Music

Couch-Potato-ing The Grammys With NPR Music's Stephen Thompson

In the (undoubtedly endless) chat below, please join me and NPR Music editor Stephen Thompson of NPR Music as we discuss the Grammy telecast from the comfort of our respective couches. We'll update from time to time, as fast as my typing fingers will carry us. (We don't actually speak live, lest one of us blurt out his or her Social Security number.)

Beginning at eight, we will share our knowledge, lack of knowledge, and feeling that we are too old for the Grammys. Or possibly too young. Depending entirely on the nomination in question. Join us, beginning as soon after eight as I post our first string of outbursts.

The outbursts begin after the jump...

Stephen (8:01:45 PM): U2! Covering Elvis Costello or The Escape Club, whichever you prefer.
Linda (8:01:54 PM): I always knew they were livin' in the Wild Wild West.
Stephen (8:02:02 PM): Headin' for the '90s!
Linda (8:02:09 PM): The backdrop is from Zoom, I believe.
Stephen (8:02:48 PM): I get the desire to present the biggest stars in the world and everything, but it should be noted that U2? Not nominated for any Grammys tonight.
Linda (8:03:20 PM): This is the Reading-Is-Fundamental-iest U2 performance I've ever seen.
Stephen (8:03:37 PM): I guess this is sort of like the beginning of the Oscars, where they're like, "Here are some famous movies, which we are showing you to remind you of how much you love movies."
Linda (8:03:57 PM): Right. "I like music, if not very much of the music that gets a lot of Grammy nominations." Jimmy Sturr aside.
Linda (8:04:16 PM): And you can start your Jimmy Sturr wisecrack clock RIGHT THERE!
Stephen (8:04:44 PM): Jimmy Sturr! I'm going to seriously break some furniture if Jimmy Sturr doesn't win his 18th (or however many) Grammy tonight.
Linda (8:04:51 PM): Wow, Whitney Houston!
Linda (8:04:53 PM): She's alive!
Stephen (8:05:16 PM): The withered bones of Whitney Houston! That voice... does not sound good.
Linda (8:05:33 PM): I think she anticipated her leg making more of a stir than it did.
Stephen (8:05:55 PM): Aw, Al Green. Who knew Boyz II Men was still making records?
Stephen (8:06:21 PM): Ooh, Whitney Houston should not filibuster.
Linda (8:06:44 PM): She really shouldn't. She would be less of a trainwreck wearing Aretha's Inauguration Hat.
Stephen (8:06:50 PM): It's about time someone gave Clive Davis some props to go with his billions of dollars and decades of receiving props.
Linda (8:07:03 PM): "And now, the underappreciated CLIVE DAVIS!"
Stephen (8:07:30 PM): I'd say Jennifer Hudson winning best R&B is no surprise. I do like that Raphael Saadiq record quite a bit.
Linda (8:07:50 PM): "Hey, Jennifer Hudson, your napkin from dinner is stuck to your dress."
Linda (8:08:06 PM): I'm happy for her, though.
Linda (8:08:08 PM): All jerk-being aside.
Stephen (8:08:49 PM): Of course! Nothing but love for Jennifer Hudson.
Linda (8:09:01 PM): I smell something, and I think it's what The Rock is cooking.
Stephen (8:09:30 PM): I think the TelePrompTer is cooking something... pretty lame.
Linda (8:09:47 PM): My Katy Perry hatred has just flared with that shot of her waggling her eyeballs.
Stephen (8:10:26 PM): I don't know that I've ever thought about Katy Perry for more than two consecutive seconds.
Linda (8:10:42 PM): Paul McCartney just found himself followed by a mention of Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift.
Stephen (8:11:17 PM): Of course. That list of tonight's entertainers has given me a good sense of when I'll be taking my bathroom breaks.
Linda (8:11:30 PM): I think I liked Justin Timberlake better before he decided he was a raconteur.
Stephen (8:12:07 PM): Yep. He's slowly morphing into Bono, I'm afraid. In other news, I'm going to take up smoking just so I can go out for a cigarette while Kid Rock performs.
Linda (8:12:27 PM): Here's a combination I've been dying to see.
Linda (8:12:47 PM): "Al Green And The People Who Are WAAAY Less Cool Than Al Green Players."
Linda (8:12:54 PM): KEITH URBAN?
Stephen (8:13:38 PM): I do love Al Green. The only thing that would make me love him more? If he combined forces with Boyz II Men.
Linda (8:14:06 PM): Justin Timberlake doing this is not a good idea, for the same reason that John Stamos should not appear in a two-man play with Daniel Day-Lewis.
Stephen (8:14:47 PM): Oh, snap! I'll give JT more credit than THAT, but... yeah, Al Green is the only one walking off this stage unscathed.
Linda (8:15:01 PM): Well, he's not BAD, but he is not Al Green, and he kind of wishes he were.
Linda (8:15:40 PM): Justin Timberlake is the Bikini Girl of this interaction, and Al Green is the Kara DioGuardi.
Stephen (8:16:09 PM): First American Idol reference of the night! Also: "Ladies and gentlemen, Keith Urban!" Why, yes, just who I'd hoped to see on stage while Al Green is singing!
Linda (8:16:32 PM): Also, Justin Timberlake? Not ordained.

