NOTE: sorry this is so late. I forgot to hit a button. I’m officially not the smartest person any of you know. At least I got it in before Sunday.
Hey guys! The nominations for what is simultaneously the least-useful and also most-honest awards show in the business1 are out, and it’s time to make sure that you poor little lambs aren’t left out in the cold, all alone, with no one to guide through what you should think about them. Also, as of press time, the nominees for “Best Song of the Summer” have not been announced yet. I don’t know why, either.
Best Song of the Summer
I’m kind of annoyed. None of these songs are summery. I suppose that they’re all (save the One Direction song) about having sex, but, like, that’s still not the same as “summer.” They should be songs about ice cream. In fact, each of these songs would be better if it was about ice cream. I guess “Get Lucky” could be about ice cream already, provided you allow for “some” in the chorus to mean “some ice cream” and re-define “getting lucky” as “receiving some ice cream”.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Mrs. Coach’s hair which, if you think about it, looks a lot like summer, and therefore has more fo a right to this award than any of these stupid songs. Except maybe “Blurred Lines.” That’s song’s a-ight.
Best Video With a Social Message
Sigh. Flagrant misuse of the word “social” aside (we all know what they mean, after all), what on Earth are we supposed to do with this category? I still don’t know the answer. “People Like Us” is Kelly Clarkson’s entry into the “Beautiful”-style we’re-all-alright ballad, but it’s also far too easily interpreted about being about pretty rich white people from Texas, which I think is maybe a garbled message there2. “No Guns Allowed” is stupid. Someone tell Snoop Lion to stop doing that. Nathan Rabin once wrote that “The theme of most of Beyonce Knowles’ hits….can be reduced to ‘I’m Awesome. Fuck You.’” “I Was Here” seems to be no different, really, but I suppose that’s an empowering message to the people projecting themselves into it. “Candles in the Sun” is the most boring song of Miguel’s brief career, and the more I hear “Same Love” the more I think that I become convinced that Macklemore is one of nature’s born marketers, and the less I’m able to take it even a bit seriously.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: This video of Pete Holmes shouting.
Best Editing in a Video
The editing of a music video is a lot like the recording of a song: on the one hand, it’s the easiest to notice if it’s janky, on the other hand, without its editing, no music video would look like the same video. It’s true that Bachman-Turner Overdrive II is, technically, better-recorded than The Velvet Underground and Nico, but honestly. Which would you rather listen to of an evening? My point here is: I don’t know “good” editing from “distinctive” editing in a music-video context, and am therefore unqualified to give this award out.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: I’d say make them all wrestle, but that’s as good as giving the award to P!nk, so I guess I’ll just say “Mirrors” because I might as well get used to saying it.
Best Art Direction
Isn’t Art Direction, like, the props and shit? “You have the best fake-spaceship soundstage” is a weird award. Janelle Monae is a weird lady.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Janelle Monae f. Erykah Badu, “Q.U.E.E.N.”
Best Visual Effects
Hey! I wrote about “Breakin’ a Sweat” right here! Anyway, it still sucks. I really didn’t think that Capital Cities video was at all special, but I guess I’m wrong. I guess. That Duck Sauce video is a bit crap. I really like Flying Lotus, and I really like that record, and I really like that video, but really.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Weeknd, “Wicked Game”
DIDN’T CIARA USED TO BE A GODDAMNED CHOREOGRAPHER? Or am I wrong about that? She used to be some kind of something, goddamn it. Anyway, that song sucks a lot. She doesn’t win that one. what.how.notreally doesn’t win anything at all, much less something he was nominated for with Justin Bieber. “Treasure” is a neat video, but it isn’t even the best-choreographed Bruno Mars video of the year, let alone the best overall.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: By process of elimination, it’s Jennifer Lopez f. Pitbull for “Live it Up.” I think Jennifer Lopez was also a choreographer, although I know she was actually a dancer. I guess what I’m saying is: I see choreographers everywhere. I’m like Haley Joel Osment, and it’s going to turn out that Bruce Willis was a choreographer the whole time3.
