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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Does Anyone Still Care About Music Videos?


The VMA nominees were announced today. Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Beyonce led the pack, with other nods to artists including Eminem, Kanye West and Green Day. I can’t help but wonder, is an awards show honoring music videos still relevant? The network holding the now 26-year-old ceremony is currently airing a show called "Parental Control" while I’m typing this, which is a dating series in which parents select dates for their kids, followed by "True Life: I’m in a Love Triangle." The show on MTV’s 10 p.m. prime time slot is "Paris Hilton’s My New BFF." Yikes. I know the “where are the music videos, MTV?” complaint is tired, and for the most part I didn’t really care very much. But then, earlier this summer after the passing of Michael Jackson, I was sitting in a little bar in Atlantic Beach called Fly’s Tie, where every Sunday they set up big screens and play whatever music video you request (really, anything you want). Of course, Michael Jackson’s classics were in heavy rotation. Being a toddler in the 80s, I hadn’t actually seen many of his videos in their entirety. I was transfixed. I couldn’t stop watching…and looking around, everyone else was too. You would think we were watching the last minute of the GA/FL football game in overtime. The whole experience reminded me that videos can be entertaining, and they can also offer a unique point of view and visual expression from an artist who you would otherwise only hear. Everyone is still making them, so are people just watching them online instead? Perhaps music videos aren’t irrelevant, and music television is. Either way, MTV keeps up their charade every year, having an awards ceremony for videos they don’t actually air on their network between the hours of 9 AM and midnight. Will anyone be watching? Maybe if they pay that kid from the Twilight movies to make an appearance. Or maybe people will just watch it online instead.

-Julie McCollum

Listening to: “Gronlandic Exit” by Of Montreal

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