For '80s and '90s babies, there are few things more certain than the influence of the ever-salient music video on pop culture. They were central to our consumption of pop music, and they continue to inform our collective nostalgia. Plus, they were just fun as hell to watch.
"Billie Jean," which was the video that finally made MTV break their rock 'n' roll-only programming format, started it all, and this list could easily be an MJ-only compilation ("Thriller," "Bad," "Black or White," "Remember the Time" … I could go on.). However, a long trail of groundbreaking videos lie in the wake of "Billie Jean," and here are a few for your reminiscing pleasure, in no particular rank.
Janet Jackson, "The Pleasure Principle" (1987)
No background dancers. No love interest. Just Janet, a chair, a mirror and some dope choreography. Jackson won two MTV awards with this one, and also made Cassie's career — if you can call it that — possible.
MC Hammer, "U Can't Touch This" (1990)
Before this, you had never seen a rapper with so many background dancers. Or harem pants, for that matter.
Missy Elliott, "The Rain" (1997)
Diddy, "Victory" (1998)
D'Angelo, "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" (2000)
After the video dropped, I found listening to the song on the radio to be slightly pointless. I can't be the only one.