Linda (8:21:40 PM): Simon Baker introduces Coldplay!
Stephen (8:21:56 PM): I'm sorry, who? I mean, I know who Simon Baker is.
Linda (8:22:09 PM): It's spelled C-O-L-D-P-L-A-Y. It's a band.
Stephen (8:22:26 PM): One word?
Linda (8:22:44 PM): One word.
Linda (8:22:59 PM): He's wearing Dollar Store epaulets.
Linda (8:23:39 PM): I don't think this guy who just said "UNH!" is part of Coldplay, though.
Stephen (8:24:04 PM): This is... I... I don't...
Stephen (8:24:22 PM): I have no response to the rap that just took place in the middle of a Coldplay ballad.
Linda (8:24:39 PM): Viva La Vida! They totally stole these four notes.
Stephen (8:24:55 PM): I wrote this song! AH AM SUING COLDPLAY!
Linda (8:25:15 PM): Purple jacket guy is wailing on the kettle drums.
Stephen (8:25:48 PM): This is Purple Jacket Guy's big moment.
Linda (8:25:56 PM): He's always hated Chris Martin.
Linda (8:26:19 PM): Speaking of whom, Chris Martin should not dance.
Linda (8:26:25 PM): Or, I should say, "dance."
Linda (8:27:17 PM): What I want to know is why the one guy who says HE wrote this song isn't suing the other guy who says HE wrote this song.

Here, while Carrie Underwood tries to seem like a convincing vixen, Stephen manages some technical difficulties — we'll be right back!

Linda (8:41:43 PM): ANOTHER person who should not get next to Al Green? Is Duffy.
Linda (8:41:56 PM): Does she always act like this, like she's on Laugh-In?
Stephen (8:42:14 PM): The lesson of tonight's Grammys: EVERYONE is a lightweight next to Al Green.
Linda (8:42:44 PM): This Song Of The Year Category is like Outstanding Song I Knew From Commercials Originally.
Stephen (8:43:10 PM): Song Of The Year! Aaaaaand it's Coldplay. Thank this song's many, many, many authors, Chris Martin!
Linda (8:43:20 PM): And all your dogs, dead and alive!
Stephen (8:43:27 PM): Oh, Mickey Rourke.
Linda (8:43:39 PM): See? PURPLE GUY'S BIG DAY!
Stephen (8:44:22 PM): I have to say, I'm glad Coldplay won, just so that horrible Jason Mraz song wouldn't. If you own that song, you'd better not ever make fun of The Spin Doctors.
Linda (8:44:38 PM): Ha! The internet will freak out. That's enough for me.
Linda (8:44:47 PM): That and the sweet, sweet sound of Kid Rock.
Linda (8:44:49 PM): Not really.
Stephen (8:45:42 PM): Guh. Yeah, I don't know what to even bother saying about Kid Rock at this point. I think he and I would agree that he is a very fortunate man to be where he is today, and leave it at that.
Linda (8:46:14 PM): At least he's wearing a hat and sunglasses, so less of him is visible. That's about the nicest thing I can come up with.
Stephen (8:46:59 PM): Yeah... I got nothing. Good for Kid Rock, I guess.
Linda (8:47:16 PM): I feel like I've been hating him since it was timely. Which has been a long time.
Stephen (8:48:04 PM): When I was in college radio, I got a record of his called "Yodelin' In The Valley" in... 1992? So I've hated him longer than you have! AH WIN!
Linda (8:48:19 PM): Wow. Worse than Kid Rock? Kid Rock yodeling.

