MusicDish e-Journal - May 19, 2002
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Music Critics Must Die: Grammy Whammy
By The G-Man
(more articles from this author)
2008-01-19
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Proving once more that bigger does not mean better, the 50th Grammy Awards event was bombastic, bumbling and bloated. Scott G watched and would have been appalled if he wasn't so bored.

I'm a member of NARAS (National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences), the producers of the Grammy Awards, so let me apologize right away for that horrible conglomeration of bad music, stupid introductions, and self congratulatory behavior that would put members of the Senate to shame.

Everyone involved with this farrago should issue a big, fat "I'm sorry" to anyone who got suckered into watching. Look, the best rock band in the world is available right here in Los Angeles and they weren't even nominated. (See for yourself at www.powdermusic.com if you don't believe me.)

A friend took me to see Cody Bryant at Viva Fresh on Saturday night, and any one of their guitar, fiddle, mandolin, or pedal steel solos was more inventive than anything played during the 3-plus hours of the "major television event" on CBS.

Quite frankly, I am embarrassed to say I'm in the music business after watching such a group of untalented and obviously overpaid people caterwauling and cavorting on a stage that looked like a video game robot threw up.

Credit to a Couple of Folks
Was everything piss-poor? No. Feist was quite nice, although her intimate song was out-of-place amidst the sonic overkill of most of the other performers.

And the show was almost salvaged by the Amy Winehouse broadcast from London. Bad make-up and hairdo aside, that gal can sing. Note: Amy Winehouse does not deserve the Best New Artist award, not because she isn't great but because she isn't new; according to allmusic.com her 2003 album achieved platinum sales.

John Fogarty is always reliable and Little Richard is defying time beautifully, but listening to much of the rest of the program was as painful as attending the National Fingernails on the Chalkboard Competition. Aside to Dave Grohl: unless you suddenly turn into Pink Floyd or Procol Harum, drop the symphony orchestra bit. That was an embarrassment.

Note: a colleague in the Immedia Wire Service saw the Foo Fighters perform at Paladino's, a shoes-stick-to-the-floor dive bar in Reseda, and said they were powerful and pulse-pounding - everything they were not at the Grammy show.

Meanwhile, somebody tell Tina that we loved her work in the past, but unfortunately she's no longer able to entertain.

Also, Dear Mr. Rock: Learn the lyrics next time. (And by the way, you've just released a strong album with a killer title track, so why go on a national music show and sing someone else's old song?)

The Ultimate Sin
Is there a more inconsequential artist on the scene today than Kanye West? For someone with so little talent, it is truly astonishing that he possesses a raging and out-of-control ego. More importantly, this clown regularly and repeatedly commits the ultimate sin of show business: he is boring.

Kanye, get this through your noggin: Everyone deals with the death of a parent. You are not special in this. Using your mother's death as an excuse to get more face time at the mic is repugnant.

Watching his "performance" was mind-numbing enough, but his acceptance speech was disgusting. Note: where is Sean Young when we really need her?

Reactions
I sent a first draft of this diatribe to several people in the music and communication industries. Some of their comments were enlightening.

A music business executive said "everything in the show was overdone, off the mark, lame and in bad taste - it's always been that way, and I don't even need to see the show to know that - but the lack of balance in your article runs the risk of making you sound bitter." To which I can only reply: Oh bitter doesn't begin to describe what I'm feeling, but send me the pro-bad-music side of the story and I'll insert that for balance.

A friend who couldn't keep watching the broadcast said "I started praying there was a presidential debate on another channel because it would be livelier and have better music."

One of my colleagues in communications told me his favorite part of the program was the "bad version of Cirque du Soleil as performed by the Long Beach University ‘we wish we were good dancers' troupe."

Contempt
That's the watchword of the evening. The music industry has nothing but contempt for you. "The public will buy anything if we package it properly," they say. "Songs are not as important as loud singing," they say. "No one minds bad dancing as long as we can keep the bimbos moving all over the stage," they say. "Flashing lights and holograms can hide a lack of talent," they say. "No one minds if there's lip-synching," they say. "Gimmicks are more important than melodies," they say. "Meaningless rhymes can take the place of lyrics," they say.

And you obviously agree with them because Grammy night showcased your favorites, right? Perhaps you're the ones who should be apologizing.

Is it true that Apple is planning the iTunes Awards, which would recognize artists who are free from corporate manipulation? We can hope.


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