Animated music videos: you love them. I love them. They’re the perfect form for bridging the gap between the poetic realism of music and the surrealist imagery we construct through lyrics. We’re going to break down a variety of the best animated music videos by looking at what makes them tick. By the end, you might be inspired to make your own animated music video!

Cool Animated Music Videos

Jarvis Cocker – Aline

Best Animated Music Videos  •  Christophe’s Aline, Performed by Jarvis Cocker

DIRECTED BY WES ANDERSON, ILLUSTRATED BY JAVI AZNAREZ

The great film director Wes Anderson delivered an excellent music video to accompany his 2021 film The French Dispatch. Cocker's rendition of the Christophe classic tune get's the full animated treatment. The video’s illustrations – which were drawn by Javi Aznarez – are wonderfully expressive; stylistically, they look like a cross between Yellow Submarine and Persepolis.

Popular Animated Music Videos

Mac Miller – Good News

Music Videos That Are Animated  •  Mac Miller’s Good News

DIR. ANTHONY GADDIS & ERIC TILFORD, VIDEO BY JUSTIN BOYD

The music video for the late Mac Miller’s "Good News" – which was released posthumously by his estate – is nearly indescribable. It’s part FMV (full motion video), part collage, part CGI, and part illustration – but ultimately, it transcends its animated components to become something unique. 

Best Animated Music Videos of All Time

JAY-Z – The Story of O.J.

Best Animated Music Videos  •  JAY-Z’s The Story of O.J.

DIRECTED BY MARK ROMANEK AND JAY-Z

Mark Romanek and JAY-Z took the racist imagery of animation’s past and critiqued it via the latter’s piercing lyrics. "The Story of O.J." is a profound song that comments on racial discrimination and generational wealth. And the music video highlights these issues through intoxicating visuals.

Cool Music Videos

Post Malone, Swae Lee – Sunflower

Top 10 Animated Music Videos  •  Post Malone, Swae Lee’s Sunflower

DIRECTED BY PHIL LORD & CHRISTOPHER MILLER

We gave Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse the top ranking in our greatest animated movies of all-time list – so how could we not put it’s music video for "Sunflower" here? I suppose it’s somewhat cheating to include the "Sunflower" music video since it’s mostly Spider-Verse clips… but hey, it’s still an amazing music video!

Best Animated Music Videos of All Time

Childish Gambino – Feels Like Summer

Cool Music Videos  •  Childish Gambino’s Feels Like Summer

DIRECTED BY DONALD GLOVER, IVAN DIXON & GREG SHARP

Childish Gambino’s "Feels Like Summer" may be a chill R&B track, but its accompanying music video is a serious commentary on race, in and out of the music industry. Whether it’s Michelle Obama hugging Kanye West, O.J. sitting next to a melting cup of mixed ice cream, or J Cole telling kids to “get off his lawn” – there’s a reference for everybody.

Best Animated Music Videos of All Time

a-ha – Take on Me

Best Animated Music Videos  •  a-ha’s Take on Me

DIRECTED BY STEVE BARRON

We can’t talk about animated videos without bringing up a-ha’s technical masterpiece, "Take on Me." The video is an all-time great – not just for its infectious beat, but for its mind-bending rotoscope visuals as well.

Today, Barron’s video remains one of the most popular music videos, animated or otherwise, in the world.

Top 10 Animated Music Videos

Gorillaz – Feel Good Inc.

Music Videos That Are Animated  •  Gorillaz’s Feel Good Inc.

DIRECTED BY ARTISTS UNKNOWN

The virtual band Gorillaz has more than a few iconic music videos, but the animated video for "Feel Good Inc." is an all-time classic. The video broaches themes of social dystopias and tortured artists while lulling you into hypnosis with one of the grooviest bass lines you’ve ever heard.

Cool Animated Music Videos

The Strokes – Ode to the Mets

Best Animated Music Videos  •  The Strokes’ Ode to the Mets

DIRECTED BY WARREN FU

To quote Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, “I just wanted to be one of The Strokes.” And who wouldn’t? The Strokes are some of the coolest guys in music; even when they’re lamenting the sorry state of loving something that’s eternally disappointing, like the New York Mets. The music video for "Ode to the Mets" was directed by director Warren Fu, who’s worked with just about everybody in the music industry. 

Awesome Music Videos That Are Animated

R.E.M. – Man-Sized Wreath

Best Animated Videos  •  R.E.M.’s Man-Sized Wreath

DIRECTED BY CRUSH INC.

The augmented-reality music video for R.E.M.’s "Man-Sized Wreath" is an absolutely bonkers display of 2000s voxel-based tech. It’s also a surreal journey through a rapidly-shifting cityscape. Does that tie into the thematic aim of the song? Call me crazy, but I think it may.

Cool Animated Videos

Bill Wurtz – got some money

Best Animated Music Videos  •  Bill Wurtz’s got some money

DIRECTED BY BILL WURTZ

Bill Wurtz of “history of the entire world fame” makes music videos like no one else. His 2021 video for "got some money" is no exception. Fans of Wurtz know that his videos frequently feature Microsoft Paint styled animation with colorful special effects – but "got some money" represents a technical step forward via 3D graphics.

