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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Jan 29, 2019
Headline for MTV Video Music Awards: 10 Nominees for Pop and Rock
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MTV Video Music Awards: 10 Nominees for Pop and Rock

These days, genre categories are hard to fill because music tends to blend, explore, and ignore boundaries. We have a tendency to create categories for explaining and describing, but reality rarely ever sits pretty inside a box, and music is not outside of this. Here are the 5 nominations for best pop video and the 5 nominations for best rock video at the MTV Video Music Awards 2014.

Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea - "Problem" Best pop nomination

This video is actually quite fun to watch. Ariana Grande has perfected the bambi-eyed look from the side, because direct eye contact is too aggressive I guess. That spinning floor has made more appearances in videos than Pharrell has.

Pharrell Williams "Happy" Best Pop Nomination

About once every year there's a song that is so painfully wide reaching that it's played in cars of 17 year old kids, is every fifth song at the grocery store, and your grandma is singing it while knitting. It's catchy, and that's because Pharrell is the master of capturing your ear and keeping it. Furthermore, any song about "truth" and "Happiness" has the Midas touch in a culture desperately in search for a bliss that is probably a construct anyway, so it's better in a song.

Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy" Best Pop Nomination

The 90s movie "Clueless" is getting a nostalgic re-birth all over the place, and Iggy Azalea's music video for "Fancy" is just one of it's zombies. The movie is about a rich white girl who is charming, but oblivious because of her privilege. It's an Interesting choice.

Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz - "Talk Dirty" Best pop nomination

For the longest time I referred to this song as the "one with the horns". I know for sure I'm not the only one who did that. The video is perfect for a Friday night laser bowling party, because you're not going to be looking at it anyway. Here is an excellent and totally under used story line: Girls, dancing, and girls dancing.

Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc - "Wake Me Up" Best pop nomination

This video is one long Ralph Lauren advertisement. The visuals are stunning, so it redeems itself in the landscape. The young girl finds adventure in an EDM festival, and is looking to go back to that place that feels like another planet.

Imagine Dragons - "Demons" Best rock nomination

What Imagine Dragons does right in this video is the juxtaposition between the shots of people alone in front of a mirror or on a stage, to shots of a mass of people in the audience listening to the same song together, and the intense meaning and connection that comes from it.

Lorde - "Royals" Best rock nomination

Here is a teenage girl who doesn't need a spinning floor in her music videos. It's the kind of meaningful simplicity we haven't seen in awhile. All of a sudden, being normal in natural light isn't a cultural death sentence.

Arctic Monkeys - "Do I Wanna Know" Best rock nomination

At first, this video reminds me of the videos that would come up when I would play some songs on an old school Windows music player. Eventually it gets way better, as the lines become captivating characters themselves, while telling stories in vivid strips.

The Black Keys - "Fever" Best rock nomination

Here is a video with shots of church audiences from the late 80s/ early 90s that kind of remind me of the audience shots in the first seasons of Funniest Home Videos. Whatever this man is preaching, his desperation is very moist and coming out of his face.

Linkin Park - "Until It's Gone" Best rock nomination

Even without seeing the title of this video, just the intro would scream "Linkin Park". It's beautiful with images in the often empty shadows, while the bodies become frames for another story. They move with the music seamlessly.