Monday, February 13, 2012

Grammy Reaction

It's a been a very long time since I've written here, but having sat through the Grammys, I felt compelled to write this entry.

I'm not sure why I bother watching the Grammy's, but this year I had a vested interest as one of my favorite bands...Bon Iver...was nominated in a few different categories. Outside of their music, the band is very forthright (and probably more especially lead man Justin Vernon) about Eau Claire being where their roots have been set, and that's where I went to college and now live. So although I had a strong interest in seeing if Bon Iver won anything, sometimes the award ceremony can pleasantly surprise me.

A few years ago, they came back from a commercial break and there were two guys standing in the middle of the audience...Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel. They hadn't played together for over 20 years, and there they stood on the Grammy stage. One of my lifelong dreams is to see them perform together, and there they stood. It's moments like those that have gotten me to pay some attention to the circus that's become the Grammys. I don't know what they used to be like back in the day, but I'd imagine they much more resembled the Oscars or any other award ceremony than the orchestrated event they are today.

This isn't to downplay the Grammys, it's more to downplay the televised spectacle we see from our living rooms. I'd assume they have a more formal event which has more substance than the 3-plus hour charade we see on TV that only actually hands out 10 or so awards. The Grammys are a joke, and I'm glad Bon Iver [reportedly] turned down the opportunity to play at the awards because they aren't representative of the large majority of the music industry.

Maybe the Grammys are actually representative of the hypocrisy and capitalistic nature of the mainstream music industry, but real musicians seem to be getting tired of it. Justin Vernon clearly mentioned what he thought about the invite-only nature of big time music. He was one of the few award winners that actually had an acceptance speech, and they pushed him off the stage towards the end in favor of A SECOND performance by Chris Brown and the Foo Fighters (although I'll give Dave Grohl some leniency as his speech was clearly going in a direction that the suits didn't like, so they shut him down quick). Props to you Justin Vernon for keeping your integrity....I'd have expected nothing less.

It isn't so much that I have a great distaste for mainstream music because some of it I don't mind, but it's just not representative of the real music that's out there (both good and bad). Every year, the Grammys nominate people who don't deserve much let alone THE award the industry can hand out. How the hell does anything Bruno Mars does deserve to be in the conversation for Album of the Year? I can think of hundreds of better albums that came out this year that were better than any garbage he came up with in the last year.

I've long been frustrated with the lack of fair representation in the music industry. Maybe these real musicians don't care. I'd assume playing sold out shows at almost every stop of nationwide and international tours and boatloads of your albums purchased is pretty damned indicative of the success you've achieved, but a Grammy certainly couldn't hurt. It's just too bad it's become a joke to anyone who cares about music.

Outside of seeing Justin Vernon up on the stage accepting a Grammy for Bon Iver, the highlight was a Chipotle commercial with Willie Nelson covering a Coldplay song...

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