FERG BLURBS -- VMA's Shy Away From Rock

August 28, 2017

I've got a bone to pick with MTV over the VMA's last night. 

Look, it's no secret at this point that rock music has been pushed to the background at the annual Video Music Awards put on by MTV, which are meant to showcase the music that is most popular and groundbreaking in the year of music. I get it, rock is just not as relevant today as it once was, and that's fine.

But last night, MTV, who usually does a really good job with perspective look-backs on careers, and people that were influential in music, made a huge misstep when addressing Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington. 

I thought what Jared Leto said in honor of Chester Bennington (and in passing about Chris Cornell) was great, and well-said. He points out the impact, how anyone contemplating suicide or having those bad thoughts is never truly "alone" and how important it is to talk about these issues. I thought it was really, really well done. But look at the length of that clip. 3:01. That's all the time they get to address what Leto calls "one of the biggest rock bands in all of music" and the unfathomably sad situations that both Chester and Chris were fated to have. What you don't see in that clip is the half-assed, insulting "tribute" to Linkin Park, if you can even call it that, of showing a performance of the band from the 2010 VMA's...and then quickly cutting away to commercial after a few seconds.

Again, I understand that the world and landscape of music is changed, so much that the idea of "rock music" isn't nearly as popular as it once was. But, you're telling me that's all MTV could do for both Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington? Two guys who fronted two of the most iconic bands in all of rock music? Two bands that MTV probably owes a great deal of its own success to? They couldn't cobble together some representatives from certain bands to pay tribute to both of these icons? 

It's poor planning on MTV's part, and further shows the divide between what's popular and what is not, in modern music. Hell, the only real guitar we saw all night was from Ed Sheeran, and while he's a talented performer, he's not exactly laying down some heavy riffs. And I think I should be clear here: I'm not saying today's music is bad! Far from it, I think there's a lot of really great, clever artists out there who showcase their talent in unique and different ways. This performance from Logic standing out last night:

I loved the message of that performance, and how they didn't downplay the importance of reaching out for help. Again, I think they addressed the suicide problem beautifully, but their reverence, if you can even call it that, to two massive icons in music was awkward. The lack of rock on these shows is an increasingly troubling development, and it's starting to bleed into the proper treatment of the legends who have come before us. Chester and Chris deserved better than what they got last night from MTV. We all do.


-- Ferg