The 10 best music videos of 2015 (so far)
Who says the music video is dead? In the first half of 2015, mega-stars and indie auteurs alike turned to the medium to add a new layer to their existing tracks, and came up with some of the coolest clips in recent memory. From Taylor Swift beating bad guys to Shamir's puppet theater to Maroon 5's cheer-worthy wedding antics, these 10 music videos stood out from the hundreds released over the past six months.
Check out our unranked list of the 10 best music videos of 2015 (so far):
Sia, "Elastic Heart"
Following up the "Chandelier" video should have been a difficult task for Sia; recasting Maddie Ziegler as a mini-Sia in a pseudo-sequel should have been impossible to pull off successfully. Instead, the enigmatic pop singer mined another imaginative concept involving a birdcage, Shia LaBeouf and a stunningly powerful expression of loss at its conclusion.
Maroon 5, "Sugar"
If Maroon 5's "Sugar" is arguably the band's most irresistible pop-rock confection of its V era, then the "Sugar" music video is definitely the band's most unabashedly grin-inducing visual in recent memory. Only the coldest cynic could dismiss the charms of this multi-wedding sneak attack.
Taylor Swift feat. Kendrick Lamar, "Bad Blood"
Let's admit it: Taylor Swift's video for "Style" was a little too steely for such a free-wheeling song. Fortunately, Swift followed that visual up with one of the best of her career. The star-filled, action-packed clip for "Bad Blood" literally kicks ass, as Swift and her super-pals battle nameless baddies as Kendrick Lamar slides in for the remix.
Kendrick Lamar, "King Kunta"
Kendrick Lamar's To Pimp A Butterfly discusses a myriad of complex, entangled issues, but the single "King Kunta" is the album's most straightforward example of braggadocio, a king showing off his crown to his legion of followers. The sublime music video not only shows the beating heart of Compton, but Lamar owning, inspiring and thriving in his hometown.
FKA Twigs, "Glass & Patron"
FKA Twigs has produced some breathtaking visuals in her short career, but none has matched its outlandish concept with as much sonic cohesion as the video for "Glass & Patron." Parts of this clip are downright stunning, from the multi-colored streamer struggle to the forest fashion show that Twigs leads during the twitching breakdown.
Carly Rae Jepsen, "I Really Like You"
Seriously, who doesn't want to watch Tom Hanks lip-sync to a bubblegum pop song while going about his day? Carly Rae Jepsen's "I Really Like You" isn't high-concept -- unless you think the concept of "People like Tom Hanks and also Justin Bieber" is high -- but then there's nothing wrong with a crowd-pleaser that actually pleases.
Shamir, "Call It Off"
This trippy disco strut was extremely likable before Shamir morphed into a megaphone-wielding puppet. As it stands, the "Call It Off" video remains one of the year's purest pleasures, with Puppet Shamir leading a pack of his puppet pals and imparting some sage relationship advice.
Nicki Minaj feat. Beyonce, "Feeling Myself"
Flexing in a kiddie pool, mean-mugging next to classic cars, feasting on hamburgers and generally looking cooler than anyone else in the entire world: Nicki Minaj and Beyonce do all these things and more in the "Feeling Myself" music video, a document of two queens presiding over the desert and having a blast doing so.
Courtney Barnett, "Pedestrian at Best"
"Put me on a pedestal, I'll only disappoint you," Courtney Barnett sings on the chorus of "Pedestrian at Best," and the Australian rock phenom latched on the inevitability of that line and came up with the most inept clown of her time. That 'Clown of the Year - 2013' award doesn't mean much to Barnett's tormentors -- but at least she finds some company in the end.
Madonna, "Bitch I'm Madonna"
Forget the all-star cameos by Katy Perry, Kanye West, Beyonce and Miley Cyrus -- no jammed-in cameos can steal the spotlight from Madonna's unhinged party scene, which includes booty-shaking, shot-taking, a bathtub make-out and Madge crowd-surfing like a wild teenager. "Bitch I'm Madonna" gloriously reiterates that that's what she is at heart.