MTV turns 20 years old today. 20 fuckin' years. The platinum kahuna. Wow. To think, just 20 years ago, MTV was revolutionary. 20 years later, MTV is…MTV. Let's not hold that against them though, at least for today.
Now, I could bitch about how MTV doesn't play music videos anymore or how Carson Daly sucks ass, but it's all been done before, and as much as I bash the cable behemoth, I'll admit to liking MTV for what it is – a place you can visit at any given time for disposable entertainment.
Remember Remote Control? How 'bout Singled Out? I can name plenty of MTV shows that aired with no pretense of being anything more than fun to watch: The [original] Ben Stiller Show, The [original] Jon Stewart Show, Oddville MTV, The Ren and Stimpy Show, Sifl and Olly, The State, and most recently, Jackass and The Andy Dick Show.
Still, MTV does stand for "music television," and the music part of the channel has, in fact, decreased substantially since 1981. There's always MTV2, but who wants to go out of their way to find MTV2 when MTV1 is already required programming on every cable service in the world?
Maybe MTV is simply looking out for the future of America by refusing to play all the bad music videos out there. Then again, one look at the nominees for the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards would say otherwise. "Lady Marmalade" for Best Video? Dude… Who nominates these things? Toddlers?
Leave it to culture king Jonathan Yu to give credit where credit is due. The following is what I believe to be the ten best music videos of the past MTV-award-qualifying year (July 2000 – July 2001):
Alien Ant Farm • "Smooth Criminal"
Barenaked Ladies • "Pinch Me"
Britney Spears • "Don't Let Me Be The Last To Know"
De La Soul featuring Redman • "Oooh"
Fatboy Slim • "Weapon Of Choice"
Gorillaz • "Clint Eastwood"
Jurassic 5 • "Quality Control"
Rage Against The Machine • "Testify"
R.E.M. • "Imitation Of Life"
Robbie Williams • "Rock DJ"
Take that, MTV! Oh, and happy birthday.