Welcome to the Retirement Haus: Pre-VMA 2010 – Pretense and Predictions

That time of year again: Vidjo. MUZAK. Awords.

Pretense: I do love this time of year, but to be honest I’m feeling a bit less-than-enthused for the first time in my life (yep, pass the Geritol – it’s time for the early bird special #aarp). On one hand I feel like you can’t top last year – it just… it can’t happen; and to even fathom a thought entertaining any idea otherwise is, is beyond negligent and belittling to Pop logic, theory, and history. That said… let’s delve and dabble

So, to be completely honest: 1.) I’m still hungover from a punch-drunk-love affair with the 2009 VMAs, and 2.) MTV is no doubt still in come-down mode from the superlative high that was said ceremony. The 2009 VMAs capstoned an era – they were our “we went out like kings and queens” magnum opus. Now, we’re on the heels of the embodiment of all a Video Music Award ceremony should be: dictator to the following year in Pop Culture. Last year we saw a star rise from the dead and resurrect performance art as Pop – from the Grammys to the AMAs, from Bad Romances to Monster Balls, from Good Ass Jobs to Good Fridays, Beiber and iCarly, Russell Brand and Katy Perry, Imperial States of Mind… the list goes on, but however you slice it: the 2009 VMAs were the Pop pulse this year. After a showing like that, there’s nothing to do except sit back and bask in the brilliance of a job well done – enter VMA 2010.

This year the theme of the awards show is clearly “Retirement Home” – my bad: “Retirement Haus” (it’s about to get real repetitive in prediction land…). This year we’re taking our arthritic selves to Los Angeles to sit on the proverbial porch and watch the new breed play on the lawn that is Pop.

Host: Chelsea Handler is literally the drunk old next-door neighbor of the Pop subdivision. She’s ten years away from polyester pink pants and orange orthopedic sandals, proudly slurring life lessons and one-liners about what’s wrong with your generation, gesturing sloppily with a drink in one shaky hand and an Us Weekly in the other – and we love that; because at the end of the day, she’s right… like Betty White.

Location: Los Angeles – yep. I said it before and I’ll say it again, location is everything. Los Angeles is where you go to retire and relax – like Aaron Spelling, because the world became 90210 in the 2009 aftermath. New York made you a star, next stop: Hollywood Kid!

Performances: Eminem and Linkin Park are VMA staples – y’know like the designated chaperones. Kanye is the cautionary redeeming tale… no, I can’t lie: he’s there to blaze the trail real quick like, it’s his PSA. Drake, Nicki Minaj, Ke$ha, Justin Bieber, B.o.B., Hayley Williams: all the new breed, testing out their sea legs. Plus, with GaGa, Eminem, and Diddy in the front row it’ll be like a lil’ talent show – semi-sans the talent.

There’s not an insane amount to say about this year’s show: it’s a wind down and come down from last year’s epic perfection on one hand, and on the other it’s the embryonic first few stages of Pop future. Last year was the end of an era for me, my generation of Pop has now retired. I can sit back and watch the new kids on the block from the porch. I feel a bit like GaGa right now: “I just want to sit back, have a drink, and  accept some Moonmen – and rest up for what’s coming next,” let’s take a seat, go ahead – kick up your heels #cheers

Predictions: Let’s be serious for a second, we’re about to embark on a Bad Romance… it’s about to get real repetitive in this piece (GaGa ooh la la).  I’m going to have fun watching the fruits of my labor… I’m not a gambler but I made a bit of a bet last year on the one with the Pokerface – well, it’s hard to call it a gamble when it’s such a sure shot but I digress. Either way, it’s ether season #justslayin Let’s get to predicting! You know the drill, tip – let’s get screwy:

First things first; Kanye’s a Monster: he matters – watch his space. #toldyoutostopsleepinglastyear


Best Collaboration:
B.o.B. – “Airplanes” ft. Hayley Williams
Beyonce – “Video Phone” (Extended Remix) ft. Lady GaGa
Lady GaGa – “Telephone” ft. Beyonce
3OH!3 – “My First Kiss” ft. Ke(USD)ha
Jay-Z & Alicia Keys – “Empire State of Mind”

Should Win: Hov and Alicia epitomized collaboration with the “Empire State of Mind” video – it was more than a song, it was a mantra: especially this year. You couldn’t go anywhere without hearing “Let’s hear it for (insert local city/district/township here)… there’s nothing you can’t do.” It was a global unifier and collaborator – globally. That said, I think it should win for the big picture thematic perspective – technically the video built from the collaboration of New York as a city and culture with a photomontage depicting the faces, places, and sights of Gotham #collaboration.

