The TwH End-of-Summer Megathread, featuring VMA reactions

jay-z-with-kanye-west
As the summer winds down, we on staff here at Tuesdays with Horry have taken it upon ourselves to answer perhaps the two most important questions in the recent collective conscience of these United States:
1) What was your favorite moment or thing from the summer of 2013?
2) What was your general reaction to the VMAs?
Rory Masterson
For me, the dialectic between the releases of Magna Carta Holy Grail and YEEZUS was especially captivating. It never turned into a Blur/Oasis kind of battle for musical supremacy because that isn’t the relationship Jay-Z and Kanye West share. Instead, they acknowledge their shared status as royalty at the forefront of hip-hop and American pop culture in general. That two albums can be released so closely together without bleeding into each other or one stepping on the other’s toes is somewhat remarkable in the digital age, especially given how closely these two have worked in recent years. Instead, these co-titans simply released albums, one accompanied by an almost gratuitous marketing campaign and the other accompanied by a substantially lower-profile, but perhaps just as effective, guerrilla initiative and almost-bare minimum packaging.
Also, we should make note that this is the summer of Pharrell, and no one can stop him.
As for the VMAs, that One Direction won “Best Song of the Summer” for “Best Song Ever” is a joke because it a) isn’t the best song ever by most reasonable standards, and b) wasn’t even in contention. I mean…come on, Internet. Get it together. That’s just felonious. Over Daft Punk? Robin Thicke? Pleezus.

