Iconic Music Videos of 2017

: Kaylee Pugliese, Photo Manager

 The year of 2017 was a wild one, and many known artists released iconic music videos. Music videos today are visual art forms and are just as important as ever. They are part of a visual language of how we interpret and consume music entertainment.

 This year, there were many music videos that surfaced and brought life and new meanings to their songs.

 Imagine Dragons’s single “Thunder” was released on May 2 and was directed by Joseph Kahn. The entire video is in black and white except for the colored light beams. It begins with a close up on Dan Reynolds — the lead singer — a few alien-looking people around him, and a bunch of sheep. Other alien-looking people begin to surface shortly after acting as background dancers.

 There is a sequence in the video where many luxury sports cars were driving into the city with the alien people looking at what is around them. This relates to the lyrics in the second verse when Reynolds sings, “You say you’re basic, you say you’re easy / You’re always riding in the back seat / Now I’m smiling from the stage / While you were clapping in the nosebleeds.” This scene in the video symbolizes someone who may have been seen as an outcast (or a “black sheep,” which may have been why there was a presence of sheep in the video) making their way into the big league.

 Another iconic music video of 2017 was “Scars To Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara, directed by Aaron A. This song is about loving who you are despite what other people say about you. Your “scars” are what makes you your beautiful self. 

 This video is very simple and features Cara singing in an empty room while showing scenes of people talking about what other people have said about them, how they used to think they had to look a certain way to be accepted by society, and how they have risen above it all. With a strong movement of being body positive and practicing self-love, this video was widely loved. It was nominated for this year’s Music Video of the Year at the MTV Video Music Awards.

 Taylor Swift, after being in the shadows of the music industry for quite some time, emerged with a music video for her new single “Look What You Made Me Do,” directed by Joseph Kahn. She can be seen as a vengeful lyricist and her new dark persona makes that clear. The music video is a story of her completely letting go of her past, especially when she answers a phone call and responds with “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now / Why? Because she’s dead.”

 This video touches on all aspects of Swift’s life and how she is moving forward from them. It symbolizes her feud with Katy Perry, the presence of snakes, her music finally becoming available on Spotify, and letting go of all of her past iconic looks and images. This video currently has 762.7 million views and quickly climbed its way up the Billboard charts.

 Kesha also created an iconic music video this year as she broke back into the industry after facing many struggles. Her latest hit, “Praying,” was released in July. Her spoken prelude in the beginning of the video depicts how broken and lonely she was feeling. The video opens with her floating on a body of water on a piece of wood totally stranded, which she had talked about feeling after everything that happened with Dr. Luke. In the video, Kesha is consistently dressed in bright, vibrant colors, which may be representing her coming back to her creative and free self.

 The video shows her lying in an empty room with two men with pig heads standing over her, possibly representing how she views Dr. Luke. Her lyrics state, “And when I am finished they won’t even know your name,” which may be linked to the faces of the two men covered by pig heads. It ends with her breaking away from what is keeping her down and her peacefully walking on the water in a colorful dress as she is now stronger, walking away from what brought her down. The ending line then reads “The Beginning” instead of “The End.” Kesha’s message is not to be vengeful, but to show that she is at peace and is proud to be who she is.