Will Win: Yeah… so… how “Hello, Good Morning” must GaGa – and Bey, but more so GaGa #beserious – feel right… abouuuuut: now? (Cuz I be leanin’ on the bar, lookin’ cleaner than a star and these broads won’t give me my props; 25 on the bank, I be stuntin’ on they ass and they mad cuz a b*tch won’t stop – got your boyfriend feelin like a groupie… #yep). Times like these we learn to live again, and laugh again, at being masters and mistresses of the known universe (imagining the universe is Pop #egoinflating #delusionsgrowing). That said, I predict GaGa and Beyonce will win this one – #seewhatididthere But on the real, as far as collaborative efforts, the pair that kills together – well, kills together – so I’d say “Telephone” could slay the competition by a hair… weave, track, extension #yougetthegist

Over the Moonmen: Beyonce, GaGa, Hov, and Alicia Keys have fun with things like this because they don’t need dubious validation, and usually when they are granted moonmen statuettes it’s considered a jab at kids who need said dubious honors for life and “career” validation.

Best Female Video:
Lady GaGa – “Bad Romance”
KeDollarSignha – “Tik Tok”
Katy Perry – “California Gurls” ft. Snoop Dogg
Beyonce – “Video Phone” ft. Lady GaGa
Shifty Swifty – “Fifteen”

Should Win: “Bad Romance” should win – because it’s Bad Romance #obvs #themeofthenight As far as Female Videos go though, “Bad Romance” could take the “Try Again” route for the decade, as harbinger of the next few years in the female Pop identity. Whereas Try Again” outlined the “dust yourself off drunky” mentality of Lil Miss Hollywood 2000-2009, Bad Romance highlights the more Lorena-Bobbit-meets-Miss-Grits-Green-meets-Angela-Bassett-awaiting-exhalation Third Wave feminist mentality of “Pyros on Parade” to trailblaze young women into the new millennium’s second decade #ilikethoseodds #torchesoffreedom

That said: “Video Phone” hearkens back to a more objectified female… one who gets caught up in real life bad romances at clubs after a night of making rounds on video phones from Bungalo to B.E.D. I appreciate the video for what it is, but not what it means for the next decade of the target female demographic’s social identity.

#mytwocents: “Tik Tok” is just… moving on. Fif-the-flip-teen… I wouldn’t mind Shifty Swifting the category this year, it’d be ironic, blatant, and audacious (read: her m.o. this entire year, so a capstone and casket close would be nice). It’d be only oh-so-fitting seeing as this is the last year she’ll be granted this opportunity #cheerstoasecondoverfifteenminutes #tiktoktothat.

#sidenote: “California Gurls” as an ode to mistresses all the way from San Francisco to Los Scandalous… hometown pride never hurt the odds.

Best Male Video:
Eminem – “Not Afraid”
Usher – “OMG” ft. Will.I.Am
B.o.B. – “Airplanes” ft. Hayley Williams
Drake – “Find Your Love”
Jason Derulo – “In My Head”

Should Win: “Not Afraid” should win on the premise that it’s made major moves this year, especially for Eminem’s overall return to Pop relevance and the mainstream consciousness. That said, the theme of the night is the new breed – Eminem won last year – and as such B.o.B should win for what he means for said next generation of Pop – and Hayley Williams is a definite staple among the tween market which doesn’t hurt… it’d be redemption for the GaGa/Yeezy/Cudi/Common “Make Her Say” loss at the Grammys which is a relative parallel (especially given said dubious nature of the VMAs – from day one the VMAs have been the anti-blacktie so… that’s yeah.)