Jill Pellegrini

Summer 2013 Summer of Amanda Bynes Until She Got 5150’d Or Whatever. Lived for her tweets for months, especially those about Drake/only caring about the opinion of hot people/her nose job. Also, the Bravo series Princesses of Long Island gave me life this summer. Also, SharkNado, although I have yet to see the movie in full, so I feel like a bit of a fraud saying that.
ALL THE THINGS to say about the VMAs, most important being that I’m pretty sure I pulled a muscle flailing in excitement during JT’s medley. I know everyone was WTFing in regards to Miley but also like, we all saw that video right? It was pretty much that, just live. Also, why does every producer in the world think we care so much about how Taylor Swift reacts to awards and performances? Like, cut to her a few times, and that’s fine, but this was legit like the Grammys all over again. (Maybe I’m just annoyed at her for throwing so much shade at my boyfriends in 1D tonight so.)
Justin Timberlake is a legend, that’s pretty obvious. His medley was like amazing, BUT I feel like the NSYNC reunion was a lot of hype for pretty much nothing. Not that I’m not obsessed with it and watching it literally every minute of every hour, but we didn’t even get a full rendition of “Bye Bye Bye.” Feeling kind of gypped because I was looking forward to “Tearin’ Up My Heart,” “It’s Gonna Be Me,” “This I Promise You,” “Digital Get Down,” “Friday Night,” “Pop,” etc. But lolz at JC for his little riff after the song ended. Sorry, JC, but the guy who sang “Some Girls Dance With Women” is not about to upstage JT, no matter how much we were all looking forward to that reunion. television-mtv-vma
Okay, so I’m on record as a huge One Direction fan and have watched the video for “Best Song Ever” more times than I’d care to admit, but I’m gonna actually kinda agree with Rory that it probably shouldn’t have won song of the summer. It definitely wasn’t as ubiquitous as “Get Lucky” or “Blurred Lines,” or even “What Makes You Beautiful” last summer. But I feel like it kind of represents how the music industry has been changed in the age of the Internet. I’m going to bet that I’m the only one on this thread that is pretty familiar with the One Direction fanbase, and these girls are, like, actually a little bit crazy. But the main place they kind of exist or whatever is on the Internet. I mean, One Direction’s drummer has more than twice as many followers on Twitter as Robin Thicke. Sometimes it feels like tumblr exists solely as a platform for girls age 13-17 to express their love for One Direction (or maybe I just follow too many One Direction tumblrs?). And more than that, they’re willing to dedicate literally all of their energy to win awards for these boys. I think maybe One Direction’s music isn’t as ubiquitous as NSYNC’s or BSB’s, etc., because a large part of their fan base listens to them exclusively on iTunes or Spotify, or watches their videos on YouTube or whatever else, and hasn’t ever really called into their local Top 40 station to request a song because they don’t need to (let alone try to get the video played on MTV because let’s be real when was the last time anyone saw a music video on MTV). These girls live on the Internet, and that’s also where all the voting for that award happens. So I don’t know if I’m trying to say that everyone in this day and age is lucky because they don’t have to be subjected to the music of tweenage girls because of the Internet or what, but I just feel like maybe this discussion would be different if it was 2000, and we still had pretty much only the radio and MTV as sources to listen to/watch music (omfg wasn’t it a glorious time when MTV actually still played music?). Boy bands really appeal to and are marketed to a very specific segment of the population, and it’s a large segment with a lot of disposable time and income, but now that population has found its niche on the Internet, so everyone else can kind of just ignore them. I honestly don’t even know why I’m talking about this because I love “Best Song Ever,” but any other song could’ve won, and I wouldn’t care. There have definitely been days when I’ve scanned past “Blurred Lines” playing on four of my radio presets AT THE SAME TIME. I guess I’m just throwing out there how and why I think “Best Song Ever” won. I think a similar thing plays into Austin Mahone beating out a bunch of more quote-unquote “respectable” artists for Artist to Watch.
I wish I had commentary on something that was more culturally respected and highbrow than a boy band, but there it is. If you didn’t read it, I don’t blame you and apologize for subjecting you to a wall of text also hi I know like not all of you so hi everyone sorry if you hate me for talking about One Direction a lot.
Also, Drake performed “Started From The Bottom,” but HE DIDN’T START FROM THE BOTTOM DEGRASSI IS NOT THE BOTTOM so I have problems with that.
Overall, I’d give the night a pretty solid A-, I think.
James Vasiliou
I apologize if you follow me on Twitter and see my barrage of Silky Johnson Hater’s Ball type tweets everyday, but thanks for the follow!
The moment for the summer for me was definitely Yeezus. The media campaign for the album was a minimalist idea with no single, no video, and no album cover. Though, you could argue, that the performance on Saturday Night Live was a rough draft for what the “Black Skinhead” music video would become – a trailer for a darker Def Jam Wrestling video game. But the buzz that this album generated was absolutely amazing and the divisiveness made the noise around it as loud as the music. It was still being talked about when Magna Carta Holy Grail dropped.
Yeezus was an expression of an artist that people have come to love as well as hate and I think he tried to make a record to exclude non-stans from his album. BUT DID YOU SEE THAT CROWD AT THE VMAS DURING HIS PERFORMANCE? I think that was, besides the short-lived NSYNC reunion, the loudest point during the show. And people knew the words to “Blood On the Leaves” which is the most offensive thing on that album when you consider the “Strange Fruit” sample alongside the subject matter regarding a groupie affair. His statements to the New York Times, as well as his line on “I Am a God” (“as soon as they like you, make ’em unlike you”), are just empty words when you consider the fact that he can’t get away from making something that people will inevitably enjoy no matter how ugly it sounds within the current pop context.
