Sunday, November 23, 2008


One week ago, MTV aired the final episode of Total Request Live ever, which debuted ten years ago in 1998 amid the (first) teen pop boom of my generation. It was a sad day indeed. Several of the popstars/rock stars that helped launch the show and saw it through its 10 years were on hand to send this (originally) imperative show off into the sunset in the correct fashion.

For the kids today who were too young to remember -- TRL began in 1998. It was the first place where you could see interviews and video premieres with the coolest artists of the day, and helped establish the careers of *NSYNC, Britney Spears, Backstreet Boys and Christina Aguilera, as well as Korn, Limp Bizkit and Eminem. Without TRL, these artists would not have had the effect that had, and in turn, their influence wouldn't have been as strongly recognizable on today's crop of pop and rock stars.

Back in the day, I remember being so excited to come home from school and watch TRL. I used to tape segments featuring *NSYNC and the other popstars I loved. I remember seeing the "I Drive Myself Crazy" and "This I Promise You" videos premiere. Artists came on the show for a real interview, not just a publicity plug. And here's the scary thing -- in the beginning, the video countdown was based on ACTUAL votes by phone, and they showed most of the video.

However, by 2007, it became abundantly clear to everyone that the show that my generation grew up with had been bastardized. It was no longer live, as two shows were taped on Tuesday, and two were taped on Wednesday, and suddenly it was no longer aired on Fridays. Also, it was no longer "Total Request", as the video countdown order was based on user votes online, as well as radio numbers and chart positions. MTV had sold out the show we loved to cave to the major record label's interest. Also, the show had become a staple stop for artists to unabashedly plug their album, and then even TV stars and movie stars got on the bandwagon, even though it was supposed to be a music show.

I will miss the old TRL. The one where there were awkward interviews involving Eminem and Mark Wahlberg, where Mariah first unveiled her crazy, where when the boy bands visited MTV had to close the studio's windows to deter obsessed fans. Here's to hoping MTV will realize the genius behind the original mentality of TRL, and reincarnate it in a way we won't expect.

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