A week ago, both Taylor Swift and Kanye West stole the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards with their respective performances. Not only did they both deliver polished, personal renditions of their tunes, but they also joined the ranks of a rare list of artists who have unveiled brand-new music at the VMAs. Both Swift and West performed songs that had never been heard anywhere, and each came from upcoming albums that are sure to be among the biggest of 2010. What better place than the VMA stage to show off their new toys?
Actually, the VMA performances are usually dictated by the songs that were nominated for awards (or, at the very least, those artists’ current singles). Eminem’s show-opening salvo was the best example of this, as he busted into both “Not Afraid” (the song that netted him eight VMA nominations) and “Love the Way You Lie” (his current chart-topping single).
But clearly some artists deviate from the script. In fact, the last time an artist drew the curtain on new music at the VMAs was in 2008, when West performed new single “Love Lockdown” for the first time. Britney Spears’ “Gimme More” had found its way onto the Internet before the 2007 VMAs, but her show-opening performance of the tune was the first taste for many.
Flashing back a bit, R.E.M. premiered a new song called “The Wake-Up Bomb” at the 1995 show (it later showed up on the band’s 1996 on-the-road album New Adventures in Hi-Fi). Pearl Jam also unveiled a new song called “Animal” (which came out on their second album Vs. a few weeks later).
With legends like R.E.M., Pearl Jam and Spears in their corner, both West and Swift are now part of an elite fraternity. Who will be the next artist to debut new music at the VMAs? That sounds like the first question surrounding the 2011 show. Let the speculation begin!