September 7, 2000
9:48 PM   Subscribe

Is it just me, or was that the worst MTV Video Music Awards ever? And Britney Spears did a lot to cement her reputation as a ... well, I won't say it since it isn't nice to use such words on the front page...
posted by aaron (37 comments total)
Well? Well? How about finishing that thought in here? Just between us?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 9:55 PM on September 7, 2000

hey, I'm still watching it!

yeah, it's pretty pathetic. The Wayans brothers are falling flat, everyone is lip sync'ing, and wow, Britney, uh, hmm, very odd. I can't begin to describe how happy I am that I don't have a teenaged daughter right now, how do you explain why their favorite pop star is dressed like a vegas showgirl/stripper?

The napster jokes between lars and others was slightly humourous, but on the whole, it was a pathetic show (well so far - the first 2 hrs).
posted by mathowie at 9:57 PM on September 7, 2000

>>How about finishing that thought in here?<<

posted by aaron at 10:08 PM on September 7, 2000

And before anyone cries sexism, that one video with the naked guy - D'Angelo, was it? - was just as bad. But at least he didn't win anything or ever show up on stage, rip off his clothes and start humping the stage.
posted by aaron at 10:11 PM on September 7, 2000

i think the naked d'angelo video is great, actually, because it's really the ultimate slow-jam video.

i can't help but wonder if i am getting old, and if my distaste for this year's vmas is just a sign of that. but then i think, hmm, midgets doing a kickline versus axl rose and tom petty? midgets doing a kickline versus madonna in dangerous liasions drag? midgets doing a kickline versus prince's butt?

and, well, you know.

'n sync were i thought the highlight of the evening, what with that tv/body syncing (ha, no pun intended) thing they had going on. also, it sounded like they were actually singing, despite the fact that all their music was remixed.
posted by maura at 10:48 PM on September 7, 2000

That TV-head part of the N'Sync show was pretty neat, but, y'know, that's all it was, a show. Doesn't have much to do with the music they were putting out, which was, well, N'ot Good. And the midgets were the best thing of all (as was the Blink 182 song that went with it); at least it was funny and the song was good. All the rest though, blech.

I don't think it's because we're getting older. All the posts I've seen online so far, from all age groups, are unanimously ripping it to shreds, save for the under-12 set. (Yup, even the teens hated it.)
posted by aaron at 10:55 PM on September 7, 2000

Spears’ fellow former Mouseketeer, Christina Aguilera, looked only slightly less skanky during her time on stage.

Words I am not used to hearing from MSNBC:
1. Skanky.

posted by tingley at 11:07 PM on September 7, 2000

But... but... butt... Isn't Britney Spears the one who teaches semiconductor physics on a web site I posted recently?

Talk about a poly-talent -- and she's not even 20 yet. What kind of amazing career will this prodigy have? She puts Buckaroo Banzai to shame -- and he was fictional. (ahem)

posted by Steven Den Beste at 12:49 AM on September 8, 2000

Matt, just how does your hypothetical teen-age daughter even know what a Vegas showgirl or stripper dresses like? Where have you been taking that poor girl? WHAT KIND OF FATHER ARE YOU, ANYWAY?
posted by Steven Den Beste at 1:03 AM on September 8, 2000

When Matt does have a teenage daughter, the girlie singers she wants to emulate will probably be even rougher than Britney. A sobering thought.
posted by holgate at 2:32 AM on September 8, 2000

One thing that finally rang true to me was when Jim Carry was talking about how Eminem was about rebellion. I really don't like his music and now I know why. I'm not supposed to like his music. I’m at the weird age just before 30 where you are beginning to sever the connection to youth. It’s not something I’m doing willingly it just seems natural.

It goes with the way I see the commercials for the new MTV show, Jackass, which is all I have to go on since I don’t have cable. Here we have a person following in the footsteps on Al Green. They are strip-mining shock effect humor. This is good. Let’s remove the pretentious nature of commercialism. Let’s just bring out what is it we all want to see and get over with it. We work too damn much to be served a pile of steaming BS every time we turn that TV on.

