This past Monday 29 year old MTV went under the knife and got a face lift, or some lipo depending on how you look at it. Basically, MTV – Music Television, dropped the “Music Television” from their logo since, to be blunt, they don’t really do much of anything with music anymore with the exception of listing artists and songs at the bottom of “The Hills” episodes and that little award show the VMAs. Over the last several years, MTV’s programming has taken a drastic lean towards reality TV programming that, while definitely is entertaining, isn’t music. Rolling Stone has a good article on the change of the iconic logo here.
All that said, this got me thinking to back when I was a kid and would rush home to watch a new Britney Spears (Destiny’s Child, Backstreet Boys, N’Sync, TLC, etc, etc) video. I literally would spend hours just watching music videos with my friend after school or during the summer, before going to bed and when I woke up in the morning. I miss music videos – thank goodness for Paladia HD (American HD channel that place nothing but concerts and music videos) and On Demand music videos. OK, enough rambling, below are my top 5 MUSIC related shows from MTV’s heyday. While writing this, for a split I wanted to be back in 8th grade. But then I remembered Gap carpenter jeans and Old Navy fleeces and slapped myself back into reality. (PS: remember when MTV Spring Break was actually cool and we were young enough to actually watch it while we were on spring break?!)
This show was cool because it was kind of a modern take on “Soul Train,” but with more of a Hip-Hop/Rap vibe to it. The show started in 1992, so I was only 6 years old, but I really remember it in the later years when the filming moved to the New Jersey Shore (insert fist pump here *PUMP*). I think it be cool to breath some life back into a Grind-esque or Soul Train-ish like show.
That chunky little bald-headed VJ Matt Pinfield hosted this show that featured popular songs who’s lyrics were practically indiscernible. There wasn’t much to this show besides the satisfaction of finally know what those effing confusing lyrics were. Yep… that’s it.
I know, I know PUV was a VH1 program (technically this still counts because VH1 is MTV’s sister), but still I LOVED this show and the girl’s voice that said “Pop up Video!” Even though this wasn’t MTV programming, it still sheds some light on how different music television is today from yesteryear. VH1 had classics like “Behind the Music” and “Video Countdown,” but PUV was my favorite. It was so cool to see the random facts about the videos, artists and even sets. The humor in the little pop up bubbles made the videos that much more interesting to watch. The bubbles were almost like little stars in their own right. Favorite PUV – Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream” video – so many cool facts.
Arguably this borders the reality show genre being that cameras followed around directors, artists and band members while they made their music video, but really it came down to the music. I always thought it was cool to be able to see the behind-the-scenes of a music video and was always amazed at how much of a video was filmed using a green screen. Most memorable Making the Video… well, I think Britney Spears kept the show a float, so I’ll say “Lucky.” Mariah Carey’s “Heartbreaker” was pretty cool too, “… But she know she loves J because, she loves everything J says, J does…”
Do I really have to say anything? I mean, it’s TRL – Total Request Live. Every single one, each and every, single, one. EVERY. ONE. of my friends (sorry, channeling SNL Elizabeth Hasselbeck) watched TRL through middle school and at least up through 11th grade. My routine when I would get home from school would be to make a snack (that I didn’t need) and then watch TRL and see if my favorite videos had moved up or down the top 10 list and then after that I would…oh – I’ll save that for another post. Anyway, aside from the music videos I had the BIGGEST crush on Carson Daly, so cute and chill/easy going and his last name always threw me for a loop. I would have sworn that MTV made up his last name because he was on TV daily. What? I was blinded by love. The interviews, the crowd hanging around outside waiting to be filmed and the anticipation of which videos would be shown was enough for me to love this show.
So, a sad farewell to the Music Television that some of us were fortunate enough to grow up with. Hopefully someone will send a spark up the butts of MTV execs and get some music pumpin’ through those veins again, either that or change it all together to RTV – Reality Television.