Drake Is Turning 29 and in Honor of the Birthday Boy’s ”Hotline Bling” Moves, Enjoy 14 More Epic Video Dance Solos
Drake gets us thinking all the time, but this past week especially, he had us rather obsessed with hypnotic dance moves.
The Grammy winner’s “Hotline Bling” video, which begged to be parsed, studied and copied on its own, couldn’t help but get us thinking about other music videos that featured epic dance moments, particularly of the solo variety.
Drake of course is hardly the first artist to go it alone, letting the camera just lovingly stare at him while he does his thing, whatever exactly that thing is.
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And since Aubrey Drake Graham’s 29th birthday is today—happy birthday, Drizzy!—we felt it the right time to pay it backward, to take a look at those who also got us pausing, rewinding and trying to copy what we were seeing on screen.
From the stars who’ve danced as if no one is watching to the choreographed-down-to-the-microsecond routines, here are TK more great solo-dance moments in music video history:
Paula Abdul, “Straight Up”: Long before she judged American Idol or So You Think You Can Dance, the petite performer packed a major punch in the music video department and her breakdowns in this one—in between slo-mo segments and random shots of Arsenio Hall—are classics.
Madonna, “Express Yourself”: Remember when each and every Madonna video was an Event? (Not that they’re not now or anything…) Well, in the mini-movie that was this treasure from 1988, she showed what was what in a power suit sans bra but with monocle.
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Paula Abdul, “Forever Your Girl”: And here’s Paula again, because attention needs paying to her dancing and her vest. And pants. And ponytail! This is 1980s-chic at its best!
Janet Jackson, “The Pleasure Principle”: The diva, who’s still packing them into stadiums to this day (literally, she’s doing so tonight in Denver), was usually surrounded by a relentlessly in-sync crew to which all other crews have been judged since. But sometimes she just had to let loose on her own, as she did here in this made-to-be-practiced-in-front-of-your-bedroom-mirror routine.
Michael Jackson, “The Way You Make Me Feel”: Again, every time he moved in a music video was a moment to behold, and here he’s of course mid syncopated pursuit of the object of his affection—but just look at those moves that launched a thousand copycat moves!
Bruce Springsteen, “Dancing in the Dark”: He’s on stage in front of the E Street Band and an arena full of people, but this is still a grand example of the idea of dancing like there’s no one watching.
Britney Spears, “Piece of Me”: Quite like Janet, it’s hard to get this girl alone and away from the tightly choreographed pack for longer than a flash cut, but she just had to dance it out by herself for a bit in this one. A blessed moment alone, away from the crowd that just always wants something.
Jamiroquai, “Virtual Insanity”: Drake’s video only looked like virtual insanity. This 1997 classic is the real thing.
Usher, “My Way”: Who wouldn’t want it his way after seeing this? Part-A Clockwork Orange, part-Gene Kelly and all-smooth.
Justin Bieber, “As Long as You Love Me”: You can’t really brood in front of your girl or while surrounded by a crowd at the club. Sometimes you have to take it outside, in the shadows, and just vent to the beat.
Justin Timberlake, “Cry Me a River”: Speaking of non-spontaneous, angsty moments… Sadness suits J.T. almost more than an actual suit, don’t you think?
Sia, “Chandelier”: It’s Maddie Ziegler emoting in place of the title artist, but you can’t talk epic solo dance sequences without this.
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Mick Jagger & David Bowie, “Dancing in the Streets”: This is technically one of the most epic of all buddy videos, of course, but before he joined forces with David Bowie, here’s your intro…
And here’s Bowie. Partly on the stairs, and partly in space.
Drake can’t wait for the 2015-16 NBA season to begin, and neither can we
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