It is not that Americans crave reality based shows, as it is that we crave honesty in the people that pretend to tell us what us good for us.

posted by john at 2:37 AM on September 8, 2000 mean they play music on MTV?
posted by plinth at 4:15 AM on September 8, 2000

The term "music" is used loosely, but yes.

I was surprised to find that the VMAs were last night. While I generally dislike MTV, and the stuff they play, I usually catch them just to see how pathetic things are going (and to offset my Real World viewings.) This year, I just skipped it. Considering such luminaries as Eminem and Kid Rock were performing, I know I didn't miss much.

Let's face it: MTV turns everything it's got into an institution, and those die. Quickly. It's like SNL without the comedy.
posted by hijinx at 4:28 AM on September 8, 2000

Britney Spears is a whore because she dances around in next-to-nothing on stage? Surely the Clinton presidency has set a higher standard for whoring than that. Calling Britney a whore for dancing is an insult to whores who earned the title, like Wilt Chamberlain, Jennifer Ringley, Monica Lewinsky and Charles Kuralt.
posted by rcade at 6:57 AM on September 8, 2000

how much of a rebel is someone who's rebellious in a completely generic way?

and i'm sorry, but 'bye bye bye' is, as a pop song, better than 'all the small things,' which is just a generic punk-pop song. blink 182 = green day - clothes - punk cred + members who were chosen for their fame because of the same marketability that drove 'n sync to 9 million records sold, so what's the real difference, eh? the little girls at least understand.

and midgets stopped being funny like, uh, way before the first 'invasion of the little people' springer episode.
posted by maura at 7:25 AM on September 8, 2000

Brittney is a whore for the music company machine.

I like Blink 182. Why don't they have any cred? Have I become too old to realize what is real punk and fake punk? Were they churned out of the same bubblegum pop machine?

Midgets aren't funny. The one with Kid Rock is stupid, actually.

Enimem may feel he is being 'rebellious'. But rebellion doesn't ahve to take the form of being a complete asshole.

"But the Ramones sang 'Beat on the brat with a baseball bat!'" The thing is that the audience listened to the meaning, not just the words, if anyone even listens to the words today anymore.

I'm still reeling from the whole Jello Biafra vs DK's knock-down drag-out fight. It put such a damper on their history.
posted by rich at 8:03 AM on September 8, 2000

Look, Eminem spews some pretty repugnant shtuff, but it's clear that his act is merely performance art. This is old hat in the genre, hell, if even 10% of what NWA had rapped about was true then they'd be serial killers wanted by all law enforcement in the world. So, what Em is doing is posturing to the stereotype and taking it to even more ridiculous heights.

What's weird to me is how MTV has piled on to that scene. They've always been pretty conservative on what they show or don't -- remember the whole "Like a Prayer" controversy? Why is it that they are whoring themselves to play kingmaker to the white offensive rapper, when they could have chosen any number of black offensive rappers over the last fifteen years?
posted by norm at 9:57 AM on September 8, 2000

One thing that finally rang true to me was when Jim Carry was talking about how Eminem was about rebellion. I really don't like his music and now I know why. I'm not supposed to like his music. I’m at the weird age just before 30 where you are beginning to sever the connection to youth...

I don't think that's why you don't like him. I'm 24 and I like hip-hop, but Eminem sickens me. He's a talented rapper but the subject matter he chooses is loathsome. Anyone who dedicates an entire song to rapping about how he'd kill the mother of his child is Not Right.

Not to mention, how "rebellious" is it for a famous, critically applauded rapper to take shots at N'Sync and Christina Aguilera in his songs? Can you imagine Wyclef Jean, Dre, or KRS-One rapping about f--king N'Sync?! Eminem is a mental adolescent with a fast mouth and a penchant for cheap shots and shockingly personalized violent lyrics. Maybe he'll turn around and use his talent to create worthwhile work, but he's not on that road yet. As it stands, I think Eminem is a lot closer to being this generation's Vanilla Ice than its Beastie Boys.
posted by wiremommy at 10:02 AM on September 8, 2000

I made no effort to see this year's MTV vma's (it's gotta be cool; it's in lower case!), and my judgement appears totally vindicated.

