Friday, January 29, 2010

Grammy Dust Bowl

As a voting member of NARAS, once again, voting for the 2010 Grammy Awards was a painful dilemma—based more on voting against absurdly nominated artists than for songs and acts of merit. Oh, for the days when melodies and singers ruled the roost. Today... loops and gimmicks. For example:

BEST NEW ARTIST: Keri Hilson; MGMT; Silversun Pickups; The Ting Tings; Zac Brown Band

If this were a multiple choice test, I would choose "none of the above." None among these acts are mass-appeal with the mojo to ring up hits two or three years from now. A true sign of the slim pickings that was the year in the music.

SONG OF THE YEAR: Beyonce, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”; Kings Of Leon, “Use Somebody”; Lady Gaga, “Poker Face”; Maxwell, “Pretty Wings”; Taylor Swift, “You Belong With Me”
Should win: Gaga, the best melodic act of 2009; Likely to win: Swift, who is an unstoppable media darling. If Beyonce—the most-nominated act of the night—wins with her obnoxious sing-song whine "Single Ladies," I may toss my cocktail at the TV. No, really. Enough, already, of her popularity as an entertainer being confused with talent. Alicia Keys she is not.

RECORD OF THE YEAR: Beyonce, “Halo”; The Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling”; Kings Of Leon, “Use Somebody”; Lady Gaga, “Poker Face”; Taylor Swift, “You Belong With Me”

Should win: I'd like Gaga, I'll take Leon. Likely to win: Black Eyed Peas, based on the enormity of this hit—which I deem the worst commercial single of the year. When they win, I will be licking that spilled gin off the TV screen to save my sanity.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Beyonce, I Am… Sasha Fierce; The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.; Lady Gaga, The Fame; Dave Matthews Band, Big Whiskey And The GrooGrux King; Taylor Swift, Fearless
A particularly painful category... Beyonce's album is full of shrill nursery rhymes, Swift cannot sing live, Black Eyed Peas are nothing more than "Sesame Street" with a whore at the mic, instead of muppets. Dave Matthews? Relevant in 2009? At least this year there are no dead people in the running, a la Ray Charles. Lady Gaga should win. I think she will, unless Swift pulls a fast one (ha, ha, am I funny?).

BEST FEMALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE: Adele, “Hometown Glory”; Beyonce, “Halo”; Katy Perry, “Hot N Cold”; Pink, “Sober”; Taylor Swift, “You Belong With Me”
My favorite category, but this year, it leaves me limp. Adele is done, Katy Perry is last year's big news, I believe my opinion of Beyonce is fairly clear now... Pink delivered another tour de force performance with "Sober," so she should win. But I don't think there's a chance in hell that Swift will not take this one home.

BEST MALE POP VOCAL PERFORMANCE: John Legend, “This Time”; Maxwell, “Love You”; Jason Mraz, “Make It Mine”; Seal, “If You Don’t Know Me By Now”; Stevie Wonder, “All About The Love Again”
Well, I really ashobt... oops, terribly sorry, I nodded off there for a minute. Seal should win. Stevie Wonder should not. The Grammys love their old dudes. At least Springsteen, Sting and James Taylor were blessedly spared from cluttering up this category, for once.

BEST PERFORMANCE BY POP DUO OR GROUP: The Black Eyed Peas, “I Gotta Feeling”; Bon Jovi, “We Weren’t Born To Follow”; The Fray, “Never Say Never”; Daryl Hall & John Oates, “Sara Smile”; MGMT, “Kids”
Hall & Oates? Tee hee, I love those guys, but even I admit that that one's pretty absurd. Black Eyed Peas are going to win, and there's nothing I can do about it. Awfully weak category.

BEST POP VOCAL ALBUM: The Black Eyed Peas, The E.N.D.; Colbie Caillat, Breakthrough; Kelly Clarkson, All I Ever Wanted; The Fray, The Fray; Pink, Funhouse
Ouch! Painfully thin. I wouldn't mind seeing a win for Pink, but I'm afraid we're in for more Peas soup.

BEST DANCE RECORDING: The Black Eyed Peas, “Boom Boom Pow”; David Guetta, & Kelly Rowland, “When Love Takes Over”; Lady Gaga, “Poker Face”; Madonna, “Celebration”; Britney Spears, “Womanizer”
Jesus, can we please have one category sans Black Eyed Peas? I'm giving this one to Brit Brit, though Gaga would make me giggle, with a win.

BEST ROCK SONG: Pearl Jam, “The Fixer”; U2, “I’ll Go Crazy If I Don’t Go Crazy Tonight”; Green Day, “21 Guns”; Kings Of Leon, “Use Somebody”; Bruce Springsteen, “Working On A Dream”
Green Day should. Kings could. Springsteen likely will, because when he belches, the Grammys come calling. Snore.

BEST FEMALE R&B VOCAL PERFORMANCE: Beyonce, “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)”; Melanie Fiona, “It Kills Me”; Lalah Hathaway, “That Was Then”; Ledisi, “Goin’ Thru Changes”; Jazmine Sullivan, “Lions, Tigers & Bears”

Ha ha ha, I assume Beyonce has already cleared a space on her shelf for this one.

BEST COUNTRY ALBUM: Zac Brown Band, The Foundation; George Strait, Twang; Taylor Swift, Fearless; Keith Urban, Defying Gravity; Lee Ann Womack, Call Me Crazy
Interesting to see if country Grammy voters have had enough of Swift's pop crossover success, and give it to Strait.

BEST FEMALE COUNTRY VOCAL PERFORMANCE: Miranda Lambert, “Dead Flowers”; Martina McBride, “I Just Call You Mine”; Taylor Swift, “White Horse”; Carrie Underwood, “Just A Dream”; Lee Ann Womack, “Solitary Thinkin’”
Strong field here. Miranda Lambert is white hot, Carrie Underwood had a stellar year (though "Cowboy Casanova" was a better bid) and McBride and Womack are beloved, if a bit weathered. I honestly think Swift will lose this one, unless country voters are more seduced by mainstream attention than I think.

See you Sunday, cool cats!