The 100 Greatest Music Videos of All Time
50. This is America - Childish Gambino
directed by Hiro Murai
This is America became an overnight classic because, just like most classics, it came at the right time, when people were noticing dramatic changes, were having serious concerns and were experiencing something alarming, but nobody knew how to express themselves. Watch.
Carly Rae Jepsen’s mash-up is also a work of genius.
49. Smalltown Boy - Bronski Beat
directed by bernard Rose
Run away, turn away, run away, turn away. When Jimmy Somerville takes a train to the city, he’s not only pursuing a better future, he’s also leaving the small town mentality behind. A sober rendition of what would become a gay anthem. Watch.
48. Ironic - Alanis Morissette
directed by Stéphane Sednaoui
The major problem of having multiple personalities is not being able to control them, especially when you travel by car, and one of them start twitching, and the other wants to throw herself out of the window. Made with less than five dollars and filmed during a Canadian winter afternoon, Ironic shows that a good idea is more than enough to become a pop icon. Watch.
47. Don’t You Want Me - The Human League
DIRECTED BY Steve Barron
Don’t You Want Me was one of the turning points in the music video era as it presented a short movie with a thorough narrative and camera tricks. This movie within a movie within a movie, with nods to A Star Is Born and Truffaut’s Day For Night, masterfully reflects the he-said-she-said nature of its lyrics. Watch.
46. Actor Out Of Work - St. Vincent
directed by Terri Timely
St. Vincent sings with the same chilling aloofness as a casting director before a series of out-of-work actors. It would be much more meta and incisive to see the casting process for this music video, but it would be much crueller as well. Watch.
45. Janie’s Got a Gun - Aerosmith
directed by David Fincher
My father is convinced that the scenes in this video belong to a motion picture. “But Leslie Ann Warren is on it—he says—why would Leslie Ann Warren be in an Aerosmith music video?” He might have a point, but this comes to prove David Fincher has always shown a keen eye for the cinematic. Watch.
44. Mary Jane’s Last Dance - Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
directed by Keir McFarlane
Maybe, necrophilia is not that creepy if the corpse looks as hot as Kim Basinger’s and the perpetrator is as cool as Tom Petty. Or is it? Rest in peace, Mary Jane. Rest in peace, Mr Petty. Watch.
43. Paper Bag - Fiona Apple
directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
In which Fiona Apple gets lost in the filming set of Bugsy Malone while waiting for the train, but instead of completely losing it, she joins the crowds and starts singing. Endearing without being excessively cute. Watch.
42. Viðrar vel til loftárása - Sigur Rós
directed by Arni & Kinski
Icelander footballers have become famous for their silly but elaborate goal celebrations, but I still haven’t seen a routine as passionate as the one their fellow countrymen Sigur Rós propose. Sports would gain much more followers if they were this open. Watch.
41. Rock DJ - Robbie Williams
directed by Vaughan Arnell
When you’re a pop star like Robbie Williams, you know you need to stand out in order to stay relevant, especially when age becomes a factor. If the music’s so-so, come up with some choreography; if nobody cares about your dance moves, try to show your body; if your six-pack doesn’t impress anyone, then rip yourself apart—literally. Williams might not give the best performance on this list, but he sure gives the funniest one. Watch.