UPDATE: That's a wrap! We counted down our Top 40 videos of 2014, now click through for a full recap of Top 40 of 2014 – Including your No. 1 video that was chosen by millions of fan votes over six intense rounds!
It's got stiff competition from 2013, but make no mistake: 2014 was the Year of the Earworm. You will never, ever think of American Apparel underwear the same way thanks to 5 Seconds of Summer, and the mere mentions of "monsters" and "muppets" conjure images of Eminem and Ed Sheeran faster than you can press "Play."
The hooks of 2014 were that irresistible and unforgettable. They worked themselves into your brain after half a listen. They held fast to your eardrums as Katy Perry made costume changes, Nicki Minaj reworked hip-hop classics and Ariana Grande teamed up with nearly every major pop mover and shaker in the game. This year's hits were strong enough on their own, but the top videos of 2014 were just as eye-catching as the tracks were addicting, from A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera's "Say Something" to Zedd and Hayley Williams' "Stay The Night" and every visual in between.
Which is where you come in: On November 29, Fuse will air our Top 40 of 2014 video countdown. And it's up to you to decide what artist hits No. 1. So click through this nomination gallery to see why 2014 was one of the most shocking, sultry, stunning and visually-stimulating years in pop music ever. Then make sure to cast your votes for the best music video of the year.
American Authors’ “Best Day Of My Life” is easily one of the greatest feel-good anthems of the year. The video is equally as life-affirming, with the NYC band running around their neighborhoods with a bizarre stuffed animal creature. They hit up a strip club, a playground, a bar...a tattoo parlor. It truly does look like they're having the best day of their lives. We can dig it!
The Blacc Hollywood single paved the way for Wiz Khalifa to throw a proper block party that had a whole neighborhood dancing—or at least it did for its video. "We Dem Boyz" is a lesson in Peak Wiz, with the rapper inhaling more smoke than oxygen while rallying crowds before the party erupts around him. He's in his element, and that's what makes "We Dem Boyz" one of Wiz's most genuinely enjoyable music videos to date.
"Everything you need is in that bag. Just have fun, and I'll see you later."
Trey Songz's "Na Na" opens up with a mysterious tableau that has him following his girlfriend into the back room at a jewelry store, and what unfolds is a steamy gym scene full of hard-fighting, badass babes. The "Na Na" video certainly brings a whole new meaning to "hot yoga," huh?
The Real Housewives of—EDM?! In the video for Tiësto's "Wasted," a group of ladies who lunch straight out of a '50s sitcom get together for an afternoon party. Then things quickly spiral out of control to the tune of the DJ's beat drops and euphoric breakdowns. The guys from Happy Days would totally approve of these vintage gals gone wild!
Coldplay’s latest record, Ghost Stories, is something of a depressing concept album. It outlines the journey of Chris Martin’s relationship with actress Gwyneth Paltrow and their subsequent divorce. But one of the singles on the album, the surprising Avicii-engineered“A Sky Full Of Stars,” pulls a 180, heading clear in the opposite direction of Martin's lovelorn melancholy. Martin navigates a busy city street, performing as a one-man band before the rest of the group joins him and leads a massive dance party with enthusiastic fans. There’s plenty of confetti and smiling faces. This is the ultimate example of finding the positive in a negative!
Why settle for a simple production when you can turn your song into a story? Nico & Vinz travel far and wide in search of answers and each other for their sprawling epic "Am I Wrong." They each lug a retro TV set with them through remote villages, winding rivers and dusty plains as they dance through the catchy single, rallying a sizeable group to join them in various places before they reunite in the middle of the desert.
What’s the one thing that could make Ed Sheeran even more likeable? Pharrell Williams, of course! The producer powerhouse shared his talent—and face—with the English singer/writer for “Sing,” one of Ed’s biggest hits from X. In the clip, Sheeran is played by a muppet version of himself who flirts with sexy human bartenders, belts out the hits at karaoke, hangs out with models in stretch limos and truly makes it rain at strip clubs. If this is what a night out on the town is like for Sheeran, we wouldn’t mind joining him next time.
For an artist that's more than a little camera shy, Sia sure went above and beyond to ensure that the visual for "Chandelier" was just as engaging and intense as its heartfelt lyrics, even if she herself wasn't featured in the vid for the track. Maddie Ziegler (of Dance Moms fame) sports Sia's now-iconic blonde bob for an incredible, modern routine that flips typical music video choreography on its head, making this one of the most talked-about and watched videos of 2014.
You know you’re onto something when everyone—including cats—parody your video and song. Such is life for DJ Snake and Lil Jon with their hit “Turn Down For What,” the unofficial party anthem of 2014. Its video follows the evening of a man taken over by his desire to turn up. He dances frantically, knocking down walls and people. There's a lot of flailing genitalia, motorboating (the suggestive kind) and deviant dancing. This might be one of the most NSFW videos on our Top 40, but it’s also one of the most fun!
