I can’t argue with all the Adele awards. The Grammys are all about recognizing the kind of pop success she’s enjoyed this year, and there’s dim* wrong with that. 21‘s best songs are quality pop/retro soul, so well done all involved. (*nothing in Adele’s native Welsh)
I’m quite happy to see Foo Fighters clean up even though I’m too old for loud noises. Hard rock doesn’t usually do so well at the Grammys. Good for Kanye West, too. Pop always needs someone to keep everyone’s heads out of their own backsides.
And nice to see Corinne Bailey Rae, who’s had a rough go of things, noticed for her
cover of Is This Love, which caught our attention last Feb. A great song doesn’t have to go plutonium, and can too come out early in the year. Grammy folk are grappling to define R&B, though, which needs sorting. And Rae’s was for best performance. Best song was Cee-Lo Green‘s Fool For You. I don’t know what that means. Rae saved a bad song and Cee-Lo botched a good one? Not hardly; Cee-Lo can sing the phone book, and Rae’s is a Bob Marley classic.
I would merge best song and best performance in all genres, remove divides between modern and traditional, then narrow and add to the genres. Grammy judges can’t define traditional with any credibility, and the performance is ridiculous unless we’re judging a video – which already have an award – or specific show. There’s also no point in Alternative any more. Its all rock, and this year’s nominees are establishment anyhow.
I like Civil Wars, but they’re not Grammy-ready. Congrats to them but the judges had next-shiny-new-thing-itis so badly they honoured the duo in both folk and country. Best new artist, now there’s a good category for …, oh, Bon Iver won that.
Treating Bon Iver as a new artist is just as silly as honouring the same album in different genres. Or corrupt; Forever Emma was a top album – in 2007! – at such diverse places as Metacritic, Pitchfork, NY Times and MOJO, but ignored at the Grammys. Maybe that oversight was behind the multi-genre noms this year. One suspects if Bon Iver hadn’t won something, another category would have hastily been arranged for them.
There was similar treatment for Mumford & Sons. If judges are so keen to recognize Most Earnest Album, start a new category. Bon Iver and the Mumfords could share.
Another explanation for Bon Iver as newcomer is the judges just don’t remember things from one year to the next. Two of the nominees for best pop album, Cee-Lo Green (Lady Killer) and Bruno Mars (Doo-Wops), were already there last year with hits from those albums. Returning with singles that break a year later, ok. But the albums themselves are nearly two years old now.
The blues never forgets who’s who. In a year of more solidly good than great albums, the nominees were outshone by lesser-knows (JP Soars, Ian Siegal, Ben Prestage, Eric Bibb…) who didn’t get a look. Gregg Allman‘s Low Country Blues is closest to a classic, but is also mostly covers so maybe Tedeschi Trucks did deserve the win. And no Best Blues Song. Why? Gary Clark Jr could have mopped up with Bright Lights.
I loved Steve Riley‘s Cajun album, but don’t know enough about the competitors to criticize Rebirth Of New Orleans‘ regional roots win.
Best Improvised Jazz Solo gives me a giggle. Did Chick Corea have to sign an affadavit swearing he didn’t practice? Was it recorded on first take? How many times does he have to play it in concert before it … ok, I’ll stop now.
Finally, my producer of the year wasn’t nominated. Neither was the album. I’ve been working on a related post though so Paul Epworth can enjoy his trophy for awhile. The same might apply for engineering, won by Alison Krauss‘s Paper Airplane crew, but I honestly have no clue how you judge that.
Comments welcome below