It is that time of the year again! A Bit of Pop Music presents the best of lists for 2017, starting with the 20 best pop music videos!
20. Rae Morris – Do It
Pop music videos come in the most complicated and elaborate forms, but sometimes letting a British pop artist loose in New York City is enough to create visuals with a high replay value. Rae Morris is a little star in her own right and her happiness in this video, directed by Noel Paul, is contagious!
19. Loïc Nottet – Doctor
Belgian pop star Loïc Nottet made this list last year with his impressive choreography to ‘Million Eyes’ and for this year’s ‘Doctor’ he let his inner freak out! The video was launched during Halloween and it is not hard to see why. Dressed up as a low key terror clown he roams the streets with his lover. He must have had so much fun recording this!
18. Astrid S – Breathe
Astrid S from Norway serves vintage looks in this action packed video for her single ‘Breathe’, directed by Cherry Cobra Films. The Norwegian pop starlet took inspiration from some classic action movies, while the overall style recalls American Hustle. The scene with the knives seems to be inspired by Suicide Squad. The way the story is told is almost cartoon like and oh so fun to watch!
17. Rita Ora – Anywhere
And another British star went to New York to record a video. Rita has never looked better and her star quality shines through every single scene. For me, in this video, in combination with the track of course, Rita Ora finally reached her full potential as a pop star. The styling is A+ and it is hard not to smile throughout the whole thing!
16. Zayn & Sia – Dusk Till Dawn
Zayn stars in his own little action movie, directed by Marc Webb. We get car chases, intense interrogations and mysterious suitcases. Of course Zayn outwits both the gangsters and the law and runs off with his love interest who is part of his mysterious business, played by Jemima Kirke.
15. Miley Cyrus – Younger Now
I still don’t understand how ‘Younger Now’ by Miley Cyrus did not become a worldwide smash hit, but at least we can still celebrate the adorable video, co-directed by Miley and friend Diane Martel. She is seen with a puppet of her younger self, channels her inner Elvis, enjoys some fun times with the coolest elderly people you have ever seen and then breaks into a joyous choreography. What’s not to love!?
14. Kesha – Praying
Kesha finally released new music after a tough time and she could not have done it any better than with the ‘Praying’ song and video. The message is very clear and the video, directed by Jonas Åkerlund, supports this perfectly. Kesha went through hell and back, but she turned it into something positive. A powerful, emotive and visually stunning video!
13. Sia – Free Me
Sia grabbed the number 1 spot in this list with the video for ‘The Greatest’ and this year she makes the list again with ‘Free Me’. The video, directed by Blake Martin, tells the story of a pregnant young woman (played by Zoe Saldana) who finds out that she is HIV positive. Julianne Moore narrates the story and the expressive choreography translates the story in moves. One of the most touching videos of the year!
12. P!nk – Beautiful Trauma
P!nk managed to get Hollywood actor Channing Tatum to play the role of her husband (and wife!) in the video for her latest single ‘Beautiful Trauma’. Of course there is more than meets the eye when it comes to this seemingly perfect 50’s couple! The video is shot like a sitcom and especially the scenes with choreography are brilliant!
11. Tove Lo – Disco Tits
Swedish pop star Tove Lo does not shy away from a bit of controversy and although she almost becomes a caricature of herself in the ‘Disco Tits’ song and video, I can’t help but enjoy the hell out of it. The action with the puppet is wrong on so many levels, that it almost becomes right! if this was about the most funny pop video of 2017, Tove might have taken the crown!
10. Miguel – Sky Walker
It really does not have to be so difficult to make one of the most enjoyable music videos of the year. Miguel just acted out the lyrics of his song to comical effect and it landed him a spot in our top 10! Such a feel good video this is!
