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"Hollaback Girl" at Number #38 in Greatest Videos of 21st Century

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Posted on 16:06, Tuesday, July 24

Billboard - The 100 Greatest Music Videos of the 21st Century: Critics' Picks

At the dawn of the 21st century, the music video was in a boom period: The TRL era was still at its zenith, CDs were flying out of the stores, budgets for music videos were still regularly in the seven-digit range, and MTV was the place you turned to in order to see the latest clips from pop's best and brightest.

Flash forward to 2018, and none of those things are true anymore. Album sales have been depleted by the rise of downloading and then streaming, MTV has been supplanted by the Internet as the video's primary home, and attempts to reboot TRL only prove how different times are now than when Backstreet and Britney ruled the world. But with all that's changed, the music video still reigns paramount in the pop world, as a conversation-starter, as a starmaker, as a cementer of legacy. Though the ways we consume music videos in 2018 would've been almost unthinkable at century's start, the impact they have on our lives and pop culture remains relatively similar. 

But of course, it's been an interesting ride for the music video to get to this point: From the tail end of MTV's peak to the introduction of YouTube and the minting of the viral star to the rise of social media and the countless different forms the video can now take in 2018. This week, Billboard is reflecting on the evolution of the music video with a week's worth of content about the form's past, present and future -- starting, today, with a list of our staff picks for the 100 greatest music videos of the century so far, essentially telling the story of the form during its middle-age period, and a potential crisis ultimately averted. 

See our staff favorites below, with a YouTube playlist of all available clips at the bottom, and get lost in the recent greatest hits of an artform that continues to be among popular culture's most vital.

38. Gwen Stefani, "Hollaback Girl" (dir. Paul Hunter, 2005)

Ah, Hollaback Girl: a video that contains multitudes. This is prime Love.Angel.Music.Baby content, which means the Harajuku Girls -- Stefanis super kawaii but disturbingly silent Japanese girl squad -- are front and center, riding through Van Nuys and Reseda in an Impala behind fearless leader Gwen, twerking, and (quietly) helping her spell bananas. The minimalist-meets-marching band sound, courtesy of the Neptunes, is in nearly every frame -- along with Pharrell himself, blessing Stefani with a brief cameo and his ineffable brand of cool. But this video, in the end, is really all about Stefani and the charming ball of contradictions she has increasingly revealed herself to be: a magnetic-enough presence to make us consider her motives, and then abandon any semblance of logical thought to scream This *bleep* is bananas! at the top of our lungs. -- R.M.

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