Top 100 Music Videos 

Music videos can be very artistic, but because their purpose is to advertise new songs, they’re unfairly deemed as a lesser art, or not even art at all. However, they are the only medium right now where artists can play with symbolism and surrealism and other -isms and not be accused of pretentiousness, and they’re also the best place for creatives to experiment with the visual media. Avant-gardism has never been so present among the masses.

Rules and Disclaimers

  • This list doesn't weigh the quality of the songs or acts, but it takes into consideration if the music pairs with the visuals.

  • The order is relative and not very strict: the difference between #7 and #77 might be significant, but between #31 and #39 is non-existent.

  • No limits per artist or director, but a band or soloist might appear with only one video that represents their whole videography.

  • No clips taken from movies, e.g., Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues, Beyoncé’s Formation, Daft Punk’s One More Time


 
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100. Frontier Psychiatrist - The Avalanches

directed by Tom Kuntz & Mike Maguire

When you put every sample from your song on stage, don’t be surprised your TV performances turn out to be a complete disaster. Each voice and sound wants to shine, and that's when the quarrel begins: the Ghosts can’t keep their sheet on, the Monkey-Drummer won't stop chasing the giant bird, and Turtle-Man doesn't even know where he is. Kuntz & Maguire give an insane answer for an insane song. Watch.

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74. Cry Like a Ghost - Passion Pit

directed by Daniels

Indie actress Tallie Medel gives an incredible performance as the tormented Sylvia who’s trapped in a vicious circle of toxic relationships. Or maybe she’s the toxic one? Sylvia finds herself in a nightmare where she dances, gets laid, get desperate, cries, laughs manically and goes backwards and forwards and backwards again. Watch.

Daniels’ F*cked-up Minds: Turn Down For What - DJ Snake (feat. Lil Jon) | Tongues - Joywave | Simple Song - The Shins

 
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92. The Rain [Supa Dupa Fly] - Missy Elliott

directed by Hype Williams

Missy ‘Misdemeanour’ Elliott introduced herself into the world of music with no fancy dresses but a costume made out of bin bags—your faves could never. Elliott found a great ally in Hype Williams who is at his most Hype Williams in a video full of bright colours, excesses and, of course, fisheye lenses—lots of fisheye lenses. Watch.

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97. I’m Afraid of Americans - David Bowie (Feat. Trent Reznor)

directed by Dom & Nic

David Bowie plays a (paranoid) Englishman in New York. He sings he's afraid of Americans when lately it's been the Americans the ones who are suspicious of their own countrymen and the rest of the world. An eerily relevant video for the present times. Watch.

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96. Humble - Kendrick Lamar

directed by Dave Meyers and The Little Homies

In Humble, Kendrick Lamar portrays so many ideas per second that his head bursts into flames. Literally. Sit down, be humble, Lamar sings while he's also portraying Jesus in the Last Supper, among other tableaus. Sure, Kendrick, if you say so. Watch.

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77. We Found Love - Rihanna (Feat. Calvin Harris)

directed by Melina Matsoukas

In Rihanna’s highly-personal rendition to We Found Love, the singer shows the ups and downs, and downs and downs of a passionate love affair. Rihanna takes an explosive ride to prove that even toxic relationships start with exhilarating and promising moments. Watch.

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94. Here It Goes Again - OK Go

directed by OK Go

If video killed the radio star (no, it didn’t), then YouTube mercilessly murdered the video channel. (It was actually MTV who committed suicide, but that’s another matter). Here It Goes Again was an Internet sensation and somehow revived the music video as an art form a good way of promotion. Not happy with the thought of becoming a one-video-wonder, OK Go have mastered the genre with one insane idea after another, even though they have now fallen into the trap of trying to surpass themselves with every single work. So far they’re doing a good job. Watch.

OK Go’s Video Challenges: I Won’t Let You Down | Obsession | White Knuckles

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93. Close (to the Edit) - Art of Noise

directed by Zbigniew Rybczynski

Art of Noise's statement is straightforward: with the arrival of synthesisers and samplers, the hell with classical instruments! They smash pianos, break guitars and cut cellos in small pieces because this is the future now, man, though the future looks grim and desolated. Watch.

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92. Tongues - Joywaves

directed by Daniels

The directors could've just settled with their original premise —rednecks hunting nudist and using guns that shoot gloves, scarves and jeans instead of bullets—, but they went ahead and gave this short film another twist which I’m not going to spoil. And then another. In less than four minutes, Tongues includes a funny introduction, a silly love story, and a horrifying climax of enormous proportions. Watch (NSFW).

Daniels’ F*cked-up Minds: Turn Down For What - DJ Snake (feat. Lil Jon) | Houdini - Foster The People | Simple Song - The Shins

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91. Song 2 - Blur

directed by Sophie Müller

Sometimes in a video, the band playing the song should be enough, but if that track, such as Song 2, is so powerful that pushes, beats, knocks down and humiliates all of its band members, then even better. Watch.

Sophie Müller’s World: Trouble - Coldplay | Walking on Broken Glass - Annie Lennox | Don’t Speak - No Doubt


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