30 years of MTV: A personal chronology
Music, they reasoned, is ephemeral; buzz, on the other hand, is forever. Ergo Punk'd, Cribs, Pimp My Ride, Dead At 21, et al. Ergo everyone's inability to recall any point in the last 10-15 years when the phrase "MTV video-premiere event" meant anything.
In honor of this dubious milestone, I figured I'd take a stroll down my own personal MTV memory lane. Won't you join me?
1994 I spend the summer, or part of it, in the basement of my grandmother's house in Baltimore, watching MTV pretty much constantly with my younger cousins. The videos that ran in a never-ending loop seemed to mock our urban boredom, the secluded, musty darkness of our surroundings: the extra-dimensional improbability of Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage," the reality-torn-asunder weirdness of Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun," the washed-out sepia-tone S&M/industrial alien tableau that was Nine Inch Nails' "Closer." There were others I've forgotten now, but I do remember the constant flood of videos and those little acid-trip station-identification clips, a dazzling reprieve from reality.
1995 I exchange zines with a brainwashed punk purist from central Pennsylvania, and am unwittingly introduced to the term "eMmtV," used in partial reference to Green Day.
1996 I am ushered into the Mad Max-meets-pre-Matrix-meets-James Bond world of Aeon Flux by a college friend who, at that time, I consider a surrogate big sister and best friend forever. My fascinations with the true nature of Trevor Goodchild and the blurred intricacies of the Bregna/Monica civil war ultimately outlast the friendship.
1997 On a solo vacation to Ocean City, Maryland, I spend a lot of time watching Fiona Apple's "Criminal" video. Alone. A lot of time.
1998 All I can remember about watching 120 Minutes back in the day, with my semi-erudite muso pals, is that Matt Pinfield was totally spear bald.
1999-2001 I had the unfortunate (?) luck, in these years, of living in places without cable.
2001-2006 An inordinate amount of personal energy and attention is devoted to the goings on of hot, sexy young things on The Real World and hardcore fratboys on Jackass. I regret my interest in the former, if not the latter.
2004 Eric Roberts in The Killers' "Mr. Brightside" video: the most sinister, vaguely metrosexual video bad guy ever? You decide.
2007-present MTV somehow continues to exist, as my interest in popular music continues to wane.
- MTV turns 30 today, watch the first 10 minutes of the station's existence
- Banned from MTV: 10 videos that got the axe
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