1. Best Butts/Most Controversial: Nicki Minaj, “Anaconda”
Any song that samples “Baby Got Back” should probably have a raunchy video to go with it, and Nicki’s clip for “Anaconda” did not disappoint. The hotness was so out of control that at least one dad felt compelled to write Nicki an open letter about how she’s a bad role model for young women. Her response? “Shut your stupid ass up. Bye, dad.”
[contentblock id=1 img=adsense.png]
2. Best Butts Part Two/Best Use of Oil: Jennifer Lopez and Iggy Azalea, “Booty”
If you didn’t get your butt fix from “Anaconda,” then perhaps J.Lo and Iggy helped you out when they released “Booty” about a month later. The twerking-heavy, oil-drenched video was so sexy that ABC was reportedly worried about what censor-worthy things the pair might do when they performed their hit on the American Music Awards. Their fears were ultimately unfounded, though J.Lo’s glittery red bodysuit was still a sight to behold.
3. Best Angry Faces: Taylor Swift, “Blank Space”
“Shake It Off” was cute, of course, but nothing Taylor did in 2014 reflected her new “documented pop” self better than the video for “Blank Space.” In just 4.5 minutes, she sent up the image of T-Swift the boy-crazy serial dater, introduced the world to Sean O’Pry, and blessed the Internet with endless fodder for GIFs of her angry faces. Plus you can’t deny that any video with an Olivia Benson cameo is a video worth watching.
4. Most Likely to Become Your New Workout Plan: Beyoncé, “7/11”
In this bonus video from the platinum edition of BEYONCÉ, King B repeated the “do this dance” formula that made “Get Me Bodied” an instant classic, only this time she used her foot as a phone and kept a plate of tiny hamburgers in her bathroom. Could anyone but Beyoncé get away with making a video that looks like it was shot entirely on an iPhone in hotel rooms around the world? Probably not.
5. Best Clueless Homage: Iggy Azalea featuring Charli XCX, “Fancy”
Yes, this song eventually became so unavoidable that all your waking and sleeping moments were spent trying to get “who dat, who dat” out of your head, but the video is flawless in its modern interpretation of Clueless. Cher’s/Iggy’s closet organizer as a tablet. Charli XCX as Tai. The Val party. The only thing missing is Cher’s litigator father (the scariest kind of lawyer), but the gym class choreography more than makes up for it.
6. Best Virtual Date as Music Video: One Direction, “Night Changes”
Few people with eyes did not want to date One Direction in 2014, and because One Direction knows what the people want, they went ahead and made a music video shot to look like you’re on a date with them. If your boyfriend/coworker/mother didn’t catch you watching this on repeat at some point, then you should report to the CDC immediately and see if they can harvest your antibodies for a vaccination that helps stop the spread of One Direction Infection.
[contentblock id=2 img=adsense.png]
7. Best Guest Appearance by an Oscar-Winning Actress in Drag: Jenny Lewis, “Just One of the Guys”
For the first video from her excellent album The Voyager, Jenny Lewis enlisted her very famous pals Anne Hathaway, Kristen Stewart, and Brie Larson to play her band, as well as some of the guys mentioned in the song’s title. It should come as no surprise that K-Stew makes a very pretty man. Other important moments: Anne’s incredible winged eyeliner and Jenny’s airbrushed, pastel pantsuit.
8. Friend Date You Most Want to Crash: Miranda Lambert featuring Carrie Underwood, “Somethin’ Bad”
The first-ever studio collaboration between these two country superstars was absolutely worth the wait, and came complete with motorcycle riding, poker scamming, and bank robbing. If the “Somethin’ Bad” video doesn’t make you want to knock back a few whiskeys with Miranda and Carrie, you’re probably just afraid of the shame you’ll feel after they drink you under the table.
9. Best Use of a CGI Outer Space Setting: Ariana Grande featuring Zedd, “Break Free”
Though “Problem” was the Ariana song that could not be stopped in 2014, “Break Free” was the one with the most insane (in a good way) music video. After the Star Wars-style opening crawl, Ariana heads to a mysterious planet where she frees a bunch of prisoners from some mean-looking aliens and their robot mercenaries. What did all that have to do with the song? Who knows? Who cares? More space-themed videos in 2015, please.
10. Most Cinematic: Lana Del Rey, “Shades of Cool”
Of all the Ultraviolence videos released thus far, “Shades of Cool” was perhaps the most Lana Del Rey-like of the bunch. Instagram filters? Check. The American flag? Yep. Older, mysterious gentleman lover? Duh. David Lynch-esque possible dream sequence? Of course. Gorgeous shots of LA that may or may not have been planted by the California board of tourism? You know it, girl. Everything about this clip says, “I am drunk on $14 Negronis at three in the afternoon and I feel great about it,” and it is perfect.
11. Best Total Exclusion of the Artist Singing the Song: Sia, “Chandelier”
What do you do when you’re notoriously press-shy but need to make a music video for your anthemic ode to living like tomorrow doesn’t exist? Put a wig on an 11-year-old Dance Moms star and hire her to fill in for you! Maddie Ziegler, now 12, put dancers twice her age to shame and made “Chandelier” one of the strangest, most watchable videos of the year. Just don’t try her acrobatic moves at home unless you have an EMT friend on hand to wrap up your ankle when you break it.