09. Paloma Faith – The Architect
In comparison to Miguel, Paloma Faith went all out with the videos for singles ‘Guilty’ and ‘Crybaby’, released under the name The Architect. The visuals, directed by Thomas James and shot in Ukraine, follow the story of children in a dystopian society where they have to fight and not show any emotion. Paloma Faith puts her trust in one of the kids, only to find out that he betrayed her. Dramatic and intriguing! It’s like watching The Hunger Games!
08. Clean Bandit & Zara Larsson – Symphony
Clean Bandit’s ‘Symphony’ sounds like an uplifting song on first listen, but the video, directed by Clean Bandit members Grace Chatto and Jack Patterson, adds a deeper layer to it. It is hard not to get tears in your eyes watching the process of mourning of a young conductor after his boyfriend dies in a traffic accident. Heavy subject, but tastefully executed!
07. Lana Del Rey & The Weeknd – Lust For Life
I guess we all can agree that nobody can really pull off that little choreography at the start, like Lana Del Rey does it. There is something completely captivating about the nonchalant way she moves. After the little dance she quite literally ‘climbs up the H of the Hollywood sign’ where she meets the Weeknd. It is all beautifully shot by director Rich Lee. Easily one of the classiest videos of the year.
06. Lorde – Green Light
Never was there ever a music video that so perfectly portrayed the feeling of going home with a broken heart after going out. While we all imagine we are in a music video roaming the streets with our headphones in, Lorde actually is in one, a very good one. The Grant Singer directed visuals perfectly match the theme of the song and that scene where she sticks her head out of the window of her Taxi (or Uber) is iconic. Praise the Lorde!
05. Charli XCX – Boys
When Charli XCX was busy dreaming ’bout boys, the brilliant idea came to her mind to have as many famous ‘boys’ in her video as possible . Together with Sarah McColgan she directed the predominantly pink music video in which current pop acts like Joe Jonas, Diplo, Dan from Bastille, Charlie Puth, Khalid and many more have their own little scene. This is A+ entertainment!
04. Kendrick Lamar – Humble
A good music video should captivate from start to finish and not have a single weak moment and that is exactly what Kendrick Lamar serves with ‘Humble’, directed by Dave Meyers and the Little Homies. Every single scene is carefully constructed and it might be the most aesthetically pleasing music video of this list. Lamar’s delivery is impeccable and you can’t take your eyes off him for the 3 minutes that it lasts.
03. Dua Lipa – New Rules
Whoever says that music videos don’t have any influence on the success of a song anymore, should take a look what happened to Dua Lipa’s ‘New Rules’ after the video was released. The British pop star had her biggest international hit so far and not in the last place thanks to the highly ‘giffable’ video, directed by Henry Scholfield. Lipa and a group of dancers portray the power of female friendship that fits so well with song that is all about helping your friends through a break-up. Every single time I watch this video I see details I had not seen before. Pure class!
02. Taylor Swift – Look What You Made Me Do
Taylor Swift’s ‘Look What You Made Me Do’ (directed by Joseph Kahn) is probably the most talked about music video since Miley Cyrus dropped the bomb that was ‘Wrecking Ball’. Swift broke all viewing records in the first few days and it is not hard to see why. She reinvented herself, every single scene is a little work of art and it bursts with references. The scene in the middle-eight where the ‘new Taylor’ kicks down all the old ones is a brilliant pop moment and the last scene where they have a conversation is the moment a lot of people have been waiting for: Taylor finally playfully made fun of herself! This video is what a pop video should be all about!
01. Hurts – Beautiful Ones
Relevant, thought provoking, daring, hard to watch at times, impressively portrayed, beautifully shot and contains a major twist. Without giving away too much of the plot for those who haven’t seen it yet (watch it right now!), Theo Hutchcraft’s performance as an assaulted drag queen is not only ballsy, but also very well executed. The telling of the story in reverse is a brilliant touch by director Tim Mattia. I can’t think of a more arresting portrayal of the ‘celebration of individuality’ theme of the song and it is exactly what 2017 needed!