10 Artists Who Always Had The Best Music Videos

Those artists whose videos made their work iconic...

Madonna Like A Prayer
Warner Bros.

When it comes to the music industry, one of the key elements to a successful artist is their image, and a big way to get across what they want to say is in their music videos.

The evolution of the music video from the 1970s onwards created a new platform for artists to market their work in new and inventive ways. For better or for worse, gone were the days of Top of The Pops clips and live sets that were mimed, replaced by four minutes of metaphors, random symbolism and half-naked twerking.

While not every artist has been able to master the art of displaying their music with visual imagery, others saw it as an opportunity to propel themselves to international stardom. Whether they wanted to spread political messages, make a financial success or simply boost their popularity, here's ten music acts who always pulled out the stops to get a great hit onscreen...

10. Arctic Monkeys

Notable Mentions: When The Sun Goes Down, Leave Before The Lights Come On, R U Mine?, Four Out Of Five

Formed in Sheffield in 2002, the Arctic Monkeys have always tried to express a number of political and social messages through their videos, often dealing with some hard hitting themes and stories. The videos are also known for featuring some big names in the credits.

Their first big example was 'When The Sun Goes Down' in 2005, in which the video visualises the content of the song - that of a young girl being picked up by a pimp for sex (with an especially excellent performance from Stephen Graham). The following year, 'Leave Before The Lights Come On' was released, featuring Paddy Considine and Kate Ashfield, both known for their work with Edgar Wright's Cornetto Trilogy. The video looks at the issue of stalking, and features Ashfield following Considine after he stops her from committing suicide, seemingly for companionship before it's revealed she is actually a serial stalker.

The band have also gone for more stylised artistry, with more focus on the visuals in later videos. They've become very experimental - 'R U Mine?' is arguably a more simple effort from the group, with only a black and white clip of the band lip-syncing the song in the car, but it's one of the coolest things you will ever see from a modern rock band. In contrast, 'Four Out Of Five', the lead single from the Monkey's most recent album, dealt with psychological elements, with many shots of tunnels, country estates and striking colour shots of red, all inspired by Stanley Kubrick films.

In this post: 
Posted On: 

Jamie is a freelance broadcast journalist and writer, with a particular obsession for sci-fi, theatre and politics. In his spare time he enjoys amateur dramatics and making homemade curries.