To repurpose a phrase uttered by Britney Jean Spears: “Everyone has been doing pivots to video”.
Video content is the new big thing that isn’t truly new or big, but none of that matters because we’re all rats in the laboratory of Mark Zuckerberg’s life – and because it led to a range of visual treats from some of our favourite popstars, from documentaries by Demi Lovato and Lady Gaga to livestreamed award shows that don’t require an app or a monthly subscription.
But most importantly, it’s resulted in a newfound dedication to the release of music videos. With YouTube views reaching new heights at every quarter, your favourite popstars have been flocking back to the once taken-for-granted medium for their shot at a runaway smash. Minus Niall Horan, anyway.
And if you’ve been wondering which of those are most deserving of your time and attention, stop wasting all that valuable brain power right now, because you are now officially sorted. Scroll on for a very good and accurate rundown of the most fantastic videos released this year.
21. Paloma Faith – ‘Crybaby’
‘Crybaby’ feels like an important song all on its own, but its music video adds another dimension to the topic of toxic masculinity – calling attention to the dangers of complicity as well. And extra incredibly, Paloma’s promise of a continuation was met in her next video – which as we’re all painfully aware is an all-too-rare phenomena in the pop world.
20. HICARI – ‘Stellar’
The first major selling point of the ‘Stellar’ video is the opportunity it provides us to witness a powerful black woman stand triumphantly over the battered bodies of two white douchebros. The second major selling point are the band members themselves, who all have really, really nice hair.
19. Ariana Grande feat. Future – ‘Everyday’
Contrary to popular belief, THIS is Ariana’s greatest visual accomplishment. Also contrary to popular belief: the treatment for ‘Into You’ is her second greatest visual accomplishment, but that’s a bar fight for some other time.
18. Saint Clair – ‘Human Touch’
Past the faint creepiness of the setting – and situation – that this video treatment imposes, and there’s an undeniable sweetness and sadness that’s far more striking. ‘Human Touch’ raises a lot of fascinating questions about how we view people, how we honour them, and of course, how we try to find a sense of connection with them – particularly when we’re at our loneliest.
17. Troye Sivan feat. Betty Who – ‘Heaven’
2017 has been a spectacularly terrible year filled with terrible people doing terrible things. It’s also been a year that terrific artists like Troye Sivan stepped up to use their platform and their music to educate, inspire, and comfort those that need it the most. And it’s these artists we need to be spending our coins on, just fyi.
16. Yasutaka Nakata feat. Charli XCX and Kyary Pamyu Pamyu – ‘Crazy Crazy’
See above for further proof that there are still ways to feature your collaborators in your video if they can’t make the shooting dates. This being the best one.
15. HAIM – ‘Want You Back’
See above for further proof that literally anyone can pull off some type of choreography, and that your favourite popstar is either horrendously lazy or stupendously unimaginative.
14. Tove Lo – ‘Disco Tits’
You know it’s been a good year for music videos when Tove Lo getting eaten out by a muppet isn’t enough to land her a spot in the top ten. But seriously: WHAT A WOMAN.
13. Lana Del Rey – ‘Love’
It’s Lana Del Rey! Smiling! Winking! Shimmying! All in one video! It’s easy to mistake reinvention for evolution – but Lana Del Rey’s transformation from Sad Girl to Heroin(e) was certainly the latter, and though its arrival wasn’t as hyped or as dramatic as most, it felt far more important and impactful than what her peers were throwing against the wall.
12. Kero Kero Bonito – ‘Forever Summer Holiday’
The members of Kero Kero Bonito barely managing to grin and dance through what looks like sub-zero weather on a shitty, smelly beach is the most apt metaphor for living through 2017 out of all the apt metaphors for living through 2017.
11. MUNA – ‘So Special’
MUNA make our list in a slightly different way to others – based off the combined power of the twelve videos (or one short movie) shot for every song on their album, About U. All these lyric videos come together to create an entire world that’s soundtracked by the album – in a way that intensifies each song’s emotions without limiting them to any specific narrative.