Breaking Down MTV Music Video Award’s Best Alternative Nominees


MTV Music Video Awards in 2010. Photo Courtesy of Drew Ressler via Flickr.

Every year, MTV hosts an award show focused on music videos from the past year. More often than not, fans think of this award show as a showcase for hip-hop music videos, when in reality, the ceremony celebrates all genres, including rock! To make the upcoming MTV Music Video Awards more interesting, we’ve gone through all the nominations and broke down why they belong on this list. Be sure to check out the MTV Music Video Awards on Sunday, Sept. 12.

Bleachers: “Stop Making This Hurt”

Jack Antoniff leads the list with Bleacher’s lead single, “Stop Making it Hurt,” from their latest album, Take the Sadness Out of Saturday Night. This album dropped on July 30th via RCA Records and has already received approving nods from critics. This single,  produced by Patrick Berger and Jack Antonoff, was the first single from the album and already has reached well over 2.5 million plays.

In a statement, Antonoff said of “Stop Making This Hurt,” “It’s a line that had been ringing in my head for years. I fell into a dark place after a loss and then started to have that feeling of rage toward the depression — which is when you know there’s a way out. Started looking at the people close to me in my life and finding all the ways we keep ourselves from breaking through. ‘Stop Making This Hurt’ started ringing more and more in my head. Then the pandemic hit and I got the band in a room and we played like we may never play again. At that point, it took on another meaning. Found myself banging at the door of the next phase of my life and to open [it] brings up all the darkness from the past and what’s holding you back. I could intellectualize it for days but what I’m truly left with is a voice in my head shouting ‘Stop Making This Hurt.’”

Glass Animals: “Heat Waves”

Another fan favorite, Glass Animals, has been nominated for their music video for “Heat Waves.” Already this song has made waves within the indie/ alternative community. The song was released as a single as part of their 2020 album Dreamland and has become one of the band’s biggest hits. It was voted into first place on the Australian Triple J Hottest 100 of 2020. This makes Glass Animals the first British act to top the countdown since Mumford & Sons “Little Lion Man” in 2009. The song has become so popular that the band decided to create a remix compilation featuring Diplo.

“The song started in May 2018,” says frontman Dave Bayley. “We were winding down from touring our second album, and I hired a studio in North London called The Church. I was in the little basement room, which used to be the kitchen – and I’ve recently found out that’s where Bob Dylan used to sit and write. He only wanted to be in the kitchen, apparently.”

Imagine Dragons: “Follow You”

Alternative headliners Imagine Dragons are nominated for their music video for “Follow You.” This single came off their fifth studio album, Mercury – Act 1, released March 12 of this year via Interscope and Kidnakorner Records. Joel Little and Rick Rubin helped produced the album.

“Follow You” was inspired by frontman Dan Reynolds’ relationship with his wife, Aja Volkman. Reynolds wrote the song soon after receiving a “life-changing” text from Volkman, having not spoken to her in seven months, while on his way to finalize their divorce. About the writing process, he revealed, “I wrote ‘Follow You’ after we got back together. I wanted it to represent a love that is realistic. One where love isn’t perfect but it endures.”

Machine Gun Kelly: “my ex’s best friend” [ft. blackbear]

Here is where the list gets interesting. Machine Gun Kelly, who was previously a hip-hop musician, has transitioned into an alternative persona with his latest album, Tickets to My Downfall. It is the third single from the album and reached number 20 on the US Billboard Hot 100. This single also features blackbear, who is another hip-hop artist. Considering the popularity of both this song and the album (and the nature of this award show), it’s safe to say this album might be the favorite to win.

“It was almost like shooting 14 music videos back-to-back, but with a narrative that’s outside of my personal life stories,” Kelly said. ​“It focuses on other characters, and then me and [Travis Barker] are just the narrators. It’s an interesting concept because it hasn’t been done for an album ever, maybe outside of like Pink Floyd’s The Wall.” 

twenty-one pilots: “Shy Away” 

Another fan-favorite, twenty-one pilots, is nominated for “Shy Away” from their sixth studio album, Scaled and Icy. The music video was directed by Miles Cable and AJ Favicchio and has reached over 35 million views on YouTube. The single debuted at number 87 on the US Billboard Hot 100, falling out the next week.

Scaled And Icy’ is “the product of long-distance virtual sessions and finds the duo processing their upended routines along with the prevailing emotions of 2020 – anxiety, loneliness, boredom and doubt”, according to a press release. “While working on the project, the band adopted “a more imaginative and bold approach to their songwriting” which resulted in “a collection of songs that push forward through setbacks and focus on the possibilities worth remembering.”

WILLOW: “t r a n s p a r e n t s o u l” [ft. Travis Barker]

Last but not least, we have another interesting nomination from Willow Smith, the daughter of Will Smith. Willow, who is normally a hip-hop artist, has also transitioned to pop-punk for her latest studio album, Lately I Feel Everything. This single features Travis Barker, the drummer for Blink-182, and has reached over a million views on YouTube within the first couple of weeks of its release. The single has peaked at number 10 on US Hot Rock & Alternative Songs.

“I just wanted to let loose with this album. I wanted to have fun and be young and not be so existential and worrying all the time,” Willow said in a statement. “I thought this was a really dope outlet for a new energy I wanted to bring to my music.”

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close