flying!- around an empty LA Marriott. If watching this doesn’t bring a smile to your face you might be dead inside.
2002: Christina Aguilera - 'Dirrty' ft. Redman
2002, what a year. Also bringing us Justin Timberlake - ‘Senorita’, Missy Elliot - ‘Work It’, Kylie Minogue’s ‘Come Into My World’ and P.Diddy’s ‘Bad Boy For Life’ video featuring more celebrities than a red carpet, this one was a hard decision. But Christina Aguilera’s iconic comeback video takes the crown if only for the shock factor: I remember exactly where I was when I first saw it and I’m willing to bet cold hard cash that you do too.
2003: Pharrell - 'Frontin' ft. Jay-Z
Another huge year for the music video (honourable mentions to Kelis’s ‘Milkshake’, Outkast’s ‘Hey Ya’, White Stripes’ ‘Seven Nation Army’ and Benni Benassi ‘Satisfaction’) - but Pharrell’s ‘Frontin’ is the winner if only because it made literally the entire world develop a crush on the N.E.R.D. front-man. It’s also one of those videos that can be used as a time capsule for if the aliens ever come to visit and want to know what 2003 was like - low-rise jeans, trucker caps, a skate ramp in the living room and Jay-Z’s verse being delivered on the display screen of a digital camera. What a time!
2004: OutKast - 'The Way You Move' ft. Sleepy Brown
This list would be a LIE if Outkast didn’t win at least one year. Pretty much every music video featuring Andre 3000 and Big Boi could be on a best of all time list, and this bonkers piece of cinematography is one of their best. Featuring some heavy green screen usage, the video sees Outkast in a mechanics garage, an ornate ballroom, the plains of Africa and also features a light saber fight in a Japan and some truly great dancing. It’s gloriously ridiculous and a whole lot of fun.
2005: Kanye West - 'Gold Digger' ft. Jamie Foxx
Another champion of the music video is Mr. Kanye West. Directed by master of the medium Hype Williams and featuring some of the era’s most famous video vixens as moving magazine covers, this video is a joy to watch due its exceptional use of colour and lighting. And Jamie Foxx.
2006: OK Go - 'Here It Goes Again'
It’s hard to describe the impact this video had on the Internet in an era before Vine, memes or Youtube’s first birthday. OK Go suck (sorry) but this is a stellar piece of gym-based choreography. It’s also a lot harder than it looks, as discovered by the many, many people who tried to recreate its beauty.
2007: Bat For Lashes - 'What's a Girl To Do?'
This beautiful but creepy video is like an updated Donnie Darko remade for 2007 indie fans: a bunch of BMXers with animal heads flank Natasha Khan as she rides through a forest at night, clapping on beat, doing tricks and seamlessly appearing and disappearing from behind her. Also featuring some really creepy children, a car crash and a lot of smoke.
2008: Beyoncé - 'Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)'
A masterpiece of choreography and video work, this is hands down the best video of 2008 if not *Kanye voice* OF ALL TIME! (Sorry Taylor).
2009: UNKLE - 'Heaven'
Skateboarding and explosions soundtracked by this airy gem of a track.
2010: Rihanna - 'Rude Boy'
WHERE TO BEGIN. This colourful and cartoon-filled Caribbean banger sees the queen of the region herself rocking some sensational outfits including a STUDDED GOLD BODYSUIT and THOSE BOOTS. She also plays the drums, simulates having sex with a lion and looks down a male dancer’s trousers whilst singing “is you big enough”. What more do you need?
2011: Tyler The Creator - 'Yonkers'
2011 was the year we were introduced to (now) cult skate-rap super crew Odd Future, and Tyler’s simple yet sinister visuals are a perfect accompaniment to the dark beat and flow of debut track ‘Yonkers’. Trigger warning: suicide and also a huge cockroach.
2012: M.I.A. - 'Bad Girls'
Filmed in Morocco and featuring incredible footage of the country’s drag racing scene, this video gave us one of the best images ever: MIA filing her nails on top of a MOVING SIDEWAYS BMW. I have watched it 12 times in a row now and every time is somehow better than the last. Be good to yourself and watch in 1080p for the full jaw-dropping experience.
2013: Ciara - 'Body Party'
This video will forever be bittersweet due to the messy disintegration of Ciara and Future’s relationship, but 2013 was a more innocent time in many ways. For a start I thought Future was a video vixen. Anyway, this is Ciara doing what Ciara does best: being so hot and good at dancing it brings us lesser mortals to tears.
2014: Sia - 'Chandelier'
Debuting dancer Maddie Ziegler, this is one of the most watched videos of all time (1,795,385,476 views at time of writing) and it’s not hard to figure out why.
2015: Kendrick Lamar - 'Alright'
Kendrick is a master of the music video, and another artist who could’ve had the best video of the year literally every year he’s put one out. Shot beautifully on black and white, ‘Alright’ is a beautiful display of black joy in the face of police brutality.
2016: Beyoncé - 'Lemonade'
Presented without comment.
2017: Charli XCX - 'Boys'
Featuring almost every hot boy in the world pandering to the female gaze with cuddly toys, inflatable flamingoes and milk mustaches, this sugary fun-filled visual was the antidote we all needed in the garbage fire that was 2017 as a year.