There are certain songs that get stuck in our heads not only for their catchiness but also because of their videos. Certain visuals stay with the viewer long after the video has ended. Here’s a list of some iconic music videos (in no particular order) that have stood the test of time. Performance clips and TV appearances have not been included here.
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1. Around the World by Daft Punk
Though the music video is as repetitive as its lyrics, the strangely hypnotic music video of this classic Daft Punk electronic track is one that you would like to watch on a loop. Featuring mummies, synchronized swimmers, and what not, this Michel Gondry directed music video is simple yet surreal.
2. Take on Me by a-Ha
This music video helped the Norwegian synth-pop group to get 6 VMAs. Telling the story of a woman who is pulled into a comic book world, the music video for Take on Me features a pencil and paper look, accomplished by tracing each scene frame-by-frame. Thanks to its romantic fantasy elements and a unique blend of live-action and animation, both the song and video are pop culture favorites.
3. Thriller by Michael Jackson
Though MJ’s Smooth Criminal could have also easily made the list, it’s this 13-minute epic that actually boosted Jackson’s stardom. Thanks to its easy to imitate dance moves and Jackson’s on screen charisma, Thriller became one of the most iconic music videos of all time, earning 2 VMAs and three Grammys. It also became the first music video to be selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress in 2009.
4. Vogue by Madonna
This music video has everything that you would expect from Madonna — it’s dance-driven and even slightly pretentious. The music video screams classic Hollywood, drenched in monochrome. The music video was directed by none other than Fight Club and Se7en director David Fincher.
5. Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana
Smells Like Teen Spirit is considered one of the greatest songs of modern music, and the video is a testament to the song as a teen rock anthem. The band can be seen performing at a high school pep rally where cheerleaders have the circle-A anarchy symbol on their chests. The students progressively begin to head bang to the music as a riot erupts and the kids destroy the instruments.