Linda (8:50:16 PM): I'm just really, REALLY looking forward to Miley Cyrus singing with Taylor Swift. Can you imagine if they COMBINE THEIR POWERS?
Stephen (8:50:50 PM): Just by typing those words, you have torn the fabric of the Talent-Space Continuum.
Stephen (8:51:00 PM): I don't even know what that means.
Linda (8:51:15 PM): Neither would Miley Cyrus. Hiyo!
Stephen (8:51:28 PM): YES! Linda Holmes, makin' with the zingers!
Linda (8:51:45 PM): I'm here all week. It actually feels like I've already been here all week.
Stephen (8:52:31 PM): I'm too busy typing to feel the tedium.
Linda (8:53:37 PM): IT'S MILEY!
Stephen (8:53:51 PM): Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus! Swyrus!
Linda (8:54:01 PM): Yyyyyeah.
Linda (8:54:10 PM): I like how they're unplugged.
Stephen (8:54:52 PM): This is a big moment we're witnessing, here.
Linda (8:55:16 PM): That's a lotta sequins on Miley.
Stephen (8:55:45 PM): The first time these two legends have shared a stage. Ever! In their whole, long careers!
Linda (8:55:57 PM): They've been feuding since Woodstock.
Stephen (8:56:46 PM): The audience is all abuzz. Paul McCartney is like, "Holy crap. I CANNOT BELIEVE MY EYES!"
Linda (8:57:05 PM): You can kind of tell they both really miss Auto-Tune.
Stephen (8:57:24 PM): So did I.
Linda (8:57:30 PM): Hee. We all did.
Stephen (8:57:54 PM): Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals! My favorite category!
Linda (8:58:16 PM): If this isn't a walk for the Plant/Krauss thing, I just don't know.
Stephen (8:58:18 PM): Plant/Krauss are winning this for sure.
Stephen (8:58:22 PM): Jinx!
Linda (8:58:36 PM): WE ARE SMART!
Stephen (8:58:59 PM): WHOA! Robert Plant and Alison Krauss! I never would have guessed. You mean, it wasn't Jordin Sparks and Chris Brown?
Linda (8:59:17 PM): Jordin Sparks is all, "What do I have to DO?"
Stephen (8:59:59 PM): Now is as good a time as any to talk about this record, which, while very good, seems like it came out in 2005. I mean, doesn't it? Doesn't this feel AT LEAST three years old, or is it just me?
Linda (9:00:11 PM): No, I hear you.
Stephen (9:00:56 PM): Same with the Radiohead record, but at least I can place that record's existence on a continuum. The Plant-Krauss record seems like ten musical lifetimes ago.
Linda (9:01:30 PM): It really does. It's kind of...legendary already, you know? When a record is already "that Plant/Krauss record" rather than "the Plant/Krauss record"...you know what I mean?
Stephen (9:02:14 PM): I do! And I'd totally rather crack wise about how old that record is than talk some more about poor Jennifer Hudson, who's performing at the moment. Not a lot of room for wisecracks there.
Linda (9:02:36 PM): God. I'll just say this: I can only imagine how great the person who came in FIFTH must be doing!
Stephen (9:03:06 PM): American Idol — Sixth Place! Who came in ahead of her? I bet you do. LaToya London?
Linda (9:03:22 PM): Umm...I don't know. Off to Wikipedia!
Stephen (9:03:44 PM): Help me out. Was she beaten out by the mighty Diana DeGarmo?
Linda (9:03:55 PM): She was. And some other people.
Stephen (9:04:14 PM): So... Fantasia, then?
Linda (9:04:36 PM): Okay, excuse me — she came in SEVENTH. She was beaten by John Stevens, George Huff, LaToya London, Jasmine Trias, AND Diana DeGarmo and Fantasia.
Stephen (9:05:09 PM): Good heavens. John Stevens? Wow.
Linda (9:05:19 PM): Shame on us, America. SHAAAAAAAME.
Stephen (9:05:39 PM): Did YOU vote for Jennifer Hudson, Linda? DID YOU?
Stephen (9:05:46 PM): Like you, I sat on my hands.
Stephen (9:06:11 PM): Oh, and power-dialed for George Huff, of course.
Linda (9:06:34 PM): While bouncing.
Stephen (9:07:08 PM): Of course.

Stephen (9:09:21 PM): Jason Mraz, boooooooooooo!
Linda (9:09:29 PM): Man, this dude bugs me.
Stephen (9:09:57 PM): It's that "Squibbity-floobity" scatty thing he does that I can't stand.
Stephen (9:10:25 PM): It's just so unbelievably affected. It's like The Spin Doctors meets Sublime. Current!
Linda (9:10:57 PM): I would also like to say, as if I haven't said essentially the same thing several times in other contexts, that Stevie Wonder must be very honored to find himself onstage with the Jonas Brothers.
Stephen (9:11:29 PM): Stevie's Big Day!
Linda (9:11:41 PM): Wow, that one Jonas Brother looks a LOT like k.d. lang.
Linda (9:11:50 PM): (I am a bad person.)
Stephen (9:12:29 PM): The very look he was going for, I'm sure. We are going to get slow-roasted over an open flame in the comments section, aren't we?
Linda (9:12:48 PM): Maybe by k.d. lang fans.
Stephen (9:13:31 PM): Let's see... The Jonas Brothers, Coldplay, Miley Cyrus... No one on the Internet has any strong feelings about any of them, right?
Linda (9:13:51 PM): Not at all. I'd also like to say a few things about chiropractors, cyclists, and declawing your cat.
Stephen (9:14:20 PM): Circumcision! Veganism! PETA!
Linda (9:15:01 PM): Okay, Blink-182 really just reminded me how much I don't miss Blink-182.
Stephen (9:15:17 PM): BLINK-182 IS BACK!
Linda (9:15:27 PM): You can tell everyone is like, "Wait, was that an announcement?"
Stephen (9:15:38 PM): "They stopped?"
Linda (9:15:39 PM): BOY does little of this make me think "rock."
Linda (9:15:47 PM): (In the "Best Rock Album" category, that is.)
Linda (9:16:10 PM): HA HA HA Coldplay! Is best Rock Album! And the Internet explodes again!
Stephen (9:16:22 PM): "And the winner is the rockingest rock band that ever rocked, Coldplay!"
Linda (9:16:39 PM): "Rock on, ladies!"
Stephen (9:17:38 PM): Aw, the poor Grammys. This happens to them every year: "This is the year we're going to be totally awesome and current, unlike last year, when Tony Bennett won Album Of The Year." And then, the voters pick who they pick.

