Monday, February 11, 2008

The Grammy's: The Best and Worst of American Pop Music

Anyone else watch it? I missed the first 30 minutes, so I was bummed I missed the Beatles tribute. This year's theme was 50 years of Grammy's, so the awards were few and far between in favor of many splendid performances. I rather liked it, and I'm sure most people would prefer more music over more lame award speeches.

Kanye West is the most arrogant douchebag I've ever seen. Instead of doing the classy thing he once again took a dump on the Grammy community for not giving him every award he felt he deserved. How long will the public put up with his ego? (If history is an indicator, a long time.) Granted, the guy has talent and is entertaining to watch. But on the other hand, his performance last night was based on borrowed music and themes that other artists created. Then he rants about how awesome he is and how he has to be #1 or disappoint his poor dead mother. Talk about a serious complex.

Speaking of West's performance, did anyone else notice the Daft Punk setup? That was kinda rad, to use an 80's term. But when did dressing up like the Tron Guy become cool?

I really want to like Alicia Keys, and I really loved her performance last night. But she needs to fire her producers for her albums. "No One" is an incredible song (even Stevie Wonder thinks so!), but I just listened to the album version and it was disappointing. It starts with a very simple piano sound and the most crappy marching drum band beat on top of it. Add flourishes of 70's synth solos and end the song with mariachi brass parts. WTF! It was as if the producers were high at the studio that day and decided to see how odd they could make it sound. Her vocals by themselves are amazing, and I would pay for a piano & vocal version. Maybe I'm just not down with the latest R&B vibe, but I can't help but feel that like it could be so much better. I have similar issues with Justin Timberlake. He won a Grammy for his song "What Goes Around", and I saw him perform it live on SNL last year, and it was amazing. Then I heard the over-produced whacky studio version of the album that sounded completely unlike his live performance. Ugh, what is with R&B these days?

I had no idea Fergie could SING! Sure she can sing, but she blew my socks off last night. It wasn't perfect, but more than I knew she was capable of.

Another mixed bag was Brad Paisley. The guy can sing, and makes his guitar do backflips. But when I mentioned to Lisa that the name of the song was "(I want to search you for) Ticks", we both collectively shook our heads and wondered aloud if he really intended this song as a joke and it accidentally caught on. It's a catchy tune for sure, but any other cowboy in the heartland of America would probably get slapped for trying such a terrible pick-up line.

The Foo Fighters thing was fun to watch, but the Grammy moment contest was flat. I suspect the viewing public just picked the pretty girl, and she didn't really contribute to the song beyond any of the other string players. I was glad to see them win Best Rock Album, although it was a tight race.

I have mixed feelings about Amy Winehouse and her slew of Grammy wins. I'll give you that she's got some talent, but I am a bit befuddled by the critical acclaim she receives. These Grammy's are supposed to represent the best of the best in their respective categories. But I tend to think that the awards are handed out based on popularity amongst the in crowds of the recording industry. Is her work really that great? My opinion is that she's good but not awesome. Also, I'm the kind of person that has the nasty old-fashioned habit of connecting music, the artist, and their lifestyle. It's hard for me to listen to someone who sings about substance abuse while her life falls apart because of said abuse, and all without the slightest hint of shame, remorse, or even irony! Supposedly, she looked better last night than she had in weeks, but she looked like an anorexic drug addict to me. It's hard for me to be entertained when all I can think is, "That girl needs medical help." True, many rock stars have lived and died due to substance abuse, and it makes the tabloids a lot of money when they do. To me, the most disgusting thing about these kinds of situations is the public fascination with creative artists on a path to destruction. We see that it's wrong, but we can't turn away or seem to be able to turn them around. The exploitation of modern artists is revolting to me, and we condone and support that exploitation by purchasing their art. Her family said it best when they asked the public to stop buying her album so that her life wouldn't be ruined.

Poor Feist sounds like she can't catch her breath. Someone please just tell her to inhale before she sings and I might be able to enjoy her music. She's another case of popularity awarding an artist that, frankly, doesn't deserve a place on the Grammy stage. If you can't even learn to sing properly, then don't offend my ears.

Tina Turner still rocks!

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