Thursday, February 18, 2016

Grammys 2016: Rock Off

I didn't see the Grammy Awards this past Monday night.  I didn't need to.  I only took a look at the major nominees and I knew who was going to win.  More importantly, I knew that rock and roll was going to lose.
There was no way Taylor Swift's 1989 album - appropriately named not because it's her birth year, but because it was the year that only one rock album (Mötley Crüe's Dr. Feelgood, which I actually reviewed on this blog) made the top of the Billboard Top Two Hundred LP chart, one more than the number of rock albums that topped that chart in 1990 - was not going be chosen for the Album of the Year Grammy. I have nothing against Taylor Swift, I think she's an okay performer, and sure, she's a little bit country, but she has never been rock and roll in any way, shape, or form.   Alabama Shakes, a bona fide rock band, had their Sound & Color LP up for Album of the Year, and it had as much chance of winning that award as Jim Gilmore had of winning the Republican presidential nomination.  Similarly, Florence + The Machine's "Ship To Wreck" was never going to beat out "Uptown Funk," by Mark Ronson with Bruno Mars, for the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance Grammy.  It's a good thing rock has its own award categories at the Grammys, otherwise rock would win nothing.
Oh yeah, Courtney Barnett, the Australian rocker known for her deadpan vocal and her fatalistic wordplay, lost the Best New Artist Grammy to Meghan Trainor, a singer best known for singing about how women's posteriors are what it's all about, Alfie.  Courtney Barnett is better off, though - sure, Meghan Trainor won the Best New Artist Grammy.  So did the Starland Vocal Band in 1977. :-p
When rock, soul, blues were celebrated in a big way at the Grammys, it was to honor the past - specifically, performers who died in the previous year, most of them in 2016.  So there were tributes to B.B. King, David Bowie, and Maurice White (but not Paul Kantner or Signe Anderson, the Jefferson Airplane veterans who died on the same day).  There was also a tribute to Natalie Cole . . . in the form of a mere 45-second video clip. :-O  Jackson Browne and the four of the six surviving musicians who have been in the Eagles did a heartfelt tribute to the late Glenn Frey, performing "Take It Easy," a song Frey and Browne co-wrote, with Browne on lead vocals.  However, it was marred by the conspicuous absence of Don Felder, who joined the band as a fifth member in 1974.  (Randy Meisner, the Eagles' original bassist, was, I believe, absent for personal reasons; apparently, things haven't been going very well for him.)
Did I happen to mention that Paul McCartney couldn't get into a post-ceremony party because the bouncer at the rap-dominated party didn't recognize him? Even rapper Shad Gregory Moss (also known as Bow Wow) couldn't believe that.  (Later reports said that Macca was denied entry because of possible overcrowding at the party that would have violated fire department codes.  Sure.)
Oh, one other thing . . .. Rapper Kendrick Lamar took home the most Grammys this year . . . five.
If rock music isn't dead, it's still in pretty critical condition.
Bow down your head, dear reader, bow down your head, and cry, bow down your head, dear reader, rock is a-gonna die (and most likely soul and jazz as well!).

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