Oh, I am so old. You watch the Grammys and you go “Who the F is goitre or whatever their name is. And you watch a bunch of people who sound alarmingly like average bands of 30 years ago and you scratch your head. Maybe that is because of the wretched age-related mange, but I digress. And maybe the music sounds like crap because your hearing is gone.
Of course the old always gripe about the music of the young. My old man used to rib me about my music. “Queen? Druggies the lot. Elvis Cos bloody stello? What drivel. What’s he pumping up? A tire?” And I am sure his dad ribbed him about his music too. “Who is this Fats Domino bloke? You wouldn’t get ‘im doing all that nonsense round these parts. Leicester is not a place for black music lad.” (Irony alert if you have been to Leicester recently.)
Now I know there has always been crap music. And I understand the importance of the fleeting nature of pop music. That is not what I have a problem with. Everyone talks about the sixties and ‘Hendrix man’ and ‘Clapton was god’…but if you look at the British charts, we had a whole lot of Ken Dodd and the Diddie men….google that guy…and the yanks had Paul Revere and the Raiders. The seventies had Mud and The Rubettes. Again google and enjoy. I sit dutifully and sing along with my four year old as she listens endlessly and repeatedly to Taylor Swift, Carly Rae Jepson and Cher Lloyd…whom I just love by the way but not in a creepy pervy kind of way…and that’s all good. And Taylor — when my kid grows tired of you — I am never, ever going to listen to your music again. Like, ever. I understand it is my kid’s music, she loves it and I get it and I don’t denigrate that. She has fun with it…so that is all good. Pop is pop.
There was a lot of slapping on the back last night because the awards went to people like The Lumineers and Fun.. Thus rejecting the anodyne pop of Carly Rae Jepson and Justin Beiber et al. Which is fine in a way but what was all that pretentious twaddle on show?
I am reminded of an old Billy Bragg quote wherein the British Bard of Barking opined that you can either play your guitar over your chest like a prat or over your balls like a man. Well, there were a whole lot of prats on parade the other night.
When did this thing start? You sling your guitar up under your chin and you do this leg stomp thing, have you microphone so high you have to come up under it like you are licking your bassist’s nuts, then do some wailing stuff and then, with a leg stamp, break off to do a wanky acoustic guitar solo. Ray LeMontaigne seemed to start this and it was nerdy and annoying on him, albeit new at the time. Now they are all at it. When did rock music cease to be cool and become so geeky? When we were kids, we wanted to be Iggy Pop or the bassist from The Jam, who was fuckin’ cool. Now you want to be the third multi percussionist/ from The New Revivaleers?
You know you are hooped when you have Lena Dunham beaming and clapping at you, ‘cause you are in her inner sanctum of “so nerdy we are cool, but earnest and still deep and committed to issues and stuff” friends.
The Lumineers won for a song I got for free from a Starbuck itunes download card and then deleted. But everyone got to whoop or something along with the band. These people do not look like they are having much fun – a vaguely amused, sardonic detached sort of fun I guess. And when did everyone start dressing like extras from “The Hatfields and McCoys”?
And a band called Fun. won something – the period on the end signalling…er….why not call yourself fun? Or are you fun period as a sort of post-modernist, ironic feminist take on menses? At least they looked like they were having their namesake.
I thought it very fitting that the Grammys gave all-star tributes to Dave Brubeck and Bob Marley. Both notable for the fact that neither of them ever won a Grammy. Which puts them in good stead as the list of bands and people never to have won a Grammy is quite staggering – Led Zeppelin, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, Diana Ross , The Who, Chuck Berry, The Doors, Buddy Holly, the Clash, Queen, Snoop, Public Enemy, Tupac, Oasis, Hendrix and, until last night, the Beach Boys, because the remaining members of that band are just so relevant these days. Wouldn’t it be nice….if that band had won a freakin’ Grammy in 1966 for Pet Sounds…perhaps the most important American rock or pop album of all time?
Now, to be fair, the Beatles did get a couple Grammys while they were together – six actually — one for new artist of the year, one for Hard Day’s Night and a couple for for Sgt Pepper’s and Song of the Year…for ‘Michelle.’ Now, if you were to go through the list of great Beatles tracks and pick one to give an award to…is ‘Michelle’ the one you come up with? And one for Soundtrack because Let It Be is technically a soundtrack. That’s it. And the Rolling Stones won the first of their two in 1991. Not 1965 or 1970 or 1978 or 1982 as one might expect.
It should be noted, to put that in context, that Kanye West has won 21.
The Grammys have been slightly better of late but that is more a function that they give out 421 awards each year. Best vocal – traditional bluegrass salsa combo long form record box set. Best traditional pop. Actually that is a real award, won this year by Paul McCartney. What is the criterion for that? You must be older than Beiber?
At least Jack White looked like he was up for it and belted out a decent angry guitar solo. And top marks for Dr. John’s head dress. I so wish Elton had snagged it too. That would have been awesome and not pretentious in the slightest.