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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Grammy Griping

The Grammys suck. Everybody knows it, and everybody says it, every year. Here's a prime example from this year, courtesy of the NYT. The only thing that sucks more than the Grammys is poseur music critics in the NYT bitching about the Grammys. An annoying gripe, one that seems to long for both hipster cred and a monoculture in which everybody on the planet recognizes the greatness of hipster bands. Which, of course, is exactly when they stop being hipster bands. It would be nice if the critic gave some indication of what his preferred outcome would have been so that we could compare, but no. So his is just an empty whine, and a cliched one at that.

Here's the thing. The Grammys are never really going to be "cool" or cutting edge. It is an industry awards show. It is not the Blender or Pitchfork awards. It is the f'ing Grammys. Do not expect them to go out on a limb and anoint the next Radiohead. At least not every year, because, well, they kind of did that last year when Arcade Fire won record of the year (and deserved it). And lots of people bitched because they had never heard of them. Well, guess what. This year Adele swept. Not really my genre of music. But she sold a ton of records, and why? Because they were awesome f'ing songs and she has killer pipes. Who cares if there is "nothing forward-looking about it"? They were great songs, they were everywhere this year, and they will be around for a long, long time. Great songs don't need to ride some futurist wave, they just are. Like O Brother winning in 2002, or the Dixies in 2007, or Plant and Krauss in 2009. Were those the absolute best records of those years? No. But they were really good records and they made significant cultural impacts, meaning that an all-things-to-all-people/nothing-to-no one industry awards show could have done a lot worse. And what the hell is this complaint about there being no women or minorities at the show? Last I checked, Adele is a woman. LL Cool J hosted, Whitney Houston was the inescapable and recurring theme, Nikki Minaj, Rihanna, Chris Brown, and Jennifer Hudson all sang and/or danced. Yes, the Grammys suck. But they're usually more fun in that guilty-pleasure way than any of the other awards shows. Don't expect them to reflect a fantasy music world that has never nor could ever be.


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