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Inside the MTV Woodie Awards 09: The Winners

Colin Rich | Monday, December 7, 2009

Woodie of the Year – Kings of Leon
After living in the shadows of alternative rock since the early 2000s, Kings of Leon emerged as one of this year’s hottest acts following the release of their fourth album “Only By The Night” in 2008.  Comprised of three brothers and their cousin, this quartet tore up American airwaves with Grammy-award winning singles “Sex on Fire” and “Use Somebody.”  While the band garnered an impressive reputation in the U.K. in the past several years, “Only By The Night” launched a wave of commercial success in the U.S., reaching No. 5 on the Billboard Charts and receiving critical acclaim from pop culture paragons Rolling Stone and Spin. Basking in their American ascent, Kings of Leon headlined the Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits music festivals and recently released a live DVD of their performance at London’s O2 Arena.

Best Video Woodie – Matt and Kim’s “Lessons Learned”
With one of the most impressively jaw-dropping and imaginatively simple music videos ever made, Matt and Kim streaked off with the Best Video Woodie of 2009.  The video featured Matt and Kim coolly exiting a van in a chilly Times Square before (un)comfortably stripping and running naked from the NYPD. This constituted their second MTV win for “Lessons Learned” which garnered Breakthrough Video honors at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards. Matt and Kim’s genuine affability, gratitude and spunk permeated the Woodies as the sprightly duo’s opening performance paid a likewise skintastic homage to their audacious video.

Breaking Woodie – Never Shout Never
The success of 18-year-old acoustic pop musician and devout vegan Christofer Ingle (a.k.a. Never Shout Never) lies in his gifted musicianship and rampant Internet exposure. Set for release this week, his fifth EP “Hot Topic” is only his second after signing with Warner Bros. Records this past May. His spring and summer consisted of touring with smaller acts and surfacing repeatedly on college playlists nationwide.   Never Shout Never’s debut full-length album “What is Love?” hits iTunes in January 2010.

Left Field Woodie – Tech N9ne
Well known for his collaborations with a broad range of other artists, a good spirited Tech N9ne took home the Left Field Woodie for his 2009 releases “K.O.D.,” “Sickology 101” and “The Box Set.” In Sept. 2008, Tech N9ne officially hit a milestone in his career, accumulating over a million album sales to date thanks to the release of his double album “Killer.” Tech N9ne also co-owns the record label Strange Music, and his 10-year film and music career demonstrates a repeated embrace of a bizarre and brutal hardcore rap.  

Performing Woodie – Green Day
Following the release of their eighth studio album and subsequent tour circuit, punk rock vets Green Day earned top performing honors for everything from their sold-out shows to their impromptu soundcheck-turned-30-minute-set at the MTV VMAs this year. 2009 witnessed the relative revival of Green Day, who began their current world tour in April following a three-year hiatus from live events. The Performing Woodie salutation pays tribute to a band once considered faded but poised for another confident run at the top. Their May release “21st Century Breakdown” achieved Green Day’s best chart-performance to date, reaching Gold or Platinum status in 14 countries.  

Good Woodie – Jamie Tworkowski
Becoming the first ever non-musician to take home a Woodie, Jamie Tworkowski founded To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), a non-profit movement dedicated to the spread of awareness and help for those who struggle with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA seeks to encourage, inform, inspire and invest directly into treatment and recovery. Today the distinctive slogan appears on T-shirts, bracelets and yes, even the arms of major international celebrities and musicians such as Paramore, Switchfoot and Panic at the Disco. Check out the TWLOHA Web site to browse merchandise and learn details on how to get involved.

Best Music on Campus Woodie – Hotel of the Laughing Tree
This year’s best campus musicians reside in Long Island at Suffolk County Community College, where Hotel of the Laughing Tree’s astute lyricism and instrumental range amounts to more than just another indie also-ran.  

College Radio Woodie – KUPS 90.1
Sorry WVFI, the University of Puget Sound apparently holds top college radio honors this year, but we tried to put in a good word.