If Eminem's "asshole act" (where are George W. and an open mic when you need them?) is any kind of "rebellion", it is a fully corporate-authorized form of rebellion.

Britney Spears is obviously adjusting her image marketing to react to the challenge from "Big Brother's" Brittany (who is at least smart enough to spell the name right).

Midgets reached maximum novelty value in music video with "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats, and in the movies with "Under the Rainbow". Since then, it's all Howard Stern material (and HE bombed on the vma's as "Fartman"). Austin Powers' "Mini-Me" character worked partly because it was a comic anachronism in a movie overflowing with comic anachronism.

And if the N-SYNC "TV-Head" bit was what I think it was, then it is totally recycled Mummenschanz and about as
exciting as seeing the Backstreet Boys in Burger King uniforms.

Aside from the possibility that D'Angelo looked better nude than Survivor's Richard Hatch, I obviously missed nothing.

BTW, not to nitpick, but Jackass is following in the footsteps of TOM Green. I WISH somebody - ANYBODY - in pop music would emulate AL Green (and not by stealing samples... and NOT like Big Mouth Billy Bass singing "Take Me to the River", which reminds me more of the Talking Heads version anyway).

P.S.: Re-reading this rambling post and looking at the other Pop Culture references I used to compare to the MTV mess, I now understand why Dennis Miller is trying to become a sportscaster...
posted by wendell at 10:19 AM on September 8, 2000

1.- Britney Spears was the best of the show, of course with MUTE turned on - I guess every man here would like her to dance that way in his house...

2.- Nsync, Janet Jackson and Spears = lipsync

3.- Best live performance: Red Hot Chilly Peppers and Rage against the machine

4.- Blink 182 SUCKS! - Good production on record, but they suck big time on stage
posted by neo at 10:59 AM on September 8, 2000

What I am getting at is that Eminem is rebelling against the idea of what his lyrics should be about. His whole purpose is to get under your skin. This is EXACTLY why young people like him. How much of the music that you listened to growing up was liked by your parents?

As far as being a corporate construct you can see this as a rebellion against the hippie ideals. Of course he is doing it for the money and he is waving this fact in your face. He's keeping it real in the sense that he is not pretending to be something he's not. He is obnoxious and violent without a discernable cause. It is a mirror image of the unfocused rage of youth and this resonates and sells. He is following the oldest law of economics, find a market and milk it for all its worth.

The whole show was a non-stop promotion of hip hop and pop. Every other genre took a back seat. I was surprised to see Lars doing a Napster skit, but it was his only reason to be there. At one time the camera had cut to him in the audience and his head was turned aside and his eyes closed in what looked like agony. He has nothing to do with the MTV crowd these days and the Napster issue has polarized the music scene. The skit illustrated his separation from the college crowd. Lars is now the MAN busting into a kids dorm room! The reason Chuck D didn’t get a skit is because MTV is as much in the label’s pocket as Lars. No matter what you might think about file-sharing, it is as old as the computers that enable it. Copy protection is just a thumb in the crumbling dam of IP. The big lie that people don’t buy what they can have for free is only true for the truly depraved amongst us (you know who you are) and the new generation is learning early that the way to really ‘vote’ is through your wallet.

“If voting actually changed anything it would be illegal.”

posted by john at 11:46 AM on September 8, 2000

Blink I haven't seen in concert, but I expect the difference between them and their live shows is much like the Ramones live and on album, or the Dickies live and on album, or... any number of others I've experienced in concert of the genre.

