25 Best Music Videos of 2019
A three- or four-minute clip might not seem like enough time to make a starkly political statement or buttress a big ol’ pop comeback, but the best music videos of 2019 have proved that music’s biggest stars remain up for the challenge.
Since January, and to accompany huge Billboard hits, artists like the Jonas Brothers, Katy Perry and Stray Kids have pulled out all the stops to deliver music videos that have left us totally entranced. Between the many colors of Kacey Musgraves’ “Rainbow” and the sparkling, ‘80s-tinged supplement to Lizzo’s earworm “Juice,” pop hasn’t relied on gimmicks or tropes to keep fans hooked. Superstars can still make real art, and in the case of the The Killers’ “Land of the Free,” make powerful tools of protest, too.
Below, PopCrush has collected our favorite music videos of 2019. Check 'em all out and tell us which YouTube video has left you tapping the replay button.
Didn’t see a music video you loved on our list this year? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Twitter!
It could fit seamlessly between a commercial for board game Crossfire and that oh-so-familiar battle cry, “Where’s the Beef?” The video for Lizzo’s most famous single yet is ‘80s pop fluorescence at its most potent. The clip, which finds the often hilarious and reliably self-assured Lizzo on talk-show couches, in hairspray adverts and Olivia Newton John-inspired workout classes, takes the song’s anthemic funk and makes it feel, somehow, even freer. And check out those leg-lifts — go off, hip flexors! — Matthew Scott Donnelly
Forget Digital Distortion drama — “Sally Walker,” the first single from Azalea’s forthcoming new album (her first since signing with EMPIRE) is letting her former vendettas die…literally, with respect to the track’s accompanying video. The hyper-stylish clip, which features beloved drag queens Shea Coulee, Mayhem Miller and the one and only Miss Vanjie, kicks off with Coulee running over the titular Walker with her car and leaving the schoolgirl to die in a pool of blood. What follows is a funeral befitting of a Vogue cover, complete with a lilac-haired Azalea, mourning gowns you could only find in Barney’s and a graveyard dance routine that could raise the dead. We’ll just say it: death looks good on I-G-G-Y. — Matthew Scott Donnelly
In an increasingly polarized political climate, the enduring rock band make their stance on the Trump administration clear in the video for “Land of the Free,” a politically charged project directed by Spike Lee that mixes footage of asylum seekers at the border, in tent cities and struggling along migrant caravans. Brandon Flowers told Zane Lowe that he sought out Lee after watching BlacKkKlansman, and that the video is ultimately an answer to everything from the Sandy Hook shooting to constant vitriolic immigration policies. Sometimes, you need a palate cleanser, but here, you’ll instead get the harsh truth: our country’s approach to humanitarian efforts in 2019 is an unmitigated disaster. — Matthew Scott Donnelly
Understandably, most pop stars would probably rather not incorporate their real-life romances into their work. Sure, a vague song lyric here and there about a current lover or ex, but a blatant by-name mention or music video cameo? Never — that's too much tabloid ammo! That's what makes the Jonas Brothers' wildly over-the-top "Sucker" video so damn special: the trio's respective wives — Priyanka Chopra, Sophie Turner and Danielle Jonas — all take center stage in the quirky clip. Dressed in haute couture, the ladies are magnetic as they chew scenery (in Sophie's case quite literally, as she gnaws at a hedgerow) while romping around a sweeping, ornate estate. Quite frankly, they steal the show, and just like Nick, Joe and Kevin, we are total suckers for it. — Erica Russell
Lil Dicky brought together some of the most iconic artists today together for a song that benefits the planet. If that wasn’t enough, the video features each of the collaborators — from Ariana Grande to Justin Bieber — as different animals. The animals are just as unique as the featured artists, and from almost every genre of music. Though the video is primarily animated, it does feature a major throwback moment when (an animated) Leonardo DiCaprio poses on the Titanic ship with Lil Dicky. Overall, Lil Dicky was able to bring comedy, music, and activism together for this once in a lifetime video. — Jacklyn Krol
Taylor Swift has been known for her elaborate and Easter egg-filled music videos, but “ME!” goes above and beyond. In an unlikely team up, Swift and Brendon Urie of Panic! At The Disco prove to be the perfect collaborative pair. Urie and Swift’s banter, senses of humor and acting abilities shine throughout the video. The duo share delightful fashion choices and cheesy dance moves, all while hiding clues about Swift’s upcoming album in somewhat plain sight. Plus: The kitten featured in the video ended up being later adopted by Swift. (She named him Benjamin Button. Awww.) — Jacklyn Krol
Katy Perry did not disappoint when she dropped the music video for her song “365” featuring Zedd. The visuals sees the singer play an android looking to find a genuine connection with Zedd, a human man. Viewers are made to believe the AI is incapable of feeling emotions, but when she realizes she was purely just a text subject, she sheds a tear. If you’re a fan of Netflix’s Black Mirror, you’ll love this video because it’s basically an episode of the show condensed into three minutes. — Natasha Reda
