Saturday, September 9, 2017

The New MTVZ Is Here!!

The first ever edition of MTVZ was exactly one year ago in September 2016. We don't remember why it started, but it was before our Chromecast broke. This is definitely the longest MTVZ playlist we've ever assembled, probably because we won't be able to throw together another fresh playlist until at least December. We hope you love it!

Edit: This is the first case when we realized that Youtube does not allow playlists to embed more than 200 videos. There are about 240 vids in this one, but the last 40 are kinda boring so nbd.

Friday, September 8, 2017

TV Is The Only Solid Medium of 2017

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post is fucking awful and was only written because we're having trouble coming up with content.

iHeartRadio killed radio.

SiriusXM was never supposed to be good to begin with, so we can't really blame them for hurting the state of radio.

Spotify and streaming services don't help either. But we sorely miss the days when Top 40 stations were at least 40% listenable. It's incredible thinking back to how angry people got over pop's dominance during the TRL era ('98-'01). It's possible that Top 40 stations never sounded better than during this 3-year span.

Top 40 in 2017 is unlistenable. We don't get how anyone listens to this. And here's the thing: You can say this in 2017 without making it sound like you're old and unhip, because the mid-2010s mark an unprecedented era of promotional oversaturation that enables fans of any genre to quickly and easily access whatever new music they find most interesting. It's not that tough.

iHeartRadio has Ryan Seacrest on every day. They insist on avoiding crossover hits whenever possible, even though they allow Imagine Dragons because post-civil-war-wave is still considered ok. When Kendrick or Lil Uzi Vert were charting top 5, they were nowhere to be found on Top 40, even though their presence would have given the format an exciting boost of variety that listeners desperately crave. Instead, it's 20 songs that all sound like Meghan Trainor: American Idol-style vibrato-crooning over depressingly bland un-memorable faux-empowerment anthems with no discernible hooks. The exceptions are rare and equally unexciting: "Despacito" is apparently ubiquitous, even though we would not be able to hum a single bar from this song. Bruno Mars' "That's What I Like" is not his hottest song, but at least it's vaguely memorable. For a song as painfully boring as Harry Styles' "Sign Of The Times," at least it stood out as something different. Taylor Swift's equally bland new singles should snugly fit throughout the next 12-15 months (the typical chart-life of her hits).

MTV has the ability to change all of this, but they're incapable of understanding their audience. There's no way in hell that the re-launch of TRL won't be cancelled by mid-November because they've completely lost all sense of how to properly engage actual music fans.

Even worse is the Modern Rock Radio format, which sounds exactly the same as Top 40 in 2017.

The only way this will ever change is with a competing alternative radio platform who insists on ignoring existing chart success. Radio playlists should always be chosen by music nerds.

Same goes for MTV. Without any real competition, the channel has no way to understand what its viewers really want.

Yeah anyway, Hollywood really sucks now also. Comic book movies suck. Disney sucks. Star Wars sucks. Franchises suck. Re-makes all suck. Legos suck. Emojis suck.

And despite all of this, the world of television has somehow grown to be more amazing than it has ever been. It's the only major big-money medium that's down to take risks.

This is all we really wanted to talk about. Here is every show we currently watch and every show we're currently excited to see:

Twin Peaks
The season just ended, and we forgot to watch all of it. No spoilers please.

Rick & Morty
Best show on television. They're not even halfway through season 3 yet. We hope it never ends.

Wet Hot American Summer
This went up on Netflix about a month ago. Need to review this.

Norm MacDonald Live
"The full hour." Norm loves Larry King.

WWE Monday Night Raw
WWE Tuesday Night SmackDown

This is a surprise. We did not expect to get into professional wrestling in late-summer 2017, and yet here we are...

Bojack Horseman
Season 4 went up today.

Adventure Time
The last episode of this season so far (apparently their last) aired on July 21, and it could return without warning at any time. There is typically no fanfare or large announcements regarding the beginning or end of their seasons, so it wouldn't surprise us if the show's final episode arrived without warning within the next six months.

South Park
Broad City

Was it NBC who used to designate Thursday night as "Must See TV?" We like that Comedy Central has been making an effort to bring this back. It's been a while since the world was offered a solid block of multi-show dopeness. Our hopes are up that South Park avoids political commentary for the remainder of their entire existence. Based on "The End of Serialization as We Know It," this seems to be the case. It was just barely a year ago when Bill Hader went to bat for Trey & Matt, ensuring fans that they still view every episode as if their entire reputation rests on its success or failure. Similarly, we're hoping Broad City understands why the Hillary episode bummed out so many people and consider shitting on Trump instead.

Nathan For You
Returning around late-September.

Curb Your Enthusiasm
Returning early October.

