The MTV Video Music Award for Video Of The Year is a storied category. As music videos became the norm, the award celebrated groundbreaking creations like Dire Straits’ super-inventive “Money For Nothing” and Peter Gabriel’s awesome “Sledgehammer” to keep pushing the boundaries of the medium and inspiring other artists to do the same. That’s where we get past VOTY winners like Justin Timberlake’s epic “Mirrors” and Miley Cyrus’ new classic “Wrecking Ball.”
This year, five really awesome vids are up for the award, and you should absolutely watch all of them in full. But this is the Internet, and we’ve all got things to do. So we summed each one up in a representative GIF — and you can find those below.
Beyoncé – “7/11″
Queen Bey’s webcam-centric romp through a high-rise hotel room is hilarious, dizzying and a little mystifying (in the best possible way). When it dropped, we broke down all the essential moments into GIFs, but if we had to pick just one, it’s cheerleader Bey reigning atop her #squad in the glammy bathroom. It’s fun and silly but shows how, even on a low budget, she can still climb to the top of the world.
Ed Sheeran – “Thinking Out Loud”
That longing gaze Ed gives co-star Brittany Cherry highlights so much about this video’s meaning. From the long hours spent choreographing and practicing the routine to the shoot itself — as well as the real sense of devotion that comes through in the lyrics — this is everything, captured in a few quick frames. We’re in love.
Taylor Swift ft. Kendrick Lamar – “Bad Blood”
Two words, y’all: Block. Buster. Even after weeks of teasing the video’s all-star cast, Tay finally dropped “Bad Blood” on us, and we weren’t prepared at all. I mean, we thought we were (we really did), but NO ONE was ready for an epic like this.
Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars – “Uptown Funk”
While we wait for Mark and Bruno to roll up to the VMAs with their hair did, we can bask in the eternal coolness that is “Uptown Funk” — the song that launched a thousand inventive covers. And no other moment in the video is as representative of said coolness than Bruno’s dudes gathered round him, chains dangling, shades on fleek, nodding along to the beat. Bruno takes the spotlight, naturally.
Kendrick Lamar – “Alright”
Is Kendrick gonna tumble backward and spill onto the street below? Or is he shaky but still holding firm in his spot at the top of his city? And even if he does smack the pavement, is that just part of his larger plan? We ponder those questions, just like K. Dot wants us to, while he wags a quick finger in front of his face, like, “I got this.” We know he does. We’ve known all along.