Monday, February 13, 2012

Grammy Awards - A Night with the Stars


Tinsel town really is into award shows and the 2012 Grammy Show was no exception.  The untimely death of Whitney Houston on the eve of the Grammy Show certainly gave the show more interest and hype along with the production difficulty of last minute changes to a very extensive production.

The awards themselves had few surprises led by Adele, the 23-year-old British soul phenom who swept all six categories she was nominated for, including album of the year for her sophomore smash “21.

The worst performance of the night, and there were several, came from the train wreck that was Nicki Minaj.  Nicki was attempting to do a Lady Gaga inspired performance but it was little more than poor taste, art at its most twisted and misguided.  From her parody of "The Exorcist" to a weird hip-hop take on "O Come, All Ye Faithful", her performance led the worst of the worst.

Adele provided the soul of the show.  For those of you not familiar with her, she is the sassy Brit who was first discovered on MySpace when a friend posted a demo of her performing.  At the 2009 Grammy Awards, Adele received the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.

Last night she added six more Grammy awards to her collection sweeping album and song of the year.  Her gutsy performance was a result of the loss of her voice last year, cancelling of her world tour, and laser surgery on her throat.  This was her comeback performance and she brought the house down.

One of few superstars who is a bit over weight in appearance, a bit cockney in her English accent, a bit salty with her language, and a bit frumpy with her image, she is a refreshing change from the studio manufactured cute, skinny, sexy, mindless personas one expects.

For someone of my generation it was seemingly surreal when the line up of performers included Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, the Beach Boys and Glen Campbell among other blasts from the past.  The fact they still dominate shows after all these years shows their staying power, and maybe the sorry state of song writing currently dragging down the industry.

Whenever there is a drop in music sales it is always blamed on the economy or pirates when it should be blamed on the lack of quality songs, lack of new artists that can sing, and lack of new songs that are written well meaning they actually tell a story.  The vast majority of performances last night had endless repetition, minimum lyrics, and less than stellar performances.

The few references to Whitney Houston and ballet sung by Jennifer Hudson were in quite good taste but there was an underlying tragic nature underpinning the show.  You had a tribute to Glen Campbell because he has Alzheimer disease.  A tribute to the Beach Boys whose Brian Wilson is another brilliant mind shattered by the reality of the music business.

Then there was the tribute to Adela who is coming back from throat surgery caused by her record label sending her on the road doing 200 shows a year.  It seems many of the new artists are treated like commodities and pushed until they break down.

Taylor Swift - Country Super Star

Finally there was the tribute to Whitney.  More than anything Whitney represents the real failure of the music industry to protect those who have so much to offer.  Ever since her descent into the dark side with Bobby Brown who took her from the light in the church choir to the darkness in the urban underworld of drugs and alcohol, she has been abandoned by many in the music industry.

Her death is a testament to the indifference often seen as we watch stars disintegrate in the tabloids.  Where was all the love shown last night when Whitney was alive and needed help?  No, there is something very hypocritical about the music industry and the way it can ignore those who helped bring the industry it's popularity, success, and yes, bottom line profit.

If you really care about your artists then save them when they are alive, don't just honor them when they are dead.

1 comment:

C. J. W. R. said...

I think a Grammy commercial topped most Superbowl commercials. Consider McDonald's coffe-time. :=)
Re the Superbowl hits: I didn't hear Clint Eastwood endorse Obama. I heard him state the bail-out given to the auto industry was properly used, effective and repaid. I heard him imply the bail-out to the financial "industry" was not. Think, instead of "occupy Wall Street," flip-off same. I would hope if John McCain was president, he would not have allowed the U.S. auto industry to flounder because he liked his Beemer better, so in the alternate universe the "other" president would have done the same.