Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bad Idea VMA preview

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Bob Dylan claimed that when he first heard about people downloading for music for free, his reply was "Well, why not? It ain't worth nothing anyway." He went on to claim that overall audio production and mixing techniques used in modern music were "atrocious." (However, this apparently hasn't stopped Dylan from appearing in ads for iTunes. Apparently when you're a legend cloaked in dichotomies, you can contradict yourself as much as you damn well please.)

The truth is that there is as much good music being made today as in any of the so-called 'golden ages' of pop music. It's just that they are found through alternative mediums (youtube and myspace pages) rather than MTV. Take the art of the music video for example. In the 1980's and 1990's, the Video Music Awards seemed culturally important in rewarding groundbreaking videos, but after Jamiroquai won the 1997 VMA for their excellent "Virtual Insanity" clip, the quality of the videos claiming top prize dropped off significantly. So with the most recent incarnation of the VMA's set to run Thursday night, what do we make of the 2006 nominees? Our picks are as follows:

Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
Madonna: "Hung Up"
Panic! at the Disco: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Dani California"
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

PAT says: Red Hot Chili Peppers just because that's the only masculine pick in this group. My question is how are the 5 picks for video of the year broken down into 1 creative video (Aguilera) 1 performer that MTV is obviously still in awe of even though she's played out (Madonna), 1 band that I never even heard of (Disco Panickers), a rock band pushing 40 and starting to be the old guy at the high school party people don't like (RHCP) and 1 song that is really the background of Lord Tariq and Peter Gunn's classic anthem "Deja Vu" which is about the Bronx but was filmed at Shea Stadium in Queens - now that was a video! "Uptown baby, uptown baby We gets down baby, up for the crown baby"

DIRK says: The Aguilera video is clearly the best of this group, but it's far from video of the year. I know MTV caters to what's popular more than what's good, but several high profile MTV-friendly bands have made more creative and better videos this year (White Stripes, Beck, OK Go, Dresden Dolls, Kanye West, etc). Looking at this list just makes me angry. And does Tom Petty get a moonman if the Chili Peppers win, considering they blatantly stole "Mary Jane's Last Dance" and just renamed the song?

Busta Rhymes f/ Mary J. Blige, Rah Digga, Missy Elliott, Lloyd Banks, Papoose & DMX: "Touch It Remix"
James Blunt: "You're Beautiful"
Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx: "Gold Digger"
Nick Lachey: "What's Left of Me"
T.I.: "What You Know"

Pat says: First off what the hell is James Blunt doing on here? He ripped off Coldplay's "Yellow" video - way to reward creativity. My pick is the "Gold Digger" This video wins just because of the Kanye over the shoulder dance moves - very cool and it makes you want to do the dance yourself. Honorable mention to the "Touch It Remix" which took video "shoot" to a whole new level when a member of Busta Rhymes' posse got shot during filming it - think Tony Yayo was pissed or something. Good times.

Dirk says: I would love to see all these guys stuck in an elevator - I'm guessing James Blunt would be the quietest one there. As for my pick, I'll go with Kanye, although part of me is afraid that if he wins Jamie Foxx will jump onstage and bore everybody with that tired and played out Ray Charles impression that he trotted out at every single awards show of 2005. Pat is correct that the Busta video shoot needs it's own episode of "Behind the Music."

Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
Kelly Clarkson: "Because of You"
Madonna: "Hung Up"
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: "Promiscuous"
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

Pat says: Kelly Clarkson because she seems to really be thankful for her opportunity and enjoys showing her gratitude by singing "Sweet Child O' Mine" and occasionally drinking Jack Daniels with hair-metal cover bands.

Dirk says:
Logic would dictate that if Aguilera wins video of the year, she wins here as well, but logic has no place where moonmen are involved. Now that it's cool for NASCAR moms, 40-year-old virgins, and pitchfork-reading hipsters alike to love Kelly Clarkson, she gets the nod here. And as much as I endorse hair-metal tribute bands, I cannot condone hanging out with the dude from Yellowcard.

