BUT! Before we move on to the business at hand, allow me to remind you up front that this is a list of the best dance videos, NOT the best video dance routines. If that were the case, then you would have seen a lot more from Madonna, Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, and more. I had to draw the line somewhere, and I decided I couldn't classify something as a Dance Video if the dancing took up less than half the video. Believe me, it was HARD cutting "Beat It" from this list. It was in my top three until I actually went and watched the video again... and found that the dancing doesn't even start until almost two-thirds of the way through. And the more Michael videos I watched, the more I realized that even though what dancing there was is still stellar, there wasn't nearly as much dancing in them as I remembered. In fact, the one that had the most was the edited version of "Bad", which I... <runs for cover>... HATE (I just never bought that persona from Michael).
Rest assured, were this a list of greatest music videos of all time, or of the best dance routines, there would be a LOT more MJ (and Madonna) on this list. But as it is, this is how the list stands. At this point, most of the videos speak for themselves, but I will still try to articulate why I think they're the best of the best.
10. OK Go - Here It Goes Again
9. Kiesza - Hideaway
8. The Chemical Brothers - Let Forever Be
7. Fatboy Slim - Weapon of Choice
6. Sia - Chandelier
5. Janet Jackson - Miss You Much
4. Madonna - Human Nature
3. Michael Jackson - Thriller
2. Beyoncé - Single Ladies
1. Janet Jackson - Alright
(Look, I don't understand the internet or how it works. I don't know why some Vevo videos are on YouTube and some aren't, or why neither Vevo nor DailyMotion - the only two places where I can find this video - allow you to embed the video. Isn't the whole point of putting things on the internet so that people can see them?)
Here it is, folks, my Top Dance Video. It's not just that it's styled like a 40s musical, it's how Janet and choreographer Anthony Thomas (with a little staging help from legend Michael Kidd) so seamlessly put modern dance styles into that setting. Plus the cameos from Cab Calloway, Cyd Charisse (who vogues with Janet a few months before Madonna released "Vogue"), and the Nicholas Brothers. Plus the use of every prop you can think of... hats, newspapers, briefcases, chains, bagels... And the dancing, as per usual with Janet, is perfection. She and her dancers dance in perfect sync on benches, up and down stairs, in and around cars, while pouring coffee... while doing choreography that puts a little bit of every vernacular style from the past forty or so years of pop culture into a blender. And just look at the grin on Janet's face as she plays the world's funkiest game of hopscotch - you can tell she loves this, and that joy is infectious. This is still a relatively unheralded video despite being the closest Janet ever got to making a Michael Jackson video (outside of "Scream", of course), and I'm not sure why. This video goes back to the roots of the music video, and of pop music - to movie musicals - and updates it just enough to fit Janet's funky tune. With one foot in the past and the other inching slowly but surely forward (pop-and-locking looks amazing in zoot suits), "Alright" is pretty much the ultimate dance video. The seriousness and starkness of "Rhythm Nation" are gone, with Technicolor and giant smiles in their place. All dance videos should aspire to these heights.
ALRGHT, BITCHES, let's have it! What do you think I missed? What's your favorite? Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I had fun, and I hope you did too.