The MTV VMAs, 2011

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BLACK AND YELLOW GUCCI GUCCI LOUIS LOUIS FENDI FENDI PRADA!!!1!  YO! MTV gives out VMAs!!

Seriously, this is one of my favorite award shows, if only because it is consistently bonkers.  I mean, most of the time it’s only bonkers in an over-produced, manufactured MTV type of way, but it’s still sort of fun if you don’t think too much about it, I think?  And every once in a while something that’s actually bizarre happens.  I was actually starting to get excited about this earlier today until I remembered that Chelsea Handler was the host [Edit: Wrong.].  UGH THAT DOUBLE UGH.

Anywayz, my wife Johanna and I will be competing in another of our CLASSIC winner-picking competitions.  Luckily, there are only like eight categories tonight (at least on our ballot), so this should be easy enough.  Johanna is also, as usual, in charge of our themed beverage for the evening.  I’ve been singing (rapping?) Kreayshawn all day long, so she’s calling tonight’s drink the “Gucci Gucci.”  We don’t have any Adderall to grind up and put in a beverage, so she’s making a variant of a Cuba Libre because, in her words, “it’s something a trashy girl would drink.”  After her first sip she added, “I’ll only be having one of these.”

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Let’s get going.  Categories and winners in bold.  And if Kanye does anything crazy, it’ll be in bold and also, like, 20 pt font.

9:35 – Hey, guess what!?  Time Warner Cable is the worst!  The tech they use is ridiculously out-of-date and barely functions, and it decided this evening to not record the first 35 minutes of this show!  Now I’m going to use that 35 minutes of my life that they saved me tweeting at them about how horrible they are.

I suppose this means I missed the opening performance (Lady Gaga, I think?), so that’s too bad, but this also means that I have to hear Chelsea Handler talk less, so, win some lose some, I guess?  [Edit: Wrong.]  Oh, well.  Deep breaths, Jared;  it’s just the VMAs.  This will all be online later anyways.

Johanna is hopping on to MTV.com to see the results of any categories that we missed.  Let’s check in.

Best Video with a Message: We both went with Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and it wins.  1-1.

Best Pop Video:  Johanna went with Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep” and I went with Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”, because we had both forgotten that it was 2002.  Since it is 2002, though, Britney Spears wins with “Till the World Ends”.

Best Rock Video: I went with Foster the People here because I have never heard of them before.  Johanna remembered that it was 2002 this time, so she went with Foo Fighters, who win.  2-1 her.

All right, let’s rejoin our regularly scheduled programming.

9:35 – Jack Black, Will Ferrell, and Seth Rogen are here reprising their roles as the Beastie Boys from this thing:

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Songs, 2010

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I enjoyed making my list of favorite albums of the year more than this list, because it’s easier to think of things to say about an entire album than it is a single song, but this list is probably more appropriate for the times in which we live.  It also allowed me to include some stuff that couldn’t make the albums list because it is from an EP or an otherwise unspectacular album.

A few notes: If the song was released as a single, I generally used the single’s release date, if only to get some great songs from albums released in 2009 on the list (notably the two Florence + the Machine songs near the top).  Also, sorry that this takes a minute to load; I think I’m going to have to start breaking up these video-heavy entries up into multiple parts.  As always, this is not a list of the best songs of the year, which I don’t necessarily feel qualified to write, and rather just a list of my favorites.

Remind to listen to some more hip hop in 2011.  All that really made the list here is Kanye, and that doesn’t even completely sound like what I think of as hip hop anymore.  I miss it.

40) MNDR – “I Go Away”

As I’ve said before, I’m very charmed by MNDR, even though normally someone with as many affectations as she obviously has would drive me crazy.  OK, by “many affectations” I really just mean her crazy, unnecessary glasses.  That’s pretty much all I know about her.  Also, yes, I know it’s technically a duo, but c’mon, you know what I mean.  Don’t be that person.

39) Active Child – “When Your Love Is Safe”

I was introduced to this band and several others on this list by this great post over at Stereogum, so props to them.  This song sounds like it could have been an outtake from that Holland album Beirut put out under the name Realpeople.  You know, falsetto vocals on top of pretty electronic music.  Although, in the video below it isn’t electronic.

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Albums, 2010

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This was a really fun, interesting year in music, which is good because it was also a year in which I was particularly interested in listening to some new albums.  I reached a breaking point with all of my old playlists and favorite artists and decided to dedicate myself to searching out a lot of new stuff this year, and I wasn’t disappointed.  To be fair, there were a few great new albums from my old favorite artists as well.

As always, this is not a list of the best albums of the year, but a list of my favorites.  Although, to be honest, I’ve listened to most of the stuff that is showing up on other best of 2010 lists, and I feel pretty good about this.

15) Sufjan StevensThe Age of Adz (October 12th)

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It would be wrong to say that I’m disappointed in this album; I actually like it quite a bit when I sit down and listen to it.  The problem is that I rarely put it on.  It was a pretty crowded year of music for me, and for some reason I’m always in the mood to listen to something else.  For now it just barely makes the list, but I suspect that it when I get some more reps in it might climb.

