2016 is almost coming to an end so it is time to look back at some of the pop highlights of the year. To be completely honest, 2016 wasn’t the best year for music videos. A lot of artists showed laziness and a lack of creativity when it came to their visuals, but do not fear! A Bit of Pop Music selected the 15 best pop videos for you, which are absolutely worth a watch!
15. Britney Spears feat. Tinashe – Slumber Party
Ok, I admit, this is no ‘Toxic’ or ‘Everytime’, but it still is one of Britney Spears’ best videos in recent years (she kind of had to after delivering her best album in years as well). She looks absolutely breathtaking, the setting at the freaky party works and that scene where she crawls over the table is stunning and sexy. Her interaction with Tinashe is convincing enough to make this video into an enjoyable watch.
14. Clean Bandit feat. Louisa Johnson – Tears
Clean Bandit returned to the spotlight this year with a collaboration with X Factor winner Louisa Johnson. The dramatic disco inspired tune was accompanied by a just as dramatic music video with a lot of water effects, burning instruments and even an owl! I’m not completely sure what it all means, but who cares! It all looks amazing and it is clear all involved were very passionate about recording this!
13. Bruno Mars – 24K Magic
It is safe to say Bruno Mars received a mixed bunch of reactions when he returned to the spotlight with the funky ’24k Magic’, but no one can really fault him for delivering us a video that shows off what the song is all about. From the eye catching shirts, shorts and shoes to his absolutely contagious dance moves, Bruno shows that he had a simple but clear vision for the visuals of this campaign. And can you think of a better way to end a video than to jetski through the fountains of Las Vegas!?
12. Troye Sivan – Youth
Troye Sivan’s video trilogy for his singles ‘Wild’, ‘Fools’ and ‘Talk Me Down’ took the number 1 position in this list last year and although his video for ‘Youth’, released this year, is not as moving or heavy in terms of story, it still is a fresh and bright portrayal of the youth of today. The colours, his dance moves, the actors, every aspect about this video is uplifting. Who wouldn’t want to join in on that party!?
11. Frank Ocean – Nikes
Frank Ocean had been teasing us for ages but with the release of the video for his single ‘Nikes’, the wait for his latest album Blonde was finally over. He introduced the era with a broad spectrum of visuals, like him in a burning suit, eye liner and glitter make up, naked women on horses and more. The only thing they seem to have in common is that it all looks gorgeous and that is more than enough.
Watch ‘Nikes’ exclusively at Apple Music.
10. Loïc Nottet – Million Eyes
Sometimes all it takes for a music video to be mesmerizing is one performer doing an expressive choreography in a layer of water. Belgian pop star Loïc Nottet just proved this with the stunning black and white video for his latest single ‘Million Eyes’. He perfectly portrays the struggle that this song is about in his dance moves and it is hard to take your eyes off him. But then again, why would you want to!?
09. John Legend – Love Me Now
In a year where love was sometimes hard to find, John Legend brought us a heart warming message with his single ‘Love Me Now’. The video revolves around special relationships between people from all around the world and especially those who went through a recent traumatic experience. It is all filmed respectfully and of course Legend himself shows up with his family as well. Some might find it a bit cheesy, but it comes from a good place and is executed very well.
08. AURORA – I Went Too Far
Norwegian pop star AURORA made the list last year with the breathtaking video for ‘Running With The Wolves’ and this year she treated us to another beauty full of symbols and metaphors like ladders and black and white. For the recording of the video for ‘I Went Too Far’ she flew to Iceland where waterfalls and the ocean are used as the setting. AURORA herself powerfully portrays the emotions of the song in her own quirky way. Simply stunning!
07. Tove Lo – Fairy Dust
Swedish pop star Tove Lo divided her most recent album Lady Wood in two parts of which the first half, Fairy Dust, was turned into a shortfilm. The half an hour long music video is directed by Tove’s creative partner, Tim Erem with a monologue by Lina Esco and is all about the highs and the rushes Tove is striving for in her life. We see her go through all the highs and lows in a dark and twisted world, most apparent in the opening scene where she goes from hysterically laughing to uncontrollably crying in a matter of seconds. A car crash later the shortfilm ends with Tove Lo masturbating in her bed. This is not for everyone, but Tove’s world of sex, drugs and electro pop might be relatable to a lot of us.
06. Lady Gaga – Perfect Illusion
Lady Gaga returned this year with her album Joanne and a more toned down look. The music video for her comeback single ‘Perfect Illusion’ is hard to compare to anything she did before, but it is extremely striking in its simplicity. The desert setting is perfect, Gaga’s delivery is emotionally raw and the pace of the editing is almost dizzying. Like a little whirlwind it is captivating from start to finish.
05. Solange – Cranes In The Sky
2016 was the year that Solange finally was taken seriously as a pop star in her own right, while she majorly stepped up her game, especially visually. From her album A Seat At The Table she released the music videos for ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ and ‘Cranes In The Sky’ at the same time and while both look stunning, it was the latter that made the biggest impression. Every single frame is composed carefully and it almost feels like going through a photo book. Amazing!
04. The Weeknd – False Alarm
The Weeknd usually does not shy away from controversial visuals in his music videos and in ‘False Alarm’ he even takes things a little further. We watch a bank robbery and a hostage from the point of view from one of the robbers, almost like playing a video game. One by one his fellow robbers meet their end, while the last one standing (who would that be) does not know what to do with the female hostage. The violence is quite graphic, but in terms of execution absolutely one of the most impressive videos of the year.
03. The Veronicas – On Your Side
The Australian sisters The Veronicas made a big comeback in 2016 with their number 1 single ‘In My Blood’, but their best video was definitely the one for their latest track ‘On Your Side’. The video directed by and co-starring model, actress and DJ Ruby Rose is a moving portrayal of a relationship between two women that faces difficulties when one of them gets addicted to pain killers. It is a beautiful depiction of loyalty and never fading love for people that played an important part in your life. It is not an easy one to watch, but the raw emotions of the video take the song to the next level and that is what it should be all about with music videos!
02. Beyoncé – Lemonade
Beyoncé proved herself once again as one of the absolute best artists of all time when it comes to the creation of music videos. She dropped her album Lemonade at the same time as the broadcast of her shortfilm with the same name. This shortfilm consists of music videos for all the tracks with some deep monologues going on in between and it is safe to say Bey hit all the right spots. My favourite moments are the ‘under water’ monologue leading up to the absolutely feisty visuals for ‘Hold Up’ and the choreographies and police car scene in ‘Formation’, but every single song received a worthy video treatment. Lemonade is an emotional journey through the fases one experiences after betrayal and is at the same time a powerful statement on what it is like to be a black woman in this industry and today’s society. This work will be remembered in years from now.
01. Sia – The Greatest
In a year where Beyoncé seemed almost unbeatable, Sia did the impossible. Her video for the uplifting single ‘The Greatest’ is hands down the best video of the year. Both the track and video were recorded as a tribute to the LGBT community after the shooting in gay club Pulse in Orlando and with that in mind, the visuals send chills down your spine. We see young dancer Maddie Ziegler (who appears in most of Sia’s recent videos) with 48 other dancers (49 people died during the shooting) performing an expressive choreography in a dark club with bullet holes in the walls. The moment in the end where they all fall down and Maddie cries is both stunning and heartbreaking. If anything, ‘The Greatest’ underlines the power of dance and is a respectful and stunning tribute.