After winning four awards at the 2019 Grammys, Kacey Musgraves dropped the music video for her hit single, “Rainbow.” The stunning clip sees the country singer looking on as various people try to navigate their way through their respective struggles in life, including a single mother taking care of her child and a young person wrestling with their identity. Aside from the song’s powerful message of resilience and hope, the visuals offer a sense of calm that makes us believe Musgraves when she sings the line, “It’ll all be alright.” — Natasha Reda
If you ever needed a music video to show a friend who’s not into K-pop what they’re missing, look no further than Taemin’s “Want.” As a solo artist and member of SHINee, Taemin’s dancing ability has wowed crowds for over a decade, but “Want” takes his dancing to the next level with the sinister, lustful dance track. The video is laden with biblical parallels, including snakes, crosses and Rodin’s Gates of Hell, and if that’s not enough to tempt you, Taemin’s sensual, lithe dance moves will have you reaching for a forbidden apple. With “Want,” Taemin solidifies himself as one of the most captivating performers in K-pop. — Emlyn Travis
Stray Kids are leading the revolution in real life and in the music video for their single “Miroh.” Set in the middle of a political rally in the fictional City Jungle, the members transform from passersby into protestors. As they plot to overthrow the city’s leaders, they perform their powerful choreography throughout different districts, rallying troops to their side. After successfully ousting the city’s elite, Stray Kids stand in front of a podium, ready to pave a brighter future with their supporters. With “Miroh,” the group continues to dazzle as they become a representative voice for youth around the world. — Emlyn Travis
Pink’s fallen down the rabbit hole, brushed off bars full of horny singles and torn into town on horseback in videos past, but it’s the treatment for “Walk Me Home” — which has emptied the room, sent the guests home and cut the party short — that might prove to be the pop veteran’s most memorable production to date. By leaving the singer alone on dark, vacant streets with only shadows as after-hours company, the video for Hurts 2B Human’s lead single does what Taylor Swift’s “Delicate” doesn’t: it moves you. Acrobatics and stunt work might be all too familiar to fans, but it’s the empty space that punctuates frenzied footwork and the loneliness that accompanies Pink’s high-flying that’s most remarkable, and clear evidence of an artist who’s learned and lived and grown. Pink’s a pioneer in getting the party started, but, many years into her career, she’s learned to live with the lights off, too. — Matthew Scott Donnelly
Take Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” distill any needless saccharin and turn the dejected cheerleader into a proudly queer quarterback and you’ve got King Princess’ “Prophet,” a video that both coolly whispers and blindingly screams its resolved intent. The treatment for the third single off the remarkable Cheap Queen features the slow-burning, sensual tinges of Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” but anchors the scandal of Apple’s overt sex with the obstruction of forbidden love. And if you’re into a bit of cannibalism disguised as cake-eating, well, you’re in luck. — Matthew Scott Donnelly
Three Zara Larssons for the price of one? It might register as a gimmick — and one that’s been done before — but that’s kind of the appeal: The video for the Swedish pop star’s close-to-perfect summer single is comfortably familiar while still buoyed by contemporary glam, and finds Larsson cleaved in three as she prepares for a small-stage show, complete with clone-Pips. “All The Time” is shiny—it sparkles and there’s hair! hair! hair! But what makes the project strangely compelling is the chorus’ corresponding dance, a deceptively difficult wiggle that feeds the eyes like a handful of Skittles. If there’s any justice, a corresponding TikTok trend will take flight by New Year’s. — Matthew Scott Donnelly
With co-writers Ariana Grande and Max Martin on board, Normani’s “Motivation” was guaranteed to sound like a pop smash, but it’s the already iconic, nostalgic clip accompanying the track that truly takes it to the next level. The video is packed with perfectly executed early-2000s references, from 106 & Park to music videos like Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love,” Ciara’s “Goodies,” Britney Spears’ “...Baby One More Time” (which Martin also co-wrote and co-produced) and Jennifer Lopez’s “I’m Real (Remix).” Part of the video was even filmed on the same basketball court as the latter two referenced clips, including the bit of bouncing basketball choreography that viewers speculated was edited together. Normani has confirmed it was all her doing, which is just the cherry on top of an already perfect solo pop video debut. — Jack Irvin
Miley Cyrus has become known for reinvention (see Bangerz, Younger Now) and the “Mother’s Daughter” video is no exception. This time around she’s reclaimed her Hannah Montana hairstyle, paired it with a Britney Spears “Oops...I Did It Again”-referencing red latex jumpsuit and embellished it with a studded vagina dentata for a major “p---y power” moment. “Don’t f--- with my freedom,” Cyrus sings, while clips of individuals of different body types, body abilities, gender identities and races are featured on-screen. Complete with a cameo from her mother, Tish Cyrus, “Mother’s Daughter” marks Cyrus coming into her own, using her platform to uplift communities often unseen in mainstream pop videos and keeping an air of authenticity throughout. — Jack Irvin
