Monday, March 15, 2021

Grammy Awards: 1971/2021




Paul Simon- Bridge Over Troubled Water
James Taylor- Fire & Rain
John Lennon, Paul McCartney- Let It Be
Ray Stevens- Everything Is Beautiful
Roger Nichols, Paul Williams- We've Only Just Begun



H.E.R.- I Can't Breathe
Beyonce- Black Parade
Roddy Ricch- The Box
Taylor Swift- Cardigan
Post Malone- Circles
Dua Lipa- Don't Start Now
Billie Eilish- Everything I Wanted
JP Saxe- If The World Was Ending



Simon & Garfunkel- Bridge Over Troubled Water
Chicago- S/T
CSN&Y- Deja Vu
Elton John- S/T
James Taylor- Sweet Baby James
The Carpenters- Close To You



Jhene Aiko- Chilombo
Black Pumas- S/T
Coldplay- Everyday Life
Jacob Collier- DJesse Vol. 3
Haim- Women In Music PT. II
Dua Lipa- Future Nostalgia
Post Malone- Hollywood's Bleeding
Taylor Swift- Folklore

I'm not sure what my point is here. I could have just as easily made the comparisons between 1970/2020 or 1968/2018. I did not watch the show. There was a time I needed to watch the show so I knew what records needed to be ordered for the shop. Once the shop closed, I watched so I had material for my morning Grammy recap, which was a popular post for a few years. But then it became unbearable for me once Adele starting sweeping the nation. (I'm not here to bash Adele. I'm just not a fan. I think she is overrated. Very overrated. Very, very overra...)

But I digress.

I am just shocked by how little I know and how little appeals to me. And I refuse to accept age as the reason. There's got to be something better than Dua Lipa and Jacob Collier.


Joe said...

I did better grammy-wise in 2021 than most years. At least I purchased one grammy-nominated LP, Brittany Howard - Jaime. I am on a roll....

Shriner said...

I watched it (I do every year). I thought the presentation was really, really good considering it was done without an audience

Yes, there are a lot of things that don't appeal to me (I don't understand the appeal of Post Malone at all...and "WAP" live didn't do anything for me either...and the whole K-Pop thing still mystifies me, but I'm no longer a 12 year old girl...)

But, the Dua Lipa album is a fun dance album. Folklore is great and one of the better albums I heard last year. The "Silk Sonic" song -- a huge throwback -- made me want to keep my eyes open for the album. "Watermelon Smile" is a solid pop song. I see the appeal of "Savage" because it has a good hook.

To get back to my point -- it was a good *show*. The embracing (stealing?) of the Jools Holland format made the performances fun. I liked the filmed presentations of the artists before their songs and the venues. And dragging out Ringo is always a smile. Peace and Love, man, Peace and Love.

And, hey, Weird Al's guitarist won a grammy this year. It's not all bad!

Sal Nunziato said...

I feel like we have this same discussion whenever the current state of pop music comes up. And that's great! I wouldn't have it any other way. But, "good show" is not acceptable enough for me on a show billed as "music's night of the year."

I went to Ringling Brothers circus when I was 30 and had an amazing time. I love watching "Old School" as much as I enjoy "A Streetcar Named Desire." A Nathan's hot dog and fine dining in a Paris bistro. All there for everyone to enjoy.

Just not music. I don't believe I need a 16 year old daughter to appreciate Dua Lipa anymore than a 16 year old girl needs an excuse to enjoy a Marshal Crenshaw record.

Pop music today is crap. A lot of it!!

pmac said...

On a happier note, The New Orleans Nightcrawlers won the grammy for the best roots regional album, Artmosphere. They also had a grammy watch and listen party last night at an outdoor gig where we got to hear them win it in real time. Only downer was that the gig also featured a felloew nominee in the same category, zydeco artist Cameron Dupuy.

Sal Nunziato said...

I saw that news about the Nightcrawlers on Instagram. Well deserved! Such a great record.

Sal Nunziato said...

As for Taylor Swift, here is something a friend said to me this morning. This friend is around my age, works in the industry and listens to a lot of music-

"I have friends who sincerely rave about Taylor Swift as a songwriter. I just don't hear it. All of her stuff sounds the same to me. None of it sounds inspired, just manufactured. None of it sounds genuinely emotional, just forced."

That is exactly how I feel about Miss Swift, for what it's worth, which probably amounts to 33 cents.

Sal Nunziato said...

My friend Harry also texted this to me, in regards to today's pop music--

"Since when are 16 year old girls the best judge of anything? Let alone art.
Can you imagine if the Pulitzer Prize in Literature or works for the Museum of Modern Art or the Oscars were chosen by 16 year old girls? (Or boys?) Since when do we look at teenagers as arbiters of culture? We wouldn’t let them choose the Oscars, we wouldn’t let them curate the MOMA or the Met, and we wouldn’t entrust them to bestow the Pulitzers or Nobel Prize in literature.
If the Pulitzer Prize was given out by 16 year olds then Kendrick Lamar would....
...oh nevermind."