I think pop is moving in a weirder direction but I think there’s some hesitancy to get there. Kanye definitely forced the hand of the general public move along with this new direction. Maybe the Grammys might be a little bit more strange (“WU-TANG IS FOR THE CHILDREN“), or maybe they’ll just keep awarding stomp rock acts (The Lumineers, Mumford & Sons), but I definitely think the general public is starting to accept the fringe a little bit more (see: “Work” by A$AP Ferg).
Also worth mentioning – this summer also marked a return for full-length dance music albums with the release of Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. While the record proved to be more of an experimentation into prog and soft rock, it was still an attempt to return to an era (think Off the Wall) where the dance LP was an artform. This was reinforced by groups like Classixx and Disclosure who both released debut albums (Hanging Gardens and Settle, respectively) that were filled to the brim with great tracks. In my opinion, Disclosure wins best dance album of 2013.
As for the VMAs, I’ma let you finish Jill, but uh, YouTube shows the best videos of ALL TIME.
But on the real, what happened to you, MTV? The VMAs used to be an event. Required television for interested music consumers. Now, it’s just another thing on TV that needs live tweeting in order for America to collectively snark at. “Moonmen” have been replaced by a cartoonish skull and cross bones that signify that the name “Music Television” has long since died and decomposed in that space suit. Sure, there were great moments: Kanye, the JT performance, Macklemore (more on that in a minute) and T-Swift looking happy or hateful, but on the whole, this was just a huge production mess and not really a window into what’s going on.
BSp6k6cCYAAldwqTweens have clearly taken ahold of MTV and are steering the ship. That much is evident when people like Austin Mahone and One Direction are winning awards over artists that were much more ubiquitous and talked about. I know who Iggy Azalea and The Weeknd are, but Austin Mahone, Adriana Grande? What? They seem like manufactured robots.
It’s clear that the tweens who are making endless SMACKCAM Vine videos and pissing off Wal-Mart employees are the same ones who are trolling the hype machine of the VMA Awards that tried WAYYYYY too hard to seem hip. For example, the VMAs were in Brooklyn this year and there were references everywhere that reinforced that fact. FIXEY BIKES! HASIDIC JEWS! BROOKLYN BRIDGE! BIGGIE FREESTYLES! LIL’ KIM! It seemed like a desperate attempt to grab the attention of those in their 20s so Viacom could say, “look we know what’s going on!”. What we got instead was a poorly-produced show where Jimmy Fallon looked as unfunny and uncool as he’s ever been, and boy bands were the gel that kept the whole thing from falling off the rails. Unenthusiasm was everywhere, from Sway attempting to act excited about Pharrell on bicycles (BICYCLES! BROOKLYN!) to Drake staring off into space (both on stage and off).
This was the place where Fiona Apple told us to “screw the machine,” where machine rager Tim C. climbed on a metal set piece to steal Limp Bizkit’s moment, where Britney kissed Madonna who kissed Christina, where Kanye halted Taylor Swift, and Courtney Love met Madonna. These were great moments in pop culture. Instead, we get Macklemore screaming “they let independent artists in at the VMAs” when Tyler, the Creator received Best New Artist back in 2011 as an independent. It’s an award show that is desperately grasping at straws to be the makers and breakers of new artists when, in reality, the new and interesting artists are invited guests who provide the most relevant commentary via Twitter (we see you, Flying Lotus).
If we’re going by a rating system, I give it a C.
Sorry for the rant.
Tyler Lauletta
1) My favorite moment of the summer was the moment I found out Yeezus had leaked. I had been following “@HasYeezusLeaked” on Twitter for about 3 days, and they didn’t even know that it had leaked when I found out from another corner of the Internet. I felt like I was “in the know,” but more importantly, I was excited about just having another album. Kanye West is my favorite recording artist. There are only a few more times in my life where I will get to listen to another great Kanye West album for the first time. Nothing can beat that feeling. I remember where I was the first time I listened to each of his past 4 albums – who I was with, what we were doing.

2) Daft Punk not showing up. WHAT THE HELL. What happened? Did they bail? Are we supposed to think that a minute-long teaser trailer for the video to “Lose Yourself To Dance” constitutes an actual performance? Because it doesn’t. And after all of that Colbchella business? I needed to see a pyramid and a call back to their performance with Kanye in 2008 at the Grammys. Instead, they just bailed.
Daft Punk, if you’re reading this, please just go on tour. The world needs it.
Laura Chamberlain

The best moment of the summer was when The New Yorker celebrated the Supreme Court’s decision on DOMA with Bert and Ernie’s “Moment of Joy” on the cover. The cover is beautiful, provocative, and delivers a clear message without using words. It gives me goose bumps every time I see it. The part I love the most, though, is that the artist (Jack Hunter) originally submitted the cover, unsolicited, through Tumblr. And it became the cover of The New Yorker. How cool.

I didn’t watch the VMAs, but I am genuinely surprised by the media coverage of Miley Cyrus twerking. We care? We really care that much? Howard Dean weighed in.

Inline image 1

Really? REALLY? Not to be this person, but we’re about to attack Syria, Howard Dean. Some comments on that would be appreciated.

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