Monday, February 9, 2009

Know your strengths, Know your environment (grammy wrap-up)

Let me apologize for encouraging everyone to watch what was truly, a mediocre grammy awards. There have been many that were better. There are a few reasons why. . . here are my random thoughts.

--Know your strengths: This one goes out to Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift (we won't speak of Miley Cyrus), and U2.

You have to know what "butters your bread" as they say. Carrie Underwood is a great singer, not dancer (nor dresser, apparently), or entertainer. So, she came out and did an uptempo, dancy, rocker that was not great. She sang really well, as always, but this kind of song is not her "A" game. Now, I know she's done what I've described a few times, so maybe she was trying to change it up, but it didn't work for me. Terrible, terrible outfit as well.

U2. Now, in their defense, they were obviously pumping their new album (march 8th release date, check it). But, they do best at meaningful songs, not mindless dance jams. "Get Your Boots on" does JAM. I like the song alot. But, the lyrics are pretty hard to understand, and the guys are 50. These kind of u2 songs only work in their live shows now. . . .with the most ridiculous lights and sound, you've ever seen/heard. They tried to pull this off with the video screen, but it fell a bit short, in my opinion. It's not that they have to do an acoustic ballad or something, but "Boots" is the fastest song they've recorded since the 90's. They should've picked another tune off the new album.

Taylor Swift: Not good enough of a vocalist to go basically un-accompanied. She's a good songwriter, but she needs some back up singers, and a loud band. Sorry, she's a just a little weak on vocal technique and power.

Know your strengths.

Know Your environment:

This goes out to Coldplay, u2, whoever wrote the script for Justin Timberlake, MIA, etc. . .

The problem that Coldplay, u2, other big bands have at the Grammys is that they're performing without all the bells and whistles they usually have, and most folks are sitting down (besides the few hundred people being paid to go up front and jump up and down). Chris Martin's shtick looks a bit funny in front of a bunch of people sitting down.(and they looked like the wiggles. . .thanks Jody :)

You have to bring your own energy to the stage:
(See, Radiohead, who was great. . and Ricky Martin, circa 1998. . . one of the best grammy performances ever)A band of 4 guys, trying to rock it out, by themselves is hard to pull off at the grammys with the vibe in that room.


It was a bummer that MIA and T.I. messed up what was a historic rap moment. It was glaring who had the talent there and who didn't. And, I'm sorry, but it was not heroic for MIA to perform (lip synching, by the way, she was the only one in this spot) the day her baby was due. Her horrible outfit detracted from some serious greatness from Kanye and Jay-Z.

Miley and Taylor: We've covered that

Katy Perry: sad

Sugarland: The girl in Sugarland has gone from "wow, she's a really good singer, but a little twangy. . . they have some good songs". to. . . . . "she's really annoying".

The Poorly produced mash-ups: Al Green and JT, . . JT and T.I.,. . . Keith Urban, John Mayer, BB King, etc. . . Smokey, Jamie Foxx and two other guys singing the Four Tops.
The grammy's have pulled this off in years past. . this year, not so much.

Not having the Jazz or Classical piece: I know it seems like a "token" classical piece, but it adds some perspective to the show, and it's usually the best of the best. If you're going to have Katy Perry perform, you could get Wynton Marsalis, Diana Krall, Boston Pops, Placido Domingo, etc. . . Just so we all get some humility about our short moment in the history of music. I missed it this year.


The Lil Wayne/New Orleans thing was cool. Robin Thicke was a suprise. . .that dude can sing.

Radiohead: Very cool, hey, I used to be in marching band. Thom Yorke wisely understood that this crowd would not "get" he and his bandmates up there by themselves (see: Coldplay), . . it was the best performance of the night.

Allison Krauss/Robert Plant: This was great as well. I still don't understand T-Bone's equipment, or his tone, but I like it :) . They rightly won album of the year, it's great music.

Really, the biggest problem last night was the production/flow of the show. And, the sound guy gets a D -. You couldn't hear Bono singing. . .Keith Urban's mic was off. .(there were many mics off for a few seconds). . the mix wasn't great. When the mix is good, shows like last night can be amazing.
The writing was awkward and the flow of the night was not smooth.

I promise to write less about the grammys next year. :)
Here's the radiohead clip for your enjoyment. rock and roll


1 comment:

Jody Britton said...

Everyone reading this needs to leave a comment telling Aaron to blog his wrap that he wrote for MIA ... or whatever that pregnant lady bug's name was. Very funny.