09 February 2006

48th Annual Grammy Awards

The Grammy Awards are just about the only award show I watch every year. I love music. Music plays a big part in my inner life and I try to keep up with what’s good and what’s new. There were few real highlights to last night’s performances. Although, Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder singing Higher Ground acapela and Paul McCartney’s rendition of the BeaTles Helter Skelter did get the pulse accelerating in a good way.

I am not a fan of Madonna, but I will say she looks to be in good shape for her age (48). Coldplay simply leaves me cold. Ordinary People by John Legend was pleasant. I’ve had occasion to hear Mariah Carey on the car radio quite a few times and found her latest to be tolerable, not awful. But I must say that watching the performance of some of these women (Mariah, Christina Aguillara, Joss Stone) is akin to watching vocal gymnastics. What is it with all of the exaggerated vocalizations and spastic hand movements? Ladies, two words: control and restraint. They could all take a lesson from the lovely blues-diva, Ms. Raitt, and her soulful, unaffected yet expressive way of singing. It is like some guitar players who think that throwing the most number of notes in a guitar solo proves one to be a great guitar player. It does not. Most times, phrasing and holding back proves it better.

The tribute to Sly Stone was horrendous. The only group that even nailed it was Maroon 5 and Ciara doing Everyday People. All the rest just made me uncomfortable and Sly himself did not look well at all.

JayZ and Linkin Park was made interesting to me only once Paul McCartney joined them onstage for Yesterday. I’m not one to listen to much rap and Yesterday is probably my least favorite BeaTle Paul song but it was…interesting.

Speaking of rap…what the *hell* is with the censors letting “Can’t get no ‘hos” (read: WHORES) slip by and yet the Rolling Stones get silenced at the Super Bowl for say “cum” and “cocks”. Makes no sense to me, do the censors tailor what can and can’t be sung based on the perceived audience of a given performance? I just don’t get it.

As for the awards themselves, they fall into four categories 1) Good call 2) What the hell were they thinking 3) Probably the best choice considering the alternatives and 4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been…

Record Of The Year: Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
by Green Day
3) Probably the best choice considering the alternatives

Album Of The Year:
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb
by U2
4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been Chaos And Creation In The Backyard
by Paul McCartney.

Song Of The Year:
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
by U2, songwriters (U2)
1) Good call

Best New Artist: John Legend
1) Good call

Best Female Pop Vocal Performance:
Since U Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson
2) What the hell were they thinking and 4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been I Will Not Be Broken by Bonnie Raitt

Best Male Pop Vocal Performance:
From The Bottom Of My Heart by Stevie Wonder
1) Good call and 4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been Fine Line by Paul McCartney (Deserving of at least honourable mention. I mean this was McCartney’s BEST album in YEARS; I have played it over and over again. I still want Stevie’s new album though.)

Best Pop Instrumental Performance:
Caravan by Les Paul
1) Good call (*Please get well soon, Les*)

Best Pop Vocal Album:
Breakaway by Kelly Clarkson
2) What the hell were they thinking and 4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been Chaos And Creation In The Backyard by Paul McCartney (see above).

Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance:
Devils & Dust by Bruce Springsteen, Track from: Devils & Dust
1) Good call but I am interested in hearing the other nominees:
Revolution by Eric Clapton, Track from: Back Home, Shine It All Around by Robert Plant, Track from: Mighty ReArranger and The Painter by Neil Young

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal:
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own by U2
1) Good call

Best Rock Instrumental Performance:
69 Freedom Special by Les Paul & Friends
1) Good call

Best Rock Song:
City Of Blinding Lights by U2
1) Good call but I am interested in hearing more of the other nominee: Devils & Dust by Bruce Springsteen

Best Rock Album:
How To Dismantle An Atomic Bombby U2
4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been A Bigger Bang by The Rolling Stones

Best Alternative Music Album:
Get Behind Me Satan by The White Stripes
1) Good call

Best Female R&B Vocal Performance:
We Belong Together by Mariah Carey
4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been Unbreakable by Alicia Keys

Best Male R&B Vocal Performance:
Ordinary People by John Legend
1) Good call

Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance:
A House Is Not A Home by Aretha Franklin, Track from: So Amazing - An All Star Tribute To Luther Vandross
1) Good call

Best R&B Album:
Get Lifted by John Legend
1) Good call and 4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been Unplugged by Alicia Keys or A Time To Love by Stevie Wonder

Best Contemporary R&B Album:
The Emancipation Of Mimi by Mariah Carey
1) Good call

Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal:
Restless by Alison Krauss And Union Station
Best Country Instrumental Performance:
Unionhouse Branch by Alison Krauss And Union Station
Best Country Album:
Lonely Runs Both Ways by Alison Krauss And Union Station
All 1) Good calls (especially since I don’t listen to much country but I do like Allison Kraus

Best Jazz Vocal Album:
Good Night, And Good Luck by Dianne Reeves
1) A very good call

Best Traditional Blues Album:
80 by B.B. King & Friends
1) Good call

Best Contemporary Blues Album:
Cost Of Living by Delbert McClinton
4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been Bring 'Em In by Buddy Guy or Twentyby Robert Cray Band

Best Contemporary World Music Album:
Eletrac├║stico by Gilberto Gil
4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been Rise by Anoushka Shankar

Best Musical Album For Children:
Songs From The Neighborhood - The Music Of Mister Rogers
1) Good call

Best Spoken Word Album:
Dreams From My Father (Senator Barack Obama) as read by Senator Barack Obama
1) Good call and 4) Ok, but my sentimental favorite would have been Chronicles - Volume One (Bob Dylan)
as read by Sean Penn

Best Musical Show Album:
Monty Python's Spamalot
1) Good call

Best Long Form Music Video:
No Direction Home (Bob Dylan) Martin Scorsese, video director;
1) Good call and 4) Ok, but another sentimental favorite would have been Brian Wilson Presents Smile by Brian Wilson (quite deserving of an honourable mention).

If I did not address a given category I did not feel I had an opinion for it or was unqualified to respond.

Final Thoughts: I guess I will have to go out and buy How To Dismantle an Atomic Bomb just to see what the fuss is all about, just as I went out and bought Joshua Tree after it won the Grammy in 1987.

PS: Can someone please, once and for all, tell me the difference between “Album of the Year” and “Record of the Year”? Thank you.

1 comment:

Rob said...

I believe Record of the year is for 1 song, whereas Album of the year is for a collection.