I want my MTV. Or my CMT. Something, anything. I haven’t seen an actual music video in, oh geeze, probably years now*. Sure, it’s beating a dead horse but what the hell happened to MTV? And VH1? And MTV2? Or even CMT, the country version. Do any of them actually play music videos at all?
At some point, reality TV became the dominant force. I’m not sure exactly how, but I’m going to blame MTV’s The Real World, which these days is about as “real” as the Tooth Fairy. Yes, beautiful 20-somethings, hand selected to live in unattainable properties in large cities with cameras in their faces 24/7 is truly realistic. It’s now, basically, the only thing I see on MTV when I hit the guide button. From the pregnant teenagers, to people doing other random, stupid shit on film, to people from New Jersey bringing embarrassment to their fellow Garden State citizens-why do they even keep the “M” unless it now stands for “Miscellaneous.” And how is this supposed to be more entertaining than watching crazy dudes in red-lego-esque hats singing “Whip It”? Theoretically the audience lives in reality–we don’t live in a world where we get a zombie uprising like “Thriller.”
For a while, the country music version of MTV was holding out, still playing videos even as MTV slipped into that realm where the only videos were Carson Daly’s Total Request Live. But now even that genre has lost its outlet–CMT was playing MTV’s 16 and pregnant, last I checked. I think they do slightly less reality, though. For example, right now? I’m watching Footloose. Yes, because an 80s move about ROCK AND ROLL fits so well on COUNTRY music television. But it’s a long way from the days of the mini-epics like “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” or that extended video of “The Thunder Rolls.”
Are people even making music videos? And where do you see them? I mean, I know I’ve looked for old videos on YouTube, but are there new ones? It was such a unique medium. From the poorly made early videos that threw together stock footage and images of the performer, to those really high-budget numbers involving dialog and scripts, it had to be a great creative challenge for a director.
Or am I just too old to get that the music video medium has died and mourning it just shows my age?
*At least not a real, legitimate music vid, but, well, that’s a topic for another post.