Stephen (9:19:04 PM): That's the thing: You nominate Jethro Tull for Best Metal Album, and a significant portion of your voters are going to be like, "Hey, Jethro Tull! I know them."
Linda (9:19:32 PM): Well, yeah. You can't entirely do anything about it.
Linda (9:20:02 PM): I don't even know who the Grammys are supposed to be for anymore. Like, who considers this important.
Stephen (9:21:17 PM): Well, it's the conundrum the Grammys can never fully get around. Your telecast has to have the biggest stars, whether or not they're any good, because otherwise, no one would watch. Which means, in turn, that at some point, you're going to have to give them awards. CBS isn't going to spend a jillion dollars to hand out trophies to Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes.
Linda (9:22:05 PM): Well, that's why those people have you.
Stephen (9:22:37 PM): I guess. I can't tell if all that makes me more or less relevant.
Linda (9:22:53 PM): Craig Ferguson has one of my favorite accents.
Linda (9:23:14 PM): Uchhhhh, Katy Perry.
Linda (9:23:17 PM): UCCCCHHHHHHH.
Stephen (9:23:19 PM): Your favorite!
Linda (9:24:13 PM): Well, come on. What is daring about this? It's like..."Girls kissing girls! AUTOMATICALLY WITTY!"
Stephen (9:24:40 PM): Somewhere, Jill Sobule is punching the wall.
Linda (9:25:18 PM): Well, yes. That too. And also: what is with all this fruit-wearing horsepucky? Like, Georgia O'Keefe did SPECIFIC things with fruit, okay?
Linda (9:25:45 PM): In particular, the banana seems especially irrelevant, I'm just going to say.
Stephen (9:26:12 PM): Ha! There is that. I'm getting mixed messages!
Stephen (9:26:34 PM): It's making me want to play Ms. Pac Man, though.
Linda (9:26:57 PM): Ha! Good point.
Linda (9:26:59 PM): KANYE!
Stephen (9:27:22 PM): TEN-TIME GRAMMY WINNER Kanye West. Ten times.
Linda (9:27:41 PM): I totally dig this song, though, I will admit.
Stephen (9:29:08 PM): Oh, I like Kanye just fine. But here's where I uncork my rant about the Grammys ALWAYS honoring the safest entry point into a scary genre. "I want to be the sort of person who likes jazz." Norah Jones! Herbie Hancock! "I want to be the sort of person who likes blues." Bonnie Raitt! "Hip-hop." Kanye! And on and on.
Linda (9:29:31 PM): Well, this is where I have to say: they did not so much go that route with Lil Wayne.
Stephen (9:30:04 PM): Did Kanye West just seriously complain about a Grammy he did not win? COME ON, MAN.
Linda (9:30:16 PM): He did.
Linda (9:30:50 PM): I like Adele fine; I am happy for her winning Best New Artist. It's better than the Jonas Brothers.
Stephen (9:31:01 PM): Adele is the Best New Artist! Best of them all! Adele will endure!
Stephen (9:32:05 PM): Of the crop that got nominated, sure. I do think that Best New Artist might have been a good place to nominate someone like, say, Fleet Foxes or (in a perfect world that will never exist) Bon Iver.
Linda (9:32:43 PM): Of course. But as you say, that will not happen. Bearded recluses are not the darlings of your major awards shows.

Stephen (9:33:08 PM): I promised myself I would not use this forum to talk about Bands With Beards.
Linda (9:34:04 PM): But you cannot help yourself.
Linda (9:36:04 PM): Hey, in ten minutes, these awards will be half over.
Stephen (9:36:26 PM): Glory be!
Linda (9:36:59 PM): What is the deal, Morgan Freeman?
Linda (9:37:17 PM): Morgan Freeman and Kenny Chesney are friends?
Linda (9:37:21 PM): How did THAT happen?
Stephen (9:37:56 PM): Were they in The Bone Collector together? I have no idea.
Linda (9:38:26 PM): Hee. Yeah, Kenny played "The Country Singer" in "Driving Miss Daisy."
Stephen (9:39:05 PM): This is a pretty boring ballad, but at least it's not "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy."
Linda (9:39:11 PM): Is that a real song?
Stephen (9:39:46 PM): I'm afraid so.
Stephen (9:40:11 PM): The thing is, you know how good you think that song is going to be? It's not that good.
Linda (9:40:41 PM): That's exactly how "He's Just Not That Into You" is.
Stephen (9:41:06 PM): Tell you what: I won't go see that movie, and you don't seek out "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy."
Stephen (9:41:13 PM): Record Of The Year! Coldplay, I bet.
Linda (9:41:24 PM): I agree. They seem to be on a roll.
Stephen (9:41:46 PM): Unless Slumdog Fever sweeps MIA to the win.
Linda (9:41:51 PM): Oh, nice!
Stephen (9:41:54 PM): Whoa, Plant/Krauss!
Linda (9:42:06 PM): That's a very good record; that's a good pick.
Stephen (9:42:14 PM): That may portent Album Of The Year for this Golden Oldie, too.
Stephen (9:42:28 PM): I like this record quite a bit. It just seems to predate the iPod.
Linda (9:42:54 PM): Yeah, but it clearly doesn't, so get over it! Get over it; you just hate hoedowns!
Stephen (9:44:41 PM): Fine, fine. Good record, fine. But why don't the Grammys go by calendar year? That would seem to be a pretty easy fix, if your goal is to make the Grammys seem current. But I will drop it. Good record, Leona Lewis didn't win, fine.
Linda (9:44:54 PM): Yeah, Leona Lewis...no.

