Did anyone watch the first ever YouTube Music Awards on Sunday afternoon? In case you missed them, you can watch the entire 1:20 show by going here. The awards show took place at Pier 36 in New York, and was hosted by Jason Schwartzman and Reggie Watts. There were performances from Arcade Fire, M.I.A., Lady Gaga, Tyler, the Creator with Earl Sweatshirt, Eminem and Avicii, among others. Sounds like a good show and a good time, right? Well, in my opinion it was unlike any other music awards show I’ve ever seen. There were some positives and some negatives, but for the most part the whole thing was an exercise in oddity and occasional stupidity. There was a distinct aim for the insanity and unpredictability of some of MTV’s early VMA efforts, but all too often producers forgot the one essential component to really making it work – it has to be entertaining. Having the hosts announce the winner of an award by having them dig through multiple cakes to find it might have seemed like a creative idea in theory, but the execution was messy. Similarly, there wasn’t much to root for in the case of nominees, unless you’re a serious YouTube devotee and watch everything that goes even remotely viral. Girls’ Generation won “Video of the Year,” and I’ve never even heard of them. Granted, their sound isn’t right up my alley, but I wondered how many people who actively listen to pop radio know who they are. Similarly, Lindsey Stirling and Penatonix won “Response of the Year” for their video cover of an Imagine Dragons song. Um, okay? For me, the highlights were the performances. Arcade Fire’s “live music video” for their song “Afterlife” featured some stellar dancing from actress Greta Gerwig. Similarly, M.I.A.’s live video for “Come Walk With Me” was better than most of her new album. There was a video with a script written by Lena Dunham and directed by Spike Jonze and Chris Milk which featured music by Avicii and acting from Michael Shannon, Vanessa Hudgens and more. That had a “Choose Your Own Adventure” style ending to it, which was wholly engaging and fun. Then Win Butler from Arcade Fire had to have his own Kanye West/Taylor Swift moment by interrupting an acceptance speech. Those were some of the things the YouTube Music Awards did right. So there’s definitely room for improvement if they decide to try it again next year, which is 50-50 since not a lot of people watched the live broadcast online. What did you think? Let me know in the comments. Meanwhile, there’s a Monday edition of Pick Your Poison to get to. Let me recommend tracks today from Evan & the Brave, The Golden Furs, No Coda, Nyteowl, Wooden Peak and Xela Zaid. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream songs from Dum Dum Girls, Emily Jane White (ft. Marissa Nadler), The Naked and Famous, Superchunk (covering Misfits) and Worriers.
Dum Dum Girls – Lost Boys and Girls Club
Emily Jane White – Faster Than the Devil (ft. Marissa Nadler)
The Field – Cupid’s Head (Vatican Shadow Remix)
The Naked and Famous – I Kill Giants
Superchunk – Children in Heat (Misfits cover)
Worriers – Precarity Rules