December 22, 2009


The Grammy Award nominations were announced a few weeks ago and I completely forgot to talk about them. Since I'm still stalling in order to come up with 10 positive musical contributions for 2009, I think I'll take this opportunity to babble about music some more.

Just glancing over the list the first thing that I've noticed is the lack of Kelly Clarkson's name on the ballot. I'm a little shocked that this two-time Grammy winner is only nominated in one category. Sure, it makes sense that the one nomination is in the Best Pop Vocal Album, but what the hell happened here? She followed the record label's preferred safe path this time, and is still getting trumped by the Beyonces, Pinks, and Gagas.

Now before I get a little too upset by this, I know that Grammys and album sales and record deals are not the most important thing in the world--good songs are. And I know that Miss Clarkson has some good songs on that album, but the record label machine blew it for everyone by mishandling the album. The first problem was the first two singles were very similar. "My Life Would Suck Without You" and "I Do Not Hook Up" sounded too close to each other (and to "Since U Been Gone" while we're at it). I think "I Do Not Hook Up" was the stronger of the two.

They followed it up with the dull "Already Gone" which, as I mentioned in a July post, sounded way too much like Beyonce's hit "Halo." It turns out that Kelly agreed and had actually fought to have the song removed from the album before it was released.
“In the end, they’re releasing it without my consent,” she sighs. “It sucks, but it’s one of those things I have no control over. I already made my album. At this point, the record company can do whatever they want with it. It’s kind of a shitty situation, but.… You know, you learn.” - CBC News
The label overlooked what I thought would be decent singles, "Long Shot" (another Katy Perry composition) or the unique "I Want You." If they absolutely need a slow one for adult stations, "Save You" was definitely more interesting than "Already Gone." But the two "Since U Been Gone" retreads followed by a "Halo" wannabe stuck Clarkson in a place that made her look out of touch with everything else on the radio. Lady Gaga, Pink, and Beyonce may not have the most original stuff in the world but it at least doesn't sound dated (yet). That's why they're getting all the attention come awards time. It's a shame that marketing trends ultimately detract her songs, but that's how this shit works. I really hope she wins this award because as far as vocals go, she is unmatched by any other pop singer, male or female.

All right, like I said, Pink, Beyonce, and Lady Gaga are up for everything. Also, Black Eyed Peas, Taylor Swift, and some other people. In all honesty, looking over the entire list, I am now realizing that I don't really care much about any of them and am now regretting starting this post. Here's what I'll say. I do like one--no wait, let me do it in list form.
  • I do like a Pink song this year. A lot even. Not the one nominated though, so I'll tell you about it later.
  • I do not like "All the Single Ladies." Musically, it's boring. Lyrically, it's just a cheer. Didn't care for "Halo" or "If I Were a Boy" either. Years ago, I did like "Naughty Girl" a lot and to some extent "Crazy in Love." I think she just needs more complex songs because I think she can handle the challenge.
  • I feel like anything the Black Eyed Peas do is like a ProTools exercise. In terms of beats and sound production, they can occasionally be interesting (I especially like Autotune digital vomit effect when they say "8 bit" on "Boom Boom Pow"), but as far as songs go, they're complete boneheads. The Kids of Widney High have way deeper things to say than "I Gotta Feeling" so I tend to dismiss the whole thing as children's music.
  • Taylor Swift's songs pretty much sound the same, but I do like her voice. It's young and not entirely confident, but it's certainly pleasant. It's perfect for her audience and properly serves the themes of her teen love songs. The act works for now, but by the time the next album comes out she'll be drinking age and the little girl subjects won't fly anymore. Ok, they shouldn't even be flying right now but we let her get away 'cause she's so darn fragile. We'll toughen her up yet.
  • "Use Somebody" blew yesterday and it still blows today. In fact, I heard a dance version of that blew me while I was driving to work this morning.
  • Katy Perry's voice and lyrics annoy me a lot but I appreciate her melodies. She is playful but doesn't always play it safe. I don't think her voice is always strong enough for those risks though. I'm rooting for her to stop singing, but to keep writing for other people. And occasionally bounce up and down on camera.
  • Who the fuck is Adele?
  • Hall & Oates are nominated for a live version of a song 33 years old?
  • I never remember which band The Fray is. I don't think it matters.
  • Not much Britney "Darth Vader of Pop Music" Spears this year other than her battle with Madonna and Lady Gaga for Best Dance Recording (that the Black Eyed Peas will win).
Funny matchups:
  • Willie Nelson vs. Liza Minnelli (Best Traditional Pop Vocal)
  • Michael J. Fox vs. President Jimmy Carter (Best Spoken Word Album)
  • Spinal Tap vs. Weird Al vs. Kathy Griffin vs. Patton Oswalt vs Stephen Colbert. (Best Comedy Album) (I've disqualified George Lopez for not being a comedian.)
Ok, so who will win things? I think Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, and Beyonce will split wins in all the categories where they're against each other. Black Eyed Peas will get the rest. Kelly Clarkson should get the one I mentioned before. Pink, Britney Spears, and Katy Perry will probably get nothing.

On the Rock side, who even cares?

Best Solo Rock Vocal:
Bob Dylan, John Fogerty, Bruce Springsteen, Prince, Neil Young
I don't care who wins as long as someone mistakes Prince for the singer of "Poker Face" and kisses him on the balls.

Best Rock Performance by Duo or Group:
Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Green Day, Eric Clapton & Stevie Winwood, U2
So much hot air. The least pompous band in this category has "Kings" in their name.

Best Hard Rock Performance:
AC/DC, Alice in Chains, Metallica, Linkin Park, Nickelback
Three of these groups have pressed on despite the deaths of integral band members. The other two are ripe for a bus accident.

Best Metal Performance:
Judas Priest, Slayer, Megadeth, Lamb of God, Ministry
I don't think any of these bands care if they win, and neither do I.

The only band I'm really rooting for is Pearl Jam "The Fixer" for Best Rock Song because they give grumpy, miserable victory speeches at these things. I don't blame them.


Anonymous said...
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Jay Amabile said...

First, Black Eyed Peas are totally a kids band. They might as well be on the Toys R Us record label.

That video of Pearl Jam is hysterical. I remember watching that broadcast but I think that comment means more now than it ever did. He was ahead of his time. Award shows are bullshit. Whether it's Oscars or Grammy's - it's all garbage. The best part is, he didn't want to just saying something to be brazen and shocking, he meant it.