It’s no surprise that “Desposito” is the most-watched music video of the decade. We’re not here to tell you what the most popular videos were. We’re here to tell you what the most popular videos should have been. These are the videos that would have been the most-watched if we were everyone in the world. Like, if we got to choose the best videos of the decade based on total awesomeness instead of total views, it would be these:


1. “Telephone ft. Beyoncé” by Lady Gaga

All of Gaga’s videos are gold but this one has Bey! This is a campy, technicolour, pulpy, fleshy romp through prison yards, getaway cars, motel rooms, and diners. Gaga wears cigarette sunglasses. They’re lit. She wears a hat made out of rotary phones. She has created a dance out of the act of eating a sandwich. She wears the highest platform shoes.
Beyonce’s winged liner and bangs are worth the price of admission. Come for her Betty Page-inspired look, stay for her fierce epaulettes. The video shows Gaga and Bey killing a choreographed dance and then committing homicide. “Let’s make a sandwich.”


2. “Hideaway” by Kiesza

Even before she starts dancing, the fashion choices just reach out and slap you. And unlike the Spice Girls’ “Wannabe”, this was actually shot in one take. This clip was just one of the reasons why Kiesza won the Breakthrough Artist Juno in 2015.


3. Gwen Stefani’s “Make Me Like You”

The “Voice” coach kicked it up a notch by shooting this video in one take — live at the 2016 Grammys! But that’s not why we named it one of the decade’s best. It made our list because the costume changes are amazing, the song is catchy, Gwen is a god, and we’re a sucker for rollerskating. (Shout-out to Beyonce’s roller rink-based “Blow” video from 2014 and, of course, Barbra Streisand.)


4. “No Depression” by Bahamas

This is poignant without being cringy, encouraging without being corny, and it features a beaver puppet. Get involved. And if you’ve got a thing for Canadian musicians being represented by puppets in music videos, that is some really specific taste so surely you’ve already seen the Sheepdogs’ “Feeling Good” from 2013.


5. “I’m Upset” by Drake 

Everyone is still talking about 2015’s “Hotline Bling” but we’ll take “I’m Upset” because it raises Drake’s self-aware dorkdom to lofty new heights. Like Ariana Grande’s fetch “Thank U, Next” video, this one plays on nostalgia in a high school setting. Drake is back at Degrassi while Ari is totally “clueless”. “I’m Upset” is from Drake’s 2018 album ‘Scorpion’. “God’s Plan” is nice at this time of year, too.


6. “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” by Katy Perry

We’re bucking the trend with this pick, too: “Roar” is the Katy Perry video that’s showing up on most best-of lists. And like “I’m Upset”, this one trades on nostalgia and dorking-up the artist. It’s a thing: remember when Tay-Tay got dorky for the super-cute video for “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together“? We yield our time to the chair.


7. “Gangnam Style” by Psy

This wedding reception standard might seem played and staid now, but in 2012 it was genuinely captivating. Here, let these notes help you see the video again through new eyes:

  • Too much attention has been paid to the horsey dance. Not enough attention has been paid to the tiny Michael Jackson-y dancer at the 23-second mark. Captivating.
  • We want to go on that bus at the 59-second mark.
  • The double-decker carousel at 1:22? We want that to start a craze that doesn’t recede until our fair country has DDCs in every city, town, and village.
  • The yellow suit with matching yellow Adidas at 1:48 slays all day.
  • There’s a dancer at 2:11 mark wearing a peplum top, a waist style that reappears very briefly every 30 years. See you again in 2042, peplums!


8. “This Is America” by Childish Gambino

This guy is aggressively talented. Just in-your-face talent all the time with him. He’s so talented that he can get us talking about racism and gun violence just through the performance of his art.
The Washington Post called it “powerful”. Rolling Stone called it “a surreal, visceral statement about gun violence in America”. Billboard critics ranked it 10th on their list of the greatest music videos of the 21st century.
The song debuted at No. 1, which is so rare. Like, “This Is America” is one of only 35 songs to do it. Debuting at No. 1? That’s Mariah territory. It’s Whitney territory. This is where Elton John and Celine Dion live.
At the Grammys, it took home all four awards it was nominated for: Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rap/Sung Performance, and Best Music Video. So “This Is America” is kind of a big deal. It’s on everyone’s best-of lists, where it belongs.
Jay-Z’s “The Story of O.J.” serves as an excellent, hypnotizing, innovative, horrifying, urgent companion piece.

9. “We Can’t Stop” by Miley Cyrus

Hear us out: This was released before her famously twerky awards show performance with Robin Thicke. It was many people’s first exposure to a truly post-“Hannah Montana” Miley. So whether you liked the video or not, most people needed to see it again just to make sure they saw what they thought they were seeing. For better or for worse, it was unbelievable. Like “Friday” by Rebecca Black. Many people have “Wrecking Ball” on their best-of list. But does the “Wrecking Ball” video have any of these eyeball-activating elements?

  • Alphagetti
  • Pile of bread
  • Taxidermy
  • Pepto Bismol fake blood
  • Platform shoes
  • Eos
  • Piniatta
  • Bears


10. “Money” by Cardi B

It’s an impossible juxtaposition of glamour and realness. It’s an ode to power and control. And beyond Cardi B’s regal presence, it’s a triumph of costumes, makeup, hairstyling, lighting, choreography, and performance. If you’re a fan of dance videos, check out these other two boundary-pushers: Sia’s “Chandelier” and Kanye’s “Fade“.


11. “Walk It Talk It ft. Drake” by Migos

This video checks boxes we didn’t even know we had:

  • Novelty sunglasses
  • Retro fonts
  • Betamax resolution
  • Drake in a Jheri curl wig

It also checks the boxes that we did know that we had, including platform shoes, rollerskating, funk, and robot dancing. “Walk It Talk It” takes all that jive and puts it on the stove and that’s how fire emojis are made. Amen.


12.  “Hold Up” by Beyonce

“Formation” finds pillars of control among Victorian interiors and challenging visuals of neglected natural disasters. It’s excellent and it’s on a lot of best-of lists. But “Hold Up” is the one with the ruffled, tiered, mustard dress from Roberto Cavalli’s fall 2016 collection. It’s the one with the baseball bat named Hot Sauce and “Michael Bay” levels of fiery explosions. It inspired this delicious “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” parody. It may be the most threatening song ever composed in C major. It’s a masterpiece.