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The Grammy Awards (an overly long guide by Marquis Meowers)

February 9, 2009


Well, here were are again. Another year, another black president, another round of Grammy Awards… the sad cycle of life continues. The 51st annual (really semi-annual, go look at the Wikipedia page) were filled with really shitty awards (surprise surprise) and some truly awesome performances. Below the jump is my recap and commentary on this year’s Grammy Awards… but be forewarned. The path is filled with overly pretentious opinions, stupid jokes, spelling errors, grammar errors, and hobgoblins of the worst variety.

Please note, there are NO MP3’s below the jump. Videos only! With that said…

Let’s start with a little recap:

When I first read the nominations, I was filled with quite a bit of joy. While Fucked Up had (unfortunately) not been recognized for The Chemistry of Common Life, a number of great artists were recognized for their 2008 creations. M.I.A’s Paper Planes was up for “Best Song That Was Overplayed and Then Became The Official Anthem of Sorority Sisters Trying To Be ‘independent’ Or Something”. Uffie wannabe ‘Duffy’ was nominated 3 times for something or other, and The Academy seemed to love that ‘wacky’ Sgt. Pepper cover group Coldplay:

Hey Coldplay, Paul McCartney called. He told me to tell you to stop making references to him whenever you recieve awards.

Hey Coldplay, Paul McCartney called. He told me to tell you to stop making references to him whenever you receive awards.

Additionally, several really good artists were nominated for various awards, like Lupe Fiasco (The Cool, Best Rap Album), Estelle and Kanye (American Boy, best duo rap performance, Song of the Year), Béla Fleck & The Flecktones (Jingle All The Way, Best Pop Instrumental Album), Beck (That new album that everyone keeps telling me to listen to but I haven’t yet sorry Carl, Best Alternative Rock Album), and Radiohead (OMG Thom Yorke, Best Alternative Rock Album)

Finally, there were a few independent artists who were given niche nominations just so The Academy can say “look, we’re hip too” like No Age (Nouns, Best Type Face or something), Justice/MGMT (Eletric Feel (Justice Remix), There Is A Best Remix Category???), and essentially Kimya Dawson (Juno Soundtrack, Best album that made me HATE The Moldy Peaches).

To say the least, I liked the outlook of this years awards. Maybe the deserving will be rewarded this year…

So, Marquis, how were the results???

Frankly… pretty fucking poor. As predicted, the results heavily favored sales and ‘ass kissery’ over talent or artistic integrity. For instance, Hot Chip lost “Best Dance Track” (‘track’ was the 420th word of this post… lol) to Daft Punk, Lil Wayne beat out Lupe for “Best Rap Album”, and Metallica won “Best Metal Performance”, despite the fact that Dragonforce was nominated.

The biggest winners of the night were probably Robert Plant and Allison Krauss, who won the “major awards” despite the fact that their album had lukewarm reception from all the critics who actually critique music rather than giving an album a write-up and slapping an ‘x out of 5’ score to it (I’m looking at you Allmusic, Rolling Stone, Blender, etc.). I’ve only heard a few songs from the album, all of which are forgettable. I thought its overall merit was based on the fact that Plant had finally made something post-Zep that wasn’t horrendous, which is an assumption I garnered from all the positive reviews focused mostly on that aspect of the album, (in addition to Krauss’s voice [which is, admittedly, beautiful]). (EDITOR’S NOTE: I found Raising Sand pretty solid, though definitely not “album-of-the-year-good.” Still, definitely worth a spin. — Edw.)

Even the cool awards went to the profitable rather than the creative, with No Age losing “Best Packaging” to Metallica (are you fucking kidding me?) and best “non-Classical Producer” going to Rick Rubin (album listed: Red Album by Weezer, Death Magnetic by Metallica, and Seeing Things by Jakob Dylan [lol]) instead of Will.i.Am (American Boy, Pick It Up amongst other great pop songs) or Danger Mouse (Modern Guilt by Beck [sorry Carl], The Odd Couple by Gnarls, and Attack and Release by The Black Keys. Essentially, a really well known guy who produced a bunch of super mediocre albums (except for The Red Album, but I didn’t see Rivers Cuomo getting an award so…) beat out several people who produced at least one really good album/song. Additionally, Rick Rubin sits at a console adjusting levels, while both Danger Mouse and Will.i.Am ACTUALLY produce (lay down backing beats) songs. You decide who actually deserves an award…

But you knew that was going to happen, dumbass. Why did you bother watching?

Not gonna lie, I was excited about the performances. And, boy, did they deliver. I was a tad worried after U2 (they’re still a group?) and that weird ensemble of Al Greene, Boyz 2 Men, Keith Urban, and JT both gave pretty forgettable performances, but my faith in the power of an awards show was revitalized after Coldplay teamed up with Jay Z to give a spectacular duet before hitting the crowd with the all-too-catchy ‘Viva La Vida’. Kid Rock’s performance is worth watching just for the humorous sampling of Sweet Home Alabama in All Summer Long, and Jenifer Hudson delivered her single “You Pulled Me Through” with force… she has a seriously beautiful voice:

However, shit never takes off unless Kanye is involved, and the live Grammy performances are no exception. Though the mixing might have been off for Estelle and Kanye’s duet on American Boy, both Kanye’s energy and Estelle’s vocal talents were totally on. Not to forget ‘Kanye West’s Multi-directional-light-reflecting Coat of Dreams”:

(a higher quality video can be found here)

Seriously, could it get any better?


Yes, it most definitely can. The introduction of the “Rap Pack” had me obsessed with this performance of ‘Swagga Like Us’ before the music even began. But the group managed to one-up their own introduction by appearance alone. Not only was M.I.A deep in the throws of full-on pregnancy, but T.I, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and lil’ fucking Wayne were all wearing tuxedos and amazing sunglasses. Lil’ Wanye’s name is high-lighted because his tux was custom tailored to have baggy slacks. AWESOME. I can’t use words to describe how high energy the performance was, so I’ll just roll the video:

(a much much higher quality rip can be found here)

I really hope that this group keeps making music together. In addition to having a nickname already picked out for them, they make some amazing music. Can you really go wrong with the 4 biggest names in rap? Well, probably yes, but they’ve easily got at least one GREAT album that would appeal to both the “indie Pitchfork” and “frat house Rolling Stone” crowds. KANYE IF YOU ARE READING THIS MAKE IT HAPPEN.

I guess Radiohead performed (OMG Thom Yorke):

Lastly (and I am skipping quite a few performances here, because most of them were boring except for Dave Grohl ROCKING THE FUCK OUT with Paul McCartney) I found Weezy’s solo performance to be mentionable. I thought the arrangement was well planned, though the amount of political commentary was a little over the top. Robin Thicke can still sing (holy crap…).

So, what was the best part of the night?


I’m not sure if I can explain just how happy this makes me. Granted, their new album will probably sound like a combination of +44 and Angels and Airwaves (re: horseshit) but that’s okay. That fact that there is a remote chance of Tom DeLonge singing about “M.I.L.F’s”, dog crap, and hand jobs again makes me SO HAPPY. Not to mention the fact that there is now a remote chance of my ultimate 8th grade fantasy coming true: a Blink 182 and Weezer tour (maybe Tenacious D will open). Seriously.

Any last words, Marquis?

No. Why did I do this instead of my homework. I hope you didn’t actually read all of that.

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