Complaining about the Grammys (or any awards shows, for that matter) is like complaining about the weather. What’s the point, right?
Still, this year’s self-congratulatory music-fest had what can only be called “interesting” moments — not completely awful, per se, but “questionable” at any rate:
1) Considering the influential bands — Buffalo Springfield & Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young — and music that he’s been a part of in a career that spans close to 50 years, how is it possible that Neil Young only won his first competitive Grammy this year? And for the packaging of his latest archival material!?!? WTF?? (Plus an honorary do-gooder lifetime achievement award.) Is it some Canuck-hating going on?
2) With a catalogue that include some of the greatest R&B/pop/rock songs of the ’70s and ’80s, how could Grammy producers select treacly dreck like “Earth Song” as the music industry’s tribute to Michael Jackson? Seriously, this pap would have had Al Gore gagging. (For what it’s worth, the show managed to screw up the tribute to James Brown three years ago, too, so at least there’s consistency.)
3) OK, we get the “cool collaboration” bit, but don’t you think some work better than others? Elton John and Lady Gaga, yes (and seeing them doing a piano duet of each other’s songs, one sees how influential John was on Gaga’s
costume-change-a-minute schtick). Jamie Foxx, T. Pain — and Slash together on “Blame It On The Alcohol”? (Maybe if “drugs” replaced “alcohol”, that might fit.) Taylor Swift and Stevie Nicks, not bad. But, if you’re going to go to the trouble of putting Eminem, Drake And L’il Wayne together, why let them perform a song half of which is censored because of the lyrics? (And Quentin Tarantino introduced them because…?)
4) So, CBS is carrying the show, but did we have to have just about every star of their primetime line-up come out as presenters? LL Cool J, sure — he’s a rapper and an actor. But his NCIS:LA co-star Chris O’Donnell too? “The Mentalist” Simon Baker? If you want to promote the network, just hire Neil Patrick Harris of “How I Met Your Mother”; he’s doing half the other award shows anyway!
5) Wyclef Jean, “The Haitian people are strong; we are African people.” Huh? Well, yeah, sort of. But as Jean, himself was taking great pains to point out, the languages spoken are English, French, Creole, etc. Haiti is as European/American-influenced as it is African — perhaps moreso. Right?
6) All right, maybe this is just my personal guilty pleasure, but is it really possible that Bon Jovi is actually cooler two decades after their heyday? Maybe, I’m just –gasp! — recognizing them now as my peer age range. Yikes!
7) Speaking of getting old, could somebody tell me how the hell this can be Green Day’s 20th anniversary!??! When the band won the Best Rock Album award for 21st Century Breakdown, my first thought was, oh, the Grammys are getting sort of hip. Then, I remembered Dookie came out in 1994 — and that was only their major-label debut!
8) Finally, would Taylor Swift have won Album of the Year if Kanye West hadn’t made a total ass of himself at the MTV Video Music Awards in the fall? Not to say that the lady isn’t talented (though her music isn’t quite my cup of tea), but it seems like West managed to give her a bit of cultural PR edge she was otherwise lacking. Of course, she had the chops — after all, her upset of Beyonce at the VMA triggered West’s obnoxious behavior.
But that incident pushed her into another orbit.
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