It’s amazing how a pretty picture can distract us from the truth. These seven music videos are the epitome of that. They’re epic and bright with killer story lines. But the songs they support, sadly, just aren’t that good. Perhaps the goal for each clip you’ll see below was to distract us from the lack of delectable chorus with dazzling, dizzying imagery. If so, they all succeeded—well, kind of.
“Work Bitch,” Britney Spears
As a diehard Britney fan, I know “Work Bitch” is far from her best work. It’s loud and aggressive with a nauseatingly generic techno beat. The video, however, is a masterpiece. Nothing is more slay-worthy than watching a sparkling Britney Spears dance over a shark tank dressed in a pink gown. Where is her Oscar?
“Die Another Day,” Madonna
I have a shrine to Madonna on my bedroom wall, but I know not everything she touches turns to gold. “Die Another Day”—which made its way onto M’s American Life (2003) album—is a prime example. “Die Another Day”’s clunky electro structure and lack of dynamite chorus makes it an awkward listen. But the video is a thrill to watch. One second, she is a prisoner of war. The next, she’s battling herself in a fencing match. It’s dramatic. It’s epic. It’s Madonna.
“Party Rock Anthem,” LMFAO feat. Lauren Bennett
You’re not a real person if you think “Party Rock Anthem” is a decent song. (A tune for day drinking? Sure. However, it’s not winning a Grammy anytime soon.) The track has an epic music video, though, chock-full of street dancing scenes and naughty underground grinding. Sign us up.
“Roar,” Katy Perry
Katy stans, don’t sharpen your knives. Your queen is a pop chorus magnet, but “Roar” fails in comparison to irresistible hits like “Teenage Dream” and “Birthday.” (I blame “Roar’s” strange tempo.) The track’s video, on the other hand, is peak Ms. Perry: thematic, colorful, and kitschy. Oh! And there are IRL animals in it. (Elephants, lions, and monkeys! Oh my!)
“Bitch Better Have My Money,” Rihanna
The hard trap sound of “BBHMM” is a far cry from the electro-gloss ecstasy of “Disturbia,” so it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. However, the world collectively freaked out over the music video. It plays out like a deranged Harmony Korine film, which is a total compliment.
“Can’t Be Tamed,” Miley Cyrus
Miley’s music is so unapologetically her now, that it’s weird to remember the days when she pushed run-of-the-mill dance fluff. “Can’t Be Tamed” is just that. Even so, we thoroughly adore “CBT’s” music video. The famous-person-as-a-caged-bird metaphor lends itself to crazy dramatic shenanigans. And Miley delivers that in spades here.
“A Public Affair,” Jessica Simpson
Jessica’s attempt at bubbly disco-pop was brief and forgettable. But “A Public Affair”’s music video will live on in infamy. Christina Applegate, Eva Longoria, and Christina Milian star as Jessica’s splashy gal pals who get their freak on at a—wait for it—roller rink. It’s the type of ironic camp fare that warrants repeated, more ecstatic watching. Jessica is very much in on her own joke, and she’s laughing heartily with us.