As for Eminem.. the other point to make is that he has been given latitude to be morally repugnent where no one is allowed. His lambasting agian homosexuals, for example, wouldn't fly if he substituted women or the hated 'nigger' word instead.

While it is surely free speech, the Grand Dragons of the KKK and bands that churn out lyrical music to the tune of Nazis aren't slammed into the mainstream and celebrated.

When all taken in a sarcastc, ironic tone, there may be more room for marginalization, but Eminem is not sarcastic or ironic, and speaks straight-up. Even with wide moral latitude, he's not anywhere near the positive, right, correct, or proper side of things.

And I'm decidely not a pc supporter, as a grounding rod for deciding if my opinion is too fundamentally right wing.
posted by rich at 12:59 PM on September 8, 2000

What I can't figure out is how this Washington Post reviewer actually thought that was Chris Rock delivering the opening monologue. The online version is missing this sentence which appeared in the copy I received this morning: Chris Rock closed his funny opening monologue with a tasteless joke about the slashes on O.J. Simpson's Web site address...
posted by sudama at 1:09 PM on September 8, 2000

Am I just getting old and cynical? Has the music industry always been such a banal brewery of stupid cliches, and I just never noticed it? Was rock really dead, all this time, just like they said?

I stopped buying CDs when the RIAA revealed themselves to be the greedy pirates they really are, but have since realized that I really don't care anyway. All the music I truly enjoy is either obscure or out of print.

posted by Mars Saxman at 1:18 PM on September 8, 2000

Fun, accessible, INDIE music I've been listening to lately:

Apples in Stereo
Fantastic Plastic Machine
Belle & Sebastian
The Slow Poisoners

I'm also digging some major-label stuff (bought USED): Michael Penn, Neil Finn, and Hooverphonic.

As always, there's plenty of great music out there, but you have to dig deep to find it.
posted by wiremommy at 1:36 PM on September 8, 2000

Apples in Stereo
Fantastic Plastic Machine
Belle & Sebastian
The Slow Poisoners

Nice selection. While we're at it, how about:

Smith and Mighty (the original trip hop; and the latest album is quite good)
Mouse on Mars (bleeps and beats and things)
Yo La Tengo (although they're not indie anymore, are they?)
Mantronix (classic hip hop from the 80s; when's the reunion?)

Eminem a rebel? Please. Eminem can dis Britney Spears all he wants, but they are united by a love of money -- and greed is not a new emotion. As inept as they are musically, they are two of the most effective corporate propagandists of our time, and recognition by MTV is only a reflection of that.
posted by johnb at 2:43 PM on September 8, 2000

Excellent Metacommentary on the vmooooo's from Fred MetaMugged Pyen:

Check out the "Biggest Flub Award" for a scene I WISH had happened.

A shorter term for "Celebrity Gone Insane Syndrome"? How about "psycholebrity"?

And men wearing sequins isn't just wack; it's one of the Foundations of Country Music (along with God, Country, Beer, Cheatin', Pickup Trucks and reusing a slide guitar sample recorded in 1957?)

Fred, I have two words for you: "Nice job".
posted by wendell at 3:52 PM on September 8, 2000

Well, next year I want Ali G up there for his role in Madonna's "Music" video. Oh yes.
posted by holgate at 8:56 PM on September 8, 2000

Eminem could dress in drag and the two of them present together. That would be a hoot!
posted by sudama at 9:13 PM on September 8, 2000

(off track a little)

that little person with kid rock is not a midget, thats his 7 year old son...i heard a song where this child is rapping about how he's "3ft.9 with a 10 ft. dick" along with other profanities...

now, how messed up does his mother have to be to have lost custody to the father BEFORE he became wealthy and famous? i mean, come on!
posted by centrs at 10:09 PM on September 8, 2000

When all taken in a sarcastc, ironic tone, there may be more room for marginalization, but Eminem is not sarcastic or ironic, and speaks straight-up.

