As 2017 comes to a close, we are rounding up the good, the bad and the ugly in all things pop music. Although the year was generally a dumpster, there were excellent moments in pop culture to lift our spirits. For example, many of music’s established hitmakers (as well as a selection of up-and-comers) delivered memorable visuals. We have compiled a list of 30 of the best below. Remind us of any we might have missed in the comments below.
30. “Such A Boy” – Astrid S
Norwegian pop star Astrid S delivers a hazy, neon-drenched romance that needs to be on your must-see list.
29. “Like It Ain’t Nuttin'” – Fergie
Fergie’s larger-than-life swagger in this video made the rest of her visual album look bland.
28. “Love Galore” – SZA
Intimate, lush and shocking, SZA proved herself as one to watch by bouncing from sensual seduction to revenge in her “Love Galore” video.
27. “I’m Better” – Missy Elliott
Serving choreography, looks and drama, Missy Elliott proves that any year can be improved upon so long as she releases new material.
26. “Beautiful Trauma” – Pink
Rebellious and pastel-hued, Pink and Channing Tatum defy expectations and showcase their surprising chemistry in an unexpected collaboration.
25. “Paper Love” – Allie X
It is hard to imagine a more unnerving and thought-provoking visual than Allie X portraying an defiled plaything in “Paper Love.”
24. “Thief” – Ansel Elgort
The Baby Driver actor is also a budding pop star and “Thief” encapsulates his unique musical and visual approach.
23. “Look What You Made Me Do” – Taylor Swift
If extra had a name in 2017 it was Taylor Swift as evidenced by the ridiculous but unforgettable extravaganza that accompanied her lead Reputation single.
22. “Paris” – The Chainsmokers
The EDM duo continued a winning streak and made a Parisian flat fly in their whimsical “Paris” treatment.
21. “I Don’t Want It At All” – Kim Petras
After a trying year there is nothing pop fans deserved more than a glorious Paris Hilton feature in a music video. Thankfully, Kim Petras is already proving to be a generous queen.
20. “New York” – St. Vincent
St. Vincent dipped her toes in the pop pool and celebrated the event with an arty and absolutely compelling video to accompany “New York.”
19. “Felices los 4” – Maluma
Thirst traps abound as Maluma hits the showers in his delectable “Felices Los 4” video.
18. “Sign of the Times” – Harry Styles
The former One Direction star had one of the most-anticipated solo debuts, and he more than lived up to expectations with this video.
18. “Sura Cara” – Major Lazer feat. Anitta & Pabllo Vittar
An undeniable bop deserves an equally majestic video; and Anitta, Pabllo Vittar and Major Lazer delivered something hotter than any desert for their surprise collaboration.
16. “9 (After Coachella)” – Cashmere Cat feat. MO & SOPHIE
Cashmere Cat proved music videos do not need to rely on flashy costumes and choreography with his intriguing “9 (After Coachella)” offering, which interviewed family and friends of himself and his collaborators.
15. “Mo Bounce” – Iggy Azalea
The year’s most-underrated pop/rap banger received a suitably gratuitous, twerk-heavy video.
14. “Heaven” – Troye Sivan
Released the day Donald Trump assumed office, Troye’s tender-hearted offering is both intimate and inspiring in its portrayals of historic moments of LGBTQ+ pride and rebellion.
13. “That’s What I Like” – Bruno Mars
Simple, stylish and downright fun, Bruno Mars gets it all very right.
12. “Mayores” – Becky G feat. Bad Bunny
With one of the year’s most-watched releases, Becky G delivers a major pop star moment. The sizzling visual offers the “Shower” hitmaker a chance to shed her teeny-bopper image, and she has never seemed more in command.
11. “Tell Me You Love Me” – Demi Lovato
Demi delivered romance, drama and a cinematic twist in the heartbreaking visual for the title track of her excellent LP.
10. “Swish Swish” Lyric Video – Katy Perry
Any one of the visuals Katy Perry released in 2017 could have made the list, but she achieved the impossible with this — by making a lyric video essential viewing. How? She called on Brazilian legend Gretchen for a shady and instantly GIF-able experience. Literally. Everything.
9. “Disco Tits” – Tove Lo
Tove Lo’s “Disco Tits” video is an appropriately unhinged treat that finds her picking up a Muppet and driving off into the sunset with her new lover. Add in inexplicable make-out scenes, and the video is one of the year’s biggest and most incredible surprises.
8. “Love” – Lana Del Rey
Pop’s sad girl pulled off the unexpected with her ethereal and besotted “Love.” The swelling, youthful anthem was an aural delight, and the video was equally brilliant. Lana Del Rey performs on the moon, looking angelic vision with daisies in her hair. Optimistic but somehow wistful, the release provided the hitmaker with one of the loveliest moments of the year.
7. “DNA” – BTS
K-Pop royalty BTS pulled off global domination in 2017. Everything they touched turned to gold including breakthrough single “DNA,” which boasted a (next level) choreography-filled video.
6. “Stargazing” – Kygo feat. Justin Lesso
This surprisingly heartbreaking video documents a boy’s struggle to understand the loss of his father. This is a beautiful, but morose experience that leaves you guessing until the last moment.
5. “Bad Liar” – Selena Gomez
Selena Gomez‘s “Bad Liar” video is as surprising as the song. The clip finds her playing multiple roles including a lovestruck student and a glamorous PE teacher. Endearingly wacky, this is one of the most watchable visuals of the year. And she didn’t even need to eat soap.
4. “Praying” – Kesha
Showcasing bravery and acceptance instead of anger, Kesha’s “Praying” is an unforgettable moment of healing. The accompanying video is equally evocative as the pop star finds solace from her demons. Incorporating spiritual themes, it opens with a spoken-word address and ends with a hopefully prophetic moment as the at-peace singer walks off into the sunrise.
3. “HUMBLE” – Kendrick Lamar
Kendrick Lamar is a visual genius capable of embedding deeper meaning into everything he touches. Dressing as a pope, recreating a classic work of art and appearing with his head ablaze, his “HUMBLE” video is appropriately incendiary and moving.
2. “Boys”– Charli XCX
Have you ever wondered what Joe Jonas looks like while eating pancakes? What about how dreamy Diplo is while juggling puppies? Well, thanks to Charli XCX’s “Boys” music video you no longer have to wonder. You can watch these dreamboats and more do precious things in the tables-turning visual.
1. “New Rules” – Dua Lipa
Viral success is flighty and impossible to predict. But when you strike gold, the result is something magical. In 2017, no one knows that better than Dua Lipa. The breakout star struck gold with her “New Rules” video. In it, she leads a group of friends through the steps necessary to avoid an ex and executes one of the coolest moments of girl power in ages.