Oh, heartbreak! We’ve all felt it’s cruel pincers nipping at our heart at one time or another, and we’ve all at some point cried the devastated tears of loss. And let’s be real — we’ve probably listened to one of our favorite pop stars sing about the whole sordid palaver while we’ve wallowed in our own despair. So that got us to thinking of the expressiveness of sadness in music videos, and the one motif that seems consistent across the songs of different artists — black mascara tears. Because musicians are not always the best actors, and because of the highly visual spectacle of pop music, dramatic smudged raccoon eyes in scenes where the stars are crying seems like a go to for the more melancholy songs. With that in mind, we’ve selected our favorite runny raccoon eyes — have we missed any? What are your faves?
1. Beyoncé – “Why Don’t You Love Me?”
Beyoncé wins best panda eyes on the strength of melodrama. Oh, and because she looks really hot in vintage style lingerie. Clearly tortured, Beyoncé’s panda eyes are paired with martinis, cigarettes, and just the right amount of crazy to make the whole thing unbearably sexy.
2. Katy Perry – “The One That Got Away”
There’s so much emotion in the scene where Katy Perry is crying in her future self’s wardrobe in “The One That Got Away” that we just want to give the girl a big hug. Katy gets points for realism — we’re pretty sure that even without the panda eyes we’d still feel the heartbreak.
3. Adam Lambert – “Better Than I Know Myself”
Adam Lambert‘s dark side projects an image of rebellion and a deep restlessness in “Better Than I Know Myself.” As he purposefully smudges his eye make up across his cheeks, we learn a thing or two about desperation and self loathing.
4. Avril Lavigne – “Wish You Were Here”
Avril Lavigne is The Queen Of Heavy Eye Makeup, so it follows that when she cries she’ll get some pretty epic panda eyes. Perhaps what makes this so jarring and emotional is that she’s not singing about sk8r bois or not liking your girlfriend — this is Avril being ‘real’. Extra points for the isolation of the environment around her.
5. Lady Gaga – “Marry The Night”
We know we gave Bey points for melodrama but Lady Gaga takes it to another level, as usual. In a breakdown scene in “Marry The Night,” there are some confusing moments where she’s lathering herself in milk and cereal, but we think that when she calms down and dyes her hair blue, there’s an endearing quality to her smudged makeup. We’ve all been there, albeit sans cereal massacre.
6. No Doubt – “Ex Girlfriend”
The dark line snaking down Gwen Stefani‘s face from her single tear in No Doubt‘s “Ex Girlfriend” is an ominous precursor to the rest of the video. Sometimes less is more to tell a story — and Gwen’s refined melancholy is just as shattering as the ones above. Her ninja-style revenge is pretty sweet too.