My Night With The Grammys

A truncated dispatch from The Grammys:

The show starts with Frank Sinatra. My first thought is 'What year is this?' but then paired with Alicia Keys this turns out to be one of the least offensive dead-meets-living duets. And classic black & white footage of Sinatra is better (classier?) than a hologram.

Carrie Underwood takes the stage with a bunch of angry feminists bashing on cars. It's Stomp! meets Streets of Fire meets 9 to 5.

Morris Day and The Time. I wasn't expecting keytar so early in the show. Out of all the groups that could have reunited after 15 years, I don't know if The Time would have been at the top of my list. Just when a mirror comes out and I'm trying to recall what Disney movie it's all reminding me of, Rihanna steps in and saves the day.

More love for Canada than for The Band? The mention of our neighbors to the North garnered a bigger applause than the mention of Levon Helm. Ouch. I thought this was a music show.

The camera passes by Jeff Tweedy as Cindy Lauper and Miley Cyrus take the stage. My favorite part is when Miley Cyrus says (in reference to Lauper): "The woman standing next to me won 'Best New Artist' in 1985, which is amazing!" The way Cyrus puts the emphasis on the last part of the sentence makes it sound like she meant either , "wow, can you believe how old this lady is?", or "it's amazing she ever won". Then Cyrus goes on to let the audience know that Winehouse is Lauper's favorite among the nominees. Kids are awesome on live TV!!

Who is Taylor Swift?

Jason Batemen is in charge of bringing the Grammy's into the 21st Century. Viewers get to choose what young, talented classical musician gets to play along with the Foo Fighters in an orchestra conducted by John Paul Jones. Thankfully the writer's strike is over, otherwise this concept could have become its own reality TV show.

Fergie, no. Please stop singing.

Tina Turner looks and sounds amazing. Even the permanent look of surprise on her face courtesy of plastic surgery can't ruin this moment. I love the hints of gospel in "Better Be Good To Me", which are played up in the live version. It gets even better when Beyonce joins her for "Proud Mary".

I turn the channel and watch The Wire.

I think I missed Brad Paisley but I get to see Feist. After the Broadway-like productions of some of the other acts, it's refreshing to see a singer on stage with only a guitar. The moment comes across as brave, even though there are people doing this very thing every night. But not at The Grammys they're not.

Winehouse. It is strange to have such a heavily nominated artist perform from across the pond. The songs and the lyrics come across as alibis for her Grammy no-show.

Is that Josh Groban doing a tribute to Pavarotti? I switch the channel and don't look back.

Final thoughts: The Grammys are like if all the awards in a baking contest went to the frosting. Frosting deserves recognition, but it's only a small part of the cake.



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I still can't believe Amy Winehouse won five and Feist won none.

Sent by Kirie | 10:42 AM | 2-11-2008

I love that Brad Paisley didn't overlook the opportunity to have his Telecaster finished in...paisley.

Sent by JJ Hellgate | 10:44 AM | 2-11-2008

I don't about you but I've been pretty disappointed in the Wire this season. I realize that seasons 3 & 4 set the bar unrealistically high but still... The first half of this season has been a letdown.

Sent by -pgc. | 11:31 AM | 2-11-2008

I think 1985 was the last time I watched the Grammys, which is amazing!

Sent by Elizabeth | 11:33 AM | 2-11-2008

I once met Elton John at an airport. He dropped his passport and i picked it up and gave it back to him. He thanked me by giving me one of his grammys. It was kind of strange, this same thing happened when Eddie George dropped his wallet except i got the 1995 Heisman Trophy minus one arm.

Sent by Roy | 11:42 AM | 2-11-2008

I hope I can look as good as Tina Turner when I'm her age. I wish I could look as good now.

These awards really did have a mid-80s feeling to them. The Time? Cyndi Lauper? Herbie Hancock? I was flashing back to 6th grade.

Sent by Laura E. | 12:16 PM | 2-11-2008

And too much frosting will rot yer teeth out and make you sick.

Sent by Mick (not "Mick") | 12:27 PM | 2-11-2008

Oh, and it's never to early for a keytar. Flight of the Conchords have forever changed my perception of what a keytar is and how it should be used.

Sent by Mick (not "Mick") | 12:38 PM | 2-11-2008

Not sure I have much to add to this, except that I think it's awesome that you have a "frosting" tag.

Sent by Rachel | 12:43 PM | 2-11-2008

I, too, watched for the first time in about 8 years, up until Amy Winehouse's performance.

