A few weeks ago the MTV Video Music Awards took place, and to be honest, I didn’t watch. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I viewed the yearly event (probably in a dorm room over a decade ago). I hate to play the “back in my day” card, but I do feel that there was a time when the VMAs were legitimately about rewarding great music videos and not just a popularity contest. Big winners in 2014 include former child stars like Miley Cyrus and Drake, and Lorde was awarded the “Best Rock Video” of the year for her song “Royals.” You know, THIS SONG that doesn’t feature any guitars and is built around a looping hip-hop beat? Can we all just agree that rock (at least the popular variety) is dead?
On social media I’ve seen some bemoan the age-old complaint that MTV doesn’t even play music videos anymore, but I think it’s time to get over the fact they haven’t been a music channel for over a decade. Some have suggested that music videos don’t matter anymore. However, I think they are more important than they have been since their explosion in the 80s. Young people have turned to YouTube as a major source of music listening, often playing the same video multiple times just to re-hear their favorite OneDirection song. The highest rated videos on YouTube aren’t of people on fire, or people getting hit in the nuts, but music videos of teeny-bop stars (hence why YouTube has now started its own music awards).
I am still old-fashioned in my listening habits, predominantly purchasing LPs and CDs with the occasional MP3 when I can’t wait until my next record store visit. Despite my out-of-touch approach to music, I do still check out new music videos on occasion. I’m not spending hours online watching videos, but I do have some new videos that I’ve watched several times. Here are some of my favorite videos as of late.
In his latest video, Action Bronson pages homage to cinematic classic Easy Rider with a video that is one part spirit quest, one part Fear and Loathing, and one part Citizen Kane-esque search for Bronson’s version of “Rosebud.”
“Mess On a Mission”
As with most Liars videos, “Mess On a Mission” is an unsettling, repetitive backward journey through one horrific landscape after another. The band members movements are reminiscent of a video game, and as the video reveals itself, they are seen repeating their motions with a plethora of weapons in hand.
I’ve been singing VanGaalen’s praises for a while now, and “Monster” adds fuel to the fire. As with all of his other videos, VanGaalen drew and animated the strange story of a creature slowly transform into a monster, more and more grotesque with each verse. Once again, VanGaalen’s artwork surpasses my own imagination of the visuals conveyed within the imagery of the lyrics.