1. Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way”
Lady Gaga’s sophomore album Born This Way will celebrate its 10th anniversary next year, and this would be an appropriate way to mark it: by revisiting its eye-catching visuals! Gaga’s tribute to outsiderdom, self-love, and rebirth was an upbeat Eurodance-infused anthem of self-affirmation that blurred genre boundaries among pop, rock, metal, rap, trance mariachi electropop, and beyond. Gaga recruited various collaborators – such as RedOne and producer Fernando Garibay (who has worked with Paris Hilton), among others – before recording it while out touring during 2009 and 2010. Born This Way is not your average pop album recorded on the go; rather, its bravura performance embodies all the kinetic energy from Mother Monster’s stadium-sized life and condenses it into one pumping manifesto.
Nick Knight directed Gaga’s video, shooting its iconic images such as her meat dress (an image made up of stringy raw beef draped across her body) and other disturbing ones that will forever remain memorable. Additionally, references from surrealist painters like Francis Bacon and Salvador Dali, as well as Greek mythology and horror films, can also be seen within its frames; Gaga herself expresses her inner freak with dramatic action, such as grinding against Rick Genest while rolling her eyes into her head like some creature are all present as part of its narrative.
The album featured an eclectic range of influences, with contributions from renowned musicians like Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and Bruce Springsteen. Even more intriguing was its wide-ranging sonic palette encompassing opera, mariachi, and Eurodance music genres. Gaga herself also contributed some tracks; “The Edge of Glory,” her final track, is a moving testament to overcoming an impossible obstacle as much as conquering it all.
2. Rihanna’s “We Found Love”
Rihanna was at her zenith between 2010 and 2011, producing one album a year and dominating the Hot 100 with several top-20 singles – she sang the hook on Nicki Minaj’s #1 hit “Fly,” had a song featured on Kanye West’s #18 single “All of the Lights,” and this video that made headlines was her breakthrough moment.
Melina Matsoukas’s directed video begins with Agyness Deyn delivering a monologue. Scenes featuring Rihanna and boxer Dudley O’Shaughnessy, both in love and hate scenarios, are intercut with this narrative speech; lightning bolts also flash across walls while images such as drugs, pills, and dilated eyes appear throughout.
Rihanna inking “mine” onto her boyfriend’s butt is deeply distressing, but Matsoukas’ portrayal of drug abuse and domestic violence makes its impact hard to miss. Her song “We Found Love” became an international smash hit, topping charts in 25 countries worldwide while holding onto number-one status on the Billboard Hot 100 charts for ten weeks nonconsecutively, making this Rihanna’s eleventh number-one single overall.
4. Ariana Grande’s “Bad Romance”
“Bad Romance,” one of Gaga’s best-known songs, can be found on her third extended play, The Fame Monster (2009 reissue). The track was co-written and produced by Gaga herself alongside RedOne. Rolling Stone and Pitchfork both included it on their annual “best-of” lists as being noteworthy for its chorus, beat, hook, and music video directed by Francis Lawrence; its fashion, costumes, and symbolism were widely appreciated; it became the highest-viewed YouTube video in 2010. A 2017 journal that studied melodies of catchy singles named it one of the world’s catchiest singles; Lady Gaga performed this song at various award shows, tours/residency residencies, and Super Bowl halftime shows.
5. Katy Perry’s “Roar”
Katy Perry has achieved nine number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 with her music, working alongside artists such as Snoop Dogg, Calvin Harris, Pharrell Williams, John Mayer, Kanye West, and Kanye West. In addition to musical successes, she is a strong advocate for LGBT rights and child well-being, donating generously to organizations like Little Kids Rock and DonorsChoose.
Her latest video, “Roar,” serves as an eye-opening teaser for her new album, and in it, she metaphorically puts an end to her candy-coated pop princess persona by holding her funeral service and watching as the coffin is lowered into the ground, watched over by teary-eyed friends and family wearing purple wigs – while shaking her head and giving a playful laugh out.
Katy can be seen wandering through a jungle wearing a leopard-print bikini top and grass skirt with unspecified lacings on her legs before entering a cave where an animated drawing depicting humans trying to kill a tiger is displayed. When Katy approaches, she roars at it to scare it off while also using her voice like a cat would to control its energy and subdue it with her roar.
Later, she makes friends with a monkey and transforms her stiletto heel into the end of a spear, bathes in a lake, helps a crocodile brush its teeth, bathes again in it, and bathes again before emerging from the jungle wearing both a tiger print bodysuit and bamboo skirt.
Katy has come a long way, from an eager student to being one of the tiger-wrangling, girl power anthem singers that now rule the Jungle. From being just another student at college to one that reigns supreme over all living creatures – Katy has genuinely found herself and can now call herself Queen of the Jungle!