How 'bout them Grammys?
Published: Monday, February 3, 2014
Updated: Monday, February 3, 2014 22:02
I'll take a short break from chewing out people's music. I think it's only fair I set aside time to chew out the 56th Annual Grammy Awards.
It's not like it's my job is to talk about how bad popular music is. I actually approve of a lot of this year's Grammy-winning artists. Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" was one of my favorite albums of 2013. My favorite album of last year, "Modern Vampires of the City" by Vampire Weekend, won the award for best alternative music album. I shouldn't have too much to bicker about but I do.
A Grammy Award is an music-related accolade presented by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. According to a 2011 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor said it's "like a popularity contest that the insiders club has decided." This came from a man who's won two Grammys himself. At this year's Grammy Awards ceremony, he performed alongside Queens of the Stone Age and other artists. About four minutes into the performance, their live music was interrupted by a commercial break. This is despicable and perplexing. Isn't this supposed to be music's big night, not television’s?
That commercial break was a defining moment in showing what the Grammy Awards are truly all about. It's about getting TV viewers.
This year's 20 live performances included a duet featuring Beyonce and Jay-Z, a Daft Punk/Stevie Wonder collaboration and 33 same-sex couple marriages. These are some big events. Behind all this grandeur, I'm curious as to why Macklemore and Ryan Lewis won best rap album and not Kendrick Lamar. After the show, Macklemore sent a text to Lamar saying, "You got robbed. I wanted you to win. You should have. It's weird and sucks that I robbed you."
I guess it's not fair to judge how the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences critiques music, but you all know I'm going to do it anyway.
Getting recognition from the Grammy Academy these days is a basic recipe of how popular you are now, how much critical acclaim your music has had in the past and how old-school you sound. Daft Punk nailed all three ingredients on "Random Access Memories." It was the perfect cheesy throwback album and it came from a group that reached their creative peak over 10 years ago. It’s a great album by all means, although I must admit it's total Grammy candy.
Kendrick Lamar's "Good Kid, M.A.A.D City" was a nominee in the same category. It’s a platinum-selling record that was released back in 2012. It was hailed by many professional music analysts as the best album of that year, and I myself think it's one of the greatest albums in music recording history. Kendrick’s work should have received Grammy nods a year ago, but the folks in charge decided to wait it out before giving Lamar seven nominations and not having him win any of them.