It’s that time of the year when we begin to pile up lists. Lists of the best outfits, best cars, best fashion outfits, best celebrity lifestyle, and the likes.
But right now, we’re on the 20 most unforgettable music videos 2015 has given us. Drake danced, Adele flip-phoned, and Rihanna figured out how to never listen to voice-mail again.
1. Best Literally Everything: Drake, “Hotline Bling”
The concept was simple — Drake wears a sweater, then dances badly in a James Turrell–esque light installation — but the reach was infinite. Drake’s dancing became an instant meme, presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump tried to recreate his moves, and regular people everywhere started buying $1,150 Moncler jackets. Did Drake know he was making a classic when he filmed this? Of course he did. Drake knows everything.
2. Best Friends, Period: Nicki Minaj and Beyoncé, “Feeling Myself”
Taylor Swift may have cornered the market on squads, but Beyoncé and Nicki reminded everyone that sometimes just one friend is enough, especially when that one friend is someone who will let you throw French fries into her mouth.
3. Best Use of Modern Technology: Carly Rae Jepsen, “Run Away With Me (Emoji Edition)”
It’s like Choose Your Own Adventure, but with emojis and one of the most addictive pop songs of the year. Where will you make Carly Rae go next? And more importantly, which cartoon face will you select to make her get there?
4. Best Use of Vintage Technology: Adele, “Hello”
Between this and “Hotline Bling,” it was a big year for telephones in pop music. Leave it to Adele to use an outdated piece of technology because iPhones are distracting and then distract everybody anyway with the idea of her typing with T9 word.
5. Choreography You’re Most Likely to Try at Home: Tinashe, “All Hands on Deck”
The operative word here is “try.”
7. Most Inspiring Witchcraft: Little Mix, “Black Magic”
You can keep telling yourself that if you had magical powers you’d use them for good, but Little Mix knows that the temptation to make your enemies fart would be all too real. I just hope they take into account what those witches in The Craft had such trouble remembering — whatever you send out there you get back times three.
8. Biggest Gut-Punch to the Ovaries: Kanye West, “Only One”
In this extremely adorable video, North West cemented her status as the celebrity baby you’d most like to be, and Kanye West cemented his status as the celebrity dad you’d most like to marry. RT if you’re still looking for North’s jacket in an adult size.
9. Cutest Dog: Miranda Lambert, “Little Red Wagon”
Every single accessory in this video was on point, from Miranda’s bedazzled cowboy boots to her big sunglasses to her giant cocktail ring, but they were all upstaged by a tiny dog chillaxing on a pool float. You can’t ride in his little red wagon either.
10. Best Squad: Taylor Swift, “Bad Blood”
While it’s true that none of Taylor’s many friends stayed on screen for very long, it’s also true that no one else could have put together something so massive and instantly iconic. Somewhere, Olivia Benson is still giving Taylor the stink-eye for leaving her out of the proceedings.
11. Best Maddie Ziegler: Sia, “Elastic Heart”
It’s hard to be mad at Sia for not appearing in her own videos when it means more genius work from Dance Moms wunderkind Maddie Ziegler, here joined by Shia LaBeouf in a giant cage. Fingers crossed that Maddie returns in 2016 for some This Is Acting clips.
12. Strongest Case for Finding a Hotter Boyfriend: One Direction, “Perfect”
Can you even blame the Directioners who dropped $5,000 a night just to stay in the penthouse where Harry lay on the bed?
13. Most Inventive Method for Ignoring Voicemails: Rihanna, “Bitch Better Have My Money”
Unknown number, huh? *Throws phone into ocean and shoots it.*
15. Most Bizarre Idea for a Date: Justin Bieber, “What Do You Mean?”
Pretend to steal something of John Leguizamo’s, make your girlfriend think you’re in trouble, stage a kidnapping, make out in the trunk of a car, then convince said girlfriend to jump to her possible death with you. It’s unconventional, sure, but that skateboard party that lies at the end of tunnel looks pretty fun, as does the part where you get to lick Justin Bieber.
16. Best On-Camera Birth: FKA twigs, “Glass & Patron”
It’s not every day that you see a woman give birth to scarves, but that’s what FKA twigs is here for (that and making some of the most inventive videos of the year).
17. Sparkliest Cowboy Boots: Kacey Musgraves, “Biscuits”
Kacey’s catchy ode to minding your own business became even more lovable with the release of this video, which had live chickens, light-up cowboy boots, puppets, and hair so big it would make Dolly Parton jealous. By the time an actual biscuit starts bouncing above written-out lyrics so you can sing along, you’ll think you’ve died and gone to Petticoat Junction.
18. Best Comeback: Missy Elliott feat. Pharrell, “WTF (Where They From)”
Missy Elliott’s first music video in seven years had everything. Disco-ball tracksuit, check. Insane dance moves, check. Puppets of Missy and Pharrell, check. How have we gone this long without new Missy in our lives?
19. Hilary Duff, “Sparks”
There was so little actual Hilary in this video that fans “demanded” a version of the video with more dancing. Ask and you shall receive, but remember that Hilary deserves love she found via the Internet too!
20. Coolest Way to Replace the Actual Band: Sleater-Kinney, “No Cities to Love”
The women of Sleater-Kinney enlisted their friends Fred Armisen, Connie Britton, Sarah Silverman, Natasha Lyonne, Miranda July, Norman Reedus, Vanessa Bayer, Andy Samberg, and more to sing the title track for their first album in 10 years. But don’t worry — they eventually come back in to finish the rocking-out process themselves.