Monday, September 14, 2009

I Got My MTV

So the MTV Music Video Awards were last night. I am twenty-three years old, which is younger than most of the artists nominated, but older than most of their target audience.

I will be the first to admit I don't totally understand youth culture. I don't think anyone does, including but not limited to youths them(our?)selves. But as of recently I love pop music, and I knew all the artists nominated for the VMA's for the first time since 2000, so I watched them. And I forgot what an incredible shit show the VMA's are. This year was no disappointment, rife with divas (Kanye), weirdos (Lady Gaga), and sporadic poignancy (Janet).

Without further ado, some observations from the night. I didn't tweet them, I promise.

--Sway hasn't aged a day (or changed his hat) since I stopped watching MTV almost ten years ago. Props to him.

--Pink and Shakira showed up in the same dress. Shock and horror! Whatever, they both looked great (though if I had to answer a People poll I'd probably vote for Shakira, mainly because I personally want to do her.)

--Madonna spoke about Michael Jackson and it was mainly sweet and a little bit weird and awkward, which is somehow fitting for him. She called him a hero, and for MTV, he definitely was. I don't know yet how I feel about her subtle accusation that we killed him; she might be right but she might be displacing. Maybe it's both and I just feel guilty for loving young Michael, knowing what the life did to him.

--Kanye West made a damn fool of himself as usual, by not only interrupting Taylor Swift's acceptance speech to rant about how Beyonce deserved the Best Female Video moon man, but by ripping the award out of the nineteen year old girl's hands just as she began to tearfully thank her largely pop-oriented fans for making her dream come true and giving a country singer a chance.
There are several things wrong with this:
1 - Taylor Swift is nineteen years old. Give her a break.
2 - It's a freaking MTV moon man. It means a lot to Taylor Swift because she's brand new to the business, she's MTV's almost exact target audience, and it's her first, but it really doesn't mean anything to anyone else, especially Beyonce. Save your soapbox and give the girl her moment.
3 - This was clearly less about Beyonce and more about Kanye's unflinching need to be the center of attention at all times, and the fact that the amount of time it took to talk about female artists was just too long for him to bear.

--Lady Gaga is a nut and I love her for it. She arrived on the red carpet with Kermit the Frog (he says it's not serious), changed costumes several times throughout the night, hung herself onstage, and dedicated her Best New Artist moon man to "God and the gays." More pop stars could use a sense of humor; that's why I prefer hip hop.

--Janet Jackson danced alongside her 100-foot brother in a hastily thrown-together tribute to the King of Pop. That's just beautiful. And really, really sad. And every time I see Joe Jackson's mug I'm reminded of the fact that, no matter our differences, everyone in the world can at least agree on the fact that Joe Jackson is a great big tool.

--Beyonce proved herself to be a beautiful, classy, professional lady and used her Best Video of the Year acceptance speech time to let Taylor Swift finish hers. I can't always agree with the message of her songs, but that was the best possible thing she could do to alleviate a lot of tension, give poor Taylor Swift her moment in the glitter, and distance herself from Kanye's great big mouth. Brava.

So there it is. There actually isn't much about the infamous award show that is different from the way I remember it a decade ago; some of the names have changed and there's a lot more tweeting involved. But the VMA's are clearly still the crazy, glittery, overwhelmingly classless, randomly sweet, earnest hot mess they always were, which is somehow comforting in this unstable world in which we live.

And I'll be listening to a lot of NPR today to make up for it, I'm sure.


Ozkirbas said...

I didn't watch the MVA's, but I did catch the shitstorm on Facebook. That was like getting a mad play-by-play. It was highly amusing.

Lady Gaga is an odd duck and it took me a second look at her performance on YouTube to get what she was going for, simply because it was so contrarian to the cookie-cutter expectation from a Pop Artist's performance. And, in lieu of all else, that's actually pretty cool. Also, glad to see that her status as a hermaphrodite hasn't affected her career. Kudos.

The Janet Jackson thing may have been beautiful, but think about - how much of a shadow does a 100 foot Michael Jackson cast?

I may not be a big Beyonce fan, but I certainly have an abundance of respect for her. To coin a phrase used by members of the sex opposite mine: "You go, girl."

nevie said...

i think kanye west needs a twitter. everyone else who had something to say play-by-play about the VMA's kept it to a tweet. he could even get it on his phone and do it from the audience.

Jstone said...

He really is a gay fish...

ali d said...

I read an article in which he excused his behavior by reminding us that he tried to give one of his awards to OutKast when he believed they deserved it more. He claims that he's not crazy, he's just real. Clearly, Kanye West has the highest epitome of musical opinion in all the land, and what he thinks outweighs all other opinions. Guys, we're just not real enough.

A brief note on Taylor's winning video - I like it. It's cute and it's the kind of thing I dreamed would happen to me in high school all the time. I also love the song. I can't help, when I watch it though, but think of the "But she has glasses and a ponytail!" line from Not Another Teen Movie.

Swift's character is clearly gorgeous throughout the entire video, but it's only when she takes off her big nerdy glasses and lets her hair down that anyone takes notice of that fact. Yes, the football star has loved her all along, but suddenly she's more worth his (and everyone else's) time. It's frustrating to me that this video joins the millions that are telling young girls that you have to go through a glamour makeover to be pretty and popular. I shudder to think that they would see the pre-transformation Swift and not also find her beautiful.

David Pratt said...

Yo I'm real happy for your post and I'mma let you finish but Beyonce has one of the greatest B names of all time!!

B.Graham said...

@David - Beyonce will vindicate me!

Stephen said...

This is a great wrap up of the VMAs. I think if anything is for sure, it's that this is one of the most interesting VMAs of all time. There was so much going on! It was so dramatic! From the awards that were given, to the scripted and unscripted moments, it makes me want to watch the next VMAs to get a direct dose of the spectacle as it happens.