OUR ANNUAL GRAMMY RANT!
We keep going back to the Grammy telecast each year, knowing full well that it will leave us flummoxed, repulsed, and disgusted with the industry we call music. One debacle after another leaves us gasping for air and desperate for talent. But it sure makes for fun blogging! Here's a recap of the evening in all its "glory."
NOT A BAD OPENING, BUT THEN... : We were pleasantly shocked at the sight of a leggy MADONNA cavorting with a digitized, animated GORILLAZ ("one of 26 animated performances," according to the clueless announcer) for a medley of "Feel Good Inc." and "Hung Up," two top 40 songs we don't mind hearing. And then, as fast as we could say "melisma," ALICIA KEYS and STEVIE WONDER spent a cringemaking eternity bantering about nothing, before a ham-fisted tribute to the great Coretta Scott King. The acapella version of Stevie's classic "Higher Ground" was made even more painful by Keys' off-key vamping on the word "No," over and over again. Our sentiments exactly! Thankfully, they then gave out the award for Best Female Pop Vocal to someone who actually deserved it, KELLY CLARKSON, who made the best damn pop song we heard all last year, "Since U Been Gone." We know there are still many of you out there who refuse to believe us, and who are chuckling to yourselves over this one. But hey, a pop song is supposed to have a hook and a melody, and should be performed well, and Ms. Clarkson did just that.
MARY J. BLIGE DUETS WITH U2: Right here, in our very newsletter, we've said negative things in the past about artists we now have respect for. Maybe they didn't deserve the praise heaped on them at first, but they later escaped from Suckdom, and we gave them credit for it. MARY J. BLIGE, on the other hand, is now in her 15th year as a professional recording artist, and she has yet to learn how to sing. We don't care that she was singing with U2 -- she couldn't carry a tune if it had a handle. We're guessing the only reason the Academy keeps inviting her back is an ongoing bet among its members -- sort of like a death pool -- to see if this is the year she'll sing one note on-key. We beg of you, whoever's reading: If there's a way to make her stop recording, we'll cover your bets.
DAVID BOWIE'S LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD ANNOUNCED BY... WHO?! How befitting that a rock n' roll legend, DAVID BOWIE, is paid tribute to by people who really understand his work -- LUDACRIS and MATT DILLON. Not to mention the induction speech, which was written, it seems, by ... Ludacris and Matt Dillon. "It's time for 'The Man Who Sold The World' to be honored for his 'Fame.' Ain't that 'Hunky Dory' for such a 'Space Oddity?' Now let's show some 'Modern Love' to 'The Laughing Gnome' who is a 'Heroes' to us all. So 'Let's Dance' with our 'China Girl' and commit 'Rock N' Roll Suicide' so we don't have to watch the stupid f***ing Grammys anymore."
TIME FOR A HIGHLIGHT! First highlight of the evening -- SIR PAUL McCARTNEY tearing the roof off the sucker with a blistering version of "Helter Skelter." He may be pushing 130 now, but he still knows how to rock. A true pro.
And how befitting to follow up such a rock n' roll legend with WILL.I.AM, JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT and STACY FERGUSON! Who thought this was a good idea?! And why?
THE HAND OF MARIAH: We decided to hit the mute button for MARIAH CAREY's performance -- we figured that watching her hand flutter around while she oversang was enough. Without the music, it looked like she was being attacked by a swarm of gnats, which we're sure would have been more fun than the song. It certainly looked like quite the extravaganza. With each curtain revealing another 25 people onstage, including the choir and the horn section and the preacher, all that was missing from this cacophonous mess was a Monty Python animated foot to stamp them all out of our misery. And again, we want to mention that f***ing hand, going up and down to represent, for all of us who had our TVs on mute, which notes she was singing. Hand above her head, high note. Hand around her bosom, low note. Hand fluttering around, oversinging or gnats, we weren't sure. Very helpful! Thanks, Mariah!
POP VOCAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: We weren't that upset that KELLY CLARKSON nabbed this one, since "Behind These Hazel Eyes" and "Since U Been Gone," played six times each, probably would have been one of the best albums of the year. But apart from those two stellar toons and couple of other pretty good ones, there's a lotta filler on that there CD. We were hoping PAUL McCARTNEY would win, not because we think his album is particularly good -- it isn't -- but to hear the confused and half-hearted applause that would have greeted the announcement.
And finally, the moment we'd been sincerely waiting for since the rumors had started:
THE SLY & THE FAMILY STONE REUNION! We've often said in our newsletter how much we love and respect SLY & THE FAMILY STONE. So when a reunion with the original band and Sly's first public appearance in close to 20 years was announced, we could hardly contain ourselves. The big question was, would Sly show up? And what kind of shape would he be in, after decades of rumors about his health and his use of illicit substances? The tribute began the way any tribute to a musical legend should begin -- with such "names" as VAN HUNT, MAROON 5, and the surprise duet of the evening with MOMS MABLEY and JOHNNY KNOXVILLE. Oh wait, it was FANTASIA and DEVIN LIMA. Never mind.... Who are these non-talents?! When the band finally kicked in -- a band that featured NILE RODGERS, JOE PERRY, and lots of other people not named Stone, the excitement began to build. And then Steven Tyler proclaimed, "OK, Sly, let's play it like we used to!" Funny, we didn't know Sly Stone was in AEROSMITH... but the next thing we knew, the stage was attacked by a Quetzalcoatl, and the potential for a spine-tingling reunion was over. Once the shock receded that the frightening figure in a blond mohawk and gold lamé duster, mumbling some barely audible grunts and pathetically trying to find chords on his keyboard, was none other than what's left of SLY STONE, the sadness sunk in. Makes Dick Clark performing post-stroke on "New Year's Rockin' Eve" seem pretty respectable, doesn't it?
IN CLOSING: We are more qualified to sing a song on the Grammys with HERBIE HANCOCK than CHRISTINA AGUILERA is, because we know more about jazz than she does, and we're better singers. She just looks better in a blond wig. The sad thing is that all the label execs probably thought their duet was really good. Maybe they'll change their minds once they turn 30.