Monday, February 14, 2011

2011 Grammy Review

Love this guy
Ok, so I don't normally do this type of thing. I consider myself more of a music lover than a music critic. I tuned into the Grammy's last night for the first time in many years. I had decided to watch them for the sole purpose of seeing my hero, Bob Dylan perform. I saw him live in concert a couple of years ago (which by the way I had assumed would be one of the most important moments of my life), and was so let down and unsatisfied that I had been holding a bit of a grudge. When I heard he was going to be at the Grammy's I knew that I had to watch, because the love that I have for this man is an unconditional kind. I have alot to say about last night - and not many people I know are as intense or opinionated about music as I am, so I wanted to share my thoughts with you guys :) I'm only going to talk about the performances I had particularly strong opinions about - and as for rest of the performances I either liked them or didn't care at all.

Not really my scene
The show opened with an Aretha Franklin tribute - feat. Florence Welch, Martina Mcbride, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Hudson and Yolanda Adams. Now I can't remember where I read it, (because i'd link to them if I did) but someone wrote that it was a poor choice to open the Grammy's with a tribute to the past - when it should have been with a representation of the future of music. I completely agree - and I know I might lose a few fans by saying this - but I am actually not an Aretha Franklin fan. Don't get me wrong, the lady has a set of pipes on her and a pile of mega hits - but I'm not that type of girl. I'm not into women's lib. So if I have to hear anything more about being R-E-S-P-E-C-T ed or feeling like a "natural woman", I think I might barf. Needless to say this set didn't do it for me.

Hot rack Gaga, literally
Moving on to Lady Gaga. I'm a huge fan of Lady Gaga personally as well as her music. I like her "I don't give a shit what you think and I’m going to keep doing what I do because it makes me happy" attitude. Her performance of "Born This Way", was great, but I didn't expect anything less from her. I thought the "wow" factor was low- sure she had some weird sort of shoulder implants, but I suppose it's hard to top shooting fireworks out of your bra.

Justin Bieber & Usher -  I"m not a fan of either so I'm quite biased. I was impressed though that the little "Bieb" started off his set with an acoustic solo. Honestly I think as a society we spend so much time and energy obsessing over this pre-pubescent boy and his immature hits that we are oblivious to the all of the AMAZING talent out there.  Hence why I started my blog.

Sidenote -who the eff is Esperanza and how did she win best new artist? Is she so new that she just came out with her album yesterday? Is this why we haven't heard of her? How did she beat out Mumford & Sons, Drake, Florence & The Machine & Bieber?

Bob Dylan, Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers
Speaking of amazing. Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers & Bob Dylan actually blew my mind. Mind is blown. I had kind of thought of the folk/bluegrass movement as a dead or underground scene, but I see it slowly making it's way back with the help of bands like this. Watching The Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons sing was incredible. The expressions on their face indicated that they might actually be in pain from singing so hard. Their performances came straight from their guts.  I'll blog about both bands later so I won't get too much into them. A final note on Dylan, I was happy to see him in the same way someone in an abuse relationship is always happy to see their lover.  He did do a mean harmonica solo, but I wasn't impressed by the song choice.  "Maggie's Farm" is not a Dylan song I would typically even consider worth mentioning.  Being an avid/obsessive fan I know that there are dozens of songs that would have been a better choice.  I'm thinking I should be on the Grammy committee next year. 

Lady Antebellum did a good job - and performed well, but I didn't particularly think they deserved some of the awards they won. They were up against some heavy hitters with real talent, like Eminem and Jay-Z.

Oh Cee Lo
Surprisingly I found myself really liking Cee Lo Green's performance of "Forget You". Dressed as a giant bird/butterfly?? - in an Elton John-esque manner with a set of muppets as his back-up band. This is what I expecte to see at the Grammy's - unnecessary bling, glitz and "wow" factor. 

I'm a Katy Perry fan for the most part - but was disappointed with her performance. I thought for sure she'd do something insane or wacky but instead she spent most of the time in a non-cleavage revealing dress on a giant swing while her wedding video played in the background. Unwanted and uncalled for PDA. We know you love your husband, but no one cares Katy.

I love the way he lies

My second favorite performance of the night was by Eminem/Rihanna/Skylar Grey and Dr Dre. I must say that Rihanna has grown on me over time. I like seeing her mix it up with rappers like Eminem, Ludacris etc. Everyone seems to like Eminem better as an angry rapper as opposed to the goofy "Slim Shady" persona. The crowd went wild for him. I like that Eminem never hesitates to throw a bone to Dr.Dre who would otherwise fade into the atmosphere. "Forgot about Dre" is one of my favorite hip hop songs but I often do "Forget" about Dre. It's nice to see him and Eminem out together again. This performance received a much deserved standing O from the audience.

I was stoked to see Mick Jagger on stage performing "Everybody Needs Somebody to Love" as a tribute to the late Solomon Burke. Hot damn that old guy has still got it, even at 67 years of age. My only disappointment was that his partner in crime, the ashes-snorting-loveable-trainwreck, Keith Richards didn't join him.

Arcade Fire for the win!

Finally - how surprised/thrilled were you guys to see Arcade Fire there? Not only did they perform (twice) but they took home the award for "Album of the Year"! They stuck out like a sore thumb in between the "Biebs","Drakes" and "Gaga's". The band is so humble and authentic and they completely deserved that win. One of my favorite quotes is from their song "Ready to Start" which they performed live, "I would rather be alone,Than pretend I feel alright."
Well there's my ranting - feel free to criticize/agree with me and post your comments! Any feedback is good feedback right? I'll post later in the week - likely about Mumford & Son or The Avett Brothers.

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