20 Best Music Videos Of 2015
EW's music staff names the year's best music videos.
Kendrick Lamar, “Alright”
When Kendrick Lamar declares "We gon’ be alright" as he floats above the city streets, it’s easy to believe him. “Alright” acknowledges and embodies this dark world with its high-contrast black-and-white look, but ultimately paints Lamar as a figure of hope and optimism in a world all but drained of it. —Ariana Bacle
Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj, “Feeling Myself”
Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj splash around wearing fur in inflatable pools, feed each other French fries, and generally ball out in the year's most fun music video. —A.B.
David Bowie, “Blackstar”
The Thin White Duke leans pitch black in this spooky, saturated epic. —Leah Greenblatt
Missy Elliott, “WTF (Where They From)”
Missy reminds us what we’ve been missing in a clip packed with brain-exploding visuals. —L.G.
Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”
Rihanna turned a music video into one of the most compelling crime dramas of the year. The seven-minute saga features a rad boat chase, and Rihanna kidnapping a woman, hanging her naked from the ceiling. The epic almost made us forget we're still waiting for 'Anti.' —A.B.
Sia, “Elastic Heart”
Maddie Ziegler and Sia reunited for "Elastic Heart," a stirring battle that sees Ziegler and Shia LaBeouf aggressively dancing it out in a cage. Tensions run high throughout the clip, a stunning example of just how powerful dance can be. —A.B.
Shamir, “Call It Off”
The pop upstart is feeling himself in felt, turning life into a Technicolor puppet show. —L.G.
Drake, “Hotline Bling”
Even without the millions of memes that solidified "Hotline Bling" as the most viral music video of the year, the clip still would have been memorable thanks to Drake’s totally uninhibited and weirdly endearing dance moves. —A.B.
Forget the sloppy lyrical politics; it’s the strikingly current visuals of refugees that cut deep. —L.G.
FKA Twigs, “Glass & Patron”
R&B meets high art — and culminates in a wildly bendy vogue-off. —L.G.
Courtney Barnett, “Pedestrian at Best”
Courtney Barnett plays 2013’s Clown of the Year, who dejectedly wanders around a carnival as 2014’s Clown of the Year steals all the glory. The juxtaposition of the increasingly mopey Barnett and her jovial fellow carnival-goers is both sadly amusing and amusingly sad, a quality that accurately captures the vibe of the Australian rocker's stellar debut. —A.B.
Jenny Lewis, “She’s Not Me”
Lewis embraces her child-star past with a little help from famous friends Vanessa Bayer, Zosia Mamet, Fred Armisen, Feist, and Leo Fitzpatrick. —A.B.
Madonna, “Bitch I’m Madonna”
Madonna proves she's still the life of the party in the neon-heavy clip starring Chris Rock, Miley Cyrus, Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj. —A.B.
Run the Jewels, “Close Your Eyes (And Count to F---)”
A white cop beating a black man to the ground turns into a violent dance in this video, which sees day turn to night as the two exchange headlocks and clumsy shoves on an empty street. The clip is disturbing and raw—and a relevant statement on police brutality. —A.B.
Miley Cyrus, “Dooo It!”
Is Cyrus’ mouth-focused “Dooo It!” kind of gross? Yes. But is it also completely hypnotizing in a way that only a Miley Cyrus project can be? Definitely. The pot- and peace-loving singer ingests and spits out white goop and glitter glue between tokes, proving that Cyrus truly DGAF. —A.B.
Kanye West, “Only One”
Director Spike Jonze helped Kanye West turn a ballad for his daughter into a stripped-down, intimate look at fatherhood. Featuring North West, the clip, shot entirely on an iPhone, lets their bond overshadow the foggy setting. —A.B.
Taylor Swift, “Bad Blood”
Taylor Swift and her squad — one that includes Lena Dunham, Cara Delevingne, Cindy Crawford, and many others — train for battle in this highly stylized, special effects-heavy clip. (Bonus points for the music video gifting us with Kendrick Lamar’s exceptional guest verse.) —A.B.
The Xavier Dolan-directed video successfully captures the melancholy of Adele's comeback song, alternating between close-up looks at present-day Adele, flashbacks of happier times with her former beau (played by Tristan Wilds), and cinematic shots of the singer belting the lyrics in a picturesque landscape. —A.B.
Grimes, “Flesh Without Blood/Life in the Vivid Dream”
'Art Angels' standout “Flesh Without Blood” takes on delightfully strange and occasionally grotesque life in this two-act music video that’s drenched in unrestrained euphoria — even when Grimes, dressed up as a psychedelic Marie Antoinette, is doused in blood. —A.B.
Maroon 5, “This Summer’s Gonna Hurt like a Motherf---er”
Ever wanted to know how Adam Levine preps for a show? Just watch this music video, directed by Travis Schneider and the frontman himself. A camera follows Levine as he puts on clothes and engages in a pre-show group hug before boarding the stage and rocking out to a cheering crowd — and it’s all shot in one impressive, black-and-white single take. —A.B.
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