Thursday, December 2, 2010

Justin Bieber? Really?

Justin Bieber, heartthrob to millions of 12-year old girls, received his first Grammy nomination last night, further eroding the respectability of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS).  Once considered a sometimes stuffy, archaic symbol of the older generation of music lovers (this is still true in some categories) , the Academy has now jumped across the abyss to the party-filled, celebrity side of fame and fortune. Actually, we like Justin's energy and his dedication to his music.  If he would only comb his hair back on the sides (like real folks do) and fire all the people who are preening him to be a pop icon, we'd feel more comfortable with his mindless, bubble gum music.

Nevertheless, we rode our musical mule to the bottom of the canyon to look for the phenomenal artists who were thrown off the Grammy cliff.  Not too much here...some oldies and few newbies- it's been a down year for the majors.  Any artist who doesn't score a hit on the charts gets dropped off the cliff. Finding them on the canyon floor, mixed in with all the indies and self-releases, may prove impossible.

Ok, we are at the bottom, surrounded by millions of albums, Cd's, and digital downloads.  Ow!  I just stepped on an illegal torrent.  They really hurt. The RIAA would not be happy with this.  Oh here's the "How to Train Your Dragon" Soundtrack.  Oh my, look at all these indie albums and self-releases.  Let's see if we can find an artist worthy of a nomination who may have been overlooked.  Linkin Park?  Linkin Park!  What is A Thousand Suns doing down here? It could be Linkin Park missed the weird cut-off dates that the Grammy folks have devised. These are cunning people.  

You would think that there would be a huge pile of old-timey rock and rollers down here in the Grammy discard file.  I should be drowning in Tom Petty, Neil Young, Jeff Beck, and Pearl Jam albums.  But there isn't a single one down here.  Wait a minute, I'm getting a phone call.  Wow, really?  All of them?  Any newer bands?  Muse?  Any others?  Oh my, that is sooo old school Grammy-like.  yeah, I agree.  The day the music died.  Mainstream rock is dead.  Well, thanks so much for the call, Mr. Portnow.

We've climbed back out of the abyss and are happy to report one of our favorite albums, Porcupine Tree's "The Incident" was nominated.  Unfortunately, there isn't a category for prog/metal or even for progressive rock, or for conceptual rock albums.  The Incident tells a dramatic story, and while not considered by PT fans  as the best album, it is certainly their darkest piece.  Did the Academy recognize a great album yet could not find a proper category?  What about BEST ROCK ALBUM????? Instead, the Grammy-elite nominates it for Best Surround album.  Really?  Best surround?  We had better hook up two more speakers.

What a surprise to find Switchfoot nominated in a gospel category.  Despite the band's on-going effort to appeal to a wider audience with their sometimes spiritual message, they are stuffed right back where NARAS thinks they belong.   But hey, it's a nomination, right?

Did you know there is still a Best Metal Performance category?  Quick. Think of three metal bands that have released performance albums in 2010.  Slayer?  good job, that's one.  Megadeath?  Excellent, that's two.  Ok. One more.  Don't worry about the quality, just popular names. That is all the Grammy people want- popular names.  Are those crickets we hear?  Come on, you KNOW this!  Think voluptuous maidens chained in iron. No, not the new Hurricane video from 30STM- we are talking about Iron Maiden.  The main  reason these three bands were nominated? They are the only ones that 50 year old stoners can remember.

You would think that Avenged Sevenfold would have been nominated.  If you can drop Switchfoot into gospel and find two categories for a mediocre Elton John/Leon Russel album, there has to be a place for this amazing band and their 2010 release, Nightmare.

We noticed Adam Lambert was nominated for his lame, very lame single.  We saw Adam perform live at Musikfest in Bethlehem this summer. Waterbunny turned to me, mid-performance, and said this, "He is a male Cher."  I couldn't disagree, but Cher should be offended.  Adam has a great voice, everyone agrees- but based upon his own music, his Grammy-nominated own music, he couldn't fill one half-toe of Freddy Mercury's shoes.   His nomination may be an even bigger travesty than Justin's Best New Artist.

Back to Justin Bieber, for a minute.  Really?  Justin Bieber?  This is the cream of the crop?  I don't think he could make the finals of American Idol.  Was he ever on American Idol?  I will take Lee or Chris over Justin.
Thankfully, there are four other nominees for Justin's Grammy:  Drake; Florence and the Machine; Mumford and Sons; Esperanza Spalding.  Any one of these will do fine, thank you.  Cast your vote, NARAS members!

Our only real hope for the February 13, 2011 Grammy Awards is that Eminem wins all ten awards, Muse wins for Best Rock, Florence and the Machine wins Best New Artist,  Pink gyrates from ropes hung from the ceiling, and Adam has a nervous breakdown after he loses. Anything less and NARAS might as well put up a FOR SALE sign to the highest bidder and hope Dick Clark Productions has enough cash and stock to buy them out.  Dick Clark.  Really?

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