So I didn’t really explain the point of doing this in the first post. To put it simply, MTV has premium pay channels for music videos, which they use as reason to jettison playing music videos on the main channels. In the first edition of this, I watched an hour of normal video airplay on MTVU, which is probably the closest channel to my comfort zone of a lot of indie and maybe some pop. The other two channels are decidedly not this. MTV Jams is the hip-hop channel that generally avoids Pitchfork’s style of hip-hop for more of the French Montanas of the world. And if you don’t know who that is, then you’re one of the lucky ones. MTV Hits defines itself, being mainly about popular music (or popular genres).
Anyway, I’ve chosen MTV Hits for this edition since I don’t really want to veer into awkward old white guy territory. (I suspect it may be too late for that, however.)
Selena Gomez – “Slow Down”
The best parts about Selena Gomez videos are easily the effort they have to take to put adult makeup on Gomez. Okay, that was a low shot. It is unfair for me to be all “lol selena gomez looks like a child” when I’ve actually enjoyed her efforts. “Come and Get It” was a good single. And “Slow Down” continues Gomez’s generic love of shirts that show she’s not wearing a bra. So there’s a lot of club dancing and generic dancing. Gomez actually does a good job of allowing this to fully be seen as a persona as well. If you listen to her talking about touring, it’s practically like a Nick Saban interview. There’s no animation, just a commitment to the job.
Fifth Harmony – “Miss Movin On”
So hey, girl bands are back, America! Fifth Harmony is the latest boring as shit girl band that probably won’t make it here, since Little Mix hasn’t made a smash at all yet. But hey, at least they got a song on a premium MTV cable channel on a Friday night. This video has a carnival theme that teases an arcade, which is depressing because, well, they’re not exactly around these days. And don’t tell me that the Need for Speed and SWAT game machines at the movie theater in town constitute an arcade. At least give me the 85th Street Fighter game.
Oh yeah, the video. Is the lead singer Lea Michele? It’s not, is it? And to be fair, Fifth Harmony is a diverse multicultural band served to make generally uninteresting pop. And if that isn’t the true American melting pot, then what is?
Jonas Brothers – “First Time”
Vegas pools, former virgins, guys who look like a smashed Logan Lerman, faux filmstock, what more do you want in a music video? This video is part of the Jonas Brothers’ mature phase because we’re in Vegas and shit, so edgy. I don’t really have an opinion on the song. But as for the video, the last time I saw more well-filmed grotesque bikini imagery, it was Spring Breakers. This doesn’t have that movie’s irony/intent, though. I mean, unless I missed the “directed by Harmony Korine” credit. I mean, I guess this is a song, right? It says OHHHHHHHHHHHHH a lot. And to bring it back, #allwhitepeople. Also, there’s a mullet guy with a sax that we never hear in the mix. I guess it made the director laugh at the day of the shoot.
Austin Mahone – “What About Love”
And now I’m old, because Austin Mahone is somehow the worst to me. Well, maybe not the exact worst, but nothing I would generally enjoy. To be fair, his dancing is basically N’Sync level. It’s almost a throwback, because this has the rhythms of “Bye Bye Bye” completely. There’s no dubstep breakdowns. This is patented late 90s pop filtered through wearing a weird beanie instead of a Pervert 69 jersey. And hey, you only gotta pay one guy for touring as a dreamboat for girls instead of five! Shit, maybe I need to get in this business. This may have turned the corner for me on the money-making potential of pop sheen I don’t care about. Also, it was quick enough at least.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert – “Same Love”
I genuinely enjoy this song a good deal and like the video. I get that it’s a very dangerous road to talk about how Macklemore is this white dude who brought up homophobia to hip-hop as if artists like Frank Ocean weren’t already attempting to break ground in the genre by being independent voices. But in a vacuum, I like this. The video generally is sweet, well-filmed, and gets across the idea of LGBT+ culture as a normal autonomous entity. Which it should be. Maybe we’ll challenge the abuse that comes from this soon enough.
Nick Cannon – “Me Sexy”
GET IT BECAUSE HE’S NICK CANNON TELLING JOKES. I get that this is getting play only because MTV Hits needs viewers for THE ALL NEW WILD ‘N’ OUT with washed-up shitheads like Joe Budden as the guest rapper, but holy shit is this bad. In an effort to be something that mocks mainstream pop, it forgets the general joke and just sort of throws Pedro from Napoleon Dynamite because fake mustaches are fuckin’ hilarious. Also, the song’s conceit is that Nick Cannon is repeating that he’s sexy. Because that’s funny. Except Cannon doesn’t have a comedian’s lack of looks. He looks like a has-been leading man. So the very thin joke is already redundant. Genuinely the worst song I’ll hear in this hour I spend on MTV Hits, and I’m certain I’ll be hearing a song with 2 Chainz on it.
The Weeknd – “Belong to the World”
I kind of wish The Weeknd didn’t make me feel so divided. His music is generally fascinating to listen to and defiantly taking influence from trip-hop and indie as his expression of RnB. But then the problem gets when he talks about his music and all the sadness he feels and then Portishead is upset that he took a pretty key portion of “Machine Gun” for this song. I also don’t know if he is in his feelings or something. Cause she belongs to the world, you see. I don’t even know, y’all. But hey, it could be worse.
Maroon 5 – “Love Somebody”
Maroon 5 has made the most toothless video concept of the year in their equally awful song “Love Somebody.” Adam Levine is half molded and shirtless because that is the only reason people would watch this stupid video for this song. And Levine’s feeling a lady’s boobs while basically naked in the most formless fashion because objectification and bragging while being blandly attractive to middle America. And people get up in arms about Miley Cyrus doing the same thing. Whatever. Fuck this shit.
Miley Cyrus – “We Can’t Stop”
…I swear I wrote the last sentence before this video came on. I like “We Can’t Stop.” I mean, site boss Whit has gone over all the shit, the problematic and the “that’s kind of a double standard, too” stuff. But to be fair, this video does have something “Love Somebody” doesn’t: a french fry head. Also a women cutting her fingers to reveal more fingers and yogurt/Pepto. Also bears. And Miley’s abysmal “YEEEEEEEEEEEEEAH.” I would watch 50 videos like this.