Linda (9:48:20 PM): Queen Latifah! Still like her.
Stephen (9:50:21 PM): I like her, too. Just had someone email to ask for the difference between Song Of The Year and Record Of The Year. Song Of The Year is for achievements in songwriting, while Record Of The Year goes to the complete package: songwriting, performance, production, etc.
Linda (9:50:52 PM): Right. And while you did that, a very confusing thing happened where Kanye, Jay-Z, T.I., and Lil Wayne singing "Swagga Like Us" was somehow connected to Dean Martin, and I am still dizzy.
Linda (9:51:15 PM): Oh, and M.I.A., who is hugely pregnant. Am I dreaming this?
Stephen (9:52:07 PM): I have no idea, dude. Oh, and to clarify, that horrible Jason Mraz song is considered one of the year's five greatest achievements in songwriting, but it's not up for Record Of The Year. It lost some luster in the recording process, I guess.
Linda (9:52:25 PM): Some of the greatness that was on the page just didn't translate.
Stephen (9:53:39 PM): It only made the result less fan-mraz-tic! [Exhales slowly, takes drink.]
Stephen (9:54:15 PM): I feel like that MIA song didn't really need the guest rappers and whatnot.
Linda (9:54:33 PM): Heh.
Linda (9:54:45 PM): Also: Kate Beckinsale is hilariously overdressed. She knows nothing of the Grammys.
Stephen (9:54:55 PM): Kate Beckinsale ROCK 'N' ROLL WOOOOO!
Linda (9:55:11 PM): Well, she is mostly from a few years ago, so it's fitting.
Stephen (9:55:20 PM): She looks like she's about to hand an award to Dame Judi Dench.
Linda (9:55:55 PM): This is not what I want for my Paul McCartney dollar. I'm sorry.
Stephen (9:56:59 PM): Paul McCartney is so enthusiastic, no matter what you make him do. You could make him present a Kids' Choice Lifetime Achievement Award to Mario Lopez, and he'd do it with a grin.
Linda (9:57:14 PM): Dave Grohl seems like he thinks this is pretty rad, and that's kind of saving it for me.
Stephen (9:57:37 PM): Great drummer, for real.
Stephen (9:57:55 PM): I guess that goes without saying, but he really is a fantastic drummer.
Linda (9:58:02 PM): Also funny on Top Chef!
Linda (9:58:07 PM): Sorry, I am a heathen.
Linda (9:58:14 PM): (But he was really funny and charming on Top Chef.)
Stephen (9:58:36 PM): I'm three and a half seasons behind. Don't give anything away!
Linda (9:58:47 PM): You share your currency with the Grammys. BOOYAH!
Stephen (9:59:43 PM): I think Raising Sand came out during Season 2 of Top Chef. (Okay, NOW I'll stop.)

Linda (10:00:42 PM): I'll believe that when I see it.
Stephen (10:01:59 PM): One thing I have in common with the Grammys: We've both aged appreciably as a result of this telecast.
Linda (10:02:24 PM): That is true. I have sprouted six additional gray hairs.
Stephen (10:03:14 PM): Me, too! I just looked at my ravaged features in the mirror — I think the light in my eyes has been extinguished.
Stephen (10:04:26 PM): So, while we're in commercial, did Jimmy Sturr win Best Polka for the umpteenth time this year? And, more to the point, do you think there are struggling, critically acclaimed polka musicians who curse Jimmy Sturr's name for bogarting the Grammys?
Linda (10:05:04 PM): I don't actually know! I am behind on my research! But I'm sure there are people who hate him. He is hogging the not-that-large polka glory.
Stephen (10:05:50 PM): I like to think that there's a Salieri to Jimmy Sturr's Mozart. Every year, he's nominated, but he knows he can never win.
Stephen (10:06:06 PM): Kid Rock is pop, but Coldplay is pop?
Linda (10:06:07 PM): I love this category! Kid Rock v. James Taylor!
Stephen (10:06:17 PM): Sorry — I meant Coldplay is rock.
Linda (10:06:17 PM): And they both get beat by John Mayer. HA HA.
Stephen (10:06:47 PM): You know who I like better than fellow nominee Jason Mraz? John Mayer.
Stephen (10:06:58 PM): Mraz goes 0 for 2!
Linda (10:07:06 PM): Let's go for 0 for 3!
Linda (10:07:21 PM): Man, Jay Mohr is turning into Kevin James.
Stephen (10:08:09 PM): LL Cool J and Jay Mohr just introduced Sugarland and Adele. It is the Grammys' Year Of Cognitive Dissonance.
Linda (10:08:22 PM): I guess this is Sugarland? "She's the Sugar, I'm the Land."
Stephen (10:09:01 PM): Every time I see or hear Sugarland, I think, "Oh, this is Sugarland." I literally have nothing to add to any discussion of Sugarland.
Linda (10:09:11 PM): Sounds delicious!
Stephen (10:10:22 PM): Do you remember a band called The Calling? They had a ghastly hit a while back, and every single time I heard it — dozens and dozens of times — I would say to myself, "Man, this sucks; who is this?"
Linda (10:10:50 PM): Ha! I do vaguely remember the name, but not what song it was. I'm like a backwards you.
Stephen (10:11:31 PM): I'm amazed that I remember the band name. I refuse to Google it to find out, even for you.
Linda (10:12:22 PM): I take it not at all personally.
Linda (10:12:41 PM): So Adele is...fine? I'm kind of fascinated by her stage presence.
Stephen (10:13:04 PM): Okay, I lied: I think this is the one:
Stephen (10:13:05 PM): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEOFOobPw4o
Linda (10:13:33 PM): Well, I'll be sure to watch that later when I hate myself.
Stephen (10:14:05 PM): Speaking of exhaling slowly and taking a drink.
Linda (10:14:12 PM): For real.
Stephen (10:14:52 PM): "Wherever You Will Go." I remember being like, "Is it Eve 6? Lit? Tonic?"

