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Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Grammy's

The worlds most out of touch and irrelevant award, the Grammys, once was short for gramaphone, but could very well now stand for the award show equivalent of an uncool grandparent trying to be hip.

To be fair, the grammys try. But they've never been relevant. Some non-Jethro Tull highlights:
1960: Kind of Blue not nominated for anything. The other two greatest Jazz albums of all-time, A Love Supreme and Mingus' The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady both lose all their nominated categories in subsequent years.
1965: Gale Garnet beats out Bod Dlyan, Peter Paul and Mary, Harry Belafonte, and Woody Guthrie for best folk recording.
1966: Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass' A Taste of Honey beats Yesterday for song of the year.
1969: Bobby Russell's Little Green Apples beats out Hey Jude and Mrs. Robinson for song of the year.
1972: What's Going on? goes o/2 losing to Lou Rawls and Paul/Linda McCartney.
The 1976 Best Record of the year category:
The Captain and Tenille, Love will keep us together (winner)
Barry Manilow, Mandy
Glen Campbell, Rhinestone Cowboy
1981: Christopher Cross sweeps the 5 major categories.
1983: Toto wins 6.
1992: Nirvana loses best Alternative Album to REM's Out of Time. REM's my fav band ever, but that's not even close to their best work. REM subsequently gets shut out the following year for their masterpiece Automatic for the people getting 0 noms.

What makes the grammy's admirable is the fact that they give an award out to every since facet of the music/recording industry. From liner notes to polka to music video, they have about 500 categories, seriously that's not much of an exaggeration. I think the Oscars should follow suit, and add categories like Best DVD liner notes or Craft service provider. Seriously though, the Oscars don't reward the people who have the hardest parts in creating movies. I am among the many who feel its a shame they don't have an Oscar for stunt work, and I think a case could be made for a Unit Production Manager. Anyway, back to the Grammys, the only thing that doesn't make sense is they have like 20 variants of pop/vocal performance, but only one award for all of alternative music.

If you don't have a few days to kill to read over the list of nominees, here are my top 10 most embarrassing attempts this year by the grammy's to seem relevant:

1) I'm on a Boat, Lonley Island (best rap/sung performance) Novelty songs aren't new to the grammy's but really? Can we get some love for Cartman's performance of Poker Face?
2) Perhaps the most representative case of the oddness of the grammys? Best Pop performance by a duo or group with vocals. The Nominees? Bon Jovi, Hall and Oats, MGMT, The Fray, The Black Eyed Peas
3)The Ting Tings for best new artist. Please win. This is the kiss of death award, anyone remember Paula Cole, meaning that whoever wins is never heard from again. And since the Ting Tings are the most annoying band in music, and even though I'm pretty sure this album came out like 2 years ago, I sure hope they win. Maybe the Grammy's hear what the kids are listening to through Ipod commercials?
4)Neko Case getting hosed. A universally praised album, that is her at her most grammy friendly gets two nominations: contemporary folk album (wtw?) and album packaging. I kid you not. How the woman with the best voice in popular music didn't get a vocal nod is one of those only at the Grammy's things.
5)Wilco for best Americana album? Americana? Really?
6) Nominations for things that are debatably albums: Eric Clapton's Live At Madison Sq. Garden, Coldplay's Prospekt's March EP, Willie Nelson's Christmas Album in a general pop category?
7) The Kanye West Memorial Award: The Grammy's always have trouble with Rap, and this year they did marginally ok. There was K'naan's Trubador, Jay Z's, Brother Ali's Us, Raekwon's Cuban linx 2, heck even The Blueprint 3. They got Mos Def right, but Eminem's relapse?
8) Anachronisms pt 1: Best Metal Performance: Judas Priest, Megadeath, Ministry, Slayer, Lamb of God. Aside for the last one, I would have guessed this was 1985.
Anachronisms part 2: Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance: Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young. Now, 2 things. First off, I love all these guys. But, once again this could have been 20 or 30 or 40 years ago (sans Prince). And second, this is for a vocal performance right? I mean I love all these guys, but Dylan, John, and Neil don't come to mind when I think of a great singing voice.
9) U2. Yes, the kids love their U2 but this is like the 15th straight year they've been nominated for a slew of awards. And we get it, you like the band, but, there are other bands out there.
10) Gripe of the year: No love for Leonard. Leonard Cohen's Live in London was the best reviewed album of the year. He's a musical treasure, probably the greatest lyricist in pop music history. And he gets no nominations.

Congrats to Bill Miller for getting a nod in the Native American Music album, and Duke Robillard for best traditional blues albums.

Also, Colbert better win best comedy album for the inspired soundtrack to his Christmas special last year.

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