For a minute there, I thought Lady Soul had been taken away from us and the producers had hurriedly gathered together a disparate and desperate group of “sistahs” to pay homage t her. They all looked bloody nervous or sad or terrified as the Tribute to Aretha Franklin trudged along.

Why Annie Lennox was not up there beats me. In fact, she would have been all they had needed: Annie Lennox. But, the Grammys has always gone for the mantra and cantata that “Big Is Better”.

Anyway, Lady Soul is still with us and she appeared in a taped interview, but the medley of her hits was not a great start to the Grannys. Sorry, the Grammys.

Lady Gaga crept out out of a giant sperm or cocoon and danced barefoot to some new song of hers which sounded just like any of her previous songs and which all sound like they came from Madonna circa The Eighties.

She stomped the floorboards and flung her hair about wildly and it was all a bit tribal-like and like twelve vestal virgins whooping it up before heading for the shore.

Miranda Lambert was given hugs by her fiance/husband [?] before she took to the stage and performed with a backing band that had forgotten to tune their instruments. It was appalling. Shame as Miranda Lambert has a killer voice.

Muse seemed underwhelmed to win for Best Rock Album and before that came a performance by Jaden Smith, Usher and Justin Bieber.

Apart from thinking, man, there is a lot of big buckaroos being pumped in to make Jaden Smith the next Teen Superstar, I honestly, don’t know what to say about their performance. Messy, maybe?

http://cdn.buzznet.com/media/jjr/headlines/2011/02/justin-bierber-grammy-rehearsal.jpg

Auto-tuners were going on all over the place like alarm bells and there was the shee-shee choreographed dancing I see from K-Pop- Korean Pop- groups.

Seriously, never will I ever bag again all those dancing, prancing K-Pop groups. They are only aping what they think is “happening” in the West and Bierber is happening. For how long? Who knows?

As for Usher, I have never understood why he is held in such high-esteem. He cannot sing, he cannot write and his dance moves are copied from watching MJ videos.  His inability to sing was truly there for all to hear tonight.

Plus, going on “American Idol” as a “mentor” and then bagging the show a few days later and now joined at the hip with his supposed “protege” Justin Beiber just doesn’t add up, somehow. In fact, it’s all a bit odd, creepy and in the immortal words of Elaine Benes from “Seinfeld”, it’s fake, fake, fake. Usher should drop the ‘S’ in his name.

Bob Dylan appeared and everyone gave him a standing ovation after a strange version of “Maggie’s Farm” and backed by Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers. I doubt ol’ Bob gave a f*** about performing about the Grammys. He was and has always been in Bobworld. Still, even by what goes on in “Bobworld”, it was a weird performance.

The music and songs of Dylan has been a rich tapestry of life and inspiration for many, but this performance was a throwaway. Dylan sounded like he was trying to evoke the spirit of “Satchmo” and when he kinda danced, well, all I could do was rush out and listen to “Like A Rolling Stone” just to remind myself how good he was when truly relevant. 

Later, good grief, a very uncomfortable looking Gwyneth Paltrow appeared with Cee Lo Green who was dressed like a colourful rooster and some Muppets. I had to ask myself, “Why?”

Ms Paltrow is certainly a strikingly beautiful woman and a very nice person, but what was she doing appearing at the Grammys- and singing from atop a piano while balancing on very high-heeled shoes? Yes, she has wonderful calves and I am a sucker for calves, but calves is nothing to do with music.

If there was a highlight, it was the short appearance by John Mayer, Norah Jones and Keith Urban as they jammed their way through a short version of “Jolene”.  Bigger is not better.

Norah Jones really does have a very unique voice and Mayer, who seems to want to look like Johnny Depp, and Keith Urban are superb guitarists. A few minutes of some very real music along with the performance of  the extraordinary Esmerelda Spalding.

Have mercy for Mick Jagger! The man is 65-years-young, baby, and he out-performed them all. He danced, he pranced, he strutted, he actually sang while he danced, no auto-tuners or playbacks for him. He was back on “Shindig”. Gawd know what he takes, but I’ll gulp them down by the handful.

The man is living proof that age is a frame of mind and how he still has incredible “pulling power” when it comes to women.

Who won what? Other than Song Of The Year and Arcade Fire for Record Of The Year which must have had many executives with major record labels writing in to complain to The Grammys, no idea really. Does it matter?

Didn’t seem to matter one bit to Kris Kristoffersen and Babs Streisand who seemed awkward and valiumed- out. And them handing out the Grammy for Record of the Year? WTF? Whose idea was that? It was cruel.  Just like having Babs sing at the Grammys in 2011. Gawd, that was awful.

Every day somewhere someone wins an award for something and no one thinks twice about it. Awards are irrelevant- especially when it comes to music today. And winning a Grammy is no longer relevant. It hasn’t been relevant for over 40 years.   

I once had a girl, or should I say, she once had me- an ex-girlfriend who would go ballistic whenever I would hear some new piece of music or band and say, “Well, it’s not exactly the Beatles, is it?” or, worse, “They’ve been listening to the Beatles”.

Watching this year’s Grammys, all I could think of was the musicianship of The Band when I watched Mumford and Sons and the Avett Brothers and how good they were on their own and when backing Dylan.

Listening to the five “sistahs” at the start of the show made me think how brilliant Annie Lennox still is. Usher and Justin Bieber made me realize how no one will ever come close to the young and older Michael Jackson.

But listening to all that music, I could not help thinking of the Beatles- all their songs, all they achieved in just seven years.

Today, we listen to a song like “Need You Now”- Song Of The Year???- by Lady Antebellum and think it’s a good Pop song. Paul McCartney wrote fluff like this almost every week and gave them to artists like Peter and Gordon and Mary Hopkin.

Listen to the Beatles’ “Rubber Soul” and “Beatles For Sales” records and you’ll hear some of the prettiest pop songs and which make almost everything around today, except perhaps for “Just The Way You Are” by Bruno Mars, sound very ordinary. 

Is this me being an old fart? Hope not. I think it’s me being a realistic and knowing that music is stuck in the same old groove it has been for over a decade. The melodies are gone, so are the lyrics. It’s now all about shtick and showbiz and with choreography covering up the lack of music.

The Grammys either need a break for a few years and have the balls not to give out any awards if nothing has been “worthy”. Or, there needs to be The Anti-Grammys.     

I leave you with this note I received from Valerie after the show. It says it all.

“arcade fire it is. babs was so confused and stuttered. kris wishes he got all the roles jeff bridges stole from him. neither of them knew why the kids who like bmx riders spoke french. win butler thanks his parents for naming him win.woot!”

  1. Christy says:

    For the record, I find the idea of the “Anti-Grammys” quite apropos. I think you should produce such a show.

  2. Christy says:

    Dylan is a sad caricature and needs to get off the stage. The only mercy of that whole performance was that the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons did a semi-effective job of drowning him out.

    Makes me wonder, though, if the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons hadn’t been nominated if we would have seen them perform at all. They’re too outside the main of what passes as “good music” these days. There seems to be a constant lowering of the bar. Katy Perry was weak vocally and a total bore to watch.

    Esperanza Spalding beating out the Bieb was one of the few hopeful moments when I felt they got it right.

    Much of your assessment was dead on. I felt the whole night was a snooze fest.

  3. Cat says:

    And GAGA presents herself as an artist… damned if I can find it.

    • Cat says:

      Should have said, damned if I can find the art in any of this. My personal thoughts – singers with lovely voices and musicians who can play an instrument. But I saw a very, very few number of artists in this whole fiasco.

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