Monday, February 1, 2010

Taylor Swift and the Grammys

I warned that my post about the 2010 Grammys would be loaded with hate if Taylor Swift won. Let's get down to business.

Despite the nominations, I was surprised she won Album of the Year just because Beyonce had won Song of the Year and Taylor had only won awards in her genre. The fact that B had six awards pretty much set her up to win AOTY. But alas, Swift became the youngest ever to win the big trophy.

So what Grammy has said is that a 19 year old wrote the best album of the year????? Let me scratch my head over that. It's bogus. It's a sham. It's buying the hype. But it's more interesting than anything. And if you know me, I'm a man of reason.

Some of the previous young AOTY winners - Alanis Morrisette (20), Stevie Wonder (24). And Alanis is a great place to start because like Taylor, she had a colossal album with hits and dominated the charts for over a year. Of course, the difference is that Alanis had more edge to her.

Like Taylor, Alanis was hailed as a songwriter matured beyond her years and let's face it - You Oughta Know is one of the best kiss-offs in recent memory. Her songwriting struck a nerve with not just women but dudes as well.

Alanis won 4 Grammys that night - just like Taylor, 3 in her genre (rock) and the big one. Am I trying to indirectly compare both of them? Well yeah and no.

Alanis as a songwriter 20 >>>>> Taylor at 19. Taylor couldn't write a song like "Ironic" but then again, she didn't have the wide range of personal experiences Alanis had either.

So don't tell me Taylor is more than anything than just a voice for girls - as a writer, she may speak for her age group very well but Alanis spoke to young women, older women and had men feeling her too. And I wont even bother throwing in better writers at 19-20 - I'll just say that Taylor is probably no different than Avril Lavigne songwriting wise at that age and I really like Avril (and again, dudes liked her too - most of my friends freshman year had crushes on her)

Plus the Grammys typically reward veterans because they know that an artist's best work lies ahead. I just don't see how Taylor has deserved it artistically yet.

This is not knocking her skill. Taylor has musical chops and sounds decent on record (live - she comes off a bit timid). Plus, she's a sweetheart and seems down to earth. But AOTY??? Nah, son.

(Yeah, I'm still mad Maxwell didn't get nominated in this category. But I'll happy when D'Angelo sees his comeback and starts working on his too. Moving along.....)

Quick hits
- I really like Beyonce's performance and speaking of Alanis, she did a solid cover. For all my dislike of her, she is still a phenomenal live performer. Raw energy, creativity and a show stopper
- The Michael Jackson tribute. Didn't really need the 3D glasses to appreciate it - Carrie Underwood blew me away, Usher showed the emotion that song carried. Smokey's beautiful voice wasn't the best fit but knowing how much he loved MJ, I was happy to see him. The performance was moving, powerful and made me really miss the man who made all that happen. That said, I would've loved to see some dancing - maybe it was a chance to show MJ's heart and message?
- Prince and Paris Jackson did their father proud. Simple, elegant and a reminder of the man MJ was.
- Pink's performance was a thing of beauty. Felt like a symbolic baptism?? I love how Pink has evolved the last 10 years from R&B to alt-rock to pop with an edge. Truly an artist.
- I loved the Kings of Leon winning for Record of the Year. All the hard work they've put in getting respect here in America has finally paid off.
- Jamie Foxx....*facepalm*, that performance was one big mess. I swear that dude is so talented and he's wasting it because of his ego. Tell me why he had Slash up there basically recycling the ending riff from "November Rain"? It was fitting he had Robert Downey Jr. introduce him because both have big egos - difference is, Downey comes off as aloof, Foxx as a fool.
- Lady Gaga actually looked and appeared normal, except for that Slinky she wore on the red carpet. For one night, I'd actually consider she looked....nah I wont say that, just nice. And good touch playing the keys with Elton John
- Andrea Bocelli and Mary J. Blige's performance was a gift from the heavens.

I won't speak much on the awards but Eminem and Jay sweeping the rap category, Black Eyed Peas winning two pop awards says it all (and I liked Relapse more than Blueprint 3). Congrats to the winners. Now we'll see what happens down the road.


  1. Yes, AOTY is a "big" one, but I don't think it should be reserved for veterans. We're talking about a year... this year and I think Taylor Swift dominated this year. She was the person that should have won that award. Does it mean that every album she makes will or should be AOTY? No. It's about the context of this year.

    I could have been okay with Lady Gaga winning. That album catapulted Lady Gaga into stardom and played everywhere all the time.

    Beyonce & Black Eyed Peas??? I thought both albums were severely lacking as albums. They were singles surrounded by some filler songs.

    DMB... love them, but this album? I didn't really hear it or hear about it. That doesn't mean it wasn't a great album, it just means it wasn't the album of the year.

  2. I don't agree either that AOTY should go to veterans. But if that's the case - Amy Winehouse should've beaten Herbie Hancock in 2007, Kanye, Alicia Keys or Usher should have won in 2005 instead of Ray Charles, Eminem should have won in 2001 over Steely Dan and the Fugees/Smashing Pumpkings should won over Celine Dion in 1997.

    Does a dominating album = best album? It should but it doesn't always go that way.

    Santana won in 2000 with the best selling album of the year but rarely do sales equal the No. 1 honor. The Grammys tend to award AOTY to either a veteran or a young talent (Norah Jones) who is in a safe, artsy field like jazz or pop.

    The LA Times former Pop critic Robert Hilburn made a great point - none of the nominees were on major year-end best of lists. I was half expecting to react to Lady Gaga or Beyonce winning but Swift came out of left field. Can I blame Kanye? Partly but I think the Grammys played it safe even by giving it to someone so young and unproven.

    It was a weak album field for that category - I'm not a fan of Lady Gaga away from a piano. BEP's album i didnt care to listen to. We've discussed Beyonce before and to be honest, DMB's album may have been a sympathy vote.