Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Grinds My Gears: The Grammys get it wrong again

Where do I start? Where do I start? First off when eligibility period ends August 31, a lot of great music this year gets screwed and a lot of great 2008 music gets "token noms". I remember in 1998 when the eligibility ended in October/November. At least you got to see the majority of albums from the year honored. But now, so many deserving songs/albums are overlooked, I agree with the LA Times Music Blog...change it to December and make it a true ceremony.

Anyways. On to my reaction to the nominations. *cracks knuckles* had to make this a "Grinds My Gears" edition with a few props. This is the Beyonce, Gaga and Taylor Swift show.

Album of the Year: Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Black Eyed Peas and.....Dave Matthews Band????? I didnt hear much about that album but it wasnt that highly touted. And Black Eyed Peas sold a lot so thats why it's there....garbage as it is. *barfs barfs barfs*

I had said that if Taylor Swift wins this, I will unload a barrage of hate like never before. (Calm down, that venom for the end of this). Sigh. On to the next take

Record of the YR: So happy Kings of Leon got love here. Halo, Poker Face, I Gotta Feeling and some Taylor Swift joint....meh. Maxwell's "Pretty Wings" wasnt big enough to be here I guess.

Song of the YR (Songwriting): I'm happy here. Kings of Leon "Use Somebody", Maxwell's "Pretty Wings" (My Song of the Yr). "Single Ladies" and "Poker Face" was gonna get something here. And of course something for T-Swizzy. Best of the 3 categories

Best New Artist: This is a major joke. How the bleep are my favorite rock band Silversun Pickups a new artist when they've been out since 2006 in the mainstream. They were on Guitar Hero 4 in 2007. They are far from new. Lauryn Hill and Shelby Lynne thinks this is a crock of crap.

I understand being out of touch but how the bleep do you ignore an artist from your backyard!!!!! They live in Silver Lake, not far from the Grammy HQ downtown. Give me a freaking break. Anyways, props to Keri Hilson and MGMT.

Quickie hits
- Male Pop Vocal Performance is nearly all R&B (Stevie, John Legend, Maxwell, Seal) except for Jason Mraz
- Maxwell got robbed. Maxwell got robbed. Can't say this enough. That album was on the level of Voodoo and Confessions for some of the best R&B of the decade and it shouldve been Album of the Year. But I'm glad he got SOTY and Best Pop Instrumental Performance - creativity gets no love
- Rap at the Grammys is always questionable. But two Jay-Z songs for Rap Song of the Year??? Geeez that album was nowhere near American Gangster let alone his best work.
- Ummmm in a historical sense, props to Drake for a mixtape single getting Grammy love. Best buzz since 50 Cent?
- My friend Tracie told me that a gimmick song is in the Rap/Sung Collab category..Lonely Island is a comedy troupe with T-Pain. The annual WTF moment.
- Best Rap Album is a joke. Glad Q-Tip and Mos Def got nominated (Q-Tip was a 2008 casualty here), but Common's whack album? Flo-Rida??? Em was a name that got nominated. Eh.
- Props to Foreign Exchange for a nomination in the R&B category. That album is definitely slept on.
- Props to The Tonic and Da Truth representing Cross Movement Records with Grammy nods.
- Silversun Pickups didnt get a rock album of the year nomination???? Endless fail.

While I'm angry Maxwell got no love for the one of the best R&B albums (and comebacks) in years, it's gonna be Ladies First with Beyonce, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga. Neither of them are really high in my book and I fear Taylor Swift will win Album of the Year here and the Shammys live up to their name.

A freaking teenager wins the award???? Oh the humanity. Beyonce could win it but given what I said about her, I'm ambivalent. Grammys grabbed names but didnt reward enough art. You want to be relevant? Don't just nominate popular people, nominate some deserving people in there too.

It's a shame some artists were left out. But for deserving artists like Kings of Leon (who went old school and got love overseas first), its a great thing for them. I dont hate Taylor Swift but i dont get her appeal - she's a younger Carrie Underwood with musicianship but eh. Not my cup of tea

Alright I'm done with this rant. Yes I'll watch and do another recap blog. But the blandness of the nominees just shows why the show is out of touch.


  1. I like Taylor Swift and am glad she got the nod... and given the others she was nominated w/ for Album of the Year, well, I hope she DOES win. Lady Gaga is seriously overplayed and all of her songs start to sound the same. The same can be said of Black Eyed Peas. Beyonce's latest was a disappointment. I haven't heard DMB, but maybe I'll give it a preview on iTunes.

