Thursday, February 09, 2006

Grammy afterthoughts

Is that all the music industry could offer?

That's my main summary from watching the Grammies last night - perhaps the most disappointing year of music. It's always nice to have the nominations of old farts such as Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, Sting, etc. But have they really given any thought into the nomination process?

The best album last year was obviously Fiona Apple's "Extraodinary Machine." Aside from its nomination in one category it wasn't even nominated for "Album of the Year." The award actually went to U2's half-assed "How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb," their weakest outing in years, a far cry from their classic "Joshua Tree" or "War."


And the performances....Silence....Silence....

Why does Mariah Carey think singing and screaming are synonymous? And poor Bruce Springsteen sitting on the stool playing his guitar and blowing his harmonica on an uninspired song "Diamond & Dust." I was so bored I actually did laundry in between verses. I came back and found out Bruce was still singing the same crap.

(A side note: Bruce Springsteen's best vocal performance ever was his solo on "We Are The World." Most people forgot that he was on the song and those who remember decline to talk about it. Well, take that from me.)

And did you all see Christina Aguilera struggling and stumbling on Leon Russell's "A Song For You" even though Herbie Hancock was delivering tastefully melodic phrases and feeding it off to Christina? She just didn't get it. It was hard to watch. Lack of rehearsal maybe?

I thought Sly Stone was going to be the highlight of the show. It seemed like he grudgingly got pulled onto the stage by Steven Tyler and he became "Shy Stone." Not only was he not singing into the microphone he got so scared he went backstage in the middle of his solo. Poor thing. It really wasn't Sly's fault after 19 years of absence from public performance. You would get stage fright too. But why did the Grammy people think it's okay to drag an unwilling person out of retirement and subject him to blatant public humiliation is beyond me. It was painful. And after Sly went backstage, all the artists on stage, especially Joss Stone, were stunned and didn't know what to do...

Pairing Paul McCartney with Jay-Z and Linkin' Park to sing a hip-hop version of "Yesterday" was unwise. McCartney and the rest butchered the song. Another bad taste in my mouth. The whole night was a diasater, including some awkward moments from Stevie Wonder and Alicia Keys. Not to mention Tom Hanks mispronuncing the last names of The Weavers. Embarassing.

The actual awards did music no justice. While Hubert Sumlin's "About Them Shoes" was last year's best blues CD, they felt they had to give it to B.B. King, as if he hasn't gotten enough awards in his life. Fame and fortune are indicators of award likeliness, not the actual product.

My friend Kelvin and my brother Roger both entered my church's 70th anniversary theme song composition. I hope the judges can view their products in a fair and unbiased manner. After all, their music is better than 90% of the crap I saw on national TV last night.

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