Flying Lotus and Odd Future’s Tyler, the Creator seem like artists who could most benefit from an alternative, online-centric music video awards show. Each indie act is known for visually striking clips and an outsider aesthetic that riffs on a universe of musical and pop cultural references.
So maybe fans should take their criticism of the YouTube Music Awards seriously. Each act lambasted the new ceremony — at which Tyler is expected to perform on Nov. 3 — as essentially an extension of the same mindless top-40 shenanigans as the VMAs (via Spin; note, language advisory). This year’s major nominees include Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, One Direction and Justin Bieber, though some more experimental acts like Toro y Moi and Bat For Lashes snuck in.
Tyler, who directs many of his own videos, had some typically barbed words for the event on Twitter (language advisory): “YOUTUBE AWARDS COULDVE ... HAD NOMINATIONS ON COOL CREATIVE VIDEOS ... BUT NOOOO AGAIN ITS THE MOST TEENY BOPPER POP ...,” before finishing with a classic Tyler coda: “YOU ARE BUTT.”
He also criticized the whole conceit of the show, awarding mainstream artists for videos they had little to do with on the technical side, while more underground acts often take a much more active role in them: “WHY NOT GIVE AWARDS TO JUST DIRECTORS, THESE ... WEAK ASS ARTIST DONT COME UP WITH THESE SHOTS OR SIT IN COLORING ... .”
They echo remarks from the L.A. avant-garde producer Flying Lotus (language alert), who noted that “Seems like the YouTube music awards are pretty much the same as the VMAs. I don’t really see the point.” He added that “If it’s all about hits sure I get it but let’s be fair. YouTube award nominations clearly don’t care about cutting edge/innovation...They had an opportunity to shine a light on all the artists that they helped to gain notoriety just to ... on them for uber famous acts.”
Lotus’ beautiful short for “Until The Quiet Comes” (with director Khalil Joseph) deserves all the attention it can get, so if the YouTube Music Awards seem like a VMAs rehash to you, go watch that instead.