Stranger Things
How many music blogs will post about this when it returns in late October (not coincidentally just-in-time for Halloween)?

Cash Cab
Game Show Network has been airing re-runs every night at 11PM and 11:30PM. And apparently the show is returning later this year.

Lil Yachty "Lady In Yellow"

A summer jam by nature, "Lady In Yellow" implies sunshine, sundresses and some Sunny D.

But now with slightly less than two weeks until Sept 21 and the fall semester very much back in session (not to mention a somewhat-predictably devastating hurricane season), the underlining bittersweetness in the most melancholy summer jams changes from green-to-yellow alongside the leaves.

This song includes our favorite misheard lyric of the year: "Little miss lady in the yellow / Hello / Would you like to push the petal to the metal with me?" These are not the real words.

Lil Yachty is also a huge Coldplay fan (no, really) so we'd like to guess there's some "Yellow" reference in here as well. We'll discuss this song a little more in two years when we finally get around to "Lit Mix 2017."

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

We Watched the 2004 VMAs

There was a boring party at our house on Sunday, and we were looking for something to do. So we dug through our big crate of tapes once again. With all the 2017 VMA announcements throughout August, we decided to settle on one that said "2004 VMAs" in big red letters. The tape begins in the middle of a Real World re-run that aired just prior to the red carpet pre-show and continued with the original commercials for the next six hours.

As the show progressed, we recalled when the Geocities version of TMK thoroughly covered this show, originally aired on August 29th of that year. Have our opinions changed over the past 13 years?

#1 The Death Count

The death count was way less devastating than in '95 or '99.

- Adam Yauch presented an award with the Beastie Boys.
- Although Proof didn't say anything, he presented an award with the rest of D12 (minus Eminem) along with Benji and Joel from Good Charlotte.
- Linkin Park unexpectedly won the Viewers' Choice award for "Breaking The Habit." Mike Shinoda and Joe Hahn accepted the award and seemed very surprised, although Chester Bennington was not present.

#2 Highlights

All the highlights were frustratingly fleeting compared to those within the VMA shows we watched last summer.

- None of the musical performances were thoroughly dope. Kanye West came closest, although poor Chaka Khan's cameo sounded like she had zero access to a proper monitor mix and was just rolling with it. Her singing is so gratingly off-pitch that it's actually pretty funny:

- Beastie Boys' last two VMAs appearances were in '98 and '99 when they bravely spoke at length about uncharacteristically un-fun topics. Although the shows had grown joylessly contrived and less spontaneous since '99, B-Boys seemed to be having a fun time. Ad Rock briefly said something to the effect of "There's something we need to let you guys know about," and a lot of people might have thought they were due for another heavy-handed lecture. But instead he said, "We wanna introduce the newest member of the band. Sasquatch, come on out here!" And then a Sasquatch came out and stood behind them while they presented the MTV2 Award to Yellowcard whose acceptance speech was basically upstaged by Sasquatch and the Beasties.

The Sasquatch moment wasn't necessarily spontaneous, but at least it was unexpected to the viewers at home. MTV tried out a few other similar "surprise" moments: Wayne Coyne approached the podium above the crowd in a giant transparent bubble; Matt Lillard literally crowd-surfed to the podium on an actual surfboard. Good effort on MTV's part, but it was a lot more fun during the '90s shows when the biggest surprises were unrehearsed.

#3 Other Notes

- It wasn't a bad VMAs, but it was pretty boring compared to '97 or '99. It sucks that the spontaneity and excitement from only five years earlier had diminished so rapidly. The atmosphere felt comparatively desperate to hold the viewers' attention with A.D.D. tactics - way more exhausting than fun. Camera shots were rarely held for longer than a full second. Every performance consisted of shortened songs, medleys, collaborations and multiple guest appearances. The only exception to this was a 3-minute performance from The Polyphonic Spree (satisfying the show's final oddball/WTF performance in the tradition of Fatboy Slim, The Edge lipsyncing to "Numb," and The Leningrad Cowboys).

- There were many noticeable issues with audio-mix and more live-TV mistakes than in previous shows.

- This might have been the first host-less VMAs. Dave Chappelle turned down their offer but had two brief monologues in the show's 2nd half. More Chappelle presence could have easily saved the entire show.

- We were bugged by the introduction to Alicia Keys' performance. Christina Milian and LL Cool J read from a teleprompter that she was prepped to be this generation's Marvin Gaye (lmao). Equally annoying, Sway loudly announced "You just witnessed history" after the special guest for her set was revealed as Stevie Wonder. Chappelle would have nailed moments like these.

