Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Hey, Hey...We're The Grammys

Some stuff:

•I thought Lady Gaga was supposed to perform a tribute to David Bowie, not Lola Falana's Desert Inn act of 1976. Still, that wasn't the worst part of the evening. That honor goes to Tori Kelly and James Bay, two Best New Artist nominees who stood across from each other, doing their best to out-melisma the other for four horrid minutes. Tori? James? In the future, please shut up.

•For some reason, maybe it was temporary devil possession, I didn't mind the Carrie Underwood and Sam Hunt duet. Then this morning, while I was looking through various videos to find a version of the Sam Hunt song to post, to prove to myself I wasn't crazy, I decided I was. So, nevermind. "Take Your Time" is pretty bad, or at least by Sam Hunt it is. That one might need a new arrangement and new performer.

•I'm supposed to think The Weekend is terrific, right? Didn't someone mention him last week, as one to watch? The crowd seemed to swoon after his performance. For the record, I did not swoon. I fidgeted. Scratched my head and elbow. Checked my phone a few times. Seemed pretty average to me.

•Back in the 80s, Lionel Richie was everywhere. You could not escape his "All night, all night, all night, all night." I never loved his songs back then, but I didn't mind those songs, though I do have some not so fond memories of hearing "Truly" more times than I needed to. Last night's tribute to Richie, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award, was my favorite moment of the night. Those songs sounded fresh, and what I once considered mediocre, a song like "Penny Lover" say, sounded like George Gershwin compared to all the actual crap that was nominated.

•Adele had some "technical difficulties." Apparently, a microphone dropped into the piano, untuning a string, causing Adele to sing most of the song horribly flat. I understand something like a microphone dropping into a piano can rattle you. But one day, after a few more years of hard work and payin' dues, Adele will be a pro and rise above such adversity.  

•Maybe it's a tired practice to recap a show I shouldn't be watching to begin with, but I've watched this show since the days of Andy Williams and it's hard to stop now.  I watch, hoping to find one song or one performance to wow me. Kendrick Lamar's performance did that, though I will admit, "To Pimp A Butterfly" simply doesn't work for me. I've tried a number of times to wrap my head around the most critically acclaimed record of the year and to understand its brilliance. But, like "Blade Runner," I get rattled and frustrated about 30 minutes in and throw in the towel. Maybe, "To Pimp A Butterfly" will be my new "Blade Runner," where once a year, I take it out and go in with a new head, in an attempt to find out what so many already seem to know. Great performance, Mr. Lamar. Sincerely.  As for the album, same time, next year?

•Oh, and I really think Sam Smith is horrible. Not sure if he did anything but present last night, but still, I don't want to miss an opportunity to express how much I think he's bullshit. 

•On a truly positive note, my man Jon Cleary, someone I've written about dozens of times, won "Best Regional Roots Album," a category created about 2:25 Saturday afternoon. "GoGo Juice" was one of my favorite records of the year and in a just world, would have been an enormous success. So congratulations Jon! You absolutely deserve any and all accolades that come your way.


Troy said...

I was happy to hear Jon Cleary won a Grammy yesterday. "Go Go Juice" is a great record, one of his best IMO. Also glad to hear Mavis Staples won for the terrific "See That My Grave is Kept Clean". I skipped the show completely this year, and watched hockey with my daughter instead. Chalk up a 'W' for me.

whattawino said...

Hey, any time I get to read the name Lola Falana (which is followed by repeating it out loud a couple more times), I know I'm going to enjoy the whole piece...which I did. Thanks for watching for me and Yay for Jon Cleary!

Noam Sane said...

During Adele -
Me: Ach, she sounds horrible.
14 Yr old daughter: I think she sounds amazing!
Me: (thinking to myself) Well, you're an idiot.
"a song like "Penny Lover" say, sounded like George Gershwin compared to all the actual crap that was nominated." This mirror my thoughts exactly. It was like an oasis of kinda' shitty in a desert of extremely shitty.
Kendrick was quite an intense performance, but I don't get it either. Though he certainly meant it, whatever it was. But you know what's frightening? I sort of enjoyed Kanye on SNL this week. He's welcome on my lawn, but only if necessary, and without the blowjob queen.
Song by the girl wanting to get busy with other girl because other girl is getting busy with a guy first girl likes: this was kind of awkward when watching with family, but I'm curious - is there a video?
Dave Grohl must be taking overexposure tips from Sheryl Crow. There's just no avoiding him, anywhere. Nice guy, fine musician, please go away for a while.

Shriner said...

You didn't like the Stevie Wonder/Pentatonix duet? I thought that was a very nice tribute.

And, as probably the biggest Alice Cooper fan here, I liked the Hollywood Vampires numbers. The fact that "Ace of Spades" was played on the Grammys at all still stuns me.

Eagles did a 1/2 speed version of a song that was already MOR -- and was dull.

I wondered what the out-of-tune guitar was on the Adele song. Now I know.

On the other hand, I thought that Gaga's Bowie tribute was so over-the-top it was awesome. I could not stop watching it with a huge smile on my face.

William Repsher said...

I'll say this: the Grammies now accurately reflect the times, i.e., the most popular stuff wins. Wasn't always the case, and one of the knocks we used to have in the 70s/80s. I don't have a horse in this race. Aside from Chris Stapleton and The Alabama Shakes, I have zero interest in most of the people onstage for the Grammies.

