Tuesday, February 15, 2011
2011 Grammys Were Awesome
We always hear it barked out in bars from half conscious jukebox listeners or from a parent while you are driving with them in a car as they scan the radio.
“Nobody makes good music anymore.”
I think some people just say it now because it makes them sound cool or retro. My retort to them is pretty simple: Open your ears to the 2011 Grammy Award show.
I was blown away at the talent displayed on Sunday night and I realized that we are getting to experience and enjoy some amazing music right now. I love all genres of music and I know I’m not normal but I really thought that the artists who were selected to play were awesome. There was so much diversity yet all were so talented and skilled at the art of performing.
As someone who has been going to shows since I was 15, I thought the 210-minute show wasn’t long enough and didn’t want it to end.
The show started off with a tribute to Aretha Franklin sung by 5 women: Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, Florence Welch, Yolanda Adams, and Martina McBride.
Talk about a cross section of singers!
But the power and beauty of their voices reminded me that we didn’t always have singers like at the Grammys. Remember the 2000 show with the Britney Spears disaster?
Speaking of pop music at the Grammys, you might hate Lady Gaga but she can flat out sing. You might despise Justin Bieber but the kid played guitar on stage, sang his own song, and danced along side Usher, maybe the greatest dance artist of our time. You might think that Katy Perry is a bimbo but the girl can sing the hell out of a pop song and “Teenage Dream” is an album full of catchy, radio friendly hits.
Country took center stage as Miranda Lambert performed the multi-nominated “House That Built Me”. If you don’t know Lambert’s music, you should. She played in Des Moines a few months back opening up for Brad Paisley and did a very nice job. She is one of the young stars of country music that doesn’t get talked about enough.
Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers and Bob Dylan stole the show in my opinion and if you don’t have Mumford’s “Sigh No More” or Avett’s “I And Love And You” albums BUY THEM!! Like RIGHT NOW! The Alt-Country movement is exploding and I could not be more in love with the sounds and songs coming out from it.
Memo to all you 1970 retreads – Rock music is not dead. Muse and Arcade Fire blew the doors off the Staples Center. Arcade Fire’s electrifying rendition of “Ready To Start” ended the show after the band had been awarded the Grammy for “Album of the Year.” I’ll admit it, I was way late on Arcade Fire but the band has really grown on me and their sound is so unique that I think it scares people away. I love the huge number of members and double drum sets that they display and any band with a fiddle is worth checking out in my book.
Rap/Hip-Hop/R&B accounted for two of the most interesting moments of the night when Bruno Mars, B.O.B. and Janelle Monae sang four of their songs together on stage and when Eminem came out, teaming up with Rihanna and Dr. Dre to blast out “Love The Way You Lie”, we saw the true skill of the best rapper in the game.
Rihanna’s performance of “What’s My Name” with Drake was memorizing also and highlighted the depths of her talent.
Lady Antebellum owned the night by winning multiple awards including the coveted “Record of the Year” for mega-popular “Need You Now”. I don’t care what you say, you like that song. It’s heartbreaking, powerful and honest and exploded across genres this past year. The harmony singing of the band is something we are going to hear more of in 2011 from acts like The Civil Wars.
There were some fun moments like when Cee Lo Green sang “Fuck You” with Gwyneth Paltro with puppets as back-up singers, making the Grammys the unique show that it is.
I think the 2011 Grammy Awards were the retort to anyone that asks, “What happened to music?” I say to them: what happened to you that you are so lazy that you can’t recognize the talent that we current have to listen to?
Yes, Katy Perry is the perfect combination of beauty, sex, singing, and dancing and pop radio plays her to death but what do you say about Mumford and Sons performing or Arcade Fire playing two songs? There is something for everyone out there right now and at high quality. Lucky for me – I like it all.
Espranza Spaulding winning best new artist was joke but that’s ok. Every award show needs a little controversy and sometimes I actually like when my favorite bands don’t win Grammys. Keep ‘em hungry for that win.
Sunday night showed me that great music is alive and well. If you disagree, you just have to open your ears….and maybe your mind.
Sidebar: Just read that the A.P. called this year's Grammys "The Year of the Indie" ... no wonder I loved it :)