Monday, February 12, 2007

Grammyrama 06

The Grammy's, while always a reliable boost for sales, particularly with the boutique, non-mainstream stuff, were always marked by music biz nitcrits as too staid, laughingly wrongheaded, accompanied by a live event that was about as exciting as yer Uncle Louie's Knights of Columbus retirement party. Of course, during the last few years the event and the actual nominations have righted themselves, and, while still patently mainstream, the night and the awards have become eminently watchable, and often pleasantly surprisingly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I watched the whole damn thang, and dug a whole lot of it. (Aside # 1:Little Rhody went 1 for 2 with Bill Harley winning for Best Spoken Word for Children, and Duke Robillard losing Best Traditional Blues Album to Ike Turner.) (Aside # 2: Yet another sign that the Apocalypse is upon us--Eddie's Murphy's Norbit opened with huge box office-his 4th biggest opening evuh--despite being crushed by reviewers everywhere and boasting a series of TV ads that just scream out s-t-u-p-i-d-i-t-y.)

Money, That's All I Want--The Police pick the easy route, do "Roxanne", including the hoary extended dub section, and Sting (looking like a scary cross between Brian Bosworth and Malcolm McDowell) gets all dressed up in retro duds.

Who Knew?--Joan Baez looked remarkably elegant and middle-aged sexy as she praised our newest avatars of free speech, The Dixie Gals.

Didn't Alvin and the Chipmunks Already Win a Grammy?--Although the Dixie Gals looked all growed up it was the twisting and turning of Natalie's extremely chipmunk-like mouth I couldn't take my eyes off.

James Brown Hadda Get on the Goodfoot In His Grave, Part 1--Wyclef Jean proved that rythmn ain't genetic as he stiff-leggedly bopped his way around the shaking hips of Shakira.

James Brown Hadda Get on the Goodfoot In His Grave, Part 2--Obvious but nice touch of draping the JB cape around the unoccupied mic stand.

James Brown Hadda Get on the Goodfoot In His Grave, Part 3--Prince, epitomizing cool once again, gets up, smiles slyly, and intros Beyonce with the briefest of sentences.

James Brown Hadda Get on the Goodfoot In His Grave, Part 4--Was QT, or Quentin Tarantino, (who more and more looks like the head on top of a Pez dispenser)on drugs, drunk, or just doing his best to invoke the carnival barking spirit of a bygone era of honky-tonks, the chitlin' circuit, and wild and crazy DJ's as he took his turn at announcing the nominees?

Eyesight To The Blind--Certainly, the most terrifying sight of the evening was of self-satisfied Don Henley pumping his fists at the Dixie Dollies, the suddenly anointed successors to the likes of Lenny Bruce, Frank Zappa, Richard Pryor, and Public Enemy.

I Can See Clearly Now--Where Scarlett Johannsons' orbs, splendidly spilling out of her outfit, as large and luminescent to you as they were on my extra large TV screen, or where they a bigtime Grammy special effect like all the forlorn little cuties holding candles upside their necks during the Ludacris number, or the amazingly innovative use of released confetti during the Chili Peppers ditty?

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes--Since when did Chili guitarist John Frusicante suddenly start to look (and dress) like Justin Timberlake's older, nerdier brother?

Best Shout Out-Ludacris to Bill O'Reilly.

The Apocalypse is Definitely Around the Corner--Ornette Coleman (in a kick-ass zoot suit) forced to introduce the likes of James Blunt, and (gulp) worse, stand there while Carrie (Sybil) Underwood won.

Don't Knock The Rock--Flea did it up twice, despite the Peppers strangely muted performance--jumping around in yellow soccer uniform (a tribute to Beckham?) and posting a sign over his amps that said "Love to Ornette Coleman".

Veg-et-a-bles--While Queen Latifah probably should get marked down as a zucchini,her presenting partner Al Gore definitely had it down as a kumquat.

Growing Up in Public, Part 1--Justin Timberlake has come a long way baby, but, why oh why, keep the whitey-white sneakers on (the ultimate fashion sin--a grown man with sneakers or sandals), which make him look far too close to a singing, dancing live action version of Mickey Mouse?

Growing Up in Public, Part 2-John Mayer was rocking the curly locks, but it was his beat-up, paint-flakin' guitar that scored the real points, though I'm not quite ready to pull out the green and buy his, ahem, blues album.

Growing Up in Public, Part 3--Sure Christina Aguilera might have finally escaped her early skank-as-diva persona, but that Jean Harlow do looked like it could cut through a diamond.

