(Some of the) best clips of 2021

It’s been a big year for music, and with it, some extravagant and mind-blowing music videos

By ANGIE CUMMING – [email protected]

While they can often go unnoticed, music videos are an important part of an artist’s brand, helping them solidify as artists and creators for all of their fans (not just those who see them performing in direct). There has been a marked drop in the quality of music videos over the past few years, but during 2021 it became clear that there are many artists who are dedicated to raising the bar for music videos. Because there was such a plethora of videos to choose from this year, and since many of them are very different from each other, this list is ranked at random and by no means entirely comprehensive.

  1. “Wild Side” by Normani (feat. Cardi B)

Everything Normani does is pure art, and this whole music video is no exception. The song being just one of her first couple singles since going solo only solidifies her future as a superstar. This clip does everything from the top wardrobe and set design to the amazing camera work and choreography. I realize I said this ranking isn’t in any particular order but this clip is definitely one of the top 3 of the year.

  1. “MONTERO (Call me by your name)” by Lil Nas X

There is no list of the best music videos without the extraordinarily controversial Lil Nas X video, full of biblical references alongside explicit dancing. Of course, this sparked a lot of outrage on the part of the conservative Christian community, which prompted many to say that Nas X is a devil’s follower and that he is intentionally “bribe children. “While it is evident that this video was deliberately designed to be controversial, the use of Christian images to visualize queer experiences in dating, relationships and love is a powerful tool that Nas X has perfectly well done. used since its release in 2019. This wonderfully campy and primarily CGI music video is one of the most unforgettable releases of this year.

  1. “bon 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo

What made this clip an instant hit was without a doubt director, Petra Collins, who has been a verified “it girl” since the mid-2010s (mostly on Tumblr) for her remarkable dreamy and feminine visuals. This clip is the perfect visual tribute to teenage angst and the “badass” possible when that angst breaks loose. Completed by a reference to the cult classic “Jennifer’s Body,” this clip tells a twisted story with Rodrigo front and center smirking at you for most of the song. This is just a great clip, whatever your take on Rodrigo, or pop music at all, as its production value is much more like that of an experimental independent film.

  1. “Thot Shit” by Megan Thee Stallion

This clip is one of those amazing short films reminiscent of Lady Gaga’s iconic “Telephone” video. Every video Megan posted this year could have easily made it on this list, but this passionate embrace of making “shit” takes the cake for a number of reasons. Not only is it very visually appealing (it’s Megan, she still looks amazing), but the whole tale of her essentially tormenting a misogynistic old politician is just an insanely fun way to go after all of them. people like him who attack Megan (and many other women) for shamelessness, or just to be sexy and have fun.

  1. “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat (ft. SZA)

This song and clip is still one of the great collaborations of the whole year – a perfect introduction to the magic of “Planet Her” (Doja’s album released a few months later) and the level of amazing visuals we we are waiting. by Doja. The premise of the video is giant alien versions of SZA and Doja Cat dancing in silks and flowers as they trap a human man in one of their test tubes – there’s just no way that this may not be a great video. The looks are amazing, the story is fun, and the song is just as insanely catchy as ever.

  1. “Family ties” by Baby Keem and Kendrick Lamar

It might be more appropriate to think of this as a piece of video art than just a music video because watching it is such a powerful experience. Every aspect of her creative direction, editing and choreography is absolutely sublime. It’s a long-recognized fact that Lamar is a rap legend, so it’s only fitting that his first feature film in over a year has a legendary visual. There are countless beautiful technical aspects to the video, from the rhythm aligned overlay to the incredible camera work and fine art level composition balance in many scenes. If you like visual arts and video editing, or just cool video clips, I highly suggest you take a look at this one.

  1. “All Too Good” (10 minute version) (Taylor version) by Taylor Swift

I feel the urge to start off by saying I’m not a Swiftie, but I still consider this clip / short to be one of the biggest pop culture events of the whole year. As everyone has probably heard it ten times, this song is (rumored) about Swift’s relationship with (now hated) actor Jake Gyllenhaal when she was 20 and he was 29 – and this video shows that in all his goosebumps. and heartache. It’s pretty common to be captivated from the first second to the very end of this 15 minute long video, and while that can only vaguely count as a clip, every part of its narrative and visual qualities is worth checking out. this video (extremely important).

  1. Cat Doja “need to know”

Apologies, I couldn’t help but include two Doja Cat videos in this list (I could easily have added more) so I’ll be brief. This video shows five alien women (including Doja Cat and Grimes) spending a night out and meeting a blue-haired alien boy. Much like “Kiss Me More”, there is simply no denying that this is an awesome concept for a music video, regardless of its other positives. Maybe Doja Cat is just the reigning queen of music video concepts? Hard to say, but if she continues to drop videos on par with “Planet Her,” she will certainly be one of the top contenders.

  1. “Transparent Soul” by Willow Smith (ft. Travis Barker)

Willow Smith’s mastery of the entire pop-punk music genre was made clear with the release of this song, and when she released the clip in April it was set in stone that it belonged. to the Grunge Hall of Fame. In the video, we follow Willow into a dark, grunge concert where none other than Willow (now with shorter hair and red makeup) performs. We are then greeted by a mysterious silver being from whom Willow (version one) tries to escape. It should be clear by now that the actual premise of the video doesn’t really make sense, but I think that’s part of its appeal. You have to guess what happens and what might happen next, and the only thing that’s certain is that Willow looks cool in panic in the club’s bathroom and we would all be lucky to be in the room. crowd of that show.

10. “LUMBERJACK” by Tyler the creator

At this point, some people may know Tyler better for his visuals (including his clothing line) than for his music. With the release of her album this summer, five top music videos have come along, and while it may be one of the shortest videos on the entire list, it’s the most powerful. . Even though the video is only a little over a minute long, the fantastic world we see and the outfits Tyler wears make this one of those music videos that you can come back to over and over again to remind yourself of her beauty. Honestly, I could easily have included any of the clips from “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” for the same reasons, but this one seems to stand out.

  1. “Working for the Knife” by Mitski

I’ll admit it – this one might be a slightly personal addition, but Mitski is by no means an underground artist (if you’ve never heard of her, sorry). Not only is the first fifth of this entire video full of references to her previous albums, it also contains some of Mitski’s iconic performer dances (the performer move is perhaps a better description). As the sad indie music queen’s first single in three years, a symbolic expression of her struggle to be in the spotlight is the perfect way to announce her upcoming album. It’s confusing, and it’s slightly uncomfortable to watch the whole way… that’s the whole point.

  1. “Unholy hour” Chloé x Halle

Last, but not least, is the long-awaited music video for the title track from Chloe x Halle’s flawless album in 2020. The clip was released in February of this year and 100% did this amazing song justice. . In line with their other videos, there are several jaw-dropping looks throughout the video, as well as a choreography that makes you think that’s exactly how you should dance to their song. This duo of sisters never disappoints with their visuals, and if this list were put in real order, you’d better think this video would be insanely high.

Written by: Angie Cummings – [email protected]


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