Nothing wrong with a song you can dance to. Nothing wrong with BTS, or Dua Lipa, or Jacob Collier. Music should be fun. I just find it disgraceful that these "artists" be considered for the same accolades and respect as the true greats with true works of art under their belt. I thought the MTV "Music" Awards was the party for all that.

Anonymous said...

Crackers -
The Grammys have always seemed to me to be about high sales volume artists.
But then again it is the music "industry" awards, so makes sense to me in that way.

Zippy said...

Taylor Swift's songs are the soap opera acting version of the singer-songwriter art.

Zippy the Bewildered said...

Taylor Swift won more Grammys than Dylan and the Beatles combined.
She’s won three times as many Grammy awards as Joni Mitchell, so obviously she’s three times better.
Jimi Hendrix never won a Grammy.
Taylor is tied with Sinatra and Stevie Wonder as the only act to win three album of the year awards.
Sal and I could safely say we desperately love music, and search daily to find more new music to love.
I can’t think of a single song of hers that I can stand to listen to. I can only think of two of her songs by name, for that matter.
I downloaded Folklore, her pretend folk album, and one minute into it my girlfriend yelled from the next room “what is this awful shit?”
“The album of the year, according to Rolling Stone” I replied.

soundsource said...

okay i'll sound like an old fogey. It ain't got no soul. And I'm not talking about black music. I'm talking about soul, commitment artistic integrity knowledge art before commerce I could go on. And that's not to say that music form fifty years ago wasn't commercial and that musicians didn't want to make a buck but there was soul.
I return my high horse and soap box.
Long live progressive game show power pop chip core dark folk death metal. Your time is coming long live sub genres

soundsource said...

oh and i didn't watch any of the grammies rather watch old soprano episodes and get my music there.

Anonymous said...

The question I always ask myself (and others) is:

"Will any of these songs and albums be remembered or relevant in five years? Ten years? Or one year?


bumppa said...

I never watch the Grammys or any other awards show. In the main categories it is nothing more than a two hour PR push.
Pop music (read as "Mainstream") today is about the spectacle, not the music. It has become overwhelmingly "bubblegumish". Hip Hop is in a class by itself and for the most part very good, but "pop" is a waste of time.

A wise person once asked the question,I forget who. And it was 40 years ago and maybe more relevant today
" Did I listened to pop music because I was miserable
or Was I miserable because of listened to pop music. "

Stick with Americana, Folk and true Rock and Roll. There is even some great Jazz out there. Seek out the best and with Sal's help we will succeed.

Sal Nunziato said...

To be clear, I have no issue with pop music. None. I have an issue with shitty pop music.

I've raved about the Pet Shop Boys on these pages numerous times. Listen to their "Greatest Hits." Sure, it's mostly electronic. And dancey. But the lyrics are intelligent and witty and the melodies are to die for. There is craft and time involved.

Strip down Bananarama's "I Heard A Rumor" to voice and guitar. Gorgeous chord changes. What a melody! There is ZERO in today's pop music. Nothing. It's choreography and spectacle, pornography and beats. It's miserable. It's offensive and an insult to every true artist and singer and songwriter.

Shriner said...

Honestly, I think the demographics of the Grammy voters are just changing. The old farts are dying off and being replaced by younger people who have a different take on what "popular music" is. (I'm pretty sure it's not 16-year old girls nominating artists for these awards except maybe Billie Eilish is a voting member, I dunno...)

it's the same reflection that changed the ranking of Rolling Stone's recent 500 Greatest Albums of all time. You can only go to the well to have 72-year old Gene Simmons and Rick Wakeman be on the voter list for that for so many years before younger people will have much more impact on what that list will be. My daughter (who I've influenced slightly on some musical tastes) absolutely lost her shit over Beyonce's "Lemonade", but I didn't get a thing out of it.

"Folklore" *is* very very good. Taylor doesn't have the emotional singing voice of somebody like Chrissie Hynde (for an example), but her songs are solid. She's not somebody I ever thought I'd like, but once I started listening, she won me over. Will she have a lifetime body of work like Paul Simon or Stevie Wonder? Who knows...

But, then again, "90 percent of everything is crap"...

Sal Nunziato said...

"(I'm pretty sure it's not 16-year old girls nominating artists for these awards except maybe Billie Eilish is a voting member, I dunno..."

I could be wrong but I don't think my friend Harry meant that 16 year olds are literally voting for the Grammys. I took it as, so what if a 16 year old loves it? That is no gauge for art. Gearing music and awards shows to one demographic means nothing in thne grand scheme of things. People put pineapple on pizza. That doesn't make it right.

Anonymous said...

Hey!!! Sometimes I like a little pineapple on my pizza!!


Anonymous said...

"Popular music is popular because a lot of people like it."

- The Ghost of Irving Berlin

Sal Nunziato said...

"Popular music is popular because a lot of people like it."
And McDonalds sells 30,000,000,000 burgers a year and people still smoke cigarettes, even though we know both are bad for you.

M_Sharp said...

I haven't paid much attention to it in years. The people I like are usually aren't nominated for any major awards, they rarely play live on the show, and if they win an award, it's in the categories who have their Grammys presented before the TV awards. I always skim the nominee lists, but I don't care for most of the popular people, don't know who a lot of the are, but it's always good to see someone I like get nominated anywhere. Maybe they'll sell a few albums!

