Sometimes, MTV, you make me love you so hard.
This year’s promos for the VMAs are four mini-videos starring current musical artists so hip I hardly know who many of them are, each singing a portion of the ‘Tonight’ quintet (well, here a quartet, sort of). The videos are well-produced, visually cool and interesting, and unapologetically musical theater. Here they are, starting with Taylor Swift in a taxi (which, sorry, you might want to mute for the first half – although I love Taylor Swift solely because I think she’s a breath of fresh air on red carpets, she clearly soars only in sustained country notes), and moving down the line to Cobra Starship (by far the best video, I think), Ne-yo, and Russell Brand (funny!)
Okay, fine, scratch that, I have no idea how to embed the videos. But here is the site where they all are, and I highly recommend a jaunt – they’ll play continuously.
This is the second time that MTV has done something like this – the first was the 2001 ad campaign, which capitalized on the VMA’s location at the Metropolitan Opera House by posing music stars as famous opera characters. Which yielded awesome images, and a collective squee from the opera fans out there, and probably much head-scratching from many MTV watchers who were mystified at who Rigoletto is, and why is David Bowie holding a little head on a stick?
But to me, this kind of thing proves that MTV still understands its mandate. MTV has always been cool, but they succeed at remaining cool when they show that they understand the most inherent tenet of coolness – that you do whatever the fuck you want, and really don’t care if people get it or not. So they pose Britney as Violetta and make Ne-Yo sing Bernstein, and in so doing, they prove their eternal rockin’-ness.
Rock on with your bad classical and musical theater selves, MTV.