As we've witnessed over the past year, the best music videos permeate pop culture in the most entertaining ways. It's impossible to think of Drake's "Hotline Bling" without picturing the hundreds of memes our OVO dad's dance moves inspired (not to mention how seamlessly he pulled off the knit-turtleneck look). So it's no surprise that "Hotline Bling" is nominated for Video of the Year at the 2016 VMAs.
But Toronto's finest isn't the only one who made a memorable impression on internet culture this year. Adele's "Hello" reminded everyone that flip phones still exist, while Justin Bieber's "Sorry" spawned a plethora of hilarious parodies — and even a poorly timed joke from the Biebs himself. Meanwhile, Kanye West's controversial "Famous" video drummed up as many KimYe memes as it did criticism, and Beyoncé's "Formation" inspired a generation of strong women and singlehandedly revived Red Lobster from the brink of obscurity.
Let's take a closer look at the 2016 Video of Year nominees in memes.
Hello, it’s meme.
When Adele dropped "Hello" back in October, it was hailed as an instant return to form for the British songstress whose moody tales of love and heartbreak have soundtracked breakups around the world since her 2008 debut. The music video, which was bathed in sepia, was parodied across the internet, most notably on Saturday Night Live:
But in the end, it was OG "Hello" singer Lionel Richie who had the last laugh when he posted the best response to Adele's "Hello" on the entire internet.
Seriously, no one can top this, not even Leonardo DiCaprio. (Sorry, Leo.) Although the fact that the rise of "Hello" coincided with Leo's fateful race for the Oscar seemed almost serendipitous.
Let’s get in formation.
Do you remember where you were when Beyoncé dropped "Formation" like manna from heaven? (I was sitting on my couch watching Love on Netflix.) Even more impressive: Queen Bey dropped the fire single the day before she performed with Coldplay during the Super Bowl halftime show. TL;DR — with its quotable references to a certain chain restaurant ("When he fuck me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster"), it didn't take long before "Formation" got the meme treatment.
And let's not forget the moment the internet realized that Beyoncé is always on beat and working it flawlessly, no matter the "song."
Too late to say sorry.
Justin Bieber's colorful video for "Sorry" is notable for several reasons: One, the semi-problematic pop heartthrob is nowhere to be seen; and two, it stars a troupe of badass ladies with super-fly style. So of course the internet — and even the Biebs himself — would find new and interesting ways to meme-ify it. (Fans even pulled Adele into the fun.)
But there was only one meme that caught the attention of Bieber, who then posted the image to his Insta. The photo? Steve Harvey’s face photoshopped onto Bieber’s body with lyrics from the song's refrain, obviously referring to Harvey's gaffe at the 2015 Miss Universe pageant. "It’s so sad," Bieber added, "but this is too funny had to post no disrespect."
Drake's "One Dance" may be the Song of the Summer™ these days, but late last year it was all about "Hotline Bling." When the neon video dropped back in October, the internet exploded with memes of the rapper's now-iconic dad dance moves. I mean ... there are no words.
Drake dances to the Frasier theme quite nicely. pic.twitter.com/GK0X6iTlsz
— Mark (@tole_cover) October 20, 2015
And it surprisingly works with any song.
— Mark (@tole_cover) October 20, 2015
— Drake Dancing (@DrakeDancingTo) October 20, 2015
TBH, this is the greatest gift the internet has given us all year. Once again, the internet is simultaneously the best and worst example of humanity.
Regardless of what you thought of Kanye West's "Famous" — was it evocative ~art~ or egregious and gross? — the internet reaction was priceless. The music video featured synthetic nude replicas of various celebrities sleeping alongside Kanye in bed, including George W. Bush, Donald Trump, Anna Wintour, Rihanna, Chris Brown, Taylor Swift, Kim Kardashian, Ray J., Amber Rose, Caitlyn Jenner, and Bill Cosby.
Upon the video's release, Twitter was quick to react with A+ KimYe memes, including this bit of harsh reality:
Swift has yet to sue Kanye for using her likeness in "Famous," but when she inevitably does, the internet is more than ready.