There's always some weird stuff- Black Pumas, whose album I liked, are nominated for Record Of The Year and Album Of The Year, but not Best New Artist? And how did someone I like get those nominations??? That's enough to make me pay attention next year.

cmealha said...

There is good stuff out there and you turn us on to a lot of it. It's just not necessarily what the kids are out there listening to. Still, there's enough to go around and keep everyone happy.

FD13NYC said...

Haven't paid attention to the Grammys in many a year. As for 2021, don't know a dang one. As you say, it's just for the kids. And yes, we were kids once too. Times have changed musically, and I'm always hesitant to except it. But they could stay off my lawn with whatever is nominated presently.

bing stills said...

Grammys have been left-field for quite some time. Remember when Best New Artist was A Taste of Honey with Boogie Oogie Oogie? The first year they introduced the Heavy Metal category, which was won by Jethro Tull? They've only gotten weirder as time goes on IMHO.

Anonymous said...

"Popular music is popular because a lot of people like it."

At one time a lot of people liked Adolf Hitler including some Americans. So, popularity goes only so far in my book. To me longevity counts for more.

Captain Al

Mr. Baez said...

I'm pretty much done with award shows. I rather spend my time finding moments on Youtube that I've never seen before, like this:
An award winning performance if there ever was one.

Jobe said...

Who are these people?

Michael Giltz said...

Hahahahahaha. You didn't need to write a word after posting the 1971-2021 comparison.

Some fact checking: Taylor Swift ties Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder and Paul Simon as the only acts to win Album of the Year three times. (Adele is the only other woman to win Album Of The Year twice.)

Taylor Swift has won 11 Grammys. Joni Mitchell has 9 Grammys. So Taylor is only about 20% better. The Beatles also won 9 so Taylor is 20% better than them as well. (John and George have won Album of the Year twice, with Sgt Pepper and one solo album each. Paul and Ringo are still waiting since Paul was robbed when U2 beat his masterpiece Chaos and Creation with How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, giving THEM two Album of the Year Grammys as well.

Anonymous said...

Using the Grammys as a benchmark to define good music is a pretty flawed construct to begin with, in my book at least.

- The ghost of Colin Blunstone (yeah, I'm still alive, but I also still haven't won a Grammy)

OG said...

It's ironic your dismissal of Adele in the same post you mention this years Grammy event --- featuring W A P

If only Adele had worn a better outfit

Sal Nunziato said...

To OG,
My dismissal of Adele had nothing to do with WAP. I recognize the difference between a mediocre songwriter and out right pornography.

Steven said...

here's a little story for you...
when The Beatles first broke in the US, they were met with nearly universal derision by "older people" know the story...
I remember very well going to my grandparents house to watch The Ed Sullivan's something my mother and her kids did nearly all Sunday nights...
on a particular night. The Beatles were the featured performers...
my mother loved them...she was in her late twenties, and she loved John out of them all...
after their appearance, my grandfather turned to my mother and said. "what was that shit?...are those men?"...

here's the grandfather didn't understand or dig what he had just seen, and that's because he wasn't supposed to...The Beatles weren't supposed to be understood by or listened to by geezers of a certain age...
so it is now, modern music isn't made for people of a certain age...who, by the way, are now many of us who follow your blog...
it's only natural foe many of us to fondly remember 1973, and how great everything was, including popular music, and compare it to now, where everything is trash in comparison...
once it's understood that nearly all today's music isn't made with older folks as an audience, it begins to make more sense...just as my grandfather couldn't understand or dig he was watching popular music history being made, my mother and me did...

Sal Nunziato said...

Define "older people" and "geezers of a certain age." Are they 40, 60, 75 years old?
My grandparents, all four of them, loved The Beatles. And the Beach Boys. My father almost went to Woodstock. My uncle, a musician and a police officer, was buying Toots & The Maytals records and Rolling Stones 45s when he was 60. My grandfather at the age of 70 watched MTV and wrote down records he wanted me to buy for him--Hall & Oates, Eddie Money, Cyndi Lauper.

We can talk all day and night about how pop music is for people of a certain age and how "geezers" aren't supposed to "understand" today's music. I will always see it as an excuse to simply defend the "kids." Let the "kids" enjoy "their music." That's fine. Let them. It doesn't change the fact that we look fondly on the music of the past because it was better.

Elvis was inspired by the old blues men and gospel.
The Beatles and Stones were inspired by Elvis, old blues men, Little Richard, Motown.
Everybody in the 70's and 80's were inspired by The Beatles, Stones, old blues men, Tamla and Motown.

Who inspired "wet ass pussy?"

Who did Jacob Collier, Cardi B, Dua Lipa and Roddy Ricch listen to "growing up?
EMF? Sugar Ray? Puff Diddy?

It's math. Sorta.

I am of a "certain age" and I have no issue listening to John Prine and Motorhead, The Pet Shop Boys and The Temptations, Kraftwerk and the Beastie Boys, because even the most offputting genres to other "geezers," like metal and punk and hip hop, still had something underneath it. Soul, sincerity, and craft.