Eventually I turned on the show just in time to catch the Kanye West debacle. The sentiment seems to be pretty unanimous on the internets--he is a completely tacky and classless douchebag. His backhanded tribute to Beyonce was about as heartfelt as the shots David Hinckley fired off for Jodie Foster. I don't really care for Taylor Swift's teenybopper music, but I sincerely felt horrible for her last night. Had she not been an innocent seventeen year old, she may have played it off more casually, but seeing her completely paralyzed with confusion and disappointment made me even more angry at that narcissistic hack.
I know this is supposed to be the hippest pop culture event of the year where "OMG ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN" (and after translating Kanye's blog response to incident, I think he tried to invoke that excuse) but timing and context is something that has to be taken into consideration before pulling shit like this.
I recall that back in '94 when one of the Beastie Boys stormed the stage, it wasn't such a horrible thing. The difference was:
- Adam Yauch went up in costume as his alter-ego Nathanial Hörnblowér, which was visually funny.
- He was directly connected to the award category in question (and "Sabotage" was truly an awesome video).
- His obviously tongue-in-cheek protest probably didn't hurt R.E.M.'s feelings.
Remember when Tim Commerford from Rage Against the Machine drunkenly climbed up on stage to heckle Limp Bizkit? I was a Rage fan back in the day, and I certainly hated Fred Durst, but the whole moment was just awkward and uncomfortable. It was the furthest thing from funny, and when he was thrown out and arrested, he deserved it--especially because it made Durst look like the classy one. If Kanye would've climbed a catwalk dressed as the Phantom of the Opera during Lady Gaga's performance, maybe I would have given him some credit. The truth is, Adam Yauch's disruptive blitz was quick and lo-fi, but still maximized its effectiveness. It would be difficult for anyone to top it with such efficiency. That's not a challenge, just a request for attention whores and sore losers to find an original way to express themselves in the future.
All right, enough about Kanye. Let's talk about other vaginas. What do you think was more visibly swollen--Madonna's cheekbones or Katy Perry's labia? Tough call, I know.
Lady Gaga's vagina actually played piano during her performance of "Paparazzi." I can't say that I like all of her songs, I will say that I get what she's doing. I think she's entertaining even if most of the time I'm scratching my head. I think she's underachieving musically (at least what I've heard of her album compared to her live sets) in order to focus her image, which I hope changes in the future. Performing in a white dress covered in blood still isn't going to make me forget that the chorus of "Paparazzi" borrows liberally from Berlin's "Take My Breath Away." Top Gun was just finishing up on AMC at the same time Gaga took the stage. Holy synchronicity, Batman!
Muse has always been dogged for sounding like a Queen/Radiohead crossbreed, but this "Uprising" song of theirs is like a jock rock version of Battles' "Atlas" (The RoBeast Song of the Year, 2007). I can deal with arena rock dynamics in extreme moderation, but the lyrics here are more bland than "We Are the Champions." Don't get me wrong, I like Muse (The Absolution album is good stuff), but them and Green Day and My Chemical Romance and Foo Fighters need to settle the fuck down with the theatrics and start pretending that there's only one person listening to their song at a time. Coldplay can keep doing it though. I don't give a shit about them.
What else happened? To be honest, I spent most of the time either reading people's reactions to Kanye or thinking about Tetris, so forgive me. I guess I wasn't looking up at the screen enough. I remember not recognizing 95% of the presenters. I remember not understanding 95% of what Russell Brand was saying. I remember Jay-Z performing the first song ever written about New York City (95% of which was censored). Michael Jackson showed up, but Britney Spears didn't. Was Shakira there? I wanted to hear her say "A-WOOOOO!" It's ferocious!
Well, I'm not a 50-year old pop star that grew up in the Midwest with 8 brothers and sisters, so I'll stop talking now. Here are some suggested topics for your classroom discussion:
- Does Soy Bomb have a place in a post-Dimebag world?
- Does Kanye West care about white people?
- Should the guy in worn-out jeans date the Cheer Captain or the girl on the bleachers?
- Can we stop talking about the Beatles now for a little while?