Monday, September 10, 2007

MTV Video Music Awards - Who Gives A Crap?

For the same reason people slow down on the highway when passing an accident (to take a better look at the carnage), I tuned into the MTV Video Music Awards last night to watch Britney Spears' catatonic shadow of her former self stagger through her new 'single' at the opening of the show.

She's done. Her career is over. Wow, I really give a shit.

It was perplexing. I mean, when in the hell did music turn into this? There were 20 or 30 dancers gyrating all over the place, light show, 'music' etc. Britney was doing such a bad job lip syncing that I guess no one really expected her to actually sing. My wife pointed out that this type of choreographed stuff is part of the 'show' but when did these performances turn into basically lip synced strip club dance routines with the only thing "live" about them being the dancers (sort of)?

Disclaimer: My wife loves a lot of these artists - from 50 Cent to Kanye West to Justin Timberlake - so I hear this stuff now and again. And I actually think Timberlake is pretty talented. He does the same choreographed crapola live but at least he can sing and put some attitude and even humor into it. I bring that up to illustrate that I am not just jaded against new artists.

It's just that I have never like the VMAs. They always make me wretch. Maybe it's that last night made me feel acutely how totally disconnected I am from the music industry.

Or maybe it's the other way around. The ratings for the VMAs have tanked over the years, and hmm, maybe it's because MTV doesn't actually play music videos anymore. And when they do, they suck. Maybe it's just another example of how the industry has cannibalized itself by training generations to consume music and video in 10 second bites. Our attention spans are so short, it's no wonder we can't make it through a two hour program.

Stuff like the VMAs make me want to take a "media time out" for a while and seek out simple things that are not designed to sell me stuff. Turn off the computers. Take a jog without the iPod. Take a hike and don't say a word.

It also makes me glad I live in Portland, where everyone is a singer-songwriter, as someone pointed out to me the other day. Where there are tons of bars and venues that support live music. Where you can book a gig at the drop of a hat if you want to get out and express yourself musically.

In a lame assed ploy to get people to watch the show, MTV said there will be no encore presentations of last night's VMAs. You had to watch it last night or you'll never see it again. That is the best idea they have had in a while! It's the last thing I would want to see again the next time I turn on my TV. I can only wretch so many times before pulling something.

1 comment:

Dr. John said...

Well said, Paul. I was thinking of posting something on this but you took the words out of my mouth. I did, ironically, hear these words today, on an album called "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" by The Alan Parsons Project. On the intro to one of the tracks, this is read over the music, and it struck me as kind of fitting to your post.
"...Since the comprehension of sweet sound is our most indefinite conception, music when combined with a pleasurable idea, is peotry. Music without the idea is simply music. Without music or an intriguing idea color becomes palor, man becomes carcas, home becomes catacomb, and the dead are but for a moment motionless."