John Legend's gorgeous piano ballad dedicated to his wife Chrissy Teigen was made even more special when the couple starred in this cinematic, black-and-white visual that put their chemistry on display for the world. Legend and Teigen shower, cuddle and just generally look totally lovely-dovey together. The clip even ends with actual footage from their wedding. Aww!
English electronic music duo Disclosure are all about dance floors and what happens after, so it’s no wonder that “Latch,” their biggest (and Sam Smith-featuring!) hit, is all sex and sensuality. The video begins with a few couples navigating the space before a hook up: sweet elbow grazes, interlocking fingers for the first time and all. It quickly escalates, as romances do, and these lovely young folk soon get down and dirty. Sometimes the best videos are the simplest and truest to life.
The rising M.C. wakes up and finds himself inside the sickest house party ever....with Chris Brown! Like any crazy house party, the guys have a little sexy time, and the clip helped solidified Kid Ink's spot in the hip hop world.
When it comes to the major rock acts of 2014, Bastille is one of the biggest names to break. In the video for their infectious single “Pompeii,” the guys search for answers at the end of the world. Lead singer Dan Smith navigates a deserted city on his bicycle before running into strangers who’ve all lost the whites from their eyes. It's hauntingly gorgeous from start to finish, just like the tune!
The video for OneRepublic's "Counting Stars" is almost as incendiary as the single itself. Ryan Tedder and those around him work themselves into a frenzy as they invoke some serious dance spirits with each riotous chorus. (We don't know what that alligator's doing there, either, but we're not not into it.)
Yeah, everyone knows Adam Levine is hot....but in the dramatic video for "Maps," his hotness literally kills his girlfriend. The visual starts with the all-too-relatable story: Couple goes to house party, boyfriend drinks too much tequila, boyfriend flirts with another girl, girlfriend catches boyfriend in the act. A catching-the-cheater sequence follows—mascara running down her face, the whole nine yards—but an unexpected twist lands girlfriend in the emergency room with Levine running like a madman to find his ailing lover before it's too late. Heavy.
If there’s one thing you can expect from Chris Brown, it’s that his videos will be choreography-heavy. The R&B crooner is going to bust a move, and lots of them. Filmed at night on Hollywood’s glimmering Universal CityWalk, the "Loyal" video finds Brown joined by Lil Wayne and Tyga. Plus Usher, Trey Songz and Ty Dolla $ign make guest appearances for a star-studded dance party. Beautiful women move around them as they set the night aflame. Hey guys, where was our invite?
Enrique Iglesias flew to Santo Domingo with his crew to film the gorgeous visual for his Spanglish hit. There's a flamenco troupe, a group of street dancers and kids playing soccer. This summer was dominated by the World Cup, and the latin hunk's tropical vid definitely takes us back to that warmer time.
EDM guru Calvin Harris is taking this “Summer” thing very seriously. His seasonal jam celebrates a warm-climate version of a spring fling and has Harris walking through a desert landscape populated by bombshell babes. In the few moments he’s not alone, he’s surrounded by what appears to be illegal drag racing, featuring three-wheeled automobiles, classic American muscle cars and vintage trucks. High octane is the name of the game. When the racing ends, all the beautiful people make their way to a house party at a mansion. If only every season could be so hot!
In this dark, cinematic clip, RiRi is given the world's worst (but possibly most fascinating) job: Psycho-analyzing Eminem. The clip is half homage to Em's career (from clips of his early music videos to the infamous Grammy hug with Elton John) and half a depiction of Em confronting the titular "Monster:" Slim Shady himself locked up in a cage surrounded by guards.
The mega-pop pairing of Zedd and Paramore's Hayley Williams lead to "Stay the Night," their uplifting dance floor anthem of grand, global proportions. For the vid, a pair of modern dancers traverse boundaries set by time, place and distance so that they don't have to spend the night alone. Zedd's piano and Hayley's voice anchor the otherwise explosive EDM beats on the track, and the dancers do a stunning job of acting out every line and flourish of the crossover hit. In short: It's a techno masterpiece, a pop marvel and a totally inspiring visual.
That concludes Fuse's nominations for the 40 best videos of the year. Now it's time for you to vote!
Meghan Trainor didn't become one of 2014's biggest breakout stars simply thanks to her über-catchy, doo-woopy vocals. Her colorful video is also one of the year's most memorable! Trainor and her slew of badass backup dancers vogue, bump and twerk to showcase how fabulous they are in a clip that's part "Baby Got Back," part "Beauty School Dropout."
The video for “Boom Clap” takes place in Amsterdam for a very good reason: England’s latest and greatest export, Charli XCX, penned the tune for the mega-hit movie The Fault In Our Stars, which featured some pivotal scenes in the dreamy Dutch capital. Images of the actors flash as Charli dances her way over the city's famous bridges and waterways. This beat definitely goes on.
The quickest way to success in this day and age is probably getting the blessing of someone much, much more famous than you, right? When Christina Aguilera isn’t coaching young talents on The Voice, she’s making dreams come true in the studio, which is exactly what she did when she assisted A Great Big World with their heartbreaking single “Say Something.” The video is as minimalist as minimalist can be, with the NYC duo playing piano alongside a breathtaking Christina, all cloaked in black. In other scenes, a melancholic couple lies in bed, contemplating what appears to be a relationship gone sour. Get ready to have some feelings!
