There are thousands of ways to fight boredom on the job — cat videos on a laptop, flappy fish on the iPhone or the occasional instant message to the guys in Fresno. One of the reasons I started Amplify was so that I would no longer get in trouble when I was caught “researching” my favorite artist’s new music video. Hey, “I gotta know what the cool kids are doing” I’d tell who would ever listen.
My love for videos is unquestioned. My love for work, however — still kind of iffy. So I picked out my favorite 20 music videos from 2015 so far, plus one really good hype video, and had our interactive editor Frankie Victoria break down the onscreen action.
A playlist of all these videos is available here.
21. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – Downtown
Think of this video as a mix between the opening sequence of West Side Story, the Uptown Funk video, and a bicycle gang. I have no idea what any of it means, but it makes me want to go downtown on my moped.
20. Ellie Goulding – On My Mind
Instead of getting a gang of girls to beat up her angry boy toy, Ellie Goulding brings along her friend to shoot up his casino, cause why the hell not? And on horseback, no less.
19. Silentó – Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)
Honestly, how could this not be in our top 20? There’s always that one song that sparks a national dance movement (like this or this). The video even incorporates amateur footage that people sent in. And for a dance-illiterate person like myself, the move-by-move tutorial is quite informative.
18. David Guetta – Hey Mama ft Nicki Minaj, Bebe Rexha & Afrojack
I haven’t seen “Mad Max” yet, but I imagine that it’s probably like this video. Except that there’s no Nicki Minaj hologram.
17. Little Big Town – Girl Crush
The black & white treatment and the simple narrative of the video lets the music speak for itself. It takes me waaay back to high school dances (in a nice, non-embarrassing way).
16. Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On (feat. MØ)
What really stands out in this one is PLACE. The video pays homage to India and was filmed in the country itself at ND Studios in Karjat, Maharashtra and in Kaul Heritage City, Thane in Maharashtra. And this song is just so damn catchy.
15. Drake – Energy
I know there is some sort of cultural/political message in here, and I think I kind of get it. But honestly, I’m just trying to un-see some of the Animorph stuff that Drake is pulling here.
14. The Weeknd – The Hills
I don’t know if I can listen to this on the radio anymore. The video got creepier the more I watched it and it make me wonder if he meant “The Hills” as in the TV show or “The Hills” as in the horror movie.
13. Meghan Trainor – Dear Future Husband
Meghan is rocking the the classic 50’s (or is it 60’s?) house wife look with a little bit of a pop art spin. The video is like a meeting between Pleasantville + Hairspray and it reminds us all that at the end of the day, a girl just wants a boy to bring her a pizza.
12. Rachel Platten – Fight Song
This video totally makes me believe that a spontaneous road trip is the cure for any case of the blues. If you don’t believe this, in any case, it’s an inspiring and beautifully-shot depiction of one of biggest songs of the year.
11. Rhonda Rousey Hype Video for UFC 193
DAVE HERE: Ok, so this isn’t an actual music video, but it’s one of the most incredible hype videos I have ever seen. Rhonda Rousey is the greatest female fighter of all time and quite possibly the best pound-for-pound athlete alive. This video gets me pumped to go out and kick some ass. Figuratively speaking, of course.
10. Sia — Elastic Hart
I have so many questions about this one. So many. I had to look up the lyrics after seeing this, and the weird cage match between Shia and Maddie could reflect the lyrics about love being a battle. The pair do a good job here without making it look super cheesy (sort of), but I can totally get why people were so riled up about it.
9. Lil Dickey — Professional Rapper
It’s arguably an incredibly inaccurate depiction of what a professional rapper’s life is like, but I found it to be pretty witty. Plus, Snoop Dog is featured, so, I can’t really complain. Long Beach!
8. Kacey Musgraves, Biscuits
Complete with frilly skirts, a Muppet playing the violin, and a barnyard, this video is Kacey Musgraves’ really friendly way of telling us to people to mind thier own damn business. Makes me want to go to the nearest KFC and get some biscuits and gravy.
7. Florence + The Machine, “What Kind of Man”
This is your official trigger warning: violence, boobies and possible gang rape are depicted in this video. Watching it made me want to curl up into a ball in the corner and cry. The video tugs on some dark stuff with crazy-powerful imagery, so you’ve been warned.
6. Alabama Shakes – Don’t Wanna Fight
I don’t know much about Alabama Shakes, but after watching this, I think I’m a little bit in love with the lead singer and guitarist Brittany Howard.
5. Miguel – NWA
I feel like Miguel is up to no good in this video. Nothing really happens, but the video picks up on the vibe that the song is giving out. And I like it.
4. The Vaccines – Dream Lover
Space is so hot right now. And if anyone could pull this off, it’s The Vaccines with this psychedelic video where they infiltrate a space station and attempt to fight off babes who have laser eyes.
3. The Lone Bellow – Fake Roses
Out of all the videos, this is probably the most cinematic. That’s probably because of the backstory behind it. If this video doesn’t make you feel emotional, you’re probably just a robot or something.
2. Taylor Swift — Wildest Dreams
T. Swift obviously knows the best elements of the medium. Partner up with a time-tested music video director, add some wild animals, a hot guy, a little bit of drama and some old Hollywood glamour, and you get a freakin’ entertaining video. Very Baz Luhrmann-esque, no?
1. Kendrick Lamar — King Kunta
This video captures the finer things in life: kicking it in Compton with the homies, getting in with pretty ladies, cars and motorcycles, and a big-ass gold throne in your driveway. What more could you want?