Straight Up: The 10 Greatest Winners of MTV’s “Best Female Video” Award

 

So, get this: I have reverence for the MTV Music Video Awards. If you check their history of winners (and ignore some key, depressing anomalies), they routinely honor the correct people. Since this year’s ceremony on September 6 is just a couple of weeks away, we’re celebrating with a new celebration of the VMAs’ past: a list of the best 10 winners of the coveted “Best Female Video” trophy. For a refresher course in the history of the category, check this out. For a definitive list of the best lady videos’ of the past 30 years, check below.

 

10. Cyndi Lauper, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”

She’s so unusual, indeed — Cyndi Lauper whipped her block into a swishy, she-bopping frenzy in “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and while her punky chutzpah certainly warranted MTV award credibility, she deserved every award for out-snarling Elvis and offering killer pipes, to boot.

9. k.d. lang, “Constant Craving”

Even for director Mark Romanek (who handled Michael and Janet Jackson‘s “Scream,” Nine Inch Nails‘ “Closer,” and Johnny Cash‘s “Hurt”), “Constant Craving” was a wild concept — a dreamy reimagining of the premiere of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. The evocative cinematography is cool, but I personally relish the camera presence of the incomparable and emotive k.d.

8. Lady Gaga, “Bad Romance”

When I interviewed Lady Gaga in 2008, I was immediately impressed with her love of Madonna’s Erotica days, when Madge tested and quite apparently enjoyed the boundaries of taste, carnality, and desire. Just two years later, Gaga turned in “Bad Romance,” a creepy, throbbing, Rocky Horror-on-’roids explosions that recalls Madonna’s wickedest dares. But make no mistake: The warped combination of haute couture and Wendy O. Williams flamethrower antics is pure Gaga.

7. Annie Lennox, “Why”

Hope Springs, a fine movie, nearly ruined Annie Lennox’s “Why” for me. Under the wrong circumstances, the Diva track can sound maudlin or melodramatic. But when Lennox covers herelf in furs, maquillage, and jewels to trill its contemplative tones, every word feels right because she’s an unflinchingly honest performer. The video is glorious and gorgeous, which are probably the best adjectives to describe Annie herself.

 

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