Growing Up in Public, Part 4--Kudo's to Mary J. Bilge (and her posterior)for showing maturation as an artist and a person, but jeez, don't ever invoke the glass-breaking vocal stylings of Patti Labelle while trying to do justice to an emotional number.

In Memory of Marcel Marceau--The strange Bob Willis/Don Henley tribute turned out to be 3 parts Don, 1 part Bob,yet the scarily enacted pantomine between Sybil Underwood and The Rascal Fattie guy during "Life in the Fast Lane" was more horrifying than any guts-on-display scene in any recent horror movie.

Life's Been Good To Me So Far--Dan Wilson,the leader of indie faves Semisonic, looked like a dazed 13 year old who just had the neighborhood sweetie's hand in his pants as he traipsed up on stage to share in the Grammy spotlight of the Dixie Chicklets.


David_Richardson said...

John Mayer is good looking enough to get away with his Mark Farneresque chops, and it pisses me off. There is more raw blues funk and soul at a the Hope Club's annual fundraiser.I'm tired of all the kudos because he's listened to a couple muddy waters albums as suggested in the liner notes of his SRV's greatest hits CD. Methinks the old execs (closet homos) in the record business are likin' what they see rather than what they hear, of course what they hear is Jethro Tull over Metallica, Christopher Cross over the Clash and I forget who over costello and so on and so on. I watched 15 minutes and caught such crap as Dull & Lousy's(it doesn't matter insert country Mutt and Jeff name here) rendition of hotel California, and when the hired sidekicks tried to play the dual guitar solos, shit! now there was some bad out of tune guitar playing! Hunter and wagner? Downey and Robertson? Twin leads died right then. At least John Mayer would have had the common sense to download it from Where was Los Lonely Boys, That friggin chemical romance band that I have to hear everymorning playng the black parade that my 13 year old likes. Grammy describes who this show was aimed at, not just the award. If you have Duke robillard in the house and John Mayer is strummin', it is about sales not talent or musical enjoyment. Hopefully JM Talked to our pawtucket friend and got a tip or two.

mdoggie said...

Par for the course; my boy in the bubble existence means I forgot about the grammies and watched a rented "Hollywoodland" instead.
Thanks Scott, after your enlightening and insightful recap of the night's events I feel less deprived. Maybe I can find some of the highlights on Youtube? The part about the orbs sounds really cool. Oh yeah, the music too,,,,

john k said...

My 13 year old listens to The Black Parade more than yours does. I don't hear the original, just my daughter singing along to it with her Ipod 5-6 times a day.
John Mayer-Boring and Banal. I hear the music and it does absolutely nothing for me. He's right there with other Grammy winners that make me squirm, Phil Collins, Huey Lewis, Sheryl Crowe, John Mellencamp, and the post-modern Clapton. As for Tibmerlake, said 13 year-old daughter plays 2 instuments and has composed songs and thus has more musical talent.
Scott, out with Chas the other nite and we were discussing the blog and how you were encouraging us to wax politically. I was reminded of a time, many moons ago, when you had sent out a printed invite to a soiree @ one of your old East Side abodes. At the bottom of the invite was the addendum that John Kiley and Chas were welcome but their THEORIES were not.

john k said...

Currently playing in my Hell...

If any of you can watch this from start to finish, you are a stronger person than me.

skylolo99 said...

Per usual Scotty - nice pythy blog.
I didn't watch the Grammys. I watched Rome instead. Missed the Police but didn't miss them. Re: Rome- I like the two lovable sociopathic lugs who carry the emotional content of the show on their bloody backs.
Watched House last night, he pulled a 25 foot tape worm out of a girl who had the disease where you don't feel any pain.

DarrenH said...