Stephen (10:18:58 PM): Noted rocker Gwyneth Paltrow!
Stephen (10:19:51 PM): Wait, is she saying that Radiohead is better than Coldplay? Hmm...
Linda (10:20:33 PM): Wait, I was getting a beer.
Stephen (10:20:59 PM): Don't walk away from the set now — this is actually good! And they're not making Thom Yorke duet with T.I.!
Linda (10:21:21 PM): No, I'm here now. I mostly missed the Gwyneth "Bag Of Elbows" Paltrow introduction.
Stephen (10:22:33 PM): Ah, good. I did see Radiohead open for Belly once, so I'm sure there's nothing here that'll be new to me.
Linda (10:22:48 PM): Did they say what incredibly lucky marching band this is?
Stephen (10:23:10 PM): It has been a good year for marching bands, hasn't it?
Linda (10:23:22 PM): Every year is a good year for marching bands!
Stephen (10:23:51 PM): I'm just saying, did that marching band ALSO get to play at the inauguration, or was that every other marching band in America?
Linda (10:24:15 PM): I think there was a policy where if you came with a flugelhorn, they let you in.
Stephen (10:24:44 PM): Flugelhorns always signify hope.
Linda (10:25:05 PM): And, of course, the audacity of the flugelhorn.
Stephen (10:25:42 PM): Don't worry, people — we're at commercial.
Stephen (10:25:58 PM): We should be live-blogging this Applebee's commercial, though.
Linda (10:26:08 PM): Not to mention this ad for Two And A Half Men!
Stephen (10:27:22 PM): I have just received a sternly worded statement from The Recording Academy: "We have just been informed that Rihanna will not be attending tonight's 51st Annual GRAMMY Awards. We're sorry she is unable to join us this evening."
Stephen (10:27:35 PM): Noooooooooooooo!
Linda (10:27:50 PM): Maybe she accidentally folded herself up in her...never mind, I can't do it.
Stephen (10:27:58 PM): Ooh, yeah, don't.
Linda (10:28:05 PM): I have found a joke that is too lame for me.
Stephen (10:28:12 PM): I know! Wow.
Stephen (10:29:27 PM): Do you suppose she was going to perform "Umbrella" with James Taylor, The Jonas Brothers, and Robert Plant?
Linda (10:29:44 PM): Is Justin Timberlake...cold?
Stephen (10:29:49 PM): Just imagine the unlikely mash-up we missed! Come back, Rihanna!
Stephen (10:29:57 PM): And, yeah, that is some jacket he's got on.
Linda (10:30:11 PM): He's all bundled up. I think he misunderstood the dry ice.
Stephen (10:30:59 PM): I like how all hip-hop performances on the Grammys necessitate a guest appearance by Justin Timberlake.
Linda (10:31:16 PM): You know how tofu can taste like anything?
Linda (10:31:44 PM): Well, that's Justin Timberlake. Adds protein, doesn't bring any distracting personality.
Stephen (10:32:54 PM): Ha! I really do like Justin Timberlake — I do! — but you've got a point. I just find it... interesting that they can't do hip-hop without him, as if it's only palatable when he's involved.
Linda (10:33:22 PM): No, I know. I like him too! I have nothing against tofu. It's just...he doesn't distract from ANYTHING. He kind of looks weirdly like he belongs everywhere.
Linda (10:33:45 PM): But why they can't do it without him, I do not know.
Stephen (10:34:02 PM): Yeah, it's true that he could JUST as easily have popped up onstage with Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus.
Stephen (10:34:18 PM): President of the Recording Academy!
Linda (10:34:23 PM): I know, right? I kind of would love to see him sing "Bye Bye Bye."
Stephen (10:34:52 PM): [Passes out, conks head on desk, wakes up, types some more.]
Linda (10:35:12 PM): This entire intro is basically this dude going, "I have met Barack Obama — here's our picture!"
Stephen (10:35:38 PM): Wow, are they really going to have an entire Grammy telecast without anyone lecturing us about piracy?
Linda (10:35:47 PM): It's theft, you know, Stephen.
Linda (10:35:55 PM): HA HA HA!
Linda (10:35:59 PM): It's like you brought it on.
Stephen (10:36:24 PM): Hey, I stole that Lil Wayne single to feed music to my starving family!
Linda (10:36:38 PM): There's a Grammy Museum? I bet that's a barn-burner.
Stephen (10:37:25 PM): I could get lost for hours in the Sheryl Crow Wing.
Linda (10:38:16 PM): I like the planetarium show where Herbie Hancock floats through space.
Linda (10:39:08 PM): Smokey Robinson, the Last Top Standing, Ne-Yo, and Jamie Foxx are singing. Just so everyone is up to date.
Stephen (10:39:36 PM): Sorry! I was too busy concocting a joke about a museum exhibit involving Bonnie Raitt.
Linda (10:39:44 PM): I bet that was a good one, too.
Linda (10:41:11 PM): That Ne-Yo is one suave fella.
Stephen (10:41:23 PM): Is he the old, bald guy?
Linda (10:41:31 PM): He is not!
Stephen (10:41:42 PM): Is he Smokey Robinson?
Linda (10:41:46 PM): He is not!
Stephen (10:42:02 PM): Through process of elimination, I am narrowing it down. Was he in Ray?
Linda (10:42:09 PM): Almost.

