Music videos have become an integral part of the music industry in the digital age, offering artists a platform to showcase their creativity and storytelling abilities. From cinematic masterpieces to innovative visuals, these 18 music videos stand out as the best of the 21st century, setting the standard for excellence and pushing the boundaries of the art form.

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” is not only one of the best music videos of the 21st century but also one of the most iconic of all time. Directed by John Landis, “Thriller” revolutionized the music video genre with its storytelling, choreography, and production value, cementing Jackson’s status as the King of Pop.

“Hurt” by Johnny Cash

Johnny Cash’s haunting rendition of “Hurt” is accompanied by a poignant music video that serves as a raw and emotional reflection on Cash’s life and legacy. Filmed shortly before his death, the video features intimate footage of Cash’s career interspersed with images of his personal life, making it a powerful tribute to the Man in Black.

“Formation” by Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s “Formation” is more than just a music video—it’s a powerful visual statement on race, identity, and empowerment. Directed by Melina Matsoukas, “Formation” features stunning cinematography and choreography, with Beyoncé unapologetically celebrating her heritage and cultural roots.

“Alright” by Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright” is a cinematic masterpiece that captures the spirit of protest and resilience in the face of adversity. Directed by Colin Tilley and the Little Homies, “Alright” features breathtaking visuals and powerful imagery, making it a rallying cry for social justice and change.

“Take Me Out” by Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out” is a playful and energetic music video that perfectly complements the band’s indie rock anthem. Directed by Jonas Odell, “Take Me Out” features innovative visuals and choreography, making it a standout example of creative storytelling in the music video medium.

“Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” by Beyoncé

Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” is an iconic music video that became a cultural phenomenon upon its release. Directed by Jake Nava, “Single Ladies” features Beyoncé and her dancers performing the now-famous choreography with precision and sass, solidifying Beyoncé’s status as a pop culture icon.

“This Is America” by Childish Gambino

Childish Gambino’s “This Is America” is a provocative and thought-provoking commentary on race, violence, and celebrity culture. Directed by Hiro Murai, “This Is America” features powerful imagery and symbolism, challenging viewers to confront uncomfortable truths about the state of society.

“Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” is a visually stunning and avant-garde music video that pushes the boundaries of creativity. Directed by Francis Lawrence, “Bad Romance” features Gaga in a series of elaborate costumes and sets, creating a surreal and captivating visual experience.

“Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim

Fatboy Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” features a groundbreaking music video starring Christopher Walken, whose mesmerizing dance performance takes center stage. Directed by Spike Jonze, “Weapon of Choice” showcases Walken’s athleticism and charisma, making it a memorable and iconic music video.

“Crazy in Love” by Beyoncé feat. Jay-Z

Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” is an electrifying and stylish music video that showcases Beyoncé’s star power and charisma. Directed by Jake Nava, “Crazy in Love” features Beyoncé and Jay-Z in a series of glamorous and high-energy scenes, making it a standout moment in Beyoncé’s career.

“Toxic” by Britney Spears

Britney Spears’ “Toxic” is a sexy and surreal music video with a spy thriller aesthetic that perfectly complements the song’s seductive lyrics. Directed by Joseph Kahn, “Toxic” features Spears in a series of daring and provocative scenarios, solidifying her status as a pop icon.

“Virtual Insanity” by Jamiroquai

Jamiroquai’s “Virtual Insanity” is an innovative and visually striking music video that utilizes practical effects to create a surreal environment. Directed by Jonathan Glazer, “Virtual Insanity” features lead singer Jay Kay navigating a room that seems to defy the laws of physics, making it a memorable and iconic music video.

“Stan” by Eminem feat. Dido

Eminem’s “Stan” is a gripping narrative-driven music video that explores themes of obsession and celebrity culture. Directed by Dr. Dre and Philip Atwell, “Stan” features Eminem in the title role alongside British singer Dido, creating a compelling and emotionally resonant story.

“99 Problems” by Jay-Z

Jay-Z’s “99 Problems” is a gritty and raw portrayal of urban life, with a powerful performance by Jay-Z himself. Directed by Mark Romanek, “99 Problems” features Jay-Z in a series of intense and confrontational scenes, making it a standout moment in his career.

“The Scientist” by Coldplay

Coldplay’s “The Scientist” is an emotional and visually stunning music video filmed in reverse, adding depth to the song’s melancholic lyrics. Directed by Jamie Thraves, “The Scientist” features lead singer Chris Martin retracing his steps through a series of heartbreaking scenes, making it a poignant and memorable music video.

“Hey Ya!” by OutKast

OutKast’s “Hey Ya!” is a colorful and infectious music video with a retro vibe that perfectly complements the song’s upbeat tempo. Directed by Bryan Barber, “Hey Ya!” features Andre 3000 and the rest of OutKast in a series of energetic and playful performances, making it a standout moment in the duo’s career.

“A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton

Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles” is a quirky and whimsical music video that perfectly complements the song’s heartfelt ballad. Directed by Marc Klasfeld, “A Thousand Miles” features Carlton in a series of surreal and fantastical scenarios, making it a memorable and iconic music video.


These 18 music videos represent the best of the 21st century, showcasing the creativity, innovation, and storytelling prowess of the artists and directors behind them. From groundbreaking visuals to powerful narratives, these music videos have left an indelible mark on the world of music and pop culture.


What makes a music video stand out in the 21st century?

A standout music video combines innovative visuals, compelling storytelling, and a strong connection to the song’s themes and lyrics.

How do music videos impact an artist’s career?

Music videos can elevate an artist’s profile, increase visibility, and enhance the overall listening experience for fans.

Who decides which music videos are the best of the 21st century?

The best music videos of the 21st century are often determined by a combination of critical acclaim, cultural impact, and audience reception.

Are music videos still relevant in the age of streaming?

Yes, music videos remain an important part of the music industry, serving as a promotional tool, artistic expression, and visual companion to the music itself.

Where can I watch these music videos?

These music videos are readily available on streaming platforms, video sharing websites, and the artists’ official channels.