Spoiler alert – no.
Once upon a time, during a blissful era when Jersey Shore did not exist, the VMAs used to be required viewing. If you didn’t watch the VMAs, you were bound to miss a pop culture watercooler moment. In 2002, when I was watching my then-celebrity crush Jimmy Fallon host (he was so pretty), Guns N’ Roses reunited on-stage for what turned out to be a very lackluster performance. But still. It was Guns N’ Roses (well, Axl, anyway). In 2003, Madonna kissed Britney and Christina. I was in shock. “Their careers are over,” I muttered. (I was an innocent nineteen. I didn’t know any better.)
As MTV’s focus on actual music has lessened, the quality of their music awards shows has diminished. It seems as if the shows are scheduled by rote and no effort is made to distinguish the show from the previous year’s rendition. I guess I watched some of last year’s awards, but I couldn’t tell you what happened or who even hosted. Last night’s show didn’t even have a host.
After settling on my couch resignedly, I turned to MTV. Lady Gaga opened the ceremony. Excuse me, Jo Calderone:
I have to hand it to Lady Gaga – she consistently goes for weird. This appearance was some sort of performance art piece in which Gaga, guised as “Jo,” launched into this monologue about how weird his ex-lover Lady Gaga is. I got such bad second-hand embarrassment watching this, because I kept thinking, “JESUS CHRIST, YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF.” Yet I had to give her credit for being ballsy and so committed. The “WTF” faces from the celebrities in the audience were more entertaining than the monologue. Britney had an expression on her face that had been reserved for her own disastrous VMAs performance in 2007.
The actual performance of “You and I” was really good (no matter what your feelings on Gaga are, you can’t deny that she is incredibly talented), and Brian May just popped out of nowhere to play a solo. I just realized that a good majority of the VMA’s intended audience probably doesn’t know who Brian May is. This is very depressing.
Overall, I’m still undecided if the performance art piece was brilliant or horrific. I think it’s a dilemma Lady Gaga fans consistently find themselves in.
There were some halfhearted attempts at entertainment before the awards for “Best Rock Video.” I think MTV defines “rock” very loosely, considering the nominees in this category. The nominees were:
Foo Fighters (why else do you think I was watching this trainwreck?)
Cage the Elephant (I love them)
Foster the People (I really like Foster the People, but they’re not rock)
Mumford and Sons. OH DEAR GOD.
Can I please rant about Mumford and Sons for a moment? I find that people’s love of Mumford and Sons borders on cultish. I hear people gushing over them like they are the saviors of music, that they are incredible, and that they “set the stage on fire” when they perform.
To which I say – huh?!
I’m sorry, guys. I tried. I listened to a couple of songs and I could not get past just how much they sucked. Yeah, I said it. All this hype is much ado about nothing. It’s not that I don’t enjoy slower music – I really do. But their music is just monotonous and soporific. I can appreciate the musicianship of the instrument playing, but that’s about it. The rest of their stuff does nothing me for, especially the song-writing. Here’s the opening line from “The Cave.”
It’s empty in the valley of your heart
I mean, come on. How the fuck am I supposed to take that seriously? And MTV considers this ROCK?! Shitty indie folk pop? Yes. Rock and roll? Hell to the no.
Luckily, the Foos won and Dave made a speech about how there’s still rock and roll out there if you know where to look. TELL ME WHERE TO LOOK, DAVE. I can’t rely on MTV to show me, that’s for sure. And I know you Foo Fighter haters will think, “How are these ‘Learn to Fly’ guys rock and roll, Jenny?” I used to think the same thing, y’all, until I went to one of their live shows. Trust me, they’re legit.
After that, I tried to watch but the show was just so bad that I switched stations. I’m disappointed that the VMAs weren’t how they used to be. But maybe that’s part of being an adult – things will never be as good as your childhood memory. And maybe I’m sounding like every other generation, but pop music just isn’t as good as it used to be. Take what I said with a grain of salt, because I know that I feel this way only because of nostalgia. However, there has to be a ring of truth to it – pop music from when I was a kid may have been corny at times, but Autotune wasn’t prevalent. I’d take corny and sincere over Autotune any day.
That being said, I’ll probably attempt to watch the VMAs again next year. Old habits die hard.