Been there, done that.
I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution was all too familiar for me. Same interview-style format as VJ: The Unplugged Adventures of MTV's First Wave, which I read within the past six months. Same stories about a lot of the same people. Same conclusion – corporate greed took the music out of music television. Nevertheless, I stuck with the new book and that was no easy task considering the length of it.
Yes, the content of this book is amusing – definitely uncensored – but the editing needs work. It starts out with a comprehensive list of everyone contacted for the book – called the cast of characters – and then segues into their words. There is very little contribution from the authors and from what I can see, little detail to the details.
Although the chapters are in chronological order, the stories within each chapter are not told in any particular order and the subject changes without warning. This may have been done purposefully, but I didn’t care for it. And while I read the revised version, which implies that the book was edited a second time, I found at least one editing error per chapter. This might not bother your average reader, but I’m a former copy editor and it bugged the hell out of me.
That aside, it was interesting to get the perspective of those behind the screen instead of the ones on it, especially since many of them have gone on to have very successful careers in the entertainment industry. (An aside: I grew up with one of those people, though it hasn’t done a lot for my own career!) And of course, it was great fun to read about the antics of the musicians and those around them. Hedonism at its best – or worst, depending on how you feel about that sort of thing.
Don’t let the length of the book fool you into thinking it’s the definitive story of MTV, because it isn’t. Very little is written about the impact of video on female rockers and their careers. There’s not much information, either, about the evolution of rap music through visuals. Now that I think about it, this book was written for your typical MTV viewers of the ‘90s – teen-aged boys. And from my view, edited by one of them!
I want(ed) my MTV to be so much more. Maybe there’ll be a third edition . . .