There's no use denying it: a good music video can very well lead to a major hit single. This year was a prime example of that, with viral clips from the likes of Iggy Azalea, Sia and Nicki Minaj launching the musicians to unprecedented levels of success.
As we close out 2014, it's only right to look at the best visual components to music. From rock, country, rap and dance music, check out Music Times' list of the 10 best music videos of 2014 below:
10. Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX, "Fancy"
Say whatever you want about Iggy Azalea - and it seems like everyone has something to say these days - but her breakout hit "Fancy" had everything necessary for a big old viral video. '90s nostalgia? Check. Humor? Check. Sexy outfits? Check. There's nothing wrong with a good ol' fashion Clueless throwback, and Azalea's "Fancy" executed this perfectly, helping her to become one of the biggest names in music for 2014.
09. Beyoncé, "7/11"
Leave it to Queen Bey to surprise and slay us with a new music video to close out 2014, just like how she wrapped up last year. This time, Beyoncé proved she didn't even have to do all that much to dominate the news cycle for a day. All it takes for a classic Beyoncé music video is a hotel room, a few girlfriends, some twerking and a good old fashioned good time. Oh, and that "KALE" sweatshirt. We want one.
08. The Decemberists, "Make You Better"
It seems like The Decemberists made a good friend in Nick Offerman when the band guested on Parks and Recreation last year, as the funnyman appears in and directed the lead music video for the band's forthcoming album What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World, "Make You Better" or should we say "I Make You Butter." Playing on a '70s-style Berlin talk show, the first portion of this music video features Colin Meloy (or should we say Colon) deadpanning with Offerman about the title of the song before going into a performance that goes all sorts of wrong by the end. Add in a B-story of heartache, and this clip has everything.
07. Dierks Bentley, "Drunk on a Plane"
As Foo Fighters proved in its signature music video for "Learn to Fly," some humor on an airplane always makes for a classic clip. Enter in: Dierks Bentley's "Drunk on a Plane." Playing off the song's key lyric about drinking away a broken heart with some tiny bottles of whiskey, "Drunk on a Plane" the music video quickly turns in from one guy's sorrow to an out and out party on a 747. Everyone from the elderly to the bachelorettes to the pilots and stewardesses are getting hammered on the plane, and who can save them but the country boy himself?
06. The Black Keys, "Fever"
The sweaty, evangelical television preacher has always been ripe for the picking for a music video fodder, so it's a wonder why it took until 2014 for The Black Keys to tackle this character for the lead Turn Blue single "Fever." Dan Auerbach perfectly plays the anxious, overzealous priest (as Patrick Carney is on standby as his assistant) as his audience goes crazy, fainting, speaking in tongues and accepting the word of rock as biblical law. Oh, and check out those names that are donating money at the bottom of the video, there are some bizarre jokes in there.
05. OK Go, "I Won't Let You Down"
A best-of music video list just wouldn't be complete without at least one entry from OK Go, right? By now, these alt-pop rockers have become perhaps better known for the visual medium than their own music, and well, they proved they're the master of the music video once again this year with "I Won't Let You Down." Featuring some crazy symmetrical choreography, spacey scooters and tons of changes in perspective, this music video is a mind-blowing example of what this type of visual has to offer. Oh, and of course it was all done in one take, just for a kicker.
04. St. Vincent, "Digital Witness"
There's something really chilling about the lead music video off of St. Vincent's self-titled 2014 album. Starring an always calm Annie Clark in a totalitarian world, "Digital Witness" plays into this bizarre world with insane levels of detail. The pastel colors, the synchronized beats of cups to the music and the perfect blending and contrasting of the backgrounds makes "Digital Witness" one of the most mesmerizing and best videos of the year.
03. Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda"
Of course Nicki Minaj, a Sir Mix-A-Lot sample and plenty of booties were going to be outrageous, so "Anaconda" was a win before it was even released. The result of this music video is a crazy, scattered fever dream of phallic imagery, crazy cooking instructions, bootylicious workouts and OH YEAH BUTTS. Top this off with some whipped cream (Minaj does) and a bizarre Drake cameo and lap dance, and you have the most watched VEVO music video in 24 hours ever and a fantastic music video for The Pinkprint.
02. DJ Snake and Lil Jon, "Turn Down for What"
Have you ever wanted, no, needed to twerk so hard that you melt faces, break through multiple levels of an apartment complex and destroy ladies clothing for miles? Welcome to the crazy world of DJ Snake and Lil Jon's "Turn Down for What." It's only fitting that the most outrageous, loud and ratchet hit of 2014 has such a outrageous, loud and ratchet music video. No one is able to overcome the power of this banger, be it individual body parts or entire groups of people. This just needs to be watched to be fully appreciated. So, enjoy.
01. Sia, "Chandelier"
Sorry to be so obvious with our No. 1 pick, but was there really, truly a better music video in 2014 that Sia's "Chandelier?" Starring Dance Mom's Maddie Ziegler as a Sia-wig wearing mini-lady, "Chandelier" perfectly captures the essence of this single. It's raw, it's a little ugly and, in the end, it's truly magnetizing.