- The emphasis on hiphop and r&b was appreciated and properly reflected the singles charts of that summer. The three rock performances of the night (Jet, Hoobastank and Yellowcard's trifecta of suck) were stuffed into a 7-minute rapid-fire rock block within the show's first 40 minutes. The Darkness or Slipknot would have been much better choices. (Later in the night, Jet won the "Best Rock Video" for "Are You Gonna Be My Girl" and no one cared.)

- It was the first show without Eminem or Britney Spears since 1998 even though "My Band" and "Toxic" were both nominated for "Best Video."

- Marilyn Manson and Mandy Moore were a great match. If they got married and swapped names, they would be Marilyn Moore and Mandy Manson.

- "Pieces Of Me" by Ashlee Simpson is one of the all time greats. Sung without lip sync, the pre-show's version sounded less than desirable. Two months later, her lip sync performance on SNL made headlines. By January, she was getting boo'd during the Orange Bowl. Poor Ashlee just can't get a break.

- Outkast's grand finale performance suffered the most from MTV's ADD-restrictions. It began amazingly with only one verse and one chorus of "Prototype," an '04-nostalgia jam for sure. But after 60 seconds, the groove rudely and awkwardly transitioned to "The Way You Move." Within 45 seconds, Bentley Farnsworth upstaged Big Boi with very intense dance moves during about 60 seconds of "Ghettomusick." Andre then returned seeming un-enthused. During a 5-second pause, he says, "for the millionth time goddamnit, here's 'Hey Ya.' One, two, three, EH."

Surprisingly, the song "Hey Ya!" closed the show in its entirety, but not until after two really annoying things happened:

#1. Sway interrupted the song right around the "What's cooler than being cool? Ice cold" part to speak into the camera and say "Thanks for tuning into the VMAs" or some similar completely unnecessary farewell message that could have been saved until after the song was over. (This reminds us of a similar event 10 months later during MTV's Live 8 simulcast when VJ's were instructed to interrupt Pink Floyd's first reunion performance in over 20 years.)

#2. MTV's Gen Y pandering centered the event around unrelenting Choose Or Lose branding. This wasn't just a few innocent "get out and vote" PSAs. This was self-righhteous and grossly soulless market-tested condescension. By the time Outkast closed the show, it was probably the 19th time Choose Or Lose was getting stuffed down the viewers' throats. Red, white and blue balloons and huge "Choose Or Lose" posters covered the stage. The paid-audience members were handed picket signs covered in vague "vote" messages. And the grossest part of all, dancers were choreographed to dance their way in and out of voting booths that were placed on stage.

We were very bothered by all of this in 2004, and our take has clearly deepened with time.

As for "Hey Ya!" we agree with Andre that it had grown annoyingly inescapable by August 2004. But thirteen years later, it feels weirdly absent from recent pop canonization (despite receiving near-perfect scores when it came time for end-of-decade lists in 2009). Even in the bizarrely irritating VMAs context, "Hey Ya!" feels irresistible, and we totally miss it.

Previous entries from our VMAs Summer Series:
| We Watched The '95 VMAs |
| We Watched The '97 VMAs |
| Oh Shit We Watched The '99 VMAs |

For more 2004: 2000 Jams from the 2000s: Part 5 (2004)

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Human Garbage

Wow, our blog is the worst it's ever been. LOL. We just got done posting the top 5000 songs of all time that came out during a year that feels like it happened about 7 years ago, so everything here is just great. The only other thing we've done here in 2017 is embedding MTVZ, but besides that it's a whole lotta nothin.

so Taste My Kids is fucking dead. Yeah, DEAD.

Well, as long as we're dead and as long as no one is reading, it's probably about time we started getting into some hot takes.

Hot Take #1: Calls us a buncha nutsos if you'd like, but we're starting to think this guy Trump might be a huge jerk. There's something off about him. Not sure what it is exactly, but we're not really into the cut of his jib. Nothing concrete yet, but it's possible the guy is a big jerk or at the very least a nazi apologist or something. The internet hasn't really been providing very much evidence to back this up, and it's tough to find info on this strangely uncovered media story, but we may provide more updates on this as they become available.

Hot Take #2: Go ahead and use the term "alt-left" as much as you want as long as you're ok with everyone knowing that you are a nazi apologist.

Hot Take #3: Jerkass doucheface fuckhead needs a zingier handle. As a nickname, "45" feels too forced. Why not choose a nickname with some sexy zing to it like "President Human Garbage?"

Hot Take #4: Eeeewwww poor people. So gross, right? Like I can't even. When I see them, I'm just like, "I can't even right now." I dunno, like, why don't they just ask their dad for a job or something? Or I don't know, just like go to Starbucks and fill out an application. I mean, it's not that hard. Or maybe try like Quicken Loans or Cheesecake Factory. Just like, I dunno, just get a life, right? lmao