VMA Nominees & Why We Love Them

Here at Literally, Darling we are WAY excited about the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. We’ve already told you why you should love Ed Sheeran, nominated for “Best Male Video”, and what nominated videos you need to know before Sunday’s award show. With only a couple days left before the big night, here are a few of our writers’ favorite nominated artists.

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H.L.’s Pick: Mumford & Sons

If you would have uttered “folk music” pre-M&S days, many a person would have thought you were some peace-loving hippie that still listened to Bob Dylan records and anti-war ballads ad nauseum. (HEY, it’s okay to be that peace-loving hippie that still listens to Bob– I love you guys.) But when Mumford & Sons hit the airwaves here in the states (which, mind you, was at a later date then the hipper scenes of the UK & Ireland), it was folkin’ cool to love folk.  Other bands started to follow suit, or maybe it was the “media powers that be” who finally decided to play woodsy-soul music on the radio airwaves.  Whatever the case might have been, it seemed that folkin’ awesome folk was here to stay and Mumford & Sons used a beautiful formula.

BANJOS? Got ‘em.

FIDDLES when poignantly need? Duh.

Some fantastical, incredibly soul-touching lyrics? A MUST.

Mumford & Sons creates the type of songs that have lyrics so beautiful, people smack them on a poster with a serene nature picture in the back. That’s when you know you’ve truly made it– when you’re on a Pinterest poster.  I don’t just love them for that quote-ability factor, but for their depth, their beauty and their ability to perfectly phrase emotions so poetically that they make you feel.

So with that said, I’m done saying WHY I love them and I’m going to leave you by SHOWING you one of my favorite songs from Mumford & Sons, After the Storm— your love for them will follow soon after that.  They don’t need me to pump them up to you, they’re just plain majestic on their own.

My favorite line from After the Storm, would have to be, “Because death is just so full and man so small. Well I’m scared of what’s behind and what’s before.”

I mean DAYUM. Well said, Mumford and his sons, well said. With lyrics like this, how could you not show these cute Brits some love?

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Katie’s Pick: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

One day I found a Facebook link to NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts of an artist I’ve never heard of and within three songs I was dancing, crying, and then laughing until I cried some more. Completely agog at the talent, wit, and musicality of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, I did what I always do – I showed it to Hope, who being the little sister brat she is replied, “I LOVE Thrift Shop– I’ve been listening to it for months, I just figured you wouldn’t like it since you don’t listen to rap.” Which is true, I don’t, unless it’s really good rap, and Macklemore absolutely qualifies.

While Austin has already summarized why Same Love will make you weep- it is important to note its brilliance. It’s a simple, personal message about same-sex marriage, preaching tolerance and empathy, that ends with a repeat  of 1 Corinthians 13:4 “Love is patient, love is kind” showing that we’re all God’s children no matter who we love. It’s not only beautifully done, but provides an amazing bridge to people who have more in common that they might realize. It also cannot be ignored that the video is stunningly shot and a visual joy to watch.

Not only is Macklemore charging away at social causes, “No freedom til we’re equal, damn right I support it,” but he’s just fun. Thrift Shop is about the only song that could ever make going to the thrift shop cool (sorry all you thrifters, I’m too much of a germaphobe) and even in its hilarity, it sheds a little light on how many millennials decorate their homes/selves/parties. But have you seen the And We Danced video? Yeah, I dare you to not pee yourself laughing:


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Kirstie’s Pick: Justin Timberlake

If the rumors are true, the little girls within us all will be squealing with joy as JT reunites with his N*Sync crew this Sunday at the VMAs. While personally I was a Backstreet Boys girl during the battle of the boy bands back in the day, I always had a feeling that our man Justin would go on to do great things. Boy did he ever!

From his debut solo album Justified, I was a fan. I can distinctly remember shouting out “Rock MY body!!” while watching the live performance of Rock Your Body at the Superbowl. Justin was so sexy uttering his “mmsk, mmsk, mmsk” and ripping off Janet’s clothes. He could sing, dance and didn’t take himself too seriously. Justified captured a wonderful moment of transition for Justin, as it proved he was more than a boy band front man… He was an all around musician. I played that album out during the four year wait for his second release, FutureSex/LoveSounds, which quickly replaced Justified as my favorite JT CD to play on repeat. FS/LS had a welcomed R&B/Rap vibe with collabs from Will.i.am and Three Six Mafia. Something about his rapper-esque badassness paired with his delicately executed falsetto made my heart skip a beat. I, along with the entire JT fanbase was shocked (read: sad) when he took his long break from music to pursue acting and other business ventures.

The long awaited The 20/20 Experience was released early this year to mixed reviews. While my first reaction to Suit and Tie was a bit underwhelmed, I quickly realized that the more you play it, the more you Get It. It was not the typical “in your face” pop hit we’ve come to expect, but with a beat you can vibe to, a feature from Jay-Z and some classy throwback horns, Suit and Tie is a track oozing with swag. Which tells me 20/20 was a real labor of love, not a pursuit for another commercial smash, for Justin. The second single off the album, Mirrors, nominated for this years “Best Male Video” makes you feel like you’re a part of some gospel revolution as the music drops out, a group clap ensues and a mass of backup singers join Justin on the last chorus.


And can we TALK about Justin’s feature on Jay-Z’s Holy Grail?! Shit. There is so much attitude, emotion, pain and soul in his voice. Paired with Jay’s sick beats and rhymes, I cannot stop listening. Justin is back, and I can’t stress it enough – I’m ecstatic.

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Austin’s Pick: Miley Cyrus

While the ladies clearly have their eyes on the boys this year, I’m rooting hard for none other than Miss Miley Cyrus. (Shocker, right?) I was first introduced to Miley—as much of the world was—as middle-schooler-by-day-rock-star-by-night TV sensation Hannah Montana. My sister was enamored with the child star, and after an entire summer of the show, I’ll admit: I was hooked, too. From the irresistible title track of the show (“The Best Of Both Worlds” is still my jam) to the ‘Hannah Montana’ movie soundtrack (it really is the climb, y’all), I’ve been genuinely interested in Miley’s musical progression since day one.

But I’m not sure any of us saw this coming:

Like it or not, Miley Cyrus is a very talented singer (evidence A, B, C, and D, haters) and a professional-caliber performer, and as far as the MTV Video Music Awards are concerned, this video is, how do you say… a #BANGER. It’s sleek, sharp, sexy, a little silly, and yes, self-aware. Miley’s above clip for “We Can’t Stop” has proved to be more than just a loaded gun for controversy: not only did it shatter VEVO’s viewing records, she’s nominated for Best Female VideoBest Pop Video, and Best Editing. (And I, personally, think she deserves all three.)

Cyrus herself tweeted months ago:


One one hand, she was right—both songs she’s released from hew new era are delectable—but on the other, people have never talked about her more, sending even her starpower to new heights (on the charts and otherwise).

She’s “rebelling” (read: growing up) in the public eye, but more importantly, she’s making some killer tunes reminiscent of Britney Spears’ own foray into mainstream pop music infused with heavy hip-hop undertones, and she’s taking control of her own career. What I probably love most about Miley is that she’s honest about who she is (and isn’t), and she’s taking chances and isn’t afraid to try or be something just because someone else is uncomfortable with it.

Now there’s a makeover I can get behind, darlings.
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Be sure to tune into MTV this Sunday at 9PM EST to see if any of our picks win a Moonman. Who are your favorite VMA nominees? Let us know in the comments section below or tweet us @litdarling!

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