The All-American Rejects: "Move Along"
Fall Out Boy: "Dance, Dance"
Gnarls Barkley: "Crazy"
Panic! at the Disco: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Dani California"

Pat says: Gnarls Barkley. I'm a big fan of this dynamic duo. In fact my counterpart here was the first person to tell me about this group months ago. Good thing my mom now knows all the words to "Crazy" and gets to listen to it on the contemporary hits station. Cool one day, Supermarket checkout music the next.

Dirk says: I love Gnarls, but as far as videos go, the All-American rejects takes a simple concept (edit the hell out of similar looking shots) and does it really well. Plus, considering Gnarls' attention to detail and costuming on their live performances, their video was not that creative. I just expect more from them.

Black Eyed Peas: "My Humps"
Common: "Testify"
Daddy Yankee: "Rompe"
Kanye West f/ Jamie Foxx: "Gold Digger"
Three 6 Mafia f/ Young Buck, Eightball & MJG: "Stay Fly"

Pat says: What ever happened to the low key rap video? I was a huge fan of the Wu-Tang videos where they were hanging in the hood just having a good time. Then hip hop got all "Blinged out" with Puffy and Mase - now I don't even know what's going. The Roots had the best video chronicling all the hip hop video cliches. Oh and I pick Kanye again - that's a great song and a great video even if you have heard/seen it 10,000 times already.

Dirk says: I'll go with Common as an afterthought. However, I just want to say how much I loved the Black Eyed Peas around 1999. Their Fergie-free first 2 albums were ridiculously great, picking up where a Tribe Called Quest left off. And yet now they're responsible for "My Humps," possibly the worst song ever recorded. Seriously. I really can't wrap my head around the progression. How could this happen? The lesson as always is this - never invite a girl into the band (especially one who has bladder issues.)

30 Seconds to Mars: "The Kill"
AFI: "Miss Murder"
Green Day: "Wake Me Up When September Ends"
Panic! at the Disco: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Dani California"

Pat says: The guy from "My So Called Life" is now nominated for best rock video! What next? Jonathan Taylor Thomas is up for best Latin Video. I pick Green Day just because its a good song, decent video, and at least they weren't on a sitcom or crappy movie (See "Back to the Future II" and "The Chase" for Flea)

Dirk says: Jordan Catalano has truly lost his way. AFI and Green Day are both pretty good videos, and I give the nod to Green Day. I should point out that I have all 7 Green Day albums and really dug "American Idiot" when it first came out, but then they proceeded to release the 3 worst songs off that album as singles, and the album as a whole has not aged well. Then again, consider that every band on this list wears makeup, and Green Day are the only ones who have managed to not look completely ridiculous, and they win by default.

Christina Aguilera: "Ain't No Other Man"
Madonna: "Hung Up"
Nelly Furtado f/ Timbaland: "Promiscuous"
Pink: "Stupid Girls"
Shakira f/ Wyclef Jean: "Hips Don't Lie"

Pat says: Shakira just because she can't be shut out. And even though its a rip off - it is a catchy tune. Plus people love that spasm dance she does throughout the whole video.

Dirk says: So Pink is taking shots at Paris Hilton and Jessica Simpson? Wow, what a bold and cutting edge satire! And such a clever delivery as well. With creativity so insightful and hip, there may be a spot for her on the Family Guy writing staff. While Pat picks Shakira to avoid getting shut out, I'll take Madonna for the same reason, though Aguilera had the best video.

Angels and Airwaves: "The Adventure"
Avenged Sevenfold: "Bat Country"
Chris Brown f/ Juelz Santana, "Run It!"
James Blunt: "You're Beautiful"
Panic! at the Disco: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies"
Rihanna: "S.O.S."

Pat says: I'm taking Chris Brown since I also have him on my fantasy football team (Hello..My Name is Koren).

Dirk says: I suppose the little fairies from Panic take the win here for their stirring mall-emo hack anthem, but I perish to think what these toolsheds will be wearing during an awards show. The video itself is relatively well done, aside from featuring a band and song that is ridiculous on so many levels, I don't know where to start (but I would probably start with the top hat.)