Linda (10:46:30 PM): Man, this is like running a marathon.
Linda (10:47:14 PM): GROBAN!
Stephen (10:47:21 PM): Josh Groban! [Hides under desk.]
Linda (10:47:32 PM): Don't worry; he's just talking.
Linda (10:47:43 PM): ABOUT NEIL DIAMOND BOOGEDA-BOOGEDA!
Stephen (10:48:00 PM): Neil Diamond, huh? [Returns to hiding place under desk.]
Stephen (10:48:23 PM): Boy, his last record was such a snooze.
Linda (10:48:48 PM): Well, he's going to the "Sweet Caroline" place, so you can pretend you're at the ball game.
Stephen (10:49:06 PM): I like to think that Radiohead and Stevie Wonder and Al Green and Paul McCartney were all just opening for Neil Diamond.
Linda (10:50:00 PM): There was just a great shot of T.I. nodding his head. Like "Yeah, 'Sweet Caroline,' good tune."
Stephen (10:50:45 PM): After this, Neil Diamond should just be like, "Thank you everybody goodnight!" Then they can just roll credits.
Linda (10:50:57 PM): Man, that would be such a relief.
Stephen (10:51:04 PM): Think the Grammys have an identity crisis?
Linda (10:51:16 PM): Props from Jason Mraz!
Linda (10:51:19 PM): Meaning: Yes.
Linda (10:51:29 PM): PARADE OF THE DEAD!
Stephen (10:52:14 PM): And now, the endlessly discomfort-inducing journey through the cavalcade of recently deceased musicians, some of whom receive way more applause than the others.
Linda (10:52:26 PM): The whole thing just makes me cringe.
Linda (10:52:29 PM): Always.
Stephen (10:53:00 PM): They're racing through these pretty quickly.
Linda (10:53:19 PM): Well, since apparently executives are included, they have a lot of ground to cover.
Stephen (10:54:35 PM): It's fair enough to include executives, especially when you're talking about folks like Jerry Wexler, but I just grind my teeth when people cheer for one person and are stone-silent for, say, Odetta.
Linda (10:55:10 PM): Oh, sure. And it all just gets very crass and efficient, like, "And now, deceased pianists. Please put your hands together."
Stephen (10:56:17 PM): Is it just me, or did they frontload all of the awards into the first hour?
Stephen (10:56:28 PM): I feel like nothing has happened in AGES.
Linda (10:56:53 PM): Dude, seriously, this has just stalled in a mad attack of performances.
Stephen (10:57:39 PM): Okay, let the Album Of The Year speculation begin. Will it be Ne-Yo? No? Okay, that leaves Lil Wayne, Coldplay, Radiohead, and Robert Plant/Alison Krauss.
Linda (10:57:53 PM): I think Coldplay or Plant/Krauss.
Stephen (10:58:25 PM): I agree. My guess, about which I feel reasonably confident: Plant/Krauss.
Linda (10:58:35 PM): Yeah, I think that's a good guess.
Stephen (11:00:45 PM): It's sort of prestige-y, in the way the Herbie Hancock album of Joni Mitchell covers was prestige-y. But it is a lovely record.
Linda (11:01:34 PM): It totally is. And I think it will win for several reasons.
Stephen (11:02:24 PM): It is a great big hunk of Grammy bait, that's for sure.
Linda (11:03:35 PM): So this is where I admit that I do not dig Lil Wayne.
Stephen (11:04:11 PM): But he's rapping alongside Robin Thicke and Allen Toussaint!
Linda (11:04:31 PM): I just feel like all these collaborations are supposed to be cool and are just weird.
Stephen (11:05:42 PM): I love a good bit of stunt casting, and I love performances you'd never see in any other context. But so many of these are leaving me cold. I mean, Robin Thicke and Lil Wayne?
Linda (11:06:08 PM): No, totally. I love unexpected collaborations very, very much. But they have to feel somewhat organic, and most of these just do not.
Stephen (11:06:45 PM): I liked Robin Thicke better when he was performing as part of The Bachelor's Most Romantic One-On-One Date Ever.
Linda (11:07:13 PM): I would totally date The Bachelor. I will just say right now.
Stephen (11:08:19 PM): You can tell that the Grammy telecast has flown off the rails in a big way, because I'm going to take the time to point out that my wife totally would, too. The Bachelor guy is usually a total wad, but this season's dude is really likable.
Linda (11:08:45 PM): He is. I don't know how he got involved with that freakshow.
Stephen (11:09:47 PM): I am receiving all sorts of news alerts about Chris Brown (and his girlfriend, Rihanna) missing the ceremony because of an incident that has landed the former in police custody. We are burying the lede!
Linda (11:10:06 PM): Yeah, I saw that go by.
Stephen (11:10:19 PM): Okay, that said: Best Rap Album. Let me guess: Lil Wayne.
Linda (11:10:28 PM): Easy one.
Linda (11:11:20 PM): Yeah, I'm not addressing the Chris Brown thing, because it appears facts are not in, but: ugh.