What, precisely, would compel one to nominate “Started from the Bottom”? While I’m not necessarily opposed to the song (although it does largely serve to remind me why I didn’t always like Drake), I see nothing about the direction of its music video that makes me feel anything but “eh.” “Carry On” and “Can’t Hold Us” would both probably win for “most operatic direction,” but they don’t win for “Best.” Oh fuck it, you all know where this was going.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Justin Timberlake, “Suit and Tie” The worst Jay-Z verse in living memory doesn’t change the fact that David Fincher is still the best director in living memory, and it’s kind of a hoot to see him go back to his music video roots.
However, the worst Jay-Z verse in living memory is more than enough to tropedo “Suit & Tie” right the holy hell out of this category. Fuck that. Actually, this whole category belongs in what I like to call the “VMA awards confusion hole.” All music videos are collaborations – they’re a collaboration between an artist, who made a song, and another person, who aimed a camera at them. Therefore, regardless of who is nominated, they’re all in the spirit of the music video awards.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Everybody that made a music video in 2013, except Justin Timberlake for “Suit & Tie” because that Jay-Z verse deserves punishment. You can sit out in the rain, Sean, and think about what you’ve done and not get an award.
Best Hip-Hop Video
Remember when (drank) there was a time (drank) that hip-hop videos (drank) were the absolute worst (drank) things on the network (drank)? When everything was (drank) naked titty girls (drank) and a general sense of money-flashing (drank) and fancy-car-driving (drank)? Now that rap music (drank) has replaced rock music (drank) as the formerly-hugely-popular-but-now-just-taken-for-granted (drank) form of popular music that appeals to white teenagers (drank) we’ve gotten a much more variegated approach (drank) to the hip-hop video (drank). That’s nice (drank). “Started from the Bottom” is still stupid (drank), “Power Trip” is a good song with a stupid (drank) video, “Can’t Hold Us” would be lost without its press (drank) and its (sung) hook (drank).
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Actually (drank) it’s “F*ckin’ Problems” (drank), I’ve just always wanted to do the (drank) thing in a post. Or at least (drank) ever since last year (drank) when “Swimming Pools (Drank)” came out (drank).
Best Rock Video
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: The Thermals, “Born to Kill”, because holy gosh is this a terrible category.
Best Pop Video
Man, “Mirrors” really should have been the lead single from The 20/20 Experience. It’s a better song, it’s got a better video, no one is wearing ALL BLACK AT THE WHITE SHOW, it’s just better all around. “Carry On” isn’t as interesting as any other fun. video, I clicked on the video for Selena Gomez’s “Come and Get It” and got about halfway through it when I realized that I’d forgotten that I was watching it for research and had started playing another song while it was playing. That’s how much of an impression it left on me. “We Can’t Stop” doesn’t have a very good video, and its nomination is probably little more than an excuse to get Miley to the VMAs.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER – Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven,” which is one of the only cases in this whole mess where the video is actually better than the song itself. That is one great video.
