I tried watching the Grammys in earnest last night. I sat there, I tweeted responses, but eventually, I flipped the channel and never came back.
Now I don’t want to complain about the Grammys lest I fall into Kanye territory. They were exactly what they were supposed to be: a bombastic night lauding artists for being commercially viable. Ye’s plaint that Bey did not win might have some currency, because who the fuck is Beck? That Kanye seems to confuse these awards shows with artistic merit is his only flaw, and that he doesn’t seem to understand this, doesn’t know exactly how the game is played behind closed doors seems odd for someone of his stature.
The big winner of the night was the odd-couple performance (and maybe it’s my love of conspiracy theories, but they were conveniently plugging a reboot of the original Odd Couple). Just throw a bunch of fucking people on the stage and see what flies. The Grammy’s line-up was the guy-asking-100-girls-to-see-if-one-would-say-yes of awards show performances, hoping that one might be remembered past the three-day internet echo chamber. Katy Perry might have had the performance to remember, if only because she sang one song, by herself.
AC/DC opened the show, playing some song that they don’t play on the radio, so I assume it must be new, and “Highway to Hell;” the latter at such a pedestrian speed I’m surprised there wasn’t music playing them off stage. The rest of the performances were meh, even Kanye who performed “Only One,” co-written with Paul McCartney, and a song I adore, was just meh. ELO showed up, and I don’t think I was ever as excited to see ELO as last night after all the meh.
The Grammys were also all about the tribute. Throughout the show, they must have handed out a bajillion lifetime achievement awards spending less than 15 seconds on each recipient. They threw up George Harrison’s name, and I thought we were going to hear a nice cover by somebody and then something else happened. Wayne Shorter, getting some much deserved recognition, shuffled in a commercial break. And speaking of Jazz artists that deserve more, did anyone notice how bored Herbie Hancock looked playing piano for Ed Sheerhan? This is the man responsible for “Vein Melter” and he was backup on a song couldn’t melt butter on a hot day.
As a lover of music, you sit there and you watch the Grammys. You wonder who’s going to be taking home awards, and who’s getting ripped off. But I can’t remember how many awards they gave out last night. I saw maybe five total? I know that Beck won Best Rock Album and that Sam Smith won Best New Artist, and frankly, considering that those two would win the top awards, the rest was mostly a wash. Pharrell lied about moonwalking off stage when his thank you ran too long, but I completely forgot what award he even won. Does it matter?
Does it? That is the question. The Grammys do not represent music as a whole. Neither do the Oscars represent movies. The underappreciated get shrugged off because they spent more time on the music than the marketing. Small labels don’t have the influence. Bands that will be remembered as ones for the ages will sit in the nomination category, always a nominee, never a winner. Even as Taylor Swift noted, she didn’t win Best New Artist. Know who did? Amy Winehouse. What does Best New Artist even mean if Taylor Swift didn’t win?
I turned them off, frustrated and confused. I even missed the Rihanna performance, and I like that song, too (Kanye is still good at music even if he is an idiot sometimes, so is Macca). I found out via twitter who won the top awards, and figured I could catch most of the performances I missed today without all the bullshit. I was right.
The moral of the story would be that here at Pancakes & Whiskey, we know that awards don’t matter, just as long as the music is good, who cares how many gold-plated Gramophones you have.
Article by: Christopher Gilson