The Grammys - Who Cares?

For years, I have sort of defended the Grammy Awards. Sure, their tastes rarely reflect my personal tastes, but I’ve long since passed the time where I expect the world to enjoy my quirky choices.
Yet I understood where they were coming from, and for the most part they bridged the ever-widening gap between commercial and critical taste. Sure, they tended to over-reward certain ageing artists, and they occasionally had their share of embarrassments such as the Jethro Tull fiasco in the early 90’s.
In recent years, though, the broadcast portion of the ceremonies were actually relatively entertaining, particularly the telecast hosted by John Stewart a couple of years ago.
I knew weeks before the awards were handed out that this year was not going to up to that level. The nominee list had resorted back to the safe middle-of-the-road choices that marred the pre-90’s awards, and the list of performers seemed to indicate a desire to reach the Hannah Montana crowd.
I poured myself a cocktail a few minutes before the show began this past Sunday, hoping that at least the heavily-hyped Police reunion would be entertaining. It was…for the first 90 seconds as Sting, Stewart Copeland, and Andy Summers launched into “Roxanne”. I was hoping for something a bit less predictable, but the energy level was there and Sting is one of the few ageing rockers who can still hit the high notes.
Those high hopes vanished as the band meandered into a jazzy middle interlude that sucked the energy out of the entire building. This was the kind of crap that has made solo Sting so frustrating, and even a reprise of the chorus couldn’t save the performance. Overall, it was okay at best.
And with that performance, rock and roll was pretty much off the menu for the rest of the evening. In fact, the only other rock act that performed was the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who for some inexplicable reason played the most “un-rock” track off their Grammy-winning Stadium Arcadium album.
It all went downhill immediately after the Police. I have to admit that I once sort of liked Jamie Foxx, but ever since his win for the over-hyped Ray movie he’s a complete ass. The fact that his awful pseudo-r&b album was nominated for a Grammy tells me how lame the nominations were this year.
Foxx was up there to hand out the first award of the evening for Best Duo With Vocals, or something like that. The winners? Tony Bennett and Stevie “I May Not Be Able to See But I Can Certainly Smell the Buffet Table” Wonder. Ugh.
For the next three hours, I was subjected to almost every “artist” that in my mind is to blame for all of the industry’s woes. Mary J. Blige seemed to be everywhere, constantly telling us how she’s lost all the drama and is now a wonderful person. Too bad she didn’t lose a bit of her ego with that drama.
Justin Timberlake also was never far from the camera eye…except when actual awards were handed out. What a talent-less buffoon. He stole the stage acts of Coldplay and U2, pretended to play piano, and actually fake-strummed a string-less guitar. If you don’t believe me, just go to YouTube and check it out.
Even worse, some marketing genius came up with this great idea to have the Grammies copy American Idol. Viewers were supposed to vote for one of three young hotties to sing with the former ‘N-Stinker. Yet we had nothing except their cute faces to base our decision. The resulting performance, a cover of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No Sunshine”, made about as much as sense as having Christina Aguilera cover James Brown, or that awful pretty-boy country act Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood remake a seemingly dozen awful Eagles songs.
Timberlake wasn’t the only faker on stage, though. Shakira looked amazing as always, but was clearly lip-synching. Notice how the cameras were nowhere near her when she was “singing” yet had plenty of close-ups when Wyclef Jean took his turn? Towards the end, some unknown young kid never uttered a note into his mic as he copied Usher copying Michael Jackson, complete with young boys doing their own special dances. I hope he saves whatever money he made off his record, because I guarantee his destiny is the bargain bin at every used store in the country.
The actual awards weren’t quite as insulting. Unfortunately, few of them were actually shown on television. Few can argue that Springsteen didn’t deserve the traditional folk award for his album of Pete Seeger covers, or Dylan for Americana album. Or Wolfmother and Slayer for Hard Rock and Metal. The Flaming Lips won a couple of awards, as did Gnarls Barkley.
The big news of the evening, of course, was the multiple wins for the much-maligned Dixie Chicks. I’m not a fan, and never have been, but I have listened to it because of the input of two artists that I have interviewed in the past - Jayhawks leader Gary Louris and Trip Shakespeare/Semisonic leader Dan Wilson. Ignore the rhetoric and it’s a pretty strong, albeit lightweight, folk-rock album.
Their wins, along with their onstage silliness, has sent the right-wingers into a tizzy. To them it’s proof of a liberal plot to embolden our enemies abroad and bring down the rule of King George II. Uh, no. While certainly not the best album of the year, it was stronger than the other nominees and was one of the biggest selling albums of the year. I guarantee that the votes in at least two of their four wins were extremely close, and the album of the year could have just as easily gone to Gnarls Barkley, the Chili Peppers, or the awful John Mayer. As for song of the year, did anybody want to see James Blunt win? The only thing I want to see him win is the Death Pool.


Anonymous said…
I tried finding the video of the former N'SUCK member strumming air guitar at the Grammy's but can't find it. Is there anyway you could provide a link?
I used to be a faithful viewer. Didn't even miss it this year.

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