Stephen (11:13:06 PM): Yeah, there's nothing to add to the reports, at least at this point. As for Best Rap Album, I didn't feel the Lil Wayne record at all. I'd rather listen to any of the other four nominees — for the record, that's Jay-Z, Lupe Fiasco, Nas, and T.I.
Linda (11:13:52 PM): Yeah, it's not rap I don't like. It's that record. As I think I told you in an earlier conversation I cannot repeat on a family web site, there are things that get screamed on that record that I just don't need to hear anymore.
Stephen (11:16:17 PM): I'm no pearl-clutching moralizer, God knows, but I just find that album's endless parade of joyless misogyny kind of, well, joyless. And... oh, this is going to make me sound like SUCH an old fuddy-duddy, but "bitch" doesn't rhyme with "s—-."
Linda (11:17:18 PM): HA! No, I know. And I agree with you about the joyless misogyny. I understand why parts of it appealed to people, but for me, I was partly annoyed because I felt like it was going to drive me to BECOME a pearl-clutching moralizer, which I'm usually not either.
Stephen (11:18:01 PM): I know so many people who love it, too. It's just 100 percent Not My Thing.
Linda (11:18:18 PM): Right, I know.
Linda (11:19:01 PM): Okay, so we're both not Lil Wayne people. And now, here is Plant/Krauss for us to praise, so we can seem even more like we have become our parents.
Stephen (11:19:58 PM): God, seriously. "And what's with these kids and their baggy pants? I like this Robert Plant, but that gentleman needs to CUT HIS HAIR!"
Linda (11:20:12 PM): And she is showing rather a lot of skin!
Linda (11:20:18 PM): Young lady, what will people think?
Stephen (11:20:34 PM): Cover those ankles!
Linda (11:21:13 PM): T-Bone Burnett cuts quite a figure.
Stephen (11:22:23 PM): Boy, he sure does. This record has got his DNA everywhere — it is the T-Bone Burnettiest record that ever T-Bone Burnetted.
Linda (11:22:43 PM): And he's having a good time, too.
Stephen (11:23:37 PM): Album Of The Year!
Linda (11:23:41 PM): Whee!
Stephen (11:23:51 PM): Coldplay, Ne-Yo, Lil Wayne, Radiohead, Plant/Krauss!
Stephen (11:24:06 PM): I am positive Plant/Krauss will win.
Linda (11:24:22 PM): You are right!
Stephen (11:24:26 PM): AH AM A GENIUS!
Linda (11:24:51 PM): You really are.
Linda (11:24:58 PM): They are determined to bring this sucker in on time!
Linda (11:25:14 PM): It's easier when you hardly give out any awards, so you have so few speeches to contend with.
Stephen (11:25:30 PM): And yet I feel like I've aged SO MUCH.
Linda (11:25:44 PM): We started out the evening LIKING Lil Wayne!
Stephen (11:26:09 PM): I started the evening as Taylor Swift; I ended it as Clive Davis.
Linda (11:26:19 PM): You used to be a Jonas Brother!
Linda (11:26:31 PM): And now: a darker-haired Robert Plant.
Stephen (11:26:31 PM): Now I'm Jimmy Sturr!
Linda (11:26:42 PM): At least you have won many, many Grammys.
Stephen (11:27:24 PM): Hey, I wouldn't mind being Jimmy Sturr. He can't be much older than I feel right now.
Linda (11:27:45 PM): How did our collective musical culture become the property of freaking Green Day?
Linda (11:27:54 PM): (Who closed the show, I should point out.)
Linda (11:28:02 PM): (Talking, not playing — that's Stevie Wonder.)
Stephen (11:29:24 PM): Yeah, with American Idiot, Green Day suddenly became a Major Award-Winning American Band. Which is... just a little bit puzzling. I mean, that album is fine, but it's not Born To Run.
Linda (11:30:03 PM): It was a good night for what at least one writer I knew used to call "shorts punk," what with the prominence of Green Day and the revival (I guess?) of Blink-182.
Stephen (11:30:43 PM): During the telecast, I got a press release about Blink-182 reuniting. So I guess that was a major breakthrough announcement they were making.
Linda (11:30:54 PM): Did you immediately tell all your friends?
Stephen (11:31:08 PM): I think I just did!
Linda (11:31:29 PM): Well, I'm honored. What more can I ask from Grammy night than the return of a band I didn't like?

And with that, Stephen and I bring down the curtain on this year's weird, collaboration-tastic Grammy Awards telecast. Thanks for reading, thanks for watching (or maybe not), and we'll see you next time we decide to drag you into the world between our couches. Thanks to Stephen for participating, thanks to NPR Music for helping me be less hopelessly out of touch than I would otherwise, and here's to the next great record from some really old people that will undoubtedly win Album Of The Year in February 2010 — may we all be here to enjoy it together.

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