The 2009 Grammy Awards – What You Missed That I Barely Paid Attention To (But Still Ranted About)
I had completely forgotten about the existence of the Grammys last night until Sally (svexsal) told me that the unfortunate part about watching the online stream of the Grammys wasn’t so much the video quality, but the thousands of real-time comments from people that seem confused that the telecast wasn’t a four-hour Jonas Brothers concert.
I disagree wholeheartedly with everything behind that sentiment. The real unfortunate aspect of watching streaming video of the Grammys is that you’re watching the Grammys.
But despite my sardonic viewpoint, I ended up watching it anyway. The Little Lady had mentioned wanting to watch it, and not one to skip quality time with a significant other I offered to watch it with her at my apartment. I’m partially impressed with the sacrifices I will make for the sake of my relationship, although I invariably always end up watching at least twenty to thirty minutes of the telecast despite my bitching before and afterwards.
Why is that, exactly?
Well, it’s an institution. We all grew up with the idea of the Grammys as the pinnacle of musical achievement. Then, at some point, we got old enough to realize that the awards really are a sham that are nominated and awarded by some of the most out-of-touch people on the planet both in terms of musical taste and knowledge of what’s hip in the mainstream (a perfect example of both occurring simultaneously comes later).
The part of us that isn’t intrigued by the starfuck nature of the awards show season hopes beyond hope for that moment of clear-headedness or rebellion, where either someone wholly deserving wins an award or an artist makes a clear statement as to what a joke the awards have become. Unfortunately, musicians no longer care enough about the Grammys to make such bold statements, and most of that is because the Grammys themselves don’t seem to care anymore. They’re that chick you knew in High School that you weren’t good friends with, but always thought was kind of cute. Then you see her ten to twelve years later, and you’re floored at how much she’s let herself go. She’s got unkempt hair, her sides don’t quite swing in sync with her legs, and her eyes tell the story of a woman who has resigned herself to the Hell that is her life. She’s given up so much on life that she’s like, fuck it, come on in Jonas Brothers.
So for those of you who missed most or all of the telecast, here’s a brief rundown of the winners and other show highlights. Or what I saw at least, which really wasn’t much but was also way too much.
* Apparently U2 opened up the show with "Sexy Boots" or whatever the Hell that song is. Guys, I have to say it: this band has been something resembling not good for about sixteen years now despite the insistence of so many people, and with this new song they’ve officially entered "Effin’ Awful" territory.
* On the subject of awful performances I thankfully missed, Kid Rock still somehow manages to take the stage once in awhile without being vociferously booed off. No wonder our economy’s in the shitter.
* When I started watching and actually paying attention, I found out for the first time that Alison Krauss and Robert Plant were actually nominated for some pretty major awards. Plant looks like a mix of a cracked-out Steven Adler and a bulimic Bruce Vilanch. Also, the solo adult contempo shit he does is always terrible, but that’s been going on for so long (thirty years!) that it no longer confuses or really bothers me as much as it should considering he was the lead singer of Led Zeppelin of all bands.
* I may catch heat for saying this because I know people adore her "aw shucks" approach to humble awards speeches, but I think there is something legitimately "off" about Jennifer Hudson and I cannot put my finger on it.
* The Jonas Brothers performed with Stevie Wonder as Laura and I tried to figure out why they and Katy Perry are so wildly popular despite not possessing any single discernible quality to their music or physical presence. With the Jonas Brothers, I’ve postulated that it’s the same reason Shia LaBeouf is a "movie star": because somewhere along the line the entertainment leg of the Walt Disney corporation insisted upon it so much and so often that it started being regurgitated as fact despite a complete lack of evidence. It resulted in Shia LaBeouf being cast in the new "Indiana Jones" movie and people pretending they cared, and the Jonas Brothers being talked about like they were actual rock stars instead of a bunch of kids who play the role of 21st Century "The Monkees" except not funny or entertaining and without the good songwriting.
* Katy Perry performed and I realized that as scary as the prospect is, her music is even more bland than The Jonas Brothers.
* Adele won the Grammy for "Best New Artist" and I’m happy only because she seemed genuinely happy and excited to win. I would’ve been even happier if she grabbed the award and, with tears in her eyes, let out a victorious "f*** all y’all!"