"Stay With Me" is the kind of straightforward, stirring ballad that rocks you to the very core, and it's the single that brought Sam Smith out of obscurity and into the international spotlight. Charli XCX and FKA Twigs have both tried their hands at covering it. The song is so captivating that Mary J. Blige went from being a fan to a collaborator of Smith's in a matter of minutes, performing the track with him at his album release show at Harlem's Apollo Theater and recording a proper version of their duet beforehand. It's a powerful debut, and the video's as lovely and touching as the tune that inspired it.
Iggy Azalea has been having a banner year. Thinking back to the beginning of 2014, homegirl probably has a bit to owe to pop princess Ariana Grande. The Mariah Carey-channeling vocal virtuoso instantly wowed the music world with brassy hit “Problem,” the first single from her stunning sophomore album My Everything. The video is magically mod and features Grande rocking some killer go-go boots and Iggy in a tempting turtleneck jumpsuit. The visuals are trippy in a hypnotizing way. No complaints here!
Any video that can make Pharrell Williams seriously tear up in an interview with Oprah has got to be good, and the producer/singer/beatmaker reached audiences of every age with his massive hit "Happy." The dance party in the video is epic to say the least, a celebration definitely on par with "Happy"'s feel-good vibes. (Something tells us Cee Lo's not feeling so great about passing the track up now that it's become one of the year's biggest smashes.)
Somehow, Mr. 305 and Kesha (sans dollar sign) were able to take a country proper harmonica riff and dress it up for the club instead of a square dance. "Timber" spawned a kajillion parodies (about Tinder, because hey! Rhymes!), but Pitbull and Kesha's banger remains the hit with the most recognizable hook on and off the dance floor.
In one of their more surreal and mature efforts to date, One Direction surround themselves with memories captured by photographs and nostalgic moments in "Story of My Life." Watch as Harry, Niall, Liam, Louis and Zayn revisit happy times with friends and family one snapshot at a time. It's gorgeous, it's touching and it's a video that perfectly embodies everything the emotional track is about.
For "Ain't It Fun," Paramore didn't just want to make any old music video: They wanted to use the clip as a vehicle for knocking a few random world records out of the park. The fact that people were actually celebrated for smashing clocks with guitars and catching feathers before Hayley & Co. attempted to do so is pretty amazing, as are the record-breaking stunts and cheerful, cheeky vibe that make this production one that's all Paramore to the core. (This marching band treatment of the track is pretty great, too.)
To those about to rock: We have found your teenaged guiding lights! Hailing from a suburb of Sydney, Australia, 5 Seconds of Summer have recently landed a No. 1 debut full-length in 40+ countries and an opening slot on tour with British boy band babes One Direction not once, but twice. They’re slated to take over the teen universe, and their first single, “She Looks So Perfect,” will take them there. Cute boys in impossibly tight skinny jeans? Check. Palm-muted power chords? Check. Partial nudity? Check. Let’s get those hearts racing faster!
Shot on location at the actual school where Clueless was filmed, "Fancy" is a pitch-perfect recreation of the 1995 neo-classic. Iggy works a variety of '90s outfits Cher Horowitz would've approved of while Charli looks phat as her partner handling the chant hook. As if this wasn't one of the best videos of the year!
Taylor Swift is (debatably) more self-aware than ever before in the video for her official pop-country-to-pop crossover single "Shake It Off." In it, Taylor tries on a handful of different adorkable personalities—ballerina, cheerleader, Fly Girl, breakdancer, etc—while attempting to dance to the beat of her own drum. Does she succeed? Revisit 1989's lead-off single and see for yourself.
“Drunk In Love,” Beyoncé’s beachside ode to hubby Jay Z, is a black and white masterpiece. In it, Queen B rolls around a beach at nighttime, making sandy skin the sexiest accessory in the whole dang world, universe and whatever lies beyond. Jay Z joins Bey for his verse, drink in hand. Now, let’s all go grab our significant other and head to the beach. There’s work to be done.
Of all the videos to drop in 2014, Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" is one of the few to set legitimate records and frighten grandmas and inspire a flood of parodies within a matter of days. "Anaconda" raked in a whopping 19.6 million views on Vevo the first day of its existence, unseating Miley Cyrus' "Wrecking Ball" from the title of most-viewed video within 24 hours of release. Given the titillating images and fierce, femme fatale power Nicki embraces in the booty-celebrating jungle of "Anaconda," it's easy to see why!
For her "Dark Horse" video, the pop star reinvented herself as Katy Patra, a homicidal Cleopatra figure that feels like the bubblegummy response to Liz Taylor's iconic character. The future Super Bowl star spends a majority of the clip zapping potential lovers, but there's also a chunk of the video dedicated to her dazzling grill. No, seriously, you have to see that thing.