Ranking Ariana Grande's 10 Best Music Videos Ever

In honor of Ariana Grande's birthday on June 26, we're counting down the 10 most memorable music videos in her impressive career.

By Billy Nilles Jun 26, 2020 7:00 AMTags
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It's time to celebrate, Arianators!

Your girl Ariana Grande is turning 27 on June 26. And while her birthday, just like everyone else's, is looking a little bit different this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to upend just about everything, that doesn't mean you can't show her some love. It just means everyone has to get a little bit more creative.

In honor of her special day, we thought we'd turn our attention to the thing that made everyone fall in love with her in the first place—the music. Since her transition out of acting with the 2013 release of her debut album Yours Truly, Ari's dropped hit after hit, many of them with eye-popping music videos. From the lo-fi charms of "The Way" to the recent big budget productions behind "thank u, next" and "7 rings," she's given us so many gag-worthy gifts. So, it's only fair that we return the favor.

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Join us as we countdown the 10 best music videos in Ari's career so far! (And before you @ us on Twitter, while we love the videos for tracks featuring the songstress, like Lady Gaga's "Rain on Me" and Troye Sivan's "Dance to This," we kept the list to videos for songs that appeared on one of her albums.)

10. "Break Free"

Do we "soil [ourselves] from intergalactic excitement" when we watch this 2014 video, as its intro promises? Not quite. But is the Chris Marrs Piliero-directed clip for the second single of My Everything a campy delight? You betcha. And the cameo from Zedd at the end sure doesn't hurt.

9. "Problem"

We'll always dig the 1960s mod-inspired aesthetic of this video for the lead single off My Everything directed by The Young Astronauts even if the Iggy Azaela appearance does make it feel like something of a relic.

8. "7 rings"

Directed by Hannah Lux Davis—whose earlier work with Ari pops up a bit later on this list—this colorful and hedonistic video perfectly encapsulates the cocky vibe of the second single off 2019 album thank u, next. Next time, though, we want an invite to the party.

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7. "Bang Bang"

How did the video for this generation's "Lady Marmalade," featuring Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, make it onto this list if it was primarily credited as Jessie's track? Because it was also included on the deluxe version of My Everything, of course. And seeing as how the high-energy clip kickstarted Ari's relationship with both Nicki and director Hannah Lux Davis, there's no way we were leaving it off this list.

6. "Into You"

Hannah Lux Davis strikes again with this sexy video for the sumptuous second single off 2016's Dangerous Woman. Perfectly capturing the track's lusty longing, it would be a bit higher on this list if it didn't remind us of earlier videos for Rihanna's "We Found Love" and Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" as much as it does.

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5. "Focus"

This track, released in 2015 between My Everything and Dangerous Woman, may have never found a home on any of Ari's albums as she changed her sound considerably during the creation of her third LP, but the video for it remains a standout. Directed, again, by Hannah Lux Davis, it offers a sleeker update on the retro vibe found in the "Problem" video, lets Ari prove she can handle choreography, and features one of our favorite hair colors she's ever rocked.

4. "Side to Side"

Another Hannah Lux Davis production, this video for the third single off Dangerous Woman cleverly substituted spin class for the real thing that's got Ari and Nicki walking funny. We'd explain further, but we're already blushing thinking about the sauna scene and we can't handle much more. 

3. "The Way"

Seeing Ari and the late Mac Miller together in this video for her debut single from all the way back in 2013 hits in such a different way now, but what a lovely capsule of an innocent time this Jones Crow-directed clip remains.

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2. "God is a woman"

This Dave Meyers-directed video for the second single off Ari's 2018 album Sweetener is pure art. The iconographic celebration of a celestial femininity is just as breathtaking now as it was when we first watched, screaming gophers, Madonna monologue and all.

1. "thank u, next"

Did you expect anything else other than this instant classic? Directed by—who else?—Hannah Lux Davis, the video for Ari's ex-referencing surprise lead single off her fifth and most recent album is a pop culture lover's dream. There's the references to Mean Girls, Bring It On, 13 Going on 30, and Legally Blonde, the many cameos of her high-profile pals, the Oscar-worthy appearance from none other than Kris Jenner—it's all just so good. What's not to love?

Happy birthday, Ari!