Ahh, the viral video. In an age where album and track sales are down and the music industry looks a little bleak, there is one saving grace: the music video that hits it big on YouTube. 2014 was no exception to this rule and some of the biggest hits of the year reached their status thanks to scandalous, funny or straight sexy music videos.
From the “Booty” to the funny clip to the viral marketing campaign, the Billboard Hot 100 was filled with surprising hits from musicmakers new and old to the industry. Let’s take a look at some of the best viral clips of the year:
1. Jimmy Fallon & will.i.am, "Ew!"
2014 was a little lacking in the comedic singles -- unlike last year which was full of the type. But the biggest, catchiest funny track of this single has to go to The Tonight Show's "Ew!," courtesy of Jimmy Fallon and will.i.am. The track, which turned Fallon's popular sketch into pop gold, went mega-viral in October, and "Ew!" peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard Hot 100. Thus far, the song has gathered over 16 million views on YouTube, thanks to "Ew"-worthy things like "impliggies," reclined airplane seats and dorky step-dads. "Ew!" indeed.
2. Nicki Minaj, "Anaconda"
"Oh my gosh. Look at her butt!" Those are the cliff notes for Nicki Minaj's second The Pinkprint single "Anaconda." Though the outrageous song is strong enough on its own merits, the super sexy and ridiculous music video helped to launch it to new heights, quickly becoming VEVO's most-watched clip in 24 hours (sorry, One Direction). "Anaconda" peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and has become one of Minaj's biggest hits to date. Oh, and the music video has 328 million views on YouTube. All thanks to a big fat butt.
3. Jennifer Lopez, feat. Iggy Azalea, "Booty"
Speaking of big fat butts, the year of the behind would not be what it was without JLo and Iggy Azalea's "Booty," which also went viral this year thanks to, well, booties. The super sexy clip features Azalea and Lopez all greased up, dancing and shaking booties. There's also plenty of grinding and ass smacking and well, booty. We don't necessarily want to think of why this music video has gotten 83.4 million views in three months - we'll leave that conclusion up to you. But the fact is, there's something about that "Booty."
4. Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass"
Booty, ass, bass, whatever you call it, 2014 was all about them butts. Meghan Trainor's body-positive single "All About That Bass" is arguably the biggest hit on this list, as it topped the charts for eight weeks. A lot of Trainor's success was due to her colorful, funky music video. Featuring the always-bubby pop star and a slew of exaggerated bass-carrying people and some "skinny b***hes," "All About That Bass" was funny and relatable, chalking over 366 million YouTube views in six months.
5. Weird Al Yankovic, "Word Crimes"
Weird Al was a welcome presence this summer. After five years away from the music-making market, the funnyman released his new album Mandatory Fun, the crowning glory of which was his Robin Thicke parody "Word Crimes." Yankovic's video has racked up 20 million views, the most of any from his album, thanks to the clever English lessons hidden in the beat. Know what a proposition, the difference between "less" and "fewer" and exclude numbers from your writing, and then you won't need to watch this video again. Until then, check it out again and have a few chuckles.
7. Soko, "We Might Be Dead by Tomorrow"
No viral video list would be complete without the inclusion of a little bit of marketing. This March, a video entitled "First Kiss" hit YouTube featuring this 2012 indie pop track, featuring people who were reportedly strangers meeting and kissing right away. The clip quickly went viral, getting 11.9 million views in its first week. This led to one of the least expected top 10 singles of the year, with the track hitting No. 9 on the Hot 100 after the huge jump in streams. The video itself turned out to be less authentic than originally thought - it turned out to be a clothing ad - but 94 million hits can't really lie about the feelings it evoked.