Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What the Hell Happened to MTV?

Take On Me. The good old days.

About a month ago, I invested into a big fat plasma HDTV. As such, I spend most of my TV viewing time in the 600’s of my Comcast service. The HD channels. There are a lot of new stations that I have never seen before. I have the National Geographic Channel or Nat Geo as they like to say. I have a channel that does nothing but explain how random things are made. Kayaks, pinball machines, medieval swords. I have Discovery Health with its wealth of medical information about conjoined twins, plastic surgery and pregnant women. I like that channel but they have way too many documentaries featuring women giving birth. As a squeamish man who has no kids of his own, that’s a bridge I am reluctant to cross. As beautiful as the miracle of life may be, I really don’t want to see a screaming woman blow a hairy, slimy bubble between her legs. I’m still mad at Knocked Up for smacking me in the face with that image.

With this wealth of educational channels, I can fool my brain into thinking I’m being productive while I sit my fat ass on a couch for seven straight hours. That last line is an example of self deprecating hyperbole. I don’t really watch that much TV. (That last line was an example of a lie.) But my new favorite channel is without a doubt Palladia.

Palladia is a channel that does nothing but broadcast concerts and music videos in HD. I know what you’re thinking. How is that any different than what MTV has been doing since 1983 or whatever? Well there are two primary reasons that Palladia is better.

First, watching a well filmed concert in HD is fantastic. I watched a Tom Petty show that lasted about two hours. I’ve seen Petty live three times. I may have enjoyed that show on Palladia more than any of the concerts I have seen. They focus on the guitarist’s fingers during their solos. You can see the chord progression and when they change their settings on their pedal. Unless you’re front row center, you don’t get that experience in the E Center. And you really need HD to properly celebrate the craggily glory of Tom Petty’s face. He is a worn, out ugly woman. He should start dating Brett Butler. It really is to the point where it’s better to watch an event like that on TV than it is to be there live. MTV never came close to that.

Second, MTV and VH1 haven’t even referred to music in any way in the last five years. They sold their soul to the low production costs of preteen Reality TV years ago. Holy hell. MTV has become Nickelodeon with tons and tons of pubescent sex.

Now a guy like me bitching about MTV is similar to me bitching about a tampon commercial. Neither MTV or Tampax are interested in selling anything to me. I am a thirty year old male. I am not a member of their demographic, so it shouldn’t be a shock that their crap doesn’t resonate. I don’t care about flexible applicators and absorbent cotton anymore than I care about “Watch as my slutty mom sets me up with date raping frat douches.”. And more importantly, MTV is quite aware that people like me don’t care about their crap. But I’ll bitch about MTV anyway. (Stay tuned for next week, when I deliver a scathing review about the marketing techniques of feminine hygiene products. Take that, Summer’s Eve!)

Everyone born in America between 1970 and 1985 can relate with a good mid 80’s to early 90’s video. Like Nintendo and Sesame Street, they are images that unite our generation. I don’t care what political, cultural or religious persuasion or what socioeconomic status you may be from. We all know exactly where the first Warp Whistle is on Super Mario Brothers 3. We all can sing the cool, disco pinball 12345 song from Sesame Street. And we all have a nostalgic affection for the video for Take On Me by A Ha.

I found myself watching footage of some British music festival on Palladia. I didn’t know who any of the bands were, but I enjoyed it. I guess I never knew who any of the bands were in the 80’s when my nine year old brain was educated by Adam Curry of the wonders of Cindy Lauper, Warrent and Motley Crue. And this is why I lament the effective death of MTV. As stupid as these videos may be, I have a certain fondness for them. And at the risk of sounding like an old coot, kids these days just seem to miss out on that. It’s a shame that MTV doesn’t offer this anymore. They don’t play videos. Ever. But I guess music videos are something that really is associated with the past. Their time came and went.

Nowadays, I listen to my Ipod exclusively. I have no connection to the current music scene outside of a friend telling me to listen to a particular band. So watching Palladia gives me a little fresh perspective without wasting my time with VJ’s or countdowns or any crap like that. They barely have commercials. Just a wide variety of visually detailed music. I’ll take it.

Here are a few classic videos from MTV’s prime. Enjoy. Feel free to post a link to your favorite video.

The Gay Synth Pop British Stuff

Come One Eileen
- Dexy's Midnight Runner
I have exactly zero Irish blood in me. When I hear this song, I lament that fact.

Head Over Heels - Tears For Fears

I love any video that features a Monkey in a Red Sox Jersey. I also like the singer's tight, curly proto mullett.

The Safety Dance - Men Without Hats
The only thing better than a monkey, is a midget. Especially if it is a Renaissance themed midget.

The Glory Days Of Butt Rock

Panama - Van Halen
I hate Van Halen, but this song kicks ass. About time Central America got some love.

High Enough - Damn Yankees
Ted Nugent, Tommy Shaw and a full string section? Mozart was a hack.

Nothing But a Good Time - Poison
Brett Michaels, you are indeed the voice of the downtrodden proletariat. Posion tours all the time. Take my advice. If you get a chance, go see them.

1 comment:

cool_guy said...

Hey, watch that "Old Coot" stuff...

Palladia is on my list of very good stuff...