And the band played on...
Scott mentions that The Grammy's are always a reliable boost for record sales. It's interesting to note that this year's awards came directly on the heals of the worst sales month in history. Before Snorahs' latest offering hit the shelves last week, the # 1 record was selling just upwards of 60,000 copies. In a country of 300 million, can you still call this pop music? EMI announced that it is merging Capitol Records with Virgin Records and moving the operation to NYC. Yup, that beautiful tower (designed to look like a stack of records) that we associate with Frank & Dean, The Beatles & The Beach Boys, will probably be turned into condos. Meanwhile, back to the party...
I thought the Grannies got off to a good start this year with The Police's commercial for their upcoming stadium tour (announced the following day). Despite the hype build up, and adequate performance (forgot what Copeland brings to that table), they left no "buzz" in their wake as the show immediately went into the first award with no break - best Pop Collaboration. MaryJ &U2? Nelly Furtado/Timbalaand or Shakira/Wyclef? Nope, the award goes to...Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder. Two dead guys. OK, Stevie isn't dead yet. Business as usual. I wonder what The Simpsons are up to...
Random thoughts:
I have to say that I admire and respect the Chixie's stance and can tolerate their music (and I was very happy for the talented twin City nice guy Dan Wilson) but..."Not Ready to Make Nice" = Record of the Year? Call me "Crazy." BTW, loved pilot uniforms Gnarls.
Congrats to Rick Rubin on adding a couple more feathers to his already full genius cap.
Off the radar kudos to pal and ex-Fuego Dan Zanes for winning Best Musical Album for Children.
Most surreal moment indeed was Ornette Coleman awarding Carrie Underwood with Best New Artist.
Most exciting performance was by James Brown's cape. The Rascal Flatts singer looks kinda like a bulldike with that spikey haircut. I actually thought more of Justin "Dick in a Box" Timberlake's performance than I did of the RHCP's boring song and cliche tickertape parade, although I completely agree with Scott on the white sneakers issue.
How many face lifts do you think Smokey Robinson has had? He didn't blink once during his performance.
Lesson learned: A friend of mine warned the next day, "NEVER play a drinking game based on the usage of the words "God" or "Jesus" whilst watching the awards.... "

ruh said...

So is the Lifetime Achievement Award a Grammy marketing ploy to curry favor with those whose tastes are not aligned with the payola-based awards?

I mean, did Joan Baez ever win a Grammy "in her day"? Ornette Coleman? Booker T? The Doors? The Dead? I don't think so. It seems The Academy holds off on the awards for outside-of-the-formula work until the artists are dead or almost dead...

And that was a helluva tape worm. But it kind of reminded me of last week when House uncoiled someone's 25-foot intestine... I'm wondering if next week it will be a 25-foot jumper cable or mic cable or something.

Scotty D said...

I too watched (with eyes partially blocked by my fingers)the removal of the John Holmes tapeworm, finding House an eminently watchable TV series. Of course the medical mystery of the week aspect of the show is incredibly formulaic and increasingly hard-to-believe but Hugh Laurie's Peck's Bad Boy act is a neat bit of tightrope drama, and,so far at least, the writers have resisted making him or his actions (outside of the Sherlock Holmes diagnostics)redeemable.(By the way, Laurie plays is some kinda showbiz , ahem, rock band with the plumber from desperate Housewives and the nerd cop from Heroes. Sheesh.)Just watch the doc-into-lawyer knock- off Shark, and watch them turn James Woods in a twinkly-eyed teddy bear as the show winds down after he just spent 3/4's of the plot stepping on everybuddy's necks. Of course Shark's supporting cast register mostly as faceless up-and-comers, while the House team riffs well with the parameters of their restrictive characters. Yeah, you guessed it Marky C, I wanna do Lisa Edelstein's Dr. Cuddy till the cows come home.

DarrenH said...

I can't watch those medical/ER shows...they make me squirm. My current TV "guilty pleasure" is "Friday Night Lights." I can personally relate to the small town "high school football is EVERYTHING" setting, but the show truly isn't about football. It's smart and the characters are rich. Connie Britton - I love huh. Texasccentric music references - Dale Watson performs in one episode, another revolves around an Old 97's concert. Very hip soundtrack -Sparklehorse, TV on the Radio, Heartless Bastards, and theme song by indie rock instrumentalists Explosions in the Sky. Despite rave reviews by the Times "not just television great, but great in the way of a poem or painting" and such, the show sadly will be lucky to make it to a 2nd season.

Scotty D said...

The show has received critical hosannas from every direction, it just can't seem to catch a ratings break. True Life Tale of Connie Britton (to die for in The Brothers McMullen): When my International Union sent me to Ohio for the last disastrous Presidential election, on the actual night before the election Kerry, John Glenn and Springsteen were coming to downtown Cleveland, and the big labor honchos assigned a few of us who were heading out to bring along Connie Britton, who was there do her 1 day feet-on-the-street thang along with the rest of us. Connie, a stunning beauty, and seemingly very good-natured and charming, turned into a rabid coyote once we got to the bigtimey politico bash, dragging one of my Canadian brothers with here, tawking and pushing her way through security levels, until somehow her and the extremely abashed union guy made it to the small stage in the middle of the huge, wild, twilight crowd, where she stuck her splendid ass and puurfectly coiffed long locks right up there in the middle of local pols,pursing her satisfied and pouty lips right behind Theresa and John. She, shall we say, was one highly determined gal.

joshuam said...

Grammy's are good for a few things, Scott's comments, my son's real time comic input which confirms I have brought him up right, socially and musically.