I don't care that Wilco/Feist didn't take home hardware (did we expect them to?), but boy was I pissed that FF took Best Rock Album over Bruce or Fogerty.

Sent by ljc | 12:58 PM | 2-11-2008

Just rented season one of The Wire and I'm already addicted barely three episodes in...

Sent by Meagan | 1:22 PM | 2-11-2008

I was scrolling through the list of categories, nominees, and winners last night and found myself realizing, "Wow. This is why I don't listen to the radio anymore."

Sent by Nick L. | 1:29 PM | 2-11-2008

Reading your post was even better than actually watching the Grammys.

Sent by Chubby | 1:29 PM | 2-11-2008

streets of fire! the hottest heroine, the most stoic hero and the ugliest villain - throw in some over the top musical numbers, a dykey lady sidekick and rubber overalls and you have the best movie ever. wish i would've seen carrie's performance.

Sent by sparky | 2:06 PM | 2-11-2008

i got really sick watching the beginning of the grammy's and i didn't change my channel back for the rest of it. but it sounds like things weren't orchestrated well enough to have been worth my time to begin with. but other years were actually really good

Sent by Danielle | 2:10 PM | 2-11-2008

The Grammys have always been out of touch with anything resembling the public's actual musical preferences. Actually, All Things Considered did a brief history on the topic the other day. Kind of funny that part of their case was built on their overlooking "Soldier Boy", though.


Jason Bateman as the face of music's future? Kind of funny as he just played the old has-been rocker who still listens to mid-90s Sonic Youth (Juno). God, that movie made me feel old, since I have very similar tastes in music as his character -- SY's cover of Superstar WAS great.

No clue who Taylor Swift is.

Yes, Amy Winehouse can sing, but that Rehab song is still really annoying.

Fergie. Ick.

A Morris Day and the Time reunion, however, is a truly awesome thing.

Still on Season 2 of the Wire via DVD, but it's definitely sucked me in.

Sent by Joel | 2:19 PM | 2-11-2008

hmm, good analogy seeing as how i hate frosting and always scoop it off.

i forgot about the grammy's and went to have a nice dinner instead. now i'm off to youtube feist and amy winhouse's performances.

Sent by Lauren | 2:35 PM | 2-11-2008

Is it a good thing that music commerce is splintered into a million pieces?

Regardless, it pretty much renders the Grammys obsolete, as the mainstream is no longer defined by the RIA. Watching the grammys, for me, is like watching the Lawrence Welk Show. Just who is the target audience anymore? A one and a two...

Sent by Chad Bly | 2:47 PM | 2-11-2008

I don't know if you intentionally overlooked Kanye, but I hope you did. What arrogance.

Sent by meghann | 3:20 PM | 2-11-2008

i was very happy to see herbie with the big win, what he had to say about coltrane and miles and their lack of grammys was the highlight of the evening.

Sent by paulb | 3:33 PM | 2-11-2008

Last year at an assistant job that I have since quit, my boss (who is in a band on the My So Called Life soundtrack) told me I could fill out his Grammy ballot because he didn't feel like it. At first I was really excited, but as I went through the categories I realized that I didn't care about 95% of the artists. I decided that it was the closest I would come to knowing how it would feel to vote in a Republican primary.

Sent by yes | 4:03 PM | 2-11-2008

Thanks for watching the Grammy's so i didn't have to (I was at a good 80s event seeing a remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark made by kids ). I certainly understand changing channels to see the Wire.

I don't get Josh Groban. I even saw him live once at a PBS event for Great Performances (it perhaps made him look worse since he went after Michael Tilson Thomas).

Sent by Steve Rhodes | 4:37 PM | 2-11-2008

I love Kanye's music - and anyone that calls out george bush is ok in my book.

Sent by mikey | 4:57 PM | 2-11-2008

"Fergie, no. Please stop singing."

This should really be printed on a t-shirt. Or a billboard. Or both.

Sent by chriso | 5:30 PM | 2-11-2008

sounds like a fun night in, probably better to read about here than to actually watch it though.
My own favourite part was reading 'The camera passes by Jeff Tweedy as Cindy Lauper...' and having a rather different but really entertaining image. Karaoke/tribute acts - that's the way to bring the Grammys into the 21st Century

Sent by Rosie | 5:46 PM | 2-11-2008

To me the Grammys are and always have been totally irrelevant. The industry people who nominate and vote are apparently pretty much clueless about good new music. I don't care about it or pay attention to it.

I did see the Beatles "Day In The Life" segment by Cirque de Soleil on youtube and that was pretty cool.

And the ratings were down, which may also be a reflection of the hard times the business is facing.