An age thing? Surely. One of my high-school friends, his nephew, whom I'll always remember as this sarcastic teenager in a Misfits t-shirt circa early 90s, is in a death-metal band, approaching his mid-30's, and feeling "old" seeing as how most of his audiences are still teenagers as that's the core audience (although there are surely older fans as the genre itself ages).

World's big enough that I can go on pursuing the music I want to and leave the mainstage for these folks. Frankly, I'm A LOT more comfortable that the things I like and love tend to have zero chance of making it on this level. Again, we were raised with those kinds of hopes and expectations in the 60's and 70's. But somewhere in the 80's, I started realizing bigger wasn't necessarily better .. and that feeling has turned into a mushroom cloud in the ensuing decades.

cmealha said...

Giuliana Rancic wore a nice dress on the red carpet.

Anonymous said...

I thought Alabama Shakes Don't Wanna Fight No More was a real song and a damn fine performance.
I think Gaga shoulda forgone the Vegas Medley route and done this: The same Space Oddity projection FX opening, sung the shit out of a gorgeous emotional arrangement of "Heroes", then sung a restrained and beautiful Lazarus.
Mic drop.
The Eagles and Jackson Browne did what was needed from them. It wasn't great musically, but it was the correct tribute.
I didn't love the Hollywood vampires set, but I kinda hope it made Justin Bieber's little group tinkle in their frilly panties a little.
Considering the technical problems, I thought Adele handled herself well. It's not easy to sing for hundreds of millions of people with a de-tuned instrument underneath you. Many woulda walked off in tears, she went out for a burger, apparently ( her words, not mine )
Kendrick Lamar yelled enthusiastically and convincingly over a lot of visual overkill and hubbub behind him, yet was unable to find a song in there anywhere.
Aside from that, not a lot of actual songs on display.
Look on line to see it all summed up in video of the symbolic real world act of Paul McCartney being turned away with Beck from a Grammy party thrown by someone or something named Tyga. When told of the snub by his doormen, someone who apparently answers to the name Tyga was not particularly bothered. There's the Grammys 2016 in microcosm.

buzzbabyjesus said...

I never watch the Grammies or give them any thought. I enjoy reading all your comments, though.

Gene Oberto said...

I'm no where near enough of a Bowie fan that I saw any sacrilege in Gaga's performance. I thought that the woman can sing the shit out of anything put in front of her. Certainly more talent then I gave her credit for prior to Tony Bennent.

Though her performance could have jazzed a Vegas stage, she did bring a theatricality to the performance, something that Bowie brought to all his performances and videos. She should get some props for using Nile Rodgers in the band that I thought was nice touch.

Though she was already scheduled to perform, after David's passing she was asked to do the tribute. It was a professional job seeing how there were only six or so weeks to put it all together: the graphics, video, rehearsals, etc.

Singing the the NationalAnthem at the Super Bowl and doing the Bowie tribute at the Grammys, I's say the girl had a hell of a month.

Chris Collins said...

I actually love Lady Gaga. But i wasn't crazy about her Bowie-On-Ice! performance. I, too, wish she had just sung the shit out of one song. But that's where that is.

"To Pimp A Butterfly" is 3/4 of a great album for me. A few GREAT songs. ("King Kunta!"),some interesting instruments and arrangements for hip hop. Lots to think about. But too much filler. way too much.

Michael Giltz said...

Wait, Sal -- you don't like "Blade Runner??!!" I have geeked out over the years to that movie and its 17 different cuts (none of them will make you like it more, though the director's cut is certainly preferred since the ending is less bizarre). Certainly a visually influential film, to say the least. But don't waste your time watching it again. You tried! It doesn't work for you.

We wouldn't be human if we all loved every "classic" and didn't tout a gem most others dismiss.

The Lionel Richie tribute was...not good. Someone suggested rightly that John Legend may be too nice to get across the snark of 'Easy." But the two Commodore numbers put his solo work in their place, being so much better. Luke Bryan and Meghan Trainor were meh and why in God's name was Tyrese singing at all, spoiling our chance to hear a great version of "Brick House." At least thank God Richie came onstage to sing "All Night Along," ironically the easiest song in the world to sing and one which any of them even Tyrese could have handled. I hate five artists all singing 30 seconds of different songs as a medley tribute. The BB King tribute was so much classier and more satisfying musically.

Finally, it reminded me how Lionel Richie won Album Of The Year, arguably the worst pick in Grammy history since any of the other four nominees would have been far worthier and stood the test of time.

Lionel Richie won Album Of The Year over:

Cyndi Lauper/She's So Unusual -- not a great album but a big hit debut and she's had herself a notable career in many areas and I love that kooky gal. She's an Oscar away from having a Grammy, Oscar, Tony, Emmy sweep! And half the album is indeed great.

Tina Turner/Private Dancer -- one of the most triumphant comebacks in pop history, akin to Sinatra. The album is a little dated production-wise but it's still solid and probably her strongest album of original material, no? But made her a bigger star than ever in music and film and as a touring draw. So exciting they made a movie about her! I can still remember being in my second floor bedroom of our townhouse in South Florida with my new stereo and hearing "Let's Stay Together" for the first time and thinking, "What was that?? That was great!" (Hey, I was 17 so it's no big deal I wasn't familiar with Al Green yet. Sue me.)

And here's where it gets really embarrassing. Lionel Richie won Album Of The Year over:

Prince/Purple Rain
Bruce Springsteen/Born In The U.S.A.

Neither has ever won Album Of The Year. Not that it matters in the scheme of things, but what an egregious miscarriage of justice.