The 100 Greatest Music Videos of All Time

 
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Slooooow-moooootion: The Heinrich Manoeuvre - Interpol | Unconditional Rebel - Siska | Power - Kanye West

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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.

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Federico L.