The Grammys are billed as “Music’s Biggest Night,” and this just may be true. It’s the night when some of music’s most exciting and innovative artists (Common, Kanye, The Arcade Fire) show up to strut their stuff, promote their latest albums, and lose to dinosaur acts that were once just as interesting.
Once more Kanye West, who’s Late Registration
, while not the best album released in 2005, was easily the cream of the nominated crop, was stiffed by the Academy. This time they ruled in favor of U2’s mediocre How to Dismantle and Atomic Bomb, proving once again that Bono and friends can do no wrong in their eyes. In fact, they head back to Dublin, or wherever they head back to these days, with five awards.
It’s almost as if the Grammys exist to rival the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame. Instead of honoring the best new music, the major awards simply pay tribute to legends. Furthermore, they avoid controversy at any cost; a policy that further screwed Kanye. Over the past ten years recipients of Album of the Year have included Ray Charles, Santana, U2, and Steely Dan, each for work that fell far short of their career best. These legends are certainly worthy of our respect, but that doesn’t mean they deserve the awards that should go to much more deserving acts.
For Kanye’s part, he did the best he could to assure the Academy they made the right decision. His remarkably egotistical performance of “Gold Digger”, complete with a marching band, cheerleaders, and the Broke Phi Broke boys, was a cacophony of chaos. Moments after its conclusion, a breathless West stood to the side of the stage, waiting anxiously to find out that the song lost in the Best Record category to Green Day’s “Boulevard of Broken Dreams.” (Did that song really come out in 2005?)
Aside from the typical kissing of U2’s collective ass, the show had some fairly enjoyable moments including, ironically, U2’s performance of “One” with Mary J. Blige. Unfortuanately they felt like they had to play “Vertigo” also. I’m pretty sure U2 would get an hour to play if they wanted it.
The Academy cannot be completely out of touch with the state of music. Gorillaz (including De La Soul) and Madonna delivered one of the most interesting and unique openings I recall seeing at any awards show.
John Legend’s stirring rendition of “Ordinary People” was a welcome departure from the usual overblown Grammy performances.
Sir Paul McCartney’s performance was a little boring…until “Helter Skelter.”
There were also some awkward moments.
I never thought I would live to see the day that Paul McCartney stood on stage singing “Yesterday” with Jay-Z and that guy from Linkin Park. And it wasn’t that bad.
Ludacris told everybody why David Bowie was receiving a lifetime achievement award (which is probably what they should call Album of the Year.) I wonder if Ludacris has ever listened to a David Bowie song in his life.
I was really thrilled to see Coldplay take the stage. I was really in need of a bathroom break at that point of the show.
The Sly and the Family Stone tribute was inspired, aside from Maroon 5, but Sly seemed extremely uncomfortable in his brief appearance.
That’s all I care to say for now. I may write something later about the overall disrespect for hip hop.