Best Music Videos of 2021, Ranked


Image Credits: Pari Dukovic

Stop, Look and Listen — Here Are the Best Music Videos of 2021:


The Weeknd

 

Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, known professionally as The Weeknd is a Canadian singer, songwriter, and record producer. Born in Toronto and raised in Scarborough, Tesfaye began his recording career in 2009 by anonymously uploading his song "Do It" to YouTube.


Two years later, he met music executives Sal Slaiby and Amir Esmailian, with whom he founded XO Records. He chose his stage name in tribute to when he, along with his best friend and future creative director La Mar Taylor, dropped out of high school at seventeen years old, took his mattress, and "left one weekend and never came home".



However, his estranged producer Jeremy Rose claims the name was his idea. The letter "E" was excluded to avoid trademark problems with the Canadian band the Weekend.


Under XO Records, Tesfaye released his debut mixtapes: House of Balloons, Thursday, and Echoes of Silence. He quickly earned a following and critical recognition from several mainstream publications due to his dark style of Contemporary R&B and the mystique surrounding his identity.


In 2012, he signed with Republic Records and re-released the mixtapes in the compilation album Trilogy. His debut studio album, Kiss Land, was released in 2013.



His sophomore album, Beauty Behind the Madness (2015), with the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "Can't Feel My Face" and "The Hills", won Best Urban Contemporary Album and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2016 Grammy Awards. It was among the best-selling albums of 2015.


Tesfaye's third album Starboy (2016) was a similar commercial success and included the number-one single of the same name, and also won Best Urban Contemporary Album at the 2018 Grammy Awards.


His fourth album, After Hours (2020), featured the Billboard Hot 100 number-one singles "Heartless", "Save Your Tears", and "Blinding Lights", the latter of which has become the first song in history to spend over a year in the top ten of the Billboard Hot 100, and was the most-streamed song on Spotify in 2020.



Among the world's best selling musical artists with over 75 million records sold and on the list of most-streamed artists on Spotify, Tesfaye has won many accolades, including three Grammy Awards, five American Music Awards, nineteen Billboard Music Awards, two MTV Video Music Awards, fifteen Juno Awards, five SOCAN awards, and one Brit Award, and has been nominated for an Academy Award.


He holds several chart records, being the first artist to simultaneously hold the top three positions on the Billboard Hot R&B Songs chart with "Can't Feel My Face", "Earned It", and "The Hills".


In February 2015, he was awarded the Allan Slaight Award by Canada's Walk of Fame. In 2017, he was featured on the cover of Forbes for his annual earnings of $92 million. Elton John listed him as one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2020 in Time. Tesfaye has a notable voice with a soaring falsetto and its singular tremolo.



He has influenced artists in many contemporary music styles including pop, hip hop, and R&B.


Bruno Mars

 

Peter Gene Hernandez, known professionally as Bruno Mars, is an American singer, songwriter, record producer, musician, and dancer. He is known for his stage performances, retro showmanship, and for performing in a wide range of musical styles, including pop, R&B, funk, soul, reggae, hip hop, disco, and rock.


Mars is accompanied by his band, the Hooligans, who play a variety of instruments, such as electric guitar, bass, piano, keyboards, drums, and horns, and also serve as backup singers and dancers.


Born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii, Mars moved to Los Angeles in 2003 to pursue a musical career.


In 2009, he co-founded the production team The Smeezingtons, responsible for various successful singles for Mars himself and other artists. He rose to fame in 2010 buoyed by the success of "Nothin' on You" by B.o.B and "Billionaire" by Travie McCoy, both of which featured his vocals.


That year Mars released his debut studio album Doo-Wops & Hooligans, which blended pop with reggae pop and R&B. It spawned the international number-one singles "Just the Way You Are", "Grenade", and "The Lazy Song".


Drawing inspiration from disco, funk, rock, reggae, and soul genres, his second studio album, Unorthodox Jukebox (2012), was his first number one on the Billboard 200. It amassed two Billboard Hot 100 number-one hits, "Locked Out of Heaven" and "When I Was Your Man".


In 2014, Mars was featured on Mark Ronson's "Uptown Funk", which topped various music charts, spending a total of fourteen and seven weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, respectively.


Mars's third studio album, the R&B-focused, 24K Magic (2016), received seven Grammy Awards, winning the major categories of Album of the Year, Record of the Year, and Song of the Year. The album also yielded the top-five singles "24K Magic", "That's What I Like", his seventh Billboard Hot 100 number-one single, and a remix of "Finesse" featuring Cardi B.


In 2021, Mars collaborated with Anderson. Paak as Silk Sonic on the full-length album An Evening with Silk Sonic, whose single "Leave the Door Open" topped the Billboard Hot 100.



Mars has sold over 130 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time. He has released eight number-one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 since his career launched in 2010, attaining his first five faster than any male artist since Elvis Presley.


Mars became the first artist to receive five diamond-certified songs in the United States. He was included in Music Week and Billboard magazine as one of the best songwriters of 2011 and 2013, respectively.


Mars has received several awards and nominations, including 11 Grammy Awards, three Brit Awards, nine American Music Awards, 10 Soul Train Awards and holds three Guinness world records. He appeared in Time magazine's annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2011, Forbes magazine's list of "30 Under 30" in 2013, and Forbes's Celebrity 100 in 2014, 2018, and 2019.


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