I was a dedicated follower of the MTV Video Music Awards for years, especially back in the day when they truly honored the year’s most imaginative and creative clips. Now? It’s a bullshit popularity contest and you need look no further than this year’s recently announced list of nominees for Video of the Year: “Forever” by Chris Brown, “Burnin’ Up” by The Jonas Brothers, “When I Grow Up” by the Pussycat Dolls, “Piece of Me” by Britney Spears, “Shut Up and Let Me Go” by the Ting Tings. With the exception of the Ting Tings, there’s not one naturally talented musician in the group. Plus, if you had any doubts that perhaps they created great videos, MTV allows you to watch them all online… and confirm they are lifeless and without merit. Even the Ting Tings video (which is probably the best song of the bunch) is nothing special, more like the annual token “artsy” nominee. Last year, it was Justice’s “D.A.N.C.E.” vid.
Meanwhile, where are all the other categories? The site only lists eight, whereas the event used to honor videos for technical achievements. Is that gone now? It would make sense, especially considering the lone technical category listed here is “Best Dancing in a Video.” Really? The VMAs used to be an opportunity for quality to trump quantity. Not anymore. I don’t necessarily think the problem is solely at MTV, however. It’s a different era at the cable channel, but it’s also a different pop music era altogether.