We’ve said it before: MuchMusic kinda sucks nowadays.
Dave Bidini says the same thing, but more eloquently, in his column at This Magazine. The front man of the now-defunct Rheostatics reminisces about a time when his band was “afforded two hours at midnight to present bands live in an empty garage studio in the bowels of the Much/City colossus.”
Regrettably, those days of low-fi Canadocentric programming are long gone. Bidini continues:
Circa 2008, MuchMusic has aged worse than anyone could have expected. It has mutilated itself to the point that there are very few videos programmed anymore; instead, OC reruns, sad pop star reality shows, gossip and style dailies and the failed life journey of Scott Baio dominate a television station that does little to address or articulate the tastes of young Canadians.
This would have never happened if Master T were still around.
Torontoist can pinpoint the precise moment when we stopped watching MuchMusic. It was December 2005: Canada was gearing up for a federal election, New Generation Sushi suffered a massive fire, and Devon Soltendieck confidently named his two favourite albums of the year as Funeral by The Arcade Fire and X&Y by Coldplay. It seemed baffling at the time that a person whose profession was music journalism could had missed the fact that the epic Funeral was released in 2004, and that X&Y was merely another bland, inoffensive album in Coldplay’s repertoire. Today, it is even more evident that an appreciation and understanding of music is not a prerequisite for being a MuchMusic VJ, especially since there are barely any vee’s to jay.
Of course, the music and youth culture channels of this era are nearly synonymous with trashy reality programming, and it’s unrealistic to imagine them returning to the way they were in the Rheostatics’ heyday. Besides, do we really want to give up My Super Sweet Sixteen and So You Think You Can Dance? While Bidini is justified in calling out MuchMusic on their suckage, he misses the opportunity to discuss newcomer MTV Canada and its role in the changing youth media scene.
It is embarrassing that the American import was able to trump MuchMusic immediately after its inception in spring 2006, but MTV seems considerably more relevant when compared to its Canadian cousin. MTV has no programming dedicated purely to music videos due to a CRTC licensing issue, but MuchMusic schedules theirs when most people are sleeping. MTV Live is run by smart and entertaining hosts who sincerely seem to enjoy their job, while Much On Demand VJs clamber through interviews with the latest pop-punk bands in order to secure a future gig at CityTV. MuchMusic’s edgiest show, Video On Trial, features local comedians making obvious jokes about music videos, while MTV’s The Hills Afterparty is a delightfully tongue-in-cheek lampoonery of reality television that has been greatly successful both north and south of the border. Both stations are competing with entertainment blogs and YouTube, and only one is making any effort to stay ahead of the game.
MuchMusic used to be the mouthpiece for Canadian youth culture, and it was something that Canadians could genuinely take pride in. Now, “instead of using their platform to inform, educate, inspire and challenge, they’re Dorito’ing Canada’s youth to death,” writes Bidini, “pinning them to their couches and area rugs so they’re more easily fed into the narrowing black hole of adult network television.” Like Bidini, we don’t want to believe that Canada’s youth are as stupid as MuchMusic seems to think they are. Enough with the OC reruns already, Much, and get with the times.
Via CanCult. Photo by steveisaac.