MTV. Those three simple letters have become quite possibly the biggest oxymoron in the modern pop-culture scene. The entire concept of “music television” has been overrun by nauseating, uninspired reality shows and an onslaught of teen dramas that are about as realistic as Pamela Anderson’s tits. Yet, every year, MTV presents us with the “Video Music Awards,” the so-called standard bearer for accomplishment in the musical mainstream.
Yeah, let that soak in for a minute. A television station that does absolutely nothing for the music industry, a station that barely even incorporates music into its programming schedule, somehow justifies itself in deciding the champions of today’s industry.
While I am not a fan of most of the bands and performers that fit into MTV’s diminutive purview of what music is, I did find some flashes of brilliance during this year’s VMAs. So before I list my grievances with the 2007 edition, I’d like to celebrate some of the more ambitious and downright jaw-dropping moments.
Obviously, Chris Brown stole the show, pulling off a series of acrobatic dance moves that would have made even Michael Jackson’s head spin. Seriously, the guy did a handstand into a front flip in perfect beat. On top of that, “Wall to Wall” is a decent R&B track that, while cookie-cutter, at least displays a man with a talented voice putting it to good use.
The following statement may cost me any and all credibility with the indie-rock scene, but I’m going to make it anyway: I am goddamn impressed by Justin Timberlake. Simply put, the man knows what he’s doing. Since parting ways with *NSync, he has embraced influences from other genres, hooked up with landmark producer Timbaland and turned himself into a somewhat respectable artist.
You will never catch me nodding my head to “Sexy Back,” but I have to admit, he has evolved dramatically from his boy-band days, embracing other genres and developing a refreshing sound that he can honestly call his own. In doing this, Timberlake has escaped the all-too-familiar pop star trap of making the same album over and over and over again.
The man also gets bonus points for ripping on MTV, speaking up for the rest of the nation and demanding that someone put the “music” back in “music television.” He grabbed four “moon men” Sunday night, and it’s hard to argue that he didn’t deserve any of them.
On the flip side…
Attention Britney Spears. If you’re going to stumble around stage out of step without even trying to hide the fact that you’re lip-syncing, then get the hell off my television. You’re a pop-singer. If you’re not going to sing then fade back into obscurity where you belong. You know you’ve hit pop-culture hell when you need K-Fed to make you interesting.
Aside from that debacle, somebody needs to remind whoever judges this charade that they are choosing winners based on musical ability, not size of fan base. The fact that Fall Out Boy has won “Best Group” three years in a row is sickening. What have they done since “Take This to Your Grave”? Oh, that’s right, they released the exact same album – twice.
If you look at the other nominees in this column, you will notice a band named The White Stripes, fronted by one of this decade’s most prolific and talented songwriters, Jack White. Here’s a man who has consistently produced catchy, innovative singles, yet he is still remembered for “Fell In Love With a Girl,” even though he’s only gotten better since then.
Gym Class Heroes, another second-rate act from Pete Wentz’s “Decaydence” label, picked up the award for “Best New Artist.” Wait, MTV thinks Gym Class Heroes are new?
Gym Class Heroes have been a mainstream act since Fall Out Boy broke in, touring with them in support of “Take This To Your Grave.” On top of that, “Cupid’s Chokehold” has been in rotation on MTV2 for well over a year now. This category should have belonged to Amy Winehouse, but once again, MTV choose to listen to a pack of 15-year-old girls’ screams rather than common sense.
My famous last words? MTV needs to remember the good music it was founded on and start rewarding it again. Until they do “I want my MTV.” turned off.