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  The tech they use is ridiculously out-of-date and barely functions, and it decided this evening to not record the first 35 minutes of this show!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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The Grammys, 2011

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God, the Grammys are so gross.  I make a lot of jokes about bad award shows, but this is the worst.  Not only are all the nominees just really aggressively out-of-touch and terrible, but half of this crap came out in 2009.  I could swear some of this same stuff was nominated last year.  Plus, there are the oddities like Arcade Fire being nominated in the Album of the Year category but not in the Best Rock Album category.  I don’t even understand what the rules are here.  This is either going to be a lot of fun to laugh at or one of the longest nights of my life.

As always, my wife Johanna and I will be competing in a winner-picking competition.  This should be an interesting one for us, because the list of nominees is so utterly bizarre that we’re guaranteed to not do what we usually do and pick the same people in every category.  I’ve got to tell you, picking winners in this disaster was painful.  It upset my stomach to have to decide between, like, Neil Young and Mumford and Sons.  And not because they are both so good.  [Update: Turns out Mumford and Sons = Not bad!] Johanna kept saying things like “Whatever, whatever, I don’t even care,” as she went over her ballot.

To help ease us through this living nightmare Johanna has whipped up an adult beverage consisting of vodka, cranberry juice, seltzer, and lime juice.  She’s calling it “The Chris Brown” because it really smacks you in the face.  YOU SHOULDN’T MAKE JOKES ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, JOHANNA.

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Sigh.  Are you all ready to be bored by Lady Gaga’s faux-edginess?  To suffer through some performances by Bruno Mars or someone?  To watch your grandparents’ favorite rockers take home some awards?  Then let’s do this.  In the words of Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, sit back, relax, and strap it down.

8:01 – This is weird.  Doesn’t this usually start with a big musical number?  Like, they just jump right into it?  I know last year started with the Lady Gaga/Elton John/My Nightmares mashup. This year Ladies Love Cool James strolls out to introduce a menagerie of women to sing a tribute medley of Aretha Franklin songs.

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The People’s Choice Awards, 2011

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2011 has begun and another awards season is here, and we all know what that means; Johanna and I must resume our award show winner-picking competition.  If you’re sensing a lack of enthusiasm on my part, that’s due to the fact that tonight we’re starting with The People’s Choice Awards.

I don’t know about you, but I was under the apparently false impression that this was a real award show.  I mean, I knew from the title that it was voted on by the “people,” so the actual winners are inevitably going to be terrible.  That’s no excuse for the list of nominees, though.  No real award show in 2010 has any reason to nominate Jackie Chan for anything, right?  The categories themselves don’t even make sense.  Two of the TV show categories are “Favorite TV Obsession” and “Favorite TV Guilty Pleasure” and the nominees for both seem pretty interchangeable.  And Mad Men apparently doesn’t qualify as either an “Obsession” or a “Guilty Pleasure.”  At least we finally get to vote for our “Favorite TV Doctor.”

I’m having trouble even figuring out who the target audience for this show is.  This is key, because since this is a winner-picking competition, I need to know what type of person was doing the voting.  So, judging from the nominees, this is basically the MTV VMAs/Movie Awards except it’s aimed at the dorkier tweens and teens.  Also, there is probably a lonely housewife factor that I need to consider.  Noted.

If you’ve been keeping score at home you’ll remember that I pretty handily trounced Johanna in the 2010 competition.  Of the eight award shows we’ve done this for, I won seven of them.  It’s a new year, though, so we’re wiping the slate clean and giving her a chance to redeem herself.  Let’s get started.  As always, categories and winners in bold.

9:00 – No one told me this was hosted by Queen Latifah.  Although, to be fair, no one said anything about this show to me at all, ever.

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9:02 – She’s opening with a cover of “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz.  This is officially Johanna’s favorite opening to an award show.  I’m busy scanning the audience to see how many celebrities are actually in attendance to try to see what I’ve gotten myself into.

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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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Daft Punk and The Cosby Show

Perhaps in response to my previous post about Daft Punk doing the TRON: Legacy soundtrack, my friend Paul sent me a link to the following video.  It starts a bit slow but then, at the one minute mark, becomes one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen in my life.

If I were trying my best to combine two things I love to make something that I REALLY love, it would have taken me years to come up with a Cosby Show and Daft Punk mashup.  The person who made this is a visionary.  This is like someone getting his chocolate in someone else’s peanut butter or vice versa.

Seriously, though, why is that girl walking down the street eating a huge tub of peanut butter?

Broken Bells – “The Ghost Inside”

It seems wrong to say this should be the official video, considering the original features Christina Hendricks, but this homemade mashup of the Hall and Oates video for “Private Eyes” and the Broken Bells song “The Ghost Inside” is great.  They should be playing it on MTV or Fuse or wherever they play videos nowadays.  Actually, I guess the only place anyone watches music videos anymore is YouTube, so mission accomplished!

It’s uncanny how well this works.  Surely we can get John and Daryl to sign over the rights; they’ve got nothing going on.

[Via Pitchfork]