14) Beach Fossils – Beach Fossils (May 25th)

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Man, a lot of bands sounded like this band this year.  Or this band sounded like a lot of bands.  Whichever it is, this is definitely a good sampling of 2010 in sonic form.  Beach Fossils stand out from the pack a bit, though; they’re slightly catchier than similar-sounding groups, and the guitar lines here are great.  The guitar parts  sound a little like Johnny Marr from the Smiths, except slower and hazier.

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Explaining the Future to the Past

Benjamin Franklin

Image via Wikipedia

Do you ever think about how people from the past would react to present day technology or culture?  I do.  I think about this ALL THE TIME.  I once spent an entire car ride from Chicago to Champaign, Illinois pretending to introduce musicians from different eras.  Yes, I realize how dorky that sounds.  Think about it, though: “Django Reinhardt, have you heard the latest track from Mr. Kanye West?  Allow me to introduce the two of you.”

It’s even crazier with technology.  Can you imagine Benjamin Franklin being dropped into the middle of my living room as I’m playing NBA 2K11 on my Xbox 360?  Literally nothing in that situation would make sense to him, including the game of basketball.  I suspect he would just instantly go insane.

Well, apparently I’m not the only one fascinated by this sort of thing, as evidenced by this flowchart from Fast Company magazine that describes the likely outcomes of attempting to explain the Internet to a 19th Century British street urchin.  It’s funny enough to be worth a click.

Starfleet Mark IX Science Tricorder Open

Image by David July via Flickr

While you’re reading that I’ll be over here thinking about how, in a lot of ways, my iPod Touch is more technologically impressive than the 24th Century tricorders from Star Trek: The Next Generation.  Again, yes, I realize how dorky that sounds.

The future, everybody!

TRON: Legacy and Daft Punk

The closing scene from Daft Punk's performance...

Image via Wikipedia

OK, I’ve never seen the original TRON, and I have no idea if TRON: Legacy is going to be any good.   I suspect I might get tired of the non-stop blue and gray.  That said, I’m probably going to see it, for one main reason: Daft Punk.  Whoever thought of the idea of having them not only do the soundtrack, but cameo in the film is the biggest genius since the person who scored the first two trailers for The Social Network to the choral version of Radiohead’s “Creep” and “Power” by Kanye West.

Music Video Monday

Note to self: don’t try to do these entries when you’ve just finished sorting through your day’s worth of Google Reader and have like thirty tabs open and tons of stuff running on your computer.  It makes YouTube videos take FOR-EV-VER to load.

Janelle Monae – “Cold War”

I mentioned in a different post that I heard a whole lot about Janelle Monae before I actually heard anything by Janelle Monae.  Johanna only recently bought this album, and I’m still trying to form my opinions.  But I like this song quite a bit, more than I did her previous single, “Tightrope.”

That said, this sounds A LOT like “Going On” by Gnarls Barkley.  Like, tons.

And, while obviously very different in tone, the video reminds me quite a bit of the famous D’Angelo video for “Untitled (How Does It Feel)”.  I would post that video here, but EMI has disabled embedding.  It’s absence has nothing to do with my comfort level with my own sexuality.

Duck Sauce – “Barbra Streisand”

This has been all over the place lately, but it’s a fun watch/listen, so I figured I would pay it forward.  It sparks a bit of a philosophical battle in my brain, as I’m always both attracted to and repulsed by masturbatory NYC lovefests like this.

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The MTV VMAs, 2010

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The VMAs!  I actually didn’t watch them live last year and then regretted it when I ended up spending the next afternoon catching up on the videos of the bonkers performances online and reading all about the Kanye backlash.  I was assuming that MTV and I had mostly diverged in our musical tastes and was overlooking the fact that this isn’t really about the awards, it’s about the spectacle.

Now, with the long-running award show winner-picking competition between Johanna and me, there’s absolutely no way I could miss it.  Filling out our ballots proved relatively difficult.  We both employed a strategy of spreading the awards around to as many artists as possible, because we figure the whole thing is rigged and MTV is going to want to get as many people as possible up on stage.  So, I basically just picked randomly.

Let’s roll.  Since this is the VMAs, Johanna has tried to mix us a cocktail that a young person might enjoy.  She’s combined vanilla vodka with Diet Coke, and we’re drinking it out of glasses we appropriated from our favorite bar in college, Jimmy’s Woodlawn Tap.  She initially wanted to call it the Sorority Slut, but we workshopped it and came up with the Mean Girl, which is more fittingly high school.  As always, categories and winners in bold.  Also, I unfortunately don’t have MTV in HD, so these photos look awful.  Apologies.

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One last thing.  I’m going on record early here saying that I guarantee they have Taylor Swift “interrupt” Kanye’s performance.  It’s going to be awesome.

8:19 – I have the pre-show white carpet on in the background (yes, white carpet), and all of the sudden Sway starts giving out awards!  WTF?!

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