Will Win: “OMG” was, sadly, a big hit among the tone deaf – and weak-willed – this year, and being Justin Bieber’s Mr. Bojangles doesn’t hurt the odds either… another doesn’t-hurt-the-odds-anymore-than-it-does-your-pride angle is Will.I.Am (stop for the love of God, though, he won’t) on the track #lesigh. Drake was kind of big earlier in the year, but his steam has more than waned since January #whateverittakes and let’s just recap on the randomness that was “Find Your Love” … seriously? Let’s try “Find Your Point” because the video needs to pump the breaks and send an Amber Alert out for “Coherence” #seriously how in God’s name does a Jamaican kingpin/arms dealer/war lord/”You Know What It Is” slash “Belly” understudy seem like a good idea for love advice… the only way he could help you find your love is if he was holding her hostage for the blood diamond in Wheelchair Jimmy’s ear #comeon

#sidenote: Remember when Gloriana got Best New Artist at the AMAs… Gloriana aka the Shifty Swifty opening act… Shifty Swifty aka 2009/2010’s poor lil’ watch-me-rack-up lamb – well Jason Derulo was GaGa’s opening act this year #couldbutwonthappen

Best Hip-Hop Video:
B.o.B. – “Airplanes” ft. Hayley Williams

Eminem – “Not Afraid”
Jimmy Brooks – “Forever” ft. Kanye West, Lil’ Wayne, and Eminem
Jay-Z & Swizz Beats – “On to the Next One”
Kid Cudi – “Pursuit of Happiness” ft. MGMT & Ratatat

Should Win: “On to the Next One” should be up for video of the year – period. It’s easily the best Male video of the year. It is phenomenal, it is a masterpiece. It is black magic. #alleverything

Will Win: B.o.B. has a good shot, by popularity alone. Eminem has the senior comeback angle working for him. Jimmy had a stacked team behind him with “Forever” – with crossover beyond a shadow of a doubt. For the sake of hip-hop: it sets a nice precedent to have a collaborative effort with the Wayne/Brooks tandem (rap past and present: the martian and the makeshift marketing face du jour), Kanye for the resurrection of the Louis Vuitton Don, Eminem for the sake of, well, Eminem and “Forever” because that’s essentially what a dynasty is – or hopes to be.

Over the Moonmen: Hov doesn’t need the “validation” he’s on to the next one #dropthelabel

#sidenote: “Pursuit of Happiness” is a great addition to the ballot, and Cudi with MGMT and Ratatat is a very “as above, so below” parallel to the “Forever” collaborative effort – a subtle indie/hip-hop union which is the actual genre shift we’re seeing moving forward…

Best New Artist:
KeSidewaysSwithaStrikethroughha – “Tik Tok”

Jason Derulo – “In My Head”
Justin Beiber – “Baby” ft. Ludacris
Nicki Minaj – “Massive Attack” ft. Sean Garrett (with an appearance by Amber Rose)
Broken Bells – The Ghost Inside

Should Win: Broken Bells for the sake of “if it was a real awards show”… that said, since it’s the VMAs… Nicki Minaj should win for the sake of what it means for Pop future. We need a Lil’ Kim again, we need a black harajuku Barbie, we need Pink Fridays, we need that effortless crossover appeal – no matter how work-in-progress it is. Drake is young money, Minaj is nouveau riche – we need Pop to go to old Paris and reclaim that statute of liberty.

Will Win: #hatetosayit but Biebs just flipped the script like his bangs… remember last year when he was the first presenter on stage – along with iCarly but she doesn’t count – after Swiftgate and said “let’s all give a round of applause to Taylor Swift”… remember, no, whatever… either way, it would make sense for him to move from that subtle “off the heels” moment into the spotlight on this grander “off the heels” spectacle. His Beliebers are the bain of Little Monster existence on Twitter, but Bieber stans and GaGa stans have a lot common anyway… if (when) he snags the moonman they’ll have even more in common – backing back-to-back best new artists

Over the Moonmen: Broken Bells are just an amazing concept of an artist, period.