Artist to Watch
Hey everybody! Welcome to Insufferable Hipster Corner! The Weeknd’s record – you know, the one with “Wicked Games” on it – came out two fucking years ago. I realize that, in the comparative scheme of things, not a lot of people heard it, and that a lot of people have only found out about it since Trilogy (actually the label-sanctioned release of the three mixtapes that he’d already put out to that point in 2011) was given a physical release in stores and stuff, and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with showing up to the party late, as long as you show up to the party. No, the problem here is MTV trying to somehow position themselves behind the Weeknd two years after anyone who would have watched The Weeknd started watching The Weeknd. Nobody is under the impression that MTV is particularly near the cutting edge – at this point they’re not in really even in the music industry anymore, so they’re something of a rear-guard as it is: they’re there to show off stuff you’re just going to go look at on YouTube, and to put up a couple of hours of television where Lady Gaga wears something outlandish and somebody’s boobs fall out of something. And that’s fine. I’m in no way opposed to this version of MTV, and I don’t actually care how any cable network programs. I’m just hear to cast judgment on their awards shows, and if you’re calling your category “Artist to Watch,” and you’re implying that you’re giving us the key to something, and the thing in question has already got a platinum album with a years-old song that is, to be sure, one of the very finest moments of the decade so far, and unlikely to be diminished any time soon, then you’re silly, and your award is equally silly, and therefore a song as great as “Wicked Games” should not be eligible for consideration. Whew. Ok. Stop trying to make Austin Mahone happen. It’s not going to happen. Zedd are dumb, and I can’t believe I now know anything about them. There is no compelling reason to ever care about Iggy Azalea, although at least when you’re talking about her music videos you’re not shutting off the only reason she’s famous. Twenty One Pilots are from Columbus, and that’s pretty cool.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Twenty One Pilots, because they’re not as good as The Weeknd, but they also aren’t being nominated for a platinum-selling two-year-old record.
Best Female Video
Shouldn’t it be “best video featuring a female artist”? As far as I know, videos don’t have biological sex4. Anyway. Nate Ruess and Mikkkkkkey Ekkkkkkko aren’t women. So this category is already wrong twice, and I don’t think we should have to embarrass ourselves like that. The knowledge that Demi Lovato is still making music videos fills me with an almost-apocalyptic sense of dread. I still don’t see why the “We Can’t Stop” video is in any way interesting. Of course, I also don’t know why the “I Knew You Were Trouble” video is in any way interesting.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Aw, hell. It’s Pink and Nate Ruess. That is a pretty nifty video.
Best Male Video
So. I guess I already used that (drank) thing then. So. Uh. I think that we need to have a serious discussion about the role that Ed Sheeran is currently playing in our pop cultural landscape. Namely: I think he should go away. I want you all to get to work on that. At least this song isn’t about sad hookers. Ugh. Outside of that colossal horrible terrible blunder, this is actually a strong field. “Mirrors” is pretty cool. “Blurred Lines” is a dumb, dumb song, but the video is fine at least visually interesting5. Unfortunately, the “Swimming Pools (Drank)” video isn’t actually that good. Actually, that helps, because it makes it easier.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Bruno Mars, “Locked Out of Heaven.” Y’all. I really like that video.
Video of the Year
I suppose, logically, that the rightful winner should be the one that wins a toss-up between “Best Male” and “Best Female” videos, but the only possible toss-up this year would be “Locked Out of Heaven” and “I Knew You Were Trouble.” Wouldn’t it be weird if I said it was something completely unrelated? Like, say, “Thrift Shop,” which was not nominated for Best Male or Best Female or, in fact, anything else, since “Can’t Hold Us” is the song that’s all over these nominations? Yeah, that’s dumb.
THE RIGHTFUL WINNER: Still “Locked Out of Heaven.” It hasn’t gotten any worse in the last thirty seconds.
1 the VMAs are, in this sense, the exact opposite of the Oscars: no one will ever care who won a VMA. Nobody cared back when music videos were actually a part of the television culture (as opposed to now, when they’re largely just a part of the grander YouTubescape*). Yet the people who win generally deserve to win for reasons other than politics, marketing or public image. I should create some sort of unified-awards-show-validity-theory. Expect to see it, at the rate of my current ability to deliver on things I promise to post, sometime around 2081.
* which, I hasten to remind everybody, is fine. Remember: while it’s true that MTV used to show music videos, it still sucked, because most of those music videos were terrible. Anyone who tells you differently is lying.
2 I mean, it’s certainly fine to be a pretty rich white person from Texas. It’s just not really something you’d need to band together about.
3 spoiler alert.
4 Wakka wakka!
5 although it loses points for the fact that I wrote that and then felt that I had to make it clear that I did not mean “because boobies.” Sigh.