The Best Music Videos of 2017

The Best Music Videos of 2017

2017 gave us pop spectaculars, odes to friendship, and whirlwind visuals that still leave us bewildered.

2017 gave us pop spectaculars, odes to friendship, and whirlwind visuals that still leave us bewildered.

Text: Jake Viswanath

In a world where streaming matters more than ever before, 2017 saw artists up their music video game big-time to catch both eyes and ears. Of course, there's still a rush of cheap videos done for simple promotion, but if this year proved anything, it's that well-developed storylines, eye-popping visuals, and impactful moments are more valued today. In order to catch our ears, artists need to capture our eyes, and these musicians have delivered just as we needed them to. Scroll down to see our picks for the best music videos of 2017.

Dua Lipa, “New Rules”

Dua Lipa’s guide to getting over a lover should be plastered on billboards nationwide, but there’s no better visual accompaniment than its own video, an impeccably choreographed clip that turns affectionally mundane acts of friendship into stunning and empowering movements. Teen mags always preach “sisters before misters,” but from Dua, the motto is more sincere and fab than ever. 

Charli XCX, “Boys”

No video inverted the male gaze this year quite as well as “Boys”, created entirely by Charli and a crop of female collaborators. She brings together a truly diverse array of men—from Khalid to The Fat Jew to Riz Ahmed—and sugars them up to the point where all traces of traditional masculinity are thrown out the window. Well done, ladies.

SZA, "Drew Barrymore"

Sometimes the key to a great video isn't the theatrics, but the ability to feel and relate, for better or worse. SZA captures these forlorn yet wanderlust feelings effortlessly, and in "Drew Barrymore", also manages to incorporate some major moments. Solana and her crew don't have to do anything but frolic on the side of New York skyscrapers and crash in the bathtub to get our emotions rolling, but a cameo from the Drew Barrymore just makes things, doesn't it?

St. Vincent, “Los Ageless”

There's nothing that says LA more than plastic surgery, and who better to take advantage than Annie Clark? Her visuals for the Masseduction era have been brilliant across the board, but she strikes gold with "Los Ageless", taking us into a colorful plastic surgery room where everything is exaggerated but nothing is without meaning. Turns out, you can lose your mind and your wrinkles at your plastic surgeon's office.

Perfume Genius, “Slip Away”

If “New Rules” was the ultimate ode to female friendship in pop, then “Slip Away” is its indie little brother, capturing friends on a more personal and eccentric scale. Mike Hadreas and dancer Teresa “Boogie” Barcelo explore the power and destruction of trust, safe spaces, and true partnership through dance, meshing technicolor dreams, the Victorian age, and literal clownery to create a mind-boggling clip that may just melt your emotions into a rainbow puddle of tears.

Grimes and Janelle Monaé, “Venus Fly”

One of the most underrated feminist anthems finally got a visual worthy of its 2074 electro-bonkers attitude, courtesy of Tidal. Grimes and Janelle create the galactic dream world we intend to inhabit soon (especially if Trump’s not impeached), filled with psycho couture, fiery violin solos, and bats of goo. When are we due to be abducted?

Miley Cyrus, “Younger Now”

Leave it to little miss Miley Cyrus to come out with one of the most heartwarming and unexpected videos of the year. Together with longtime collaborator Diane Martel, the constantly evolving artist artfully showed that we can healthily embrace our past and live as our true selves (of the moment) at any age. There’s no room for ageism here.

Kesha, “Praying”

Nearly no one deserved to have a better year than Kesha, and "Praying" was the perfect way to kick off her knockout year, giving her own kind of catharsis. She meshes with own trailer-glam rock aesthetic with director Jonas Åkerlund's knack for stunning visuals, serving as a bridge between her past and the present, and effectively letting it go. It's Kesha's world now—and it feels good to live in it again.

Kendrick Lamar, “HUMBLE.”

We could wax poetry about Kendrick’s visionary mind and the brilliant work of director Dave Meyers, but this just about sums it up: When a video is so intricate that you’re still catching references nine months later on your 94th view, you know that it’s simply an utter masterpiece.

 Taylor Swift, “Look What You Made Me Do”

I would start with an “Imma let you finish…” joke if it weren’t so outdated, but the sentiment that follows remains true: Taylor Swift just made the pop spectacular of the year. Take the budget of a Moulin Rouge blockbuster, condense it into 3.5 minutes, and you have “Look What You Made Me Do.” It’s absolutely relentless, with extravagant sets, clever attacks at her criticisms, and Taylor’s ever-intricate attention to detail, right down to the single dollar bill in a bathtub of diamonds. The only thing she made us do was watch a million times over.

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