Monday, February 13, 2012

Grammys 2012

Oh, Grammys. What has become of you?

Not that the Grammys ever should be considered the be all and end all of good musical taste, but what a junk fest it has become.

Let’s start with the most obvious piece of junk: Chris Brown. The Grammys gave a guy who, just a few years before on the eve of the Grammys, beat the shit out of his then girlfriend, Rihanna, multiple performance spots last night and an award. W.T.F. I understand that he “did his time” or whatever. Although, all I ever saw was him riding a jet ski and having a ball with other young ladies post-beat down. Never once did he show regret or sincere sorrow for what he did. He issued some publicist written apology and has his mom go on Twitter and defend him. And, I’m sorry, but he beat her up. It wasn’t just a light tap on the cheek (not that that would be okay, either). He beat her up. I have no tolerance for that and I don’t think the Grammys and the Grammy voters should either. But to see the way the crowd reacted when he performed and won, well, I’m disgusted (I’m looking at you, Diana Ross).

And then there’s Rihanna herself. Asked to perform at the same show. I read the gossip blogs. I know she is back to being on good terms with him. She’s young and apparently not that bright. But what can you expect when her whole community, basically the company she works for, gives her every indication that what he did to her was okay and she should really forgive him by now? I mean, everyone else has, right? Especially the Grammys, who are the realvictims here (seriously, they said that. Check out that link).

But, I’ve wasted enough space on that douchebag. Moving on.

There were a slight number of musical performances that were somewhat worth discussing and an even slighter number of awards given out on air.

The show kicked off with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band being Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. I love Bruce, but they’ve really nailed down their formula and stuck with it, haven’t they? I never would have guessed what they performed was a new song. But, really, what else are they going to do? Immediately afterward, LL Cool J (the host for the night for some reason) led everyone in a prayer for Whitney Houston. A prayer. At a nationally televised awards program filled with people from all walks of life. Personally, I just thought that wasn’t really the right way to go about things, though I do know that Whitney loved her Jesus.

Bruno Mars shocked me by making me notice him. To my knowledge, I had not heard a Bruno Mars song before last night. He has the whole James Brown vibe going on. Very energetic. Very entertaining.

So far so good, Grammys.

Whitney tribute #2 was a duet between Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt singing an Etta James’ song  – oh, wait. This was a tribute to Etta  James. But, Alicia through in a little “miss you, Whitney” or something to that affect that got the Twitterverse all up in arms. Here’s the thing: 1) Alicia should have left Whitney’s name out of that tribute. That was Etta’s moment. 2) Later during the Memoriam, Etta was left off, but Whitney was added. Why? Why? Screamed the Twitterverse. Here’s why: Etta died after the Grammy’s cut-off date (as did Don Cornelius). Typically, they would get their respect In Memoriam next year. Same thing happened to Amy Winehouse last year (which is why she was included in the In Memoriam this year). But, being the big players in music that they were, they each got their tribute: Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt sang an Etta James song and the Grammys thought Chris Brown dancing would be a good way to honor Don Cornelius. So, why did Whitney get so much air time? Because she died suddenly the night before at the age of 48! Geez, people. It was a shock. She was a huge part of Grammys past. And it happened less than 24 hours earlier. If they didn’t do anything people would have been furious.

So, yeah.

And Bonnie Raitt can really fucking sing. Smooth.

The Foo Fighters were asked to stay outside for their two performances, except for when they won Best Rock Album (where they were up against such notable rock acts as Mumford and Sons and The Decemberists). But even then, they were booted off stage rather quickly when Dave Grohl started bashing auto-tune and computers and manufactured music. Somebody had to say it. Thank you, Dave.

And speaking of Foo Fighters performing twice (with Dave Grohl actually getting a third time during the guitar solo-fest at the end of the night), why did so many people get to perform multiple times? Makes no sense. Yet they couldn’t give Bon Iver solo stage time to perform their song that was nominated for Song and Record of the Year? Paul McCartney played twice. Bruce Springsteen joined in on the guitar solo stand-off, so he was on stage twice. Chris Brown played twice. Chris Brown??? But no Bon Iver. Makes. No. Sense.

Speaking of Bon Iver, he did take home two awards last night. Best Alternative Album and Best New Artist. Hopefully the Best New Artist curse has waned. It’s got to be weird though. He went from near obscurity to major Grammy nominee and winner. Now what? What’s funny is that he’ll probably go back to Wisconsin and keep doing what he’s doing. The Grammys and the mainstream will consider him a failure, but the “real” music industry will know the truth. Keep doing what you’re doing, dude.

(Also, I would just like to add that he thanked Eau Claire which is in Wisconsin NOT Minnesota. I know we like to claim him as our own, but then we need to start rallying around other Wisconsin acts, too. Otherwise this just comes off as desperate, Minnesota.)

I’m sure Bon Iver was even more relieved he chose not to participate in that Beach Boys…thing. Why is it necessary to bring in other bands to play their songs? Why couldn’t they just wheel the Beach Boys out on stage and let that be it? Why let Maroon 5 and Foster the People do that to them (and us)?

Jennifer Hudson gave a remarkable performance tribute to Whitney Houston by singing “I Will Always Love You”. I don’t know how she got through that without breaking down. Especially after watching the video below. She is a total pro.

Adele gave a great performance of her song “Rolling in the Deep”. I believe it was her first performance since undergoing throat surgery. How terrifying would that be? I’ve had a slight lump in my throat for the past couple of days and I am all concerned about my voice and singing and I’m just a local singer/songwriter. Can you imagine being Adele and having to take a knife to your vocal chords? Terrifying. She sang beautifully. And she won all the other awards – rightfully so. And how fun was it to see Dan Wilson standing behind her as she accepted her Album of the Year award? He’s just so pleasant.

Other Items of Note:
  • Paul McCartney is old now. Like really old.
  • Katy Perry’s star seems to be fading at a rapid pace. I know she’s sold all the albums ever, but I don’t think people care anymore. There was a general feeling of meh during her performance. Both online and  it looked like in the Staples Center.
  • I was really excited to see Nicki Minaj because I thought she would be awesome (from all I heard), but I was just confused. Maybe I am really old now.
  • Lady GaGa has gone past eccentric and is now just trying way too hard.

All in all, it was a good show. I managed to watch the whole thing, which is rare. I just wish they didn’t try so hard to resurrect Chris Brown’s career. He doesn’t deserve it and there are plenty of other R & B/ Rappers to take his place that don’t beat their girlfriends. His presence turned a nice evening into something kind of gross.

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