Last week, after flicking through channels like a zombie, I randomly came across an advertisement for MTV’s Video Music Awards. By the way, has it ever bothered anyone else that it’s not called the MVAs—the Music Video Awards? I mean, they are celebrating music videos, aren’t they? Anyway, I saw the ad and thought to myself, “What’s a music blog without a little VMA nostalgia?”
Remember when you were in elementary and middle school, when watching MTV’s Video Music Awards was the coolest thing you could do? Yes, each year, this was the thing to watch. With hungry anticipation, kids would come to class and discuss the year’s most shameful night in music. They would engage in heated debates, like whose performance would kick ass the most, or which artist was worthy of receiving that most coveted, pinnacle of honors: the Video of the Year Moonman trophy. To us 90s kids, it was an epic event; a chance for us to root for the celebrities we idolized and hope that, if they won any award at all, they would remember to thank us fans in their acceptance speech; an opportunity to see the stars we watched on TRL every day leap out of their music videos and come to life on stage. Then, when the VMA’s finally came and went, we would spend the next few days reliving the most outrageous and memorable highlights.
Yes, this is what we used to do folks. Now I think most of us can agree that, at best, the VMAs have turned into an incriminatingly guilty pleasure. The show has always been a circus; there’s no denying that. But as MTV opens its carnival tents each year, the ceremony starts to feel more and more like a freak show. Watching the VMAs makes us feel both humiliated and intrigued, like we’re looking at a train wreck that we can’t turn away from. Every now and then, there’s something that truly wows us—like when Beyonce won Video of the Year and invited Taylor Swift back on stage for a second, Kanye-less chance at an acceptance speech. Sometimes, we’re stuck with underwhelming performances and moments that make us cringe with embarrassment—like when Lady Gaga hosted as a man with a prosthetic penis. But most of the time, we either don’t realize that the VMA’s are taking place—or we just simply don’t care enough to watch.
Why is this exactly? Is it because we know that today’s MTV has little to do with music, and more to do with the kind of reality television that makes you believe society is about to collapse? Is it because, after experiencing things like Jersey Shore or Teen Mom, we’ve come to regard MTV and all of its productions as a joke? Is it because the music of our childhood was actually good and the music that fills the airwaves now is complete garbage? Or maybe we’ve all grown up and have gotten too old for the circus. Maybe we’re just too busy with our lives to notice an event that we used to be so fond of. I’m not sure why my interest in the VMAs has waned over the years; but like with anything from your childhood that your adult-self can no longer appreciate or enjoy, it makes me sad that it has. This year though, I plan to attend the circus on August 25 at 9 PM. Maybe I’ll love it, maybe I’ll hate it. Chances are I’ll want to hang myself from a noose after it ends, which seems to be the case in recent years. But here’s one thing I do know: that we can expect MTV and music’s biggest names to do something absolutely ridiculous. Until then, enjoy a music video of our own: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kPLJLK0EmqM&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DkPLJLK0EmqM&nomobile=1
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