Awesome Music Videos That Are Animated

Radiohead – Paranoid Android

Popular Music Videos  •  Radiohead’s Paranoid Android

DIRECTED BY MAGNUS CARLSSON 

The music video for "Paranoid Android" appears on just about every list of the best animated music videos, because one: it’s Radiohead, two: it’s directed by famed Swedish animator Magnus Carlsson, and three: it’s hard to forget. My only question after watching it was: what in the world is going on? Which is a hallmark indicator of surrealism.

Best Animated Music Videos of All Time

Dua Lipa – Levitating 

Dua Lipa’s Levitating

DIR. YU TSUBAKI & KENTA ORISAKA, ANIMATED BY NOSTALOOK

Who would’ve thought a Dua Lipa music video would serve as the perfect staging ground for an anime-styled send-up? Not me, that’s for sure – but alas, the music video for "Levitating" does just that, with colorful characters and futuristic cityscapes to boot.

Great Music Videos That Are Animated

Billie Eilish – my future

Best Animated Music Videos  •  Billie Eilish’s my future

DIRECTED BY ANDREW ONORATO

Animated videos had a big resurgence after one of the world’s biggest pop-stars – Billie Eilish – decided to make a few. The music video for "my future" features some stunning animation from a talented team of artists, including Alex Dray, Andrew Onorato, Annie Zhao, Cliona Noonan, Ian Ballantyne, João Monteiro, Josh Trotter, Keith Kavanagh, Maddie Brewer, Nancy Li, Sarah Schmidt, and Sean Anderson.

Top 10 Animated Music Videos

Daft Punk – One More Time

Best Music Videos  •  Daft Punk’s One More Time

DIRECTED BY KAZUHISA TAKENOUCHI

Did you know that Daft Punk had a movie companion to their hit album Discovery directed by Kazuhisa Takenouchi? If you didn’t, it’s called Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem. Nowadays, it’s most famous for the "One More Time" video.

Classic Music Videos That Are Animated

Pink Floyd – Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two

Music Videos That Are Animated  •  Pink Floyd’s Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two

ARTWORK BY GERALD SCARFE

Pink Floyd is known for having lucid music videos – but honestly, it’s a bit surprising that they don’t feature animation more. I suppose that works to the benefit of "Another Brick In The Wall, Part Two" from the endlessly venerated album, The Wall. The music video for this track boasts unique and trippy animation from English cartoonist Gerald Scarfe.

Funky Music Videos That Are Animated

Red Hot Chili Peppers – Sick Love

Popular Music Videos  •  Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Sick Love

DIR. & ILLUSTRATED BY BETH JEANS HOUGHTON, CHIEF ANIMATION BY JOSEPH BRETT

Turns out a surrealist video was the "ying" to Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Sick Love "yang." The animation and music go together like two peas in a pod; even when the imagery seems a bit forced.

Top 10 Animated Music Videos

American Pop – Night Moves

Best Animated Videos  •  Bob Seger’s Night Moves in American Pop

DIRECTED BY RALPH BAKSHI 

Ralph Bakshi has undoubtedly inspired countless animators to pursue making animated videos. As such, I’d be remiss if I brushed past the influence of American Pop; which features rotoscoped video to accompany music from Janis Joplin, The Doors, and more. But despite those big names, perhaps the most enduring example from American Pop is Bakshi’s music video for Bob Seger’s "Night Moves." 

Popular Animated Music Videos

Starbomb – The Simple Plot of Metal Gear Solid

Popular Animated Music Videos  •  The Simple Plot of Metal Gear Solid, Animated by Studio Yotta

ANIMATION BY STUDIO YOTTA

The internet has paved the way for a new generation of animated videos: a point perhaps best proven by Arin ‘Egoraptor’ Hanson. Over the past ~20 years, Hanson’s animated videos have garnered hundreds of millions of views. In 2013, Hanson released an album with Dan Avidan and Brian Wecht of Ninja Sex Party. Hanson animated a few of the album’s music videos – but the video for "The Simple Plot of Metal Gear Solid" (which is perhaps the least raunchy of the album’s tracks) was animated by Studio Yotta.

Best Animated Music Videos of All Time

Pearl Jam – Do the Evolution

Best Animated Music Videos  •  Pearl Jam’s Do the Evolution

DIRECTED BY KEVIN ALTIERI & TODD MCFARLANE

Technically speaking, the music video for Pearl Jam’s "Do the Evolution" may be the best on this list. I suppose that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise considering it was co-directed by Kevin Altieri (Batman: The Animated Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man) and Todd McFarlane (The Amazing Spider-Man, Spawn).

Needless to say, "Do the Evolution" passes the eye test and more.

Top 10 Animated Music Videos

Kanye West – Heartless

Kanye West’s Heartless

DIRECTED BY HYPE WILLIAMS

Notice anything familiar about Hype Williams’ music video for "Heartless"? Oh yeah, it looks a lot like American Pop. That’s no coincidence either; both Williams and West reportedly wanted to replicate the style of Bakshi’s rotoscope animation – and they succeeded enormously.

Up Next

Best Animation Software Programs

There are a lot of great animated music videos – but there could be more! Do you want to step into the arena with your own music video? Check out our next article on the best animation softwares: 2D, 3D, paid and free options. We’ll show you how to get the best bang for your buck in pursuit of becoming a music video artist.

Up Next: Best Animation Software →
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1 comment

  1. Surprised that you didn't give a nod to Dire Straits' "Money for Nothing" and Paula Abdul's "Opposites Attract".

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