Because there were so many music videos to emerge in 2011, we have to give props where props are due. As it would be impossible to simply call one music video the “Best Music Video of 2011,” for the first time ever, we’re naming winners in a bunch of categories based on the major themes we saw in this year’s crop of clips. So, instead of one best music video of 2011, we’ve arrived at nine! See which videos really made a mark on 2011 below.
Best Music Video About A Doomed Relationship
NOMINEES: Rihanna, “We Found Love”; Katy Perry, “The One That Got Away”; Britney Spears, “Criminal”; JoJo, “Disaster”; Lana Del Rey, “Born To Die”
WINNER: The couple in “We Found Love” is the grittiest and most doomed of all. (Well, okay, Lana dies at the end of her video, but Rihanna’s relationship is much more fleshed out in her clip — probably because it was more than likely based on her own experiences.)
Best Music Video Featuring A Mythical Creature
NOMINEES: Lady Gaga as a mermaid in “You & I”; Ke$ha’s fancy unicorns in “Blow”; Katy Perry as an alien in “E.T.”
WINNER: Ke$ha’s “Blow”. We also consider a James Van Der Beek cameo on the same level as a Bigfoot sighting.
Video With Most Blatant Use Of Copyright Infringement
NOMINEES: Rihanna, “S&M”; Rihanna, “You Da One”; Beyonce, “Countdown”
WINNER: Though Beyonce got called out for lifting Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s choreography, we picked Rihanna’s “S&M”, since she actually got sued for cribbing David LaChapelle’s style. (But there’s still plenty of time for photographer Solve Sundsbo to file a lawsuit for her style being copied in “You Da One”.)
Video With Most Blatant Use Of Product Placement
NOMINEES: Britney Spears, “Hold It Against Me”; Jennifer Lopez, “Papi”; Dr. Dre, “I Need A Doctor”; Avril Lavigne, “What The Hell”
WINNER: Jennifer Lopez’s “Papi”, simply because that Fiat wouldn’t stop following J.Lo around.
Best Music Video Somehow Associated With Mick Jagger
NOMINEES: Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, “Moves Like Jagger”, Cher Lloyd, “Swagger Jagger”, will.i.am, “T.H.E.”
WINNER: Maroon 5 and Xtina’s “Moves Like Jagger”, though it’s mostly a win by default.
Best Music Video Featuring People Impersonating Pop Stars
NOMINEES: Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, “Moves Like Jagger”; Kaiser Chiefs, “Kinda Girl You Are”; Weird Al Yankovic, “Perform This Way”; Das Racist, “Michael Jackson”
WINNER: Weird Al Yankovic’s “Perform This Way”. We’re honestly surprised Gaga has yet to wear a beehive full of actual bees.
Best Music Video Focusing On Men’s Crotches
NOMINEES: LMFAO, “Sexy And I Know It”; Duck Sauce, “Big Bad Wolf”
WINNER: Though pretty much NSFL, Duck Sauce’s “Big Bad Wolf” made these dudes’ nether regions into actual characters. And man, were they in the mood to party.
Best Reason Not To Attempt Suicide In A Music Video
NOMINEES: Pink, “F**kin’ Perfect”; Eminem, “Space Bound”; Chloe Lattanzi, “Play With Me”
WINNER: Chloe’s “Play With Me”, by a mile. It’s also a good reason not to always encourage your children to follow your footsteps and attempt a singing career.
Best Celebrity Cameo(s) In A Music Video
NOMINEES: Katy Perry, “Last Friday Night (TGIF)” (Hanson, Darren Criss, Kevin McHale, Kenny G, Debbie Gibson, Corey Feldman, Rebecca Black); Ke$ha, “Blow” (James Van Der Beek); Cee Lo Green, “Cry Baby” (Jaleel White); The Throne, “Otis” (Aziz Ansari); Beastie Boys, “Make Some Noise” (every comedian on planet Earth)
WINNER: Beastie Boys’ “Make Some Noise”, for sheer volume of celebrities alone.