Monday, February 12, 2007

The Grammys

For the first time ever, thanks to the magic of DVR, I can actually sit and watch the friggin’ Grammy Awards. I was going to write a post-mortem after I finished it, but I figured I might as well just write while I’m watching it. So here’s my live, stream-of-consciousness review of the Grammys.
  • Apparently, there’s no opening to this show. And there’s no host, either. Just an Obnoxious Shouting Narrator. And we’re just opening with a musical performance, by…

  • Holy shit, it’s the Police! Awesome! They sound great, too, even though Sting has to bring the chorus vocal down an octave. And the backing vocals were clearly a tape, despite the bassist and drummer mouthing along. (Apparently, this is common practice for the Police, though. I read it on Wikipedia.)

  • In case you didn’t know, there are roughly seventeen thousand different awards the Grammys give out every year. Since they’ll only hand out about ten on the air, we get an ESPN-like scroll at the bottom on the screen of the winners of all the others.

  • And with the very first award, we start our count of Grammys to Old Fogeys Past Their Prime, as Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder win for Best Pop Collaboration. Tony, gracious gentleman he is, practically sprints up the stairs, almost forgetting that his co-winner is blind and can’t exactly make it by himself. Meanwhile, I discover the best part about watching this on DVR: I can fast-forward through acceptance speeches!

  • The Dixie Chicks perform. I thought they were a country band, but they don’t sound very country to me. Maybe they told Nashville to get fucked after that bullshit they went through in 2003. Wouldn’t blame them.

  • In a miscarriage of music, they have Prince introduce a performance by Beyonce. They should have reversed that. I fast-forward.

  • Booker T. and the MGs get a Lifetime Achievement Award. And then they give an R&B Award to Mary J. Blige for butchering U2’s masterpiece, “One.” Grr. (Of course, Bono was in on that butchering, too, but—still. Ick.)

  • It occurs to me, as Queen Latifah hypes the stupid sing-with-Justin-Timberlake contest, that there’s really not that much to write about while watching the Grammys. This may have been a tactical error on my part. Watching the show, I mean.

  • Hey, cool: I spot on the Grammy Ticker that OK Go won the award for Best Music Video for “Here It Goes Again.” If you haven’t seen it, look it up on YouTube. It’s fantastic.

  • For some reason, Justin Timberlake needs, like, eighty musicians on stage to perform one song. (I noticed this during the Dixie Chicks’ performance, too.) What is up with that? Awards shows like this always pile as many people onto the stage at one time as they can. Never understood that.

  • Grammy Ticker update: Slayer (!) wins an award, as does Tool for Best Recording Package. As they definitely deserved. Unfortunately, I also see that Weird Al didn’t win Best Surround Sound Album. *shrug* He’s still got Comedy Album—oh, nope, Lewis Black won that. Hey, that’s cool.

  • And they blow their Song of the Year Award already? It goes to that pretty cool song the Dixie Chicks played earlier. Yeah, that’s not at all a political statement by the Grammy voters.

  • And here we go, with another Lifetime Achievement Award. Literally, that’s the fourth: Booker T. and the MGs, the Doors, some music execs, and now the Grateful Dead.

  • Okay, is Gnarls Barkley a group, or just the chubby singer guy? ‘Cause his/their performance starts with just him and a piano player, but then adds in the full forty-person backing section that everyone is required to use at the Grammys. And for some reason, they’re all dressed up as airline pilots. Anyone who’d like to explain that can go right ahead.

  • Actually, this performance is great. I should listen to more of his stuff. Or their stuff. Or whatever.

  • Am I the only one who detests that Windows Vista commercial that compares the release of Vista with the fall of the Berlin Wall? No?

  • And, sweet Jesus, another Lifetime Achievement Award, to an opera singer who’s been dead for thirty years. The hell? They’re practically on a one-to-one ratio with awards and Lifetime Awards.

  • The Dixie Chicks win another award. I’m beginning to suspect a sweep. And they haven’t yet presented on stage an award I care about, save for Song of the Year.

  • Another fucking Lifetime Achievement Award! Gaah!

  • Some shitty country band with a singer that looks suspiciously like the Smash Mouth guy performs a verse and a chorus of “Hotel California” to honor Don Henley. Um, why don’t they just have Don Henley perform? And then that annoying Carrie Underwood performs part of “Desperado,” ostensibly for the same reason. Did Don Henley die and someone forgot to tell me?

  • Oh, god, we’re back to that shitty country band to fuck up “Life in the Fast Lane.” What the fuck is going on? I desperately fast-forward once Carrie Underwood stomps over to make it even worse.

  • Are the Grammys always this boring?

  • Ah: the Best New Artist Grammy goes to fucking Carrie Underwood. That Award once went to Milli Vanilli. Hmm. Who’s worse?

  • A bunch of stuff happens. Nothing interesting enough to write about. Man, this show sucks.

  • James Blunt performs. He has, perhaps, the strangest voice in pop music today. It’s like listening to a tape at high speed. It also sounds extremely fragile, as if it might break if pushed too hard. And the PA tries its hardest to do so, with ugly popping noises and static. Boo!

  • Someone with a decent but unremarkable voice sings with Timberlake. I fast-forward some more. God, I’m bored.

  • Quentin Tarantino—who is completely and totally hammered—shows up to present Record of the Year with Tony Bennett while the Grammy Ticker tells me that Wolfmother’s “Woman” won Hard Rock Performance, beating Tool. Boo!

  • And, of course, the Dixie Chicks win Record of the Year. Told ya so.

Well, I guess, as far as awards shows go, that wasn’t so—

Oh, wait. We’re not done? Really? Really? Oh, Christ…

  • The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform, and…suck. They sound dull, and lifeless, and bored. Kinda like I am right now.

  • Queen Latifah’s back, with—holy fuck, Al Gore! Yeah!

  • Wow, how fucking sedated am I to get this excited about Al Gore? But he’s here to present Best Rock Album, which means we’re finally at an award I care about. And, in the most shocking moment of the show, the award doesn’t go to either of the Old Fogeys nominated—Tom Petty and Neil Young—but the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who aren’t quite old enough to qualify for Old Fogey status. Of course, the award probably should have gone to the Raconteurs, but it’s a step in the right direction.

  • Don Henley—hey, he is there! Why didn’t he perform his own songs and save us from Carrie Fucking Underwood? Anyway, Don Henley strolls out with Scarlett Johansson, who is, according to the voice-over guy, “recording her first album.” M’kay.

  • They announce the Producer of the Year: the Godfather of Modern Music, Rick Rubin, who is seriously one of the two or three coolest people on the planet. He’s produced Run-DMC, LL Cool J, the Beastie Boys, System of a Down, the Mars Volta, Weezer, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Johnny Cash (all those rock covers he did, like “Hurt,” were done by Rubin), Jay-Z, and Linkin Park. And he’s producing Metallica’s next album. Aw yeah!

  • And then they give Album of the Year to the Dixie Chicks. As I predicted about nine hours ago.

  • And then it’s over. Mercifully.

Yikes. You think it was boring reading about it, I hope you didn’t watch it. Ick, ick, ick.

By the way, the real album of the year was the Tragically Hip’s World Container. And the real Record of the Year was Evanescence’s “Call Me When You’re Sober.” Though I need to hear that Gnarls Barkley record.

Well, that was a really stupid idea. Several hours of my mortality I will never back: gone. Poof.

Note to self: never, ever watch the Grammys again.

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