You can't possibly listen to Eminem's albums and take the guy seriously. He's kidding. It's all pretty funny, too, if you don't mind humor that's in gloriously bad taste. I can see why he's so popular among the young 'uns.
posted by rcade at 10:28 PM on September 8, 2000

My point is that the rebellion of youth is a renewable resource and that people like Dr. Dre know how to exploit the white rapper factor.

The other side is that every successful youth rebel group tends to become what they fear. Metallica is nothing like what they what they first projected. The Beach Boys went from singing about beach babes and fast cars to the exotic vacation locations they could now afford. and Rage against the Machine may be heading down that same road. Then again, with one of the band members climbing on one of the structures during the middle of the show they might kill themselves before they get too popular. It comes down to the fact that as soon as you sign to a label you kiss any real ties to rebellion. As soon as you film your first MTVideo your have begun to crawl into the corporate womb. The question is can you ever make a fortune and still be an artist?
posted by john at 10:52 PM on September 8, 2000

Points to clarify: the small person who performs with Kid Rock (the one in the hats with the scowl on his face who typically stands to one side of the stage rocking back and forth like he's praying at the Wailing Wall) is not his son, but a 24 year old called, I believe, Little Joe. He is fully an adult, despite his diminutive stature.

*NSync make it a point of pride that they don't lipsynch in their live performances, if they did at the vmas (I missed their segment) it was likely due to some technical issue.

Lars Ulrich wasn't in agony when the Napster boy came onstage; he was feigning sleep. I was in total agreement with him -- boooring.

All told, sleeping through that debacle is probably the best thing that any of us could've done. It's time for MTV to hang it up.
posted by Dreama at 8:04 PM on September 9, 2000

"You can't possibly listen to Eminem's albums and take the guy seriously. He's kidding. It's all pretty funny, too, if you don't mind humor that's in gloriously bad taste. I can see why he's so popular among the young 'uns."

Uh, no, Enimem is serious. That's the horrifying thing. If you don't realize that the majority of his listeners take him seriously, that's a problem.
posted by rich at 2:53 PM on September 10, 2000

On a (mostly) related topic, here is a selection from concerning books about "the popular bands of the day." Of particular interest to me was the line about the Backstreet Boys smoking cigarettes and making fun of their handicapped fans. I also remember a story in the local independent paper a while back about the local band Slipknot, a death metal-type band which has gained quite a bit of popularity since touring with OzFest. (I'm not a fan myself.) It talked about how polite their were off-stage, etc. The lead singer has a small child, who he won't curse around, for example.

I just find it interesting how different people can be from what they pretend to be in order to sell (or make) music.
posted by Lirp at 4:20 PM on September 10, 2000

There is not a chance that eminem is serious. Re: my previous comment on rap as performance art. Besides, if you use the standard of "listen to his music" you'll note every two tracks he uses some variation of "I am not serious" slipped in there. (actually, closer to 'those who think I am serious are really really stupid')
posted by norm at 11:39 AM on September 11, 2000

My favorite part of this thread is that only one or two people have actually come out and said watching MTV's stuff is their guilty pleasure. Everyone else is complaining about the "kids these days", yet they still obviously paid attention to last night's show.

I found maura's comment about "Blink182 = Green Day - punk cred" amusing because hey, I thought the same thing about Green Day years ago. We've got life too good now for punk to be possible. Check out The Filth and the Fury for a good look at the social backdrop surrounding everyone's favorite archetypal Punk Band, The Sex Pistols (and yes, I realise there's a lot of irony here, with manufactured bands and such, but hey, that's my point).

I also wonder why so many people are talking about the commercialisation of things as if this is a new trend - it's an awards show for music videos. Slick expensive ads for musical groups. Selling lifestyles. Selling bands. And oh yeah, there's some music in there too.

Bottom line: We're Getting Older. We are Becoming Our Parents. It was Better in Our Day. The Kids These Days, They are Listening to the Crazy Music with the Long-Hairs and the Computers and the Techno and the Tight Pants.
posted by SiW at 8:52 AM on September 7, 2001

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