  2. "This comment came from my friend on Twitter courtesy of"

    This assessment is a very good barometer of how the general public feels. We can only hope this year is one of the last where corporate influence overshadows art. Fans don't know what kind of music they like; they like what they know. The music listener on the other hand is a different matter.

    If art is to prevail in music's highest honor, then giving away music has got to come to an end. Period.

    If people pay for music then there is value in the product, and the creator of the music should be compensated. Then there's the other side of the coin where artists' so called careers are bought and paid for. In the case of Taylor Swift...her father's $12 million contribution to industry insiders paid off. And that is wrong.

    Somewhere in the middle of this discussion true art can be found. I work with artists all the time who contribute significantly to the high end of artistic integrity. It's name recognition that keeps them from the achievement levels others claim across the board.

    The transition music is going through can be tilted in the direction we'd all like to see if the consumer speaks out and all demographic bases in this country are fairly represented. Music is not just for the youth in this country or any country for that matter.

    Humans create and appreciate music for its grace and soulful benefit. If anyone can convincingly argue that music is just for a certain age group, then the remaining population is obviously an insignificant factor. Music would therefore be a commodity that should be owned and distributed by companies like Mattel.

    Janet Hansen

  3. Like Taylor Swift, Drake is another heavily co-signed, much-hyped yet mediocre newcomer with modest talents in their respective genre's.

    Yet, once you walk in the light, everything seems bigger and better. Average skills are amplified by empty echoed frevor that is usually originates from whispers FROM the inside. Oh this new artist ____ is the truth, don't sleep. It's highly suspicious and only time will tell if this new pattern of promotion will stand the test and deliver music the people love.

    Not unlike MTV, the Grammy's are now bowing dispicably low to cater to ratings, the media-defeaned consumer, the image driven "artist" and the desperate machine we call the music industry. When Amy Winehouse lost Album of the year to Herbie Hancock, I remember my shock, and in trying to understand why she got robbed, I was inspired to investigate why HE had won? had her hype, image, buzz actually worked against her? or had it helped her in the first place?

    I know she has a great album, but I only listened after being badgered by advertising and reviews to give her a chance, breast-less, hip-less, addiction-less Herbie Hancock had zero chance of getting the same hype as Amy. I felt the Grammy's might have walked the middle ground pleasing the masses and also the purists.

    Fast forward to today, in music categories I'm well-versed in and I'm completely lost. I agree with much of what you say about art, there is no way of understanding the nominations especially for Hip Hop. Thoughts:

    - Dame-Dash-Byte "They don't understand the culture"
    - Power, money, respect are the only factors considered
    - Past work and overall effort were factored
    - Hip Hop itself doesn't offer enough "start power" to accurately nominate from the pool of mediocrity a single, stand-out performer or song.
    Drake is one thing, he has a hit, maybe that's all it takes anyway? In which case Maino, Plies and other one-hit wonders whould be nominated BUT ARE NOT. Which leads me to think there is something else at work (see comment above)

    Anyway I always end up writing a book, we'll see what happens. Last years rap performance for swagger was "interesting" the song was big not not GREAT, the performance mostly MIA made the song legendary I believe so we'll see who they co-sign this year, and how it affects music in teh coming years. If Drake starts collecting awards like Lauryn.. I might never really respect a grammy nod again ASSUMING he stays at his current level of skill/delivery/talent.

    Like you say, it's a show, sure but it does have influence on the viewer, if they continue to make these bad/questionable nominee's I will cease being a viewer and just watch the performances on the blogs after.. I can't support fuckery for long. and this is where the grammy's are headed lately.

  4. Great points my friend. The hip-hop category has almost been marginalized since its inception 20 years ago - people forget that Jay-Z protested in 1998 about the awards not being shown on the telecast.

    I'll give Drake his props in a historical sense and the mixtape as a whole is far better than the singles. But the Grammys have gone solely towards ratings, popularity and who's hot without a balanced mix of artistic integrity.

    To their credit, the Grammys typically shock everyone for Album of the Yr

    I saw a great Tweet from former LA Times Pop Music critic Robert Hilburn. NONE of the Album of the YR nominees were on Rolling Stone's list of Best Albums for 2008 or 2009. That's why I trust respected polls such as Jazz + Pop, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, and others to determine the best of the art, not the Shammys.

  5. heard.

    especially this: "t the Grammys have gone solely towards ratings, popularity and who's hot without a balanced mix of artistic integrity."

    so true!

    sad we also have to wait till 2011 to see if Raekwon will be recognized or any others released after August 31st? Stupid cut off 9 months into a 12 month year? Especially considering some of these artists could use the sales THIS year and early next year when the show is on. Not in 2011!! a full year later.

    Shammy's indeed! lol