10 Years: "Wasteland" (Director: Kevin Kerslake)
AFI: "Miss Murder" (Director: Marc Webb)
Common: "Testify" (Director: Anthony Mandler) Gnarls Barkley: "Crazy" (Director: Robert Hales) Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Dani California" (Director: Tony Kaye)

Pat says: I'll go with Common's "Testify." He's pretty cool and so is the video.

Dirk says: Nice effort. I'll go with RHCP, just because I want to see what Tony Kaye does. Have you seen this guy's wikipedia entry? It's unreal. He went nuts after directing "American History X" and once showed up to a Marlon Brando acting workshop dressed as Osama Bin Laden! And he'll be at the VMAs! The show where security goes nuts if the drummer from Rage Against the Machine jumps on stage. I can't wait.

Angels and Airwaves: "The Adventure"
Beck: "Hell Yes"
Missy Elliott: "We Run This"
Pearl Jam: "Life Wasted"
U2: "Original of the Species"

Pat says: I haven't seen any of these - and when the hell did special effects come into play? I mean fine for full length movies but in a 2 minute video? I'll go U2 since they wake up each morning and pee excellence

Dirk says: My anti-U2 rant will wait for another day. Does anyone realize that "Life Wasted" is the first music video Pearl Jam has appeared in since "Jeremy"!?! That was in 1992! 14 years ago!! 2 points here: 1) I feel very old now, and 2) It's insane that it's been that long, and it's good to have them back. This is the kind of video that should be nominated for video of the year - creative, bizarre, disturbing, and it rocks. Seriously, go watch it. Seeing it only nominated here makes me shake my head. This whole thing is upsetting me.

AFI: "Miss Murder"
Ashlee Simpson: "Invisible"
James Blunt: "You're Beautiful"
Red Hot Chili Peppers: "Dani California"
Prince: "Black Sweat"

Pat says: Prince. I think he's like Madonna now with MTV - they don't want to piss him off and by awarding him for his work the network thinks people will forget 23 out of 24 hours of their programming is centered about teens and their daily lives instead of music. I know that's a running joke for years now that MTV doesn't show music videos but its getting ridiculous. Their content sucks - have you seen Cribs lately? It was a 12 year old surfer, some rapper no one has ever heard of (who obviously has made enough money to have a mansion and 6 Bentleys) and a professional jockey. How about you bring back Yo! MTV Raps, unplugged,and you realize you're centered in New York City - possibly the largest collection of venues that feature well known artists as well as up and comers - and then show some f-ing performances.

Dirk says: The 'masses hailing the dictator' shots in "Miss Murder" are pretty sick. Whatever. After getting through this list, I'm over the concept of MTV ever showing videos again. It's an argument you hear all the time, but in reality it's a hollow complaint that nobody really cares about in the end. If anything, it would be great if bands just stopped giving videos to MTV. The truth is that good bands don't need MTV for anything anymore. That's the great thing about the internet - you can google any of these songs and see the video instantly, without waiting through the attention whores on "Laguna Beach" or "The Real World/Road Rules gangbang and obstacle course challenge." It's a beautiful world isn't it?

Pat's epilogue: There was a ring tone category but we refuse to acknowledge that in any way. The fact there's a music awards show that is recognizing cellular phone rings is a sign we are now a bunch of nits wits. Well not everyone - just the majority of the youth in America. In fact what happened to the kid who gets excited about going to his buddies house to shoot hoops after school? He's been replaced by the kid who goes home to post creepy messages on myspace and stalk people on facebook. You remember when parents were worried about kids and video games? After a good game of Madden Football it was almost tradition to go outside and throw the pigskin around or at the very least ride your bike home before it got too dark. Id love to see a statistic about bicycle sales these days - they have to be down dramatically. When was the last time you saw a group of lads riding their bike somewhere? Sorry for getting off on a tangent - screw ring tones and the internet! (and yes I realize this blog is a product of the internet and we created this in our spare time.)

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