Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Grammys

I'll probably end up watching some of the Grammy Awards on TV tonight if there's nothing else on. The Grammys have actually gotten kinda hip in recent years, unlike the stodgy affairs they had when I was a kid. Reflecting the market fragmentation of the last decade, they seem to have awards for just about everything now, instead of trying to shoehorn everybody into a few categories. Some of the scheduled entertainment may not be too promising, though - the Police reunite (yawn), and Justin Timberlake searches for his next girlfriend latest duet partner.

In Nashville, the Grammys mostly are another opportunity for the Music Row pros to gripe about being treated like second-class citizens by their brethren on the coasts. Their complaints are not altogether unjustified, as country provides the music industry its fair share of profits, and some years it has kept the whole business afloat. But Nashville has an inferiority complex when they get compared with New York and Los Angeles, and celebrates when one of their artists takes home a big award. Music Row will even take the Dixie Chicks back for this one night.

I don't keep up so much with the current stuff any more, but since I've been accused of being a music guru in some quarters, I'll do my best to give you some impressions of some of the folks going for the big prizes tonight. I hope Gnarls Barkley does well, and Mary J. Blige is also deserving this year. The Dixie Chicks' record was good, but not spectacular. I wonder if it got so many nominations because the Grammy people were trying to send a message (to Music Row, not the White House). The Red Hot Chili Peppers are past their prime. Carrie Underwood made a nice single, but I distrust all former American Idol contestants not named Kelly Clarkson. John Mayer puts me to sleep. And I can't for the life of me figure out how James Blunt became so popular.

The final word comes from Tool lead singer Maynard James Keenan, explaining why he didn't show up to claim his Grammy:

I think the Grammys are nothing more than some gigantic promotional machine for the music industry. They cater to a low intellect and they feed the masses. They don't honor the arts or the artist for what he created. It's the music business celebrating itself. That's basically what it's all about.

UPDATE: Dixie Chicks go five-for-five; perhaps they were trying to send a message to the White House after all.