Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ouch. Gray Lady Trashes Grammys ...

I make it a point of not watching award shows, except for the Oscars. When it comes to music, which has such a personal and subjective appeal, doubly so. To say award shows are arch and pretentious would be an understatement. The anointing of best whatever 'artists' with Grammys is done by something called the "Recording Academy," which sounds disturbingly Orwellian. And it should be noted that the recording and movie industries are prime movers of the SOPA bill in Congress, which would effectively censor and kill the internet as we know it. So fuck them, already.

I prefer catching the highlights and posting them — see below. It's a timesaver. I don't have to be told that the Boss is losing his touch or that the Foo Fighters are overhyped and overrated. But Adele is Adele and she's still worth a look-see, even though five of those thingys is a bit much. The Times review spares no delicate feelings or bruised egos: "for the umpteenth time, the Grammys went with familiarity over risk, bestowing album of the year honors (and several more) on an album that reinforced the values of an older generation suspicious of change ... That it was done this year under a veneer of progressivism — the anointing of a modern young star as a marquee talent — only makes it more loathsome." Ouch.

Read on. It gets better. The show "went out of its way to uphold antiquated values. The induction of Adele into a not-so-secret society will be cheered as a triumph over artifice, and what an unfortunate thing that will be." Ow! Now that really hurts. He might as well be calling the "night's theme of old school Puritanism" a middle class petty bourgeois extravaganza, or worse, CPAC entertainment. Okay, I get it. It's corporatist, preternaturally conservative, and ancient like the Republicans. Here's the kicker; it's just like the Sunday talk shows! ... Except that the instrument played by the Sunday peddlers is misinformation: "Forget women. Forget black or Latin stars or those of any other ethnic background. In a year in which the Grammys could have reasonably tried to sell progress as a narrative, it chose to end the night with a phalanx of older white men playing guitars, a battalion guarding the rickety old castle from attack, a defiant last stand of yesteryear."

Not Going Anywhere: It'll take More Than A Little Scorching To Render This Baby Obsolete.

But then Times reviewer Jon Caramanica goes a 12-chord bridge too far: "It will take decades, probably, before guitars cede their Grammy primacy, even if they’re losing it everywhere else." I don't think so. From Robert Johnson to Jack White, if there's an instrumental royal lineage in popular music, the guitar is king, the monarch whose "primacy" cannot be endangered by yet another pop music "trend" or the synthetic, overproduced garbage that passes for music these days — not as long as the Grammys are around. So lighten up, Jon. Adele's extraordinary talent is in her vocal chords and song writing; not on the externalities of how "forward-looking" she is. As long as she's not lip-syncing she's fit to print. It's an awards show ... What did you expect?

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