Culture / Music / Television

Throwback: The glory days of MTV

Being born in 1994 has its perks. The majority of the millennials who share my birth year owned Furbees and Hip Clips, grew up watching Doug and All That, and were just old enough to remember New Year’s Eve of the year 2000. iTunes, YouTube, and online streaming services were on the very distant horizon— most of us were still waiting for AOL dial-up internet. The only way to watch music videos was through Music Television. The presence of MTV in the late nineties is something that often goes unnoticed, but I consider it a gem of our generation.

With the development of YouTube and other online video services, video jockeys began to lose their jobs. MTV changed from airing an endless reel of music videos to pitching ideas for shows like Teen Mom. Pretty soon music videos were aired only for a few hours on Saturday mornings, then only between the hours from midnight to 5am, and then not at all. Now, you have to subscribe to a ridiculous cable package to have access to MTV2 and MTVU, which are the last two channels that regularly show music videos.

In order to satisfy my own nostalgia, I went back and tried to find the first handful of music videos I remember seeing. When I watch these videos, I remember sitting on my brother’s bed, or sitting on the couch and changing the channel from Disney to MTV once my parents left the room. I was happy to see that the quality of most of these videos doesn’t go above 240p. It’s almost like I’m six again, seeing them for the first time.

1. “Look What You’ve Done” – Jet (2003)

This was the first music video that I ever remember seeing, and technically, the one that sparked my obsession.

2. “Starfighter Pilot” – Snow Patrol (1998)

3. “There She Goes” – The La’s (1990)

4. “The Reason” – Hoobastank (2003 and rereleased in 2012)

5. “Unwell” – Matchbox Twenty (2002)

I watched this while sitting on a hotel bed during a family vacation. I’m not sure if there could ever be a more perfect scenario.

6. “Iris” – The Goo Goo Dolls (1998)

7. “Sing” – Travis (2001)

8. “Bittersweet Symphony” – The Verve (1997)

9. “The Middle” – Jimmy Eat World (2001)

10. “Bigger Than My Body” – John Mayer (2003)

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