Sent by Brian | 6:42 PM | 2-11-2008

I don't need the Grammys when I have this recap.

But I will youtube the Feist performance.

Sent by Jaime | 6:43 PM | 2-11-2008

I really liked the Kanye and Daft Punk performance. I watched it today on the internet, without the Grammys attached, so that made it even more enjoyable.
And I think "Fergie, no. Please stop singing" should be printed most anywhere in the world there's room.

Sent by Kim | 7:34 PM | 2-11-2008

I stoped watching awards shows some years ago...

I think it was around the time, i realized there was people being paid, HUGE sums of money, to be "red carpet reporters" that stoped paying attention...

But there is one thing worse than the living / dead duets...

techno dance remix's of classic rock... GGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
(but that might just be the bass player in me)

Sent by Kramer | 7:46 PM | 2-11-2008

I youtubed the Kanye West/Daft Punk performance, and it was a lot of fun. Very Tron. For as shallow and, well, awful American pop culture can be, nothing beats a blast of energy like that. Fantastic.

As for the Grammys (Grammies?) themselves, eh. It is mostly industry back-patting to me. I'm going to sound like Angry Record Store Dude, but, really if they were truly interested in forward-looking, brilliant music, at least get Panda Bear, the Fiery Furnaces, or whoever else up there. It's really not so scary once you get used to it.

Sent by Michael | 9:59 PM | 2-11-2008

I love the sarcasm, Carrie. It made me laugh, haha.

I basically agree with many people here. I feel that the Grammys is more of a celebration of the accomplishments of the record industry than an actual celebration of good music. As a hardcore music fan, I AM interested in seeing who takes home which awards, but I really couldn't care less at the end of the day.

I do like Feist, Daft Punk, and Kanye though.

Sent by Andy C. | 2:43 AM | 2-12-2008

lmfao! this is by far the funniest. (mental note:I have to re-read anytime I get sad)

Sent by Marissa Dailey | 5:40 AM | 2-12-2008

Wow. I totally second the motion that 'Fergie, no,' needs to be reproduced on something. The proceeds could benefit some sort of youth/music foundation. Ha.

Sent by ljc | 9:20 AM | 2-12-2008

How many indie points do I lose if I think Fergie is actually a decent pop singer? I mean most of her material is completely whack, but she can actually hit the notes and has a pretty good tone. The song she did with John Legend wasn't bad. What's most objectionable about her is the lyrics and production. Someone should issue a restraining order keeping him 50 feet away from recording equipment at all times.

Tina Turner sounded great, but I couldn't even look at her without thinking of the plastic surgery scenes in the movie Brazil. C'mon, celebrities, getting old isn't embarrassing, it's something we all do.

Sent by daryl | 9:49 AM | 2-12-2008

I just kept waiting for Amy Winehouse to fall over...Fergie doesn't have a forehead...and Beyonce needs to take a valium.

Sent by Patti | 10:38 AM | 2-12-2008

what, no tribute to Snookie Lanson?

Sent by bill | 2:55 PM | 2-12-2008

"The camera passes by Jeff Tweedy". So did the Grammys, unfortunately. "Sky Blue Sky" was one of the standouts this last year.

Sent by Lyla | 3:02 PM | 2-12-2008

Youtube is not a verb. Thanks.

Sent by seriously | 5:32 PM | 2-12-2008

According to Merriam-Webster, youtube is indeed a verb.

One of the great pleasures of language is intentionally misusing it.

Sent by Vortex | 9:16 PM | 2-12-2008

is it just me or did amy winehouse look like she was about to blow a gasket? She looked as though she was teetering on the brink of personal disaster.
hopefully the grammys did her well.

Sent by shannarama | 10:58 PM | 2-12-2008

Perhaps the Bush administration could just sit people down in front of this telecast in the future...wait, some of it would be torture.
Here is my follow along to the Grammy's.

Sent by Kevin | 2:13 PM | 2-14-2008

Respectfully disagree. Morris day was the highlight of the show and Rihanna brought his performance to a screeching halt.

Sent by erik Liekoski | 2:51 PM | 2-15-2008

awesome. best post so far.

Sent by leeann | 11:34 PM | 2-18-2008

taylor swift is quite popular. in a world with google and youtube, of course, it takes conscious effort not to find this out.

brad paisley's guitar is often paisley.

Sent by gabos | 7:01 PM | 2-20-2008

I am just cracking up about the final lines about frosting and cake in the baking contest. Too, too true.

Sent by erika | 6:28 PM | 4-20-2008