Music videos

(Some of) the Best Music Videos of 2021

It’s been a big year for music, and with it have come some outlandish and jaw-dropping music videos.


Although they can often be overlooked, music videos are an integral part of an artist’s brand, helping to solidify them as artists and creatives for all of their fans (not just those who see them perform live) . There has been a definite decline in the quality of music videos over the past few years, but over the course of 2021 it has become clear that many artists 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 randomly ordered and by no means entirely exhaustive.

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

Everything Normani does is pure art, and this whole music video is no exception. With the song being just one of her first singles since going solo, it only solidifies her future as a superstar. This music video pulls out everything from the high-end wardrobe and set design to the amazing camerawork and choreography. I realize I said this ranking is in no particular order, but this music video is definitely one of the top 3 of the year.

  1. “MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” door Lil Nas X

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

  1. “good 4 u” by Olivia Rodrigo

What made this clip an instant hit was undoubtedly the director, Petra Collins, who has been a verified “it girl” since the mid-2010s (mostly on Tumblr) for her dreamy, girly visuals. This clip is the perfect visual homage to teenage angst and the “badassery” possible when that angst is unleashed. Complete with a reference to the cult classic “Jennifer’s Body,” this music video tells a twisted story with Rodrigo front and center smirking at you for most of the song. It’s just a great music video, whatever your opinion of Rodrigo, or pop music, because its production value is much more like that of an experimental indie film.

  1. “Thot Shit” by Megan Thee Stallion

This music video is one of those incredible shorts reminiscent of Lady Gaga’s iconic “Telephone” video. Every video Megan has posted this year could have easily made this list, but this passionate embrace of doing “shit” takes the cake for a lot of reasons. Not only is it very visually appealing (it’s Megan, she always looks amazing), but the whole story of her basically tormenting a misogynistic old politician is just an incredibly fun way to take a swipe at all people like him who attack Megan (and many other women) for shamelessness, or simply to be hot and have fun.

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

This song and music video is always 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 incredible visuals to which we expect from Doja. The premise of the video is giant alien versions of SZA and Doja Cat dancing in silks and flowers as they trap a man in one of their test tubes – there’s just no way it can’t be an excellent video. The looks are amazing, the story is fun, and the song is still incredibly catchy.

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

It might be more appropriate to consider it a piece of video art rather than just a music video because watching it is such a powerful experience. Every aspect of its creative direction, editing and choreography is absolutely sublime. It’s long been accepted that Lamar is a rap legend, so it’s only fitting that his first feature film in over a year would have legendary visuals. There are countless beautiful technical aspects to the video, from the beat-aligned layering to the incredible camerawork and fine-art level compositional balance in many scenes. If you like visual arts and video editing, or just cool music videos, I highly suggest checking this one out.

  1. “All Too Well” (10 minute version) (Taylor’s version) by Taylor Swift

I feel the need to preface this by saying I’m no Swiftie, but I still consider this music video/short to be one of the most important pop culture events of the entire year. As everyone has probably heard ten times, this song is (rumoured) about Swift’s relationship with (now hated) actor Jake Gyllenhaal when she was 20 and he was 29 – and this video depicts this in all its goosebumps and heartache. It’s pretty common to be captivated from the first second to the very end of this 15-minute video, and while it only loosely counts as a music video, every part of its narrative and visual qualities makes it worthy. on this (extremely important).

  1. “Need to Know” Doja Cat

Apologies, I couldn’t resist including two Doja Cat videos in this list (I could easily have added more), so I’ll keep this one brief. This video shows five female aliens (including Doja Cat and Grimes) spending a night out and meeting a cool, blue-haired alien. Much like “Kiss Me More”, there’s simply no denying that it’s a brilliant concept for a music video, regardless of its other positive aspects. Maybe Doja Cat is just the reigning queen of music video concepts? It’s hard to say, but if she continues to post videos on par with “Planet Her,” she’ll definitely be one of the top contenders.

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

Willow Smith’s mastery of the entire pop-punk musical genre was on display with the release of this song, and when she released the music video in April, it was set in stone that she belonged in the world. grunge hall of fame. In the video, we follow Willow to a dark, grungy concert where none other than Willow (now with shorter hair and red makeup) performs. We are then greeted by a mysterious silver being that Willow (version one) tries to escape from. 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 just have to guess what happens and what might happen next, and the only thing that’s certain is that Willow looks cool freaking out in the club bathroom and we’d all be lucky to be in the crowd of this Show.

10. “Lumberjack” by Tyler the Creator

At this point, some people may know Tyler more for his visuals (including his clothing line) than for his music. With the release of his album this summer came five high-profile music videos, and while it’s 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 fantasy world we see and the outfits Tyler wears make this one of those music videos you can come back to over and over again just to be reminded of how beautiful he is. . Honestly, I could have easily 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” door Mitski

I admit it – this one might be a bit of a 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 video full of references to his previous albums, but it also contains some of Mitski’s signature interpretive dances (interpretive movement is perhaps a better description). As the queen of sad indie music’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 a bit uncomfortable to watch until the end…that’s the whole point.

  1. “An Unholy Hour” Chloe x Halle

Last, but certainly not least, is the long-awaited music video for the title track of Chloe x Halle’s Flawless 2020 album. The music video was released in February this year, and 100% did this amazing song justice. Consistent with their other videos, there are several jaw-dropping looks throughout the video, as well as choreography that makes you think that’s exactly how you should dance to their song. This sister duo never disappoints with their visuals, and if this list was ranked in any real order, best believe this video would rank insanely high.

Written by: Angie Cummings —