The MTV Video Music Awards just completed their 33rd ceremony, with many performances from artists like Beyoncé and Britney Spears, who became famous because of their music videos being played on MTV in the early days of the new millennium. The 2000s has seen some of the most creative, innovative takes on the visual medium and in recent years, the video has become more important than ever with the rise of artists creating longform visual albums. With this in mind, we asked our readers to vote for their favorite music videos from the 2000s. Here are the results.
Spears nixed the shock and awe of her Britney era and displayed a more settled, comfortable maturity on In the Zone, with single "Toxic" serving as the premiere example of her transition. The star transforms into a double-agent in the adventurous, sexy and creative clip that has become one of the most easily identifiable images of the pop princess. It's long-lasting legacy is not only a part of pop music as a whole, it has stayed with Spears through all her eras, with the star creating sequels to the clip in the visuals for "Break the Ice" and "Womanizer" later on in her career.
The simple, aggressive clip for "American Idiot" was the launch of a movement and new era for Green Day. Taking place in a warehouse with the band playing in front of a green American flag, the former voice of a post-grunge, much sillier version of disenfranchised Gen X-ers became the voice of political rebellion during the peak of the George W. Bush era.
The geometric video for "Seven Nation Army" is almost as intoxicating and hypnotic as the actual song. Featuring the duo of Jack and Meg White in only black, red and white, the pair are seen separately in various triangular shapes that move bigger and towards the camera to reveal smaller ones ready to do the same. The movement follows the timing of the song, and flashing lights make the guitar solo even more epic.
The video for "Hey Ya!" was a perfect reflection of the song's massive space in early millennium music. For the clip, André 3000 plays each member of a band in a recreation of the Beatles' appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Instead, it's an American band breaking through on British television and sending the crowd of girls into hysterics.
All of the images and iconography that add to the allure and mystique of the always moody Lana Del Rey play into the "Ride" video. By the time the single came out, her debut album Born to Die had solidified her unique place in pop that shifted away from the more R&B and EDM leanings of mainstream music at the moment. For the video, Del Rey is seen surrounded in American flags and on an adventure with a much-older motorcycle gang. The monologue at the beginning of the clip has become influential on many videos in its wake, including Taylor Swift's "I Knew You Were Trouble."
The White Stripes solidified their uniqueness with the wildly creative and complex video for "Fell in Love With a Girl." For the clip, the band is seen playing live, but they are made completely of legos. The fast, garage-rock jam was met beat-for-beat with the tediously-created clip directed by Michel Gondry.
Directed by Joseph Kahn, Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood" video became an event with its star-studded cast that features members of the pop star's vast female friend group as well as some personal heroes and inspirations. Set to a remix of her 1989 song featuring Kendrick Lamar, the "Bad Blood" clip has Swift's best friend Selena Gomez betraying her and a crew of assassins coming to protect their leader.
Johnny Cash made one of the saddest, most heartbreaking videos of all time before his death. For his cover of Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt," the iconic singer is seen in a gothic home surrounded by his wife June Carter Cash and fruit in various states of decay. Images of him in the present are intercut with visuals from his past and his youth as the singer — who would pass away seven months later — reflects on his own history.
"Single Ladies" was more than a monster single between 2008 and 2009, it was also the song and visual that made Beyoncé as big as she is today and solidified her diva status. The black-and-white clip features just the singer and two back-up dancers in black leotards doing fun, catchy choreography (inspired by Gwen Verdon's 1960s moves to "Mexican Breakfast") to the hit tune. The video created its own dance craze and inspired fans to learn and imitate the dance across social media.
Lady Gaga became the strangest element of pop in the 2000s with her daring, high-fashion looks and out-of-the-box take on pop tropes. When "Bad Romance" rolled around, the song and video declared that she was more than just a flash-in-the-pan pop phenomenon and established her as one of the most innovative thinkers of the genre. The video made the strongest case, with the singer emerging from a pod into a sterile room filled with dancers and a number of luxe looks like the glamorous alien for which she was known best.