Although the MTV Video Music Awards have consistently failed to represent the "dawning of a new age for America," as predicted by Russell Brand in 2008, the nominations this year are at least mildly interesting — if, for no other reason, than the inclusion of Odd Future, those ragtag hip-hop underdogs with the Wes Borland contacts and the talent for working the word "faggot" into a rhyme scheme. At the very least, this has got to be the first year in VMA history that one nominee for Video of the Year contains a threat to stab another nominee for Video of the Year in his goddamn esophagus. But Bruno Mars is by far the only target of those dastardly Odd Future boys and their bad words.
It's refreshing to know, in a way, that it's still so easy to get the staunchly humorless so offended. For an excellent example of the uptight liberal stick-assery that's rapidly becoming the go-to angry critical take on the group, look no further than critic Thomas Conner's recent review of a Chicago set for the Sun-Times. After complaining of the "appalling exhortations to violence and misogyny," Conner goes on to sum his real complaint up with surprising succinctness: "There's nothing radical about their potty mouths."
Potty mouths! I never!
Even fellow Chicagoan Steve Albini is on that bandwagon, though his beef seems more personal: "I spent about forty minutes with these little pricks at the end of May and I haven't wanted to strangle anybody that much in a real long time," he fumed. "Sooner or later, these little scrubs are going to get their asses kicked."
Perhaps that's true — when you talk as much shit as Odd Future does, in the words of Cypress Hill, "what go around come around." But since that future ass-kicker is apparently not going to be Steve Albini, then who could it be?
Answer: Bruno Mars.
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Tyler, the Creator would be loath to admit it, and probably Bruno Mars would, too, but the two are actually a pretty good match: They're both oh-so-hot-right-now performers with skinny builds and a hefty helping of vulnerable sensitivity and directionless teenage angst, to the extent that both their nominated videos culminate in their respective suicides. Tyler, the Creator is more noted for his inclination to violence, but then again, Bruno Mars goes into disturbingly graphic detail about the variety of death-scenarios he would dedicate to some chick who doesn't even like him. Plus, his method of suicide is getting hit by a train while tickling the ivories. That's way more badass than some pedestrian hanging.
It may not be long before we find out definitively; Tyler, the Creator has promised to go on a "fucking killing spree" if he loses to Bruno Mars, and Mars, for his part, somewhat cryptically said back in May that "Tyler, the Creator will have to wait to stab me" — perhaps alluding to the possibility of some future death-match.
And if that's the case, then you can be certain who Steve Albini will be pulling for.