Friday, December 09, 2005

The Grammys

Once again, a post on the AV Club blog inspires a comment from your's truly:

Does the world need another rant about the Grammys?
posted by:
Keith Phipps
December 8, 2005 - 11:37am

Oh Grammys! Each year I can feel you trying hard for legitimacy. Each year you never quite get it right. It's cute, really. You're like the 48-year-old suburban dad who thinks owning an Audioslave CD sets him apart. Somewhere deep inside you know you're the least legitimate major awards group. But you keep trying.

So, yeah, thank you for a Best Alternative Music Album category that makes sense. It's nice to know you've heard of the Arcade Fire. And, oh yeah, U2. They're still good. Thanks for nominating them for that album came out last year past your inexplicably early deadline. And, uh, yeah, The White Stripes are on there a couple times. That's cool. John Legend. Fine. Fiona Apple, Kanye West, The Killers... There are some good names on here.

But, wow, Male Pop Vocal Performance: Paul McCartney, Jack Johnson, Rob Thomas, Seal... Did you just watch SUV commercials and pick your choices from there? The Black Eyed Peas?!? The Black Eyed Peas?!?

Okay, I'll stop there. Ragging on the Grammys hasn't been necessary since the great Jethro Tull Fiasco of '89. We're rooting for you Grammys. Maybe someday you'll be an accurate representation of what was best about music the year before. (Or at least an awards ceremony where the rules make sense, like the Oscars.) Right now, you just seem as crazy out of touch as ever. At least the Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Awards represent, you know, kids' choices. Who knows who the Grammys represent?

Along the lines of what Nathan posted last week on the Oscars, the Grammys are just recognition of apparent validity to a mass audience. Now they're not on the same level as a kid getting an award for perfect attendance, but a Grammy is just an award with a lot of perceived prestige behind it. Sure, it would be nice for a musician to have a Grammy on his or her shelf to look at from time to time, but the emotional reward of making and playing the music far outweighs whatever awards come with it.

It's interesting that the Oscars still have some respect with film critics while music critics lightly touch on the Grammys. Case in point, Rolling Stone. Peter Travers will talk a lot about who should win and who will win at the Oscars while various staff writers will write a simple wrap-up on the Grammys.

Come to think of it, I haven’t had an in-depth conversation with a music fan about who should or shouldn’t have won at the Grammys in a long time. Maybe there's a mention the day after, but no one I know openly talks about who should have won and who shouldn't have won for years after the fact.

Just like the Oscars do, the Grammys are billboards for the acts/songs/albums that are nominated. For the passive music listener, nomination usually leads to heightened interest, enjoyment or annoyance. For those of us perusing MP3 blogs, our iTunes library, used record stores and so on for music, we know that the Grammy winners aren't really going to sway our thoughts.

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