For Dream!

June 1, 2008

MTV Video Music Awards Japan 2008: Part Two

Carrying on from pondering how a “Best Album Award” fits in to VMAs, let’s move on to some of the more unusual awards. I suspect it’s less to do with the video here and more to do with the overall package.

Best buzzAsia from Japan: AI, “I’ll Remember You”

I thought this was a “one to watch” kind of award. There are a lot of people I would consider giving this to Aoyama Thelma, Jero…but AI has been around for ages so I don’t know what the award means. I have to say, I don’t like the song or the video. AI’s voice and musical sound is different to just about everybody else in the Japanese charts. Perhaps, as a Westerner, I don’t appreciate that fully. However, I just can’t find an aspect of her voice that marks her apart from countless other R’n’B singers. The video itself reminds me of Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful”. It’s simple, not particularly memorable. The more I write, the more I think that this was a mistake on MTV’s part. AI is deserving of recognition but perhaps this award shoudn’t have been for her and this song certainly not the one to single out.

Best buzzAsia from Korea: Cherry Filter, “Feel It”

Token Korean award? With the Japanese one above included to try and make it seem less so? MTV is based in Japan so obviously Japanese artists will dominate the VMAs. Perhaps this is an attempt at inclusion. Or maybe at expansion. Who knows? Who cares? Probably Cherry Filter are happy enough. I believe the Korean music industry is the hardest to break into. It’s dominated by former trainees of SM, YG etc whether they remained with their companies or not. Epik High are the only really noticeable exception. Cherry Filter have been knocking about for a while now though, and their sound is rather unique. I really like this video, certainly more so than I do the song. Neither of them are good representatives of the Korean music scene…wistful thinking on somebody’s part!

Best buzzAsia from Taiwan:Andy Lau, “One”

Now, this just strikes me as being lazy. Think of the most famous Chinese singer around: Andy Lau. Pick a place for the award to reference: Taiwan. Does Andy Lau come from Taiwan? No. Does anyone seem to care? Hell no! I love Andy but why do we always see Chinese-language music dumped into the same category. This award doesn’t even have the dubious benefit of a generalisation. It’s not as though Taiwan has any shortage of talented singers, both Jay Chou and Jolin Tsai released albums since the last VMAs. Are they not famous enough? Or maybe somebody just didn’t bother doing their research. I didn’t talk about the song because I couldn’t find a clip of the video (that comment about research is coming back to bite me now). If anyone can provide a link please let me know!

Best Karaoke Song:EXILE, “Toki no Kakera”

Bloody hell, who have EXILE been sleeping with? Another coveted award won and another one I don’t think they deserve. I suppose karaoke choices are so subjective though. Personally I prefer something a bit faster, with lyrics that WON’T send the room to sleep. Can I suggest Otsuka Ai “Peach”, Arashi “Step and Go” or KAT-TUN “Lips”? “Toki no Kakera” isn’t a bad song, but it’s karaoke for cowards.

MTV Video Vanguard Award:Mariah Carey

Go away Mariah. This is an Asian entertainment blog. I have no obligation to you whatsoever. Convenient timing though, what with your new album out…

MTV Rock the World Award:Kobayashi Takeshi & Sakurai Kazutoshi

This is important. Not interesting in an entertainment-gossip way, but important nonetheless. The pair are among the most famous of Japan’s musicians – a producer and the frontman of Mr. Children respectively. Together they founded the AP Bank, which provides funding for environmentally-friendly causes. This is MTV’s “Bono” award. Usually I dismiss this kind of award as a publicity stunt to make MTV look good but if it brings more attention to the AP Bank, then I can’t fault it. Read more about the bank and what they do here: http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1663317_1663322_1669926,00.html

Red Hot Award: INFINITY16

New to me. I’m finding it a little bit hard to get my head around their music. So far I like “Itsumademo Merry Christmas” but that’s it. I’d like to hear from anybody who likes (or dislikes them). You can get some of their videos on Youtube. The seem to be recommended by MTV…is that a good thing? Check out their fabulous homepage here: http://www.infinity16sound.com/index.html

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May 27, 2008

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems…

While most of us were shocked by the earthquake in Sichuan, China and saddened by the devastation it caused, there were others just waiting for the chance to turn it to their advantage. You know the type of netizen, if they get the scent of blood, then they go in for the kill.

Their current victim is entertainer Andy Lau. Like a host of other celebrities, he has donated a considerable sum to the relief fund. However, when it was revealed that the amount in question was “only” $100,000, members of the online community were up in arms. Their problem was that someone with the riches of Andy Lau should be giving far more than that. Yeah, he’s so selfish, right…

I wonder how much money these Cyber-Champions of Sichuan donated? It seems that celebrities can’t do right or wrong, damned if they do, damned if they don’t. The same problem arose last year when Korean celebrities went to volunteer and clean up the oil spill at Taean. It was out of the question that, despite their high profile careers, celebrities might actually want to help. No, no, it was those crafty DBSK boys taking any opportunity they could to make themselves look good. Another SM marketing technique. In fact, they probably orchestrated the whole oil spill just for the photo-ops…

Is anyone else getting sick and tired of these bad netizen attitudes? Why is it so hard to believe that Changmin has a pretty face and a big heart too? Speaking up in Andy Lau’s defence, Feng Xiaogang revealed that $100,000 had been agreed as the standard contribution from all members of the Hong Kong Performing Artiste’s Guild. After all, not every actor in Hong Kong makes as much money as Andy Lau, it had to be a figure that everyone could afford. Furthermore, there’s nothing to stop Andy making subsequent donations privately, which I’m sure he has done.

But why should the truth and common sense get in the way of a good internet scandal? Let’s vilify Andy – he’s famous he can handle it…

As for the vicious netizens who seek to spoil an act of generosity, I wish they would take a closer look at the victims of the earthquake. Absolutely ANYTHING that they get is helpful. Maybe people making negative comments about people who do help should reach into their pockets before reaching for their keyboards.

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