* Then Morgan Freeman randomly appeared. Laura and I (and Steve who decided to join us in the living room) tried to figure out why, but then just became more confused when Freeman introduced Kenny Chesney. I went on a rant about how as talented and charismatic as he is, everything that’s wrong with male country music acts today is inadvertently Garth Brooks’ fault.
* Krauss and Plant won an award for that damn song that I’ve heard fifteen times in the past year, and each time have gone "I have never heard this before" until I’m reminded that yes, I have, it’s just that inconsequential.
* M.I.A. took the stage and was SO pregnant and wearing an outfit that made her look like Dusty Rhodes during his late 80s WWF run. Then after three lines, "Paper Planes" was interrupted by a pretty bland performance "Swagga Like Us" by Jay-Z, Lil’ Wayne, T.I., and Kanye West. Kanye rocked Eric LaSalle’s haircut from "Coming to America" the entire night, and shockingly T.I. was the one guy of the four on-stage that seemed to care the most and actually had his stuff together.
* Jack Black gave an award with some jazz musician whom I won’t even pretend to know. Younger people wouldn’t know it, but there was a time when Jack Black was really goddamn funny.
* Then we missed Radiohead’s performance, which was the only one I really wanted to see.
* However, we DID see Justin Timberlake perform with T.I. It would’ve probably been halfway decent were it not for the fact that the song they were performing was an overproduced mess to begin with that was further muddied by the unnecessary live string orchestra playing directly behind them. This, like every other performance of the evening, got a standing ovation. We can make it official, folks:
THE STANDING OVATION
c. 543 B.C. – February 8th, 2009
"We’d Applaud You But We’d Only Be Encouraging
the Further Abuse of Your Once Meaningful Existence"
* Neil Diamond performed, and it was incredibly awkward because he was in a room where there were so many young people that it made him feel inadequate. In the process of trying to compensate and show he’s still "got it," his performance became Neil Diamond impersonating Will Ferrell impersonating Neil Diamond, complete with him stumbling out into a confused and apprehensive crowd that wanted him to just get back onstage already and finish the damn song.
* The "In Memoriam" video reel played, and I had no idea Odetta passed away. 😦
* Lil’ Wayne and Robin Thicke perform "Tie My Hands," which is one of the better songs on Wayne’s highly overrated "Tha Carter III." Also, Robin Thicke BLOWS. That kid simply can’t sing, and I want to shake the hand of the producer that makes it appear as if he can. I didn’t know he was Alan Thicke’s son until Laura pointed it out to me. Sadly, Robin will never perform a song as good as the one his Dad wrote (the theme to "Diff’rent Strokes").
* Will.i.am and T-Pain presenedt the award for "Best Rap Album," which went to Lil’ Wayne. Know why people want Lil’ Wayne to be held in the same regard as Tupac, Dre, and others of their ilk? Because otherwise they have to face the reality of hip-hop, which is will.i.am and T-Pain. Which means hip-hop is dead in four years unless something really drastic happens.
* Zooey Deschanel introduced Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. My girlfriend and I discuss Zooey, for whom I get no boner physically. I hear the "She & Him" stuff is good, but I’ve yet to actually listen to it (I know, I know). Throughout the song, Robert Plant looked and sung like The Cowardly Lion from "The Wizard of Oz" and it made me incredibly sad.
* Green Day came out to close out the night with the presentation of "Album of the Year." Apparently they have a new album of their own coming out, and God I’m sorry to my friends who still love them for some reason but I just want them to go away in the worst way. Then somebody mentioned Blink 182 is reuniting and I died a little bit on the inside. Anyway, "Album of the Year" went to Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. Which not only shows that Grammy voters are out-of-touch adult-contempo-spinning old farts and bitties, but also that they have no real musical taste. I don’t care if you think that album was something that could be considered "good," but it wasn’t even legitimately the best of the albums that were actually nominated, and I wouldn’t even rank ANY of those among "best album" for the time period covered here.
Then the night ended, and my ranting ended, and we watched other stuff and passed out.
Oh, Grammys. The moment you give Album of the Year to a collaboration between The Jonas Brothers and Boz Skaggs is the moment I start a one-man riot in Troy, New York that doesn’t end until I reach Los Angeles. Seriously, it’ll be a rampage not seen since the last big-screen adaptation of The Hulk. It’ll be so bad by the time I get to L.A. that Ed Norton will be hiding for reasons other than the fact that he was tried to once again hijack the creative process and was told "um, no." Which is what happens, don’t you know, when you ask Ed Norton to be in your film.