Monday, February 14, 2005

Grammy Quickie

  1. Loretta Lynn and Jack White accepting the Best Country Album Grammy for "Van Lear Rose".
    Their on-stage interaction was great to watch and seemed very natural. Jack White stood back, looking embarrassed and trying to deflect all the attention to Loretta Lynn, but she wouldn't have any of it. She pretty much commanded Jack to come to the microphone and talk about the album, just as a mother might do to her shy son. But Jack's tribute to Loretta was great:
    "In between songs, she told me, 'You know what, Jack? Fourteen of my songs got banned by country radio, and every time they wouldn't play it, it went number one.' Well, country radio wouldn't play this record either, and we're number one now. You're an American treasure, Loretta."

  2. Melissa Etheridge and Joss Stone's tribute to Janis Joplin.
    You know, these tributes to dead musicians get a little tiresome, especially for artists that the Grammy people didn't give a fuck about when they were alive. Still, Joss has great pipes for a girl her age and complexion, and if not for the shaved head, you wouldn't know listening to Melissa that she was recovering from cancer. Plus, her making googly eyes at Joss was a nice touch.

  3. Tie between Alicia Keys and Kanye West.
    I can't stand modern R&B but I'll make an exception for Alicia. She has a fantastic voice and despite her range, she doesn't fall into the oversinging trap the way Mariah or Whitney do. I wish her songs weren't so densely produced though. Although I like the Kanye-produced "You Don't Know My Name" because of the dense layers, on most other tracks, the sonic clutter gets in the way of her voice. She's due for an Unplugged gig - just bring a piano, maybe an acoustic guitar, but leave the orchestra and backup singer at home.

    And while the performance for "Jesus Walks" was predictably over the top, it was great to see The Blind Boys of Alabama get some love. Kanye's acceptance speech for Best Rap Album was the height of showmanship. Some might call it arrogance. I call it keen awareness of himself and the audience.

And the absolute lowlight:
  • I'd like to thank our corporate partners...
    I found the awfully overdue celebration of Ray Charles to be self-congratulatory, overly sentimental and insincere. But the worst moment was John Burk, producer of the Ray Charles/Norah Jones duet, "Here We Go Again" thanking, among others, Starbucks. You're accepting an award on behalf of a dead legend and you're thanking fucking Starbucks?

  • Dishonorable mention goes to the bearded academy president guy, who for the second year in a row, gave us a lecture on the importance of not downloading music so we can help filthy rich record execs stay filthy rich. Unless of course, we're downloading the blah performance of "Across The Universe", because apparently, that's the only way we can donate money to Tsunami relief.
  • Coolfer's play-by-play

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