With expensive cars, chunky boots and Beats by Dre product placements all featured, “White Mercedes” has all the elements of your average Charli XCX video––but it’s actually quite a departure. The clip features XCX alone in an open field standing on the back of a moving truck, sitting in a car that’s hanging from chains in the air and standing in front of the same car as it burns. She often uses car metaphors and imagery in her lyrics and videos (i.e. “Vroom Vroom,” “Porsche” and “Backseat”), but this video is a rare, beautiful visual representation of XCX in a state of vulnerability, feeling fear in a relationship that’s moving too fast. — Jack Irvin
Red Velvet can make anything magical. Don’t believe us? Check out the video for “Umpah Umpah,” in which they transform a rainy day spent inside into an adorable, summer adventure. While waiting out a storm, little bits of magic begin to appear throughout their house, including a miniature version of member Wendy hiding behind a drink parasol. Then the group are transported to the beach, where they spend the day surfing, picking up seashells and dancing along to the feel-good song’s energetic choreography. Known for blurring the lines between cute and creepy in their videos, Red Velvet’s “Umpah Umpah” is relatively tame, but its magical take on everyday life and addictive chorus make it a summertime staple. — Emlyn Travis
Seventeen’s latest comeback track is a dark, gritty take on a toxic relationship, and its music video is a perfect compliment to the song’s ominous lyrics. The high-octane video blends quick, perpendicular shots with stark, mystifying visuals that take a viewer's breath away (see: member Jeonghan’s extreme close up). Add in the group’s sultry, sinister choreography performed with perfect synchronicity, and the music video for “Fear” reveals the true power Seventeen hold in their hands. They’re the whole package. — Emlyn Travis
Within the first few seconds of listening to Billie Eilish's "Bury a Friend," you already can feel the dark eerie vibes seeping through. So it wasn't surprising that the visual would be soaked in all things shadowy and downright creepy. The song is meant to tell the story of what kind of conversation the monster under your childhood bed would have with you, and the video goes for the concept in full force. — Emily Tan
As a kid, J-Hope would listen to 2006’s "Chicken Noodle Soup" by Webstar and Young B (featuring The Voice of Harlem) and practice his dancing skills. With the help of Becky G the BTS member pays homage to the track with his own version. While the song's essence stays fairly true to the original, the video brings dancers from a variety of different backgrounds together in Los Angeles to show how well they can rock the choreography. The video not only became a hit among BTS fans (a.k.a. ARMYs), but both Young B and Webstar have praised the clip on social media. — Emily Tan
It’s no secret that Twenty One Pilots are known for their cinematically pleasing music videos. The visually stimulating video for “Chlorine” is no exception. In the clip, the duo comprised of Tyler Joseph and Josh Dun are tasked with transforming a dirty pool into a safe haven for an alien-like creature named Ned. (Ned is one of the highlights of the video and has become a staple for TOP fans everywhere.) From skeleton hoodie easter eggs to the dawn of a new chapter for the brand, “Chlorine” is a video you shouldn’t miss. — Michele Bird
Leave it to Harry Styles to drop “Lights Up,” the bisexual anthem the world needed, on National Coming Out Day. The song’s accompanying music video became instantly iconic for its own reasons, one being the fact that many have interpreted the video as the former One Direction singer’s way of embracing his own identity. There definitely does seem to be elements of bisexuality implied in the psychedelic video that sees him dancing at a beach orgy with a group of sweaty men and women. “Lights up and they know who you are / Do you know who you are?” hew onders, though it’s clear the self-assured pop star already knows who he is. — Natasha Reda
Camila Cabello’s “Liar” music video is hands down her best to date. Directed by Dave Meyers, the six-minute clip sees the singer play a range of characters, giving fans a glimpse at the range of the multi-talented star, who’s well on her way to becoming the next JLo. Though we have yet to see her in any movies, the pop star shows off her acting chops and not only is she funny AF, but she’s really good, too. From beginning to end, “Liar” is a thrilling cinematic experience that leaves us wanting more from Cabello. — Natasha Reda
Breaking up is hard to do... and it’s even worse when an untimely death is involved. The heartbreaking video for “11 Minutes” documents the harrowing stages of grief as a series of chapters after Yungblud loses Halsey to a fatal car accident. Blink-182’s Travis Barker is featured on drums and the video is as tragically dark as it is visually beautiful. From going through the motions of denial to acceptance, “11 Minutes” is a relatable video for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one in the past and eventually found peace after some time. — Michele Bird
Nodding cleverly to the raucous house party thrown in the infamous music video for her Bangerz-era hit, "We Can't Stop," the video for "Slide Away" plays like a heartbreaking sequel — liquor bottles in the pool and all — while simultaneously serving as a metaphor for the aftermath of her real-life split from ex Liam Hemsworth. The song, with its melancholy Moby-esque production and lyrics of longing and resolve, is excellent on its own, but is elevated to the upper echelons of Cyrus' discography thanks to a visual that's equal parts intimate and cinematic, like a home video-turned-big budget production. — Erica Russell