Best Pop Video:|
Lady GaGa – “Bad Romance”

Katy Perry – “California Gurls” ft. Snoop Dogg
KeAmericanCurrencySymbolha – “Tik Tok”
Beyonce – “Video Phone” (Extended Remix) ft. Lady GaGa
B.o.B. – “Nothing on You” ft. Bruno Mars

Should Win: Yeah… Bad Romance is Pop – period #howelsecanisayitidontspeaknootherlanguages

Will Win: Bad. Ro-ma-ro-ma-ma #letsgetit

#mytwocents: Y’know it’s a bit unfair of GaGa to go so hard on these people… but that’s the krump lil’ G: welcome to life. “Tik Tok” is farce pop at the expense of pop #counterfeitpseudocoup. “Nothing on You” is doo-wop pop, which I appreciate #kudos “California Gurls” is, again, a hometown ode to L.A. which is where Pop resides at the current moment, stars basking in their newfound fame – while artists stay in an Empire State of Mind creating culture, but enjoying the celebrity showcase while they’re on the Pacific.

#sidenote: “Video Phone” is Pop epitomized. Just as Bad Romance is Pop conceptualized and theorized, so “Video Phone” is pure Pop: Hype, Beyonce, GaGa – the diva, the doll, the director – that. is. urban. contemporary. and right now the block isn’t only hot, the block is Pop.

Best Rock Video:
30 Seconds to Mars – “Kings and Queens”

Muse – “Uprising”
Paramore – “Ignorance”
Florence + The Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”
MGMT – “Flash Delirium”

Should Win: Florence and the Machine because I like their moxie #simplemathsandenglish

Will Win: Well that’s up to the audience now isn’t it? Muse performed last year though, and they’ve been doing this for years… plus Linkin Park isn’t up for a moonman this time around, so Muse should get the nod in the interim #isthiswillwinorshouldwin

Over the Moonmen: Harry doesn’t need your moonman to validate his existence, okay? Just make sure his mom gets her 15 seconds of airtime during his acceptance speech… she wore the red dress and everything #wegotawinner

Video of the Year:
Lady GaGa – “Bad Romance”

Florence + The Machine – “Dog Days Are Over”
30 Seconds to Mars – “Kings and Queens”
Lady GaGa – “Telephone” ft. Beyonce
Eminem –  “Not Afraid”
B.o.B. – “Airplanes” ft. Hayley Williams

Should Win: “Bad Romance” is a perfect Pop video; perfect in its depiction of the recent truth that “Pop Music Will Never Be Low Brow” – period. That said, “Telephone” is a perfect Pop video in its satirical depiction of modern Pop’s reality – nine minutes of hyperamericana. It simply comes down to the vision or the vice, couture or camp, high brow or low brow, this or that. What it means for Pop is somewhat irrelevant, outside of the allegiance pledged to GaGa the Bath Haus firestarter or GaGa the Uncle Sam slaying ex-con – she who crafted new Pop culture, or she who killed the old concept #youseewherethisisgoing Beyonce to boot doesn’t hurt “Telephone” in the odds department, as it would stand as a nice literal transition from 2009 to 2010 with Bey half-passing the baton from one single Lady to another. Florence and the Machine crafted a great piece of art with “Dog Days Are Over” and if this was purely about the video, FloMach would be a tough contender for “Bad Romance” – but again… that’s not the point.

Will Win: Tough call… tough. call. I’ve got my cinnamon toast hunch… y’know what – McQueen’s got the crown for this one. #pawsforplatosatlantis

Over the Moonmen: Eminem’s been here, done this before – as has Beyonce… GaGa is here now, and will be here again… and again… and probably some more after that #justslayin

#generalsidenote: Florence and Robyn – the future of Pop music <– watch that space

Now… wow… that was – that. I can’t keep up with kids these days anymore… I’m going to nap before the inevitable livetweet #kidultthings enjoy the show and on behalf of MTV, Pop recent past, and myself: #getoffmylawnyoulittlerascals


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