The 2009 VMAs

by | Sep 14, 2009 | MUSIC

Finally the yearly cultural atrocity exhibition returns live from Radio City Music Hall.

Finally the yearly cultural atrocity exhibition returns live from Radio City Music Hall. This year, the festivities seemed to be crammed with screaming post-pubescent girls more than bona-fide celebrities. So, since I’m exhausted and missed All Tomorrow’s Parties in the Catskills for the second year in a row, let’s take a look at this former barometer of pop music through my jaded and bitter lens:

I realize that MTV can’t afford shelling out the big bucks for an actual celebrity host (they’re ditching their Times Square studio as well), but really, Russell Brand? What an unfunny shell of a host. This man is the jutting bone from MTV’s bloated corpse. I do get a kick out of the man making jokes about British parlance while the cameras pan to a clearly nonplussed Beyonce.

This is the first time I’ve seen any of these videos. I could more easily recognize episodes of Degrassi or 16 and Pregnant before the clip from “Love Lockdown.” Now that TRL is gone, when do they play these things anyway? At least MTV used to try to hide the fact that the nominations were essentially contractual agreements to get the artists to show up at this thing. Did their contract with Eminem stipulate that he had to be nominated in every fucking category except for Best Female Artist?

Thank you, Madonna, for stepping up to the podium, telling a boring fucking anecdote about dinner with Michael Jackson, and then spending the rest of your airtime shaming the public for not paying attention to the music, man! Too bad none of this will make you relevant again or reverse your transformation into a wheezing tabloid skeleton. Hey, remember when someone died while setting up your stage rig?

Janet Jackston still looks 25 and still has more talent in her exposed Superbowl breast than almost anyone else in this room.

Kanye West takes Taylor Swift’s microphone and immediately acts like the world’s biggest asshole/makes the show a thousand times more enjoyable. Kanye West has the manners of Axl Rose. The fact that this man has no tact just made sure that people will actually discuss the VMAs for a couple of days. Viacom, write this man a check!



Taylor Swift sings a decent song on a subway and then stands on a car. This is the most innocuous teenager that Kanye could have attacked.

Take note, VCU art students. Lady Gaga has the career you would all kill for. She gets to vamp onstage, wear art projects, splatter fake blood on herself and end her song mid-air. I could talk until I’m blue in the face about this woman. Even if you can’t stand her music, she’s completely embodied her concept of what a pop star should be and she’s got a hell of a voice. This woman eats postmodernism for breakfast.

Green Day: You are not relevant. You have not become The Clash. You have sucked all the fun out of what once made you loveable. You turned from the enjoyable pop band that gave us “Basketcase” and “Longview” into smug, self-important shits. RETIRE. (Also, if you’re going to pull someone onstage, you may want to make sure you pick the one that’s wearing underwear…)

BOOOOOOOOOOO Kanye West. You made a nineteen-year-old cry. Now you will get crucified for the rest of the show.

Muse, you do realize that the guitar hook in this song is the beginning of the chorus to “Call Me” by Blondie? Now you’ll never be popular in America.

I thought that the All American Rejects were Of Montreal for around fifteen seconds. Performing musicians: your outfits do not distract from your shitty songs.

I often forget that Pink exists. She’s the most vacuous pop star out there, and even though her singles attempt to imbue her with personality it just never works for me. Putting her in a harness and having her do flips is not a solution.

Lady Gaga wins Best New Artist and comes onstage in an outfit that obscures her entire face. Take a solid look into Eminem’s eyes to see what utter cultural irrelevance looks like.

Jay-Z has been driving to the VMAs all night and appears just in time to look bored and disinterested. Too bad this is the same level of energy he reaches on the whole of The Blueprint 3.

So, with the bulk of the pop charts MIA, a shitty host, and the majority of artists looking like they need to rush home for a nap and a Valium, MTV has given us another awards show that has provided us with approximately six minutes of worthwhile television.

Matt Ringer

Matt Ringer

A meat popsicle.




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