The Grammy Awards are a funny business, don’t you think? Ever since I can remember, I’ve never been a fan. I’m not saying I wasn’t a fan of music, but back in the day it seemed that the Grammy Awards never represented the music I was listening to. Of course I was always the odd one out when it came to music – I never really listened to what was popular, and that’s pretty much what the Grammy Awards represent.
I used to think the Grammys was just one big spectacle of over-paid singers who use the opportunity to show off pyrotechnics and dance moves while they lip-sync to their own songs. And that’s still a big part of the show. But after watching the awards show last night, something was different. I found myself actually enjoying it.
Some people may not think so, but this was a big year in music. Granted I probably kept up with music more than I ever have before, which made me more aware of the music world, but a lot of great music came out this year. Katy Perry released Teenage Dream, which churned out so many hits that she actually tied Michael Jackson’s Bad record of five number-one singles from the same album (she’s desperately trying to get “The One That Got Away” up there just so she can beat him). And Adele is on her way to beating Whitney Houston’s The Bodyguard soundtrack’s 20-week reign at the top of the charts (Adele’s 21 is currently at 19 weeks).
So much great music came out this year that I was excited to see some recognition at the Grammys. After going through all the nominations I realized that for the first time ever, I was totally in the know when it came to all the nominees. As I mentioned in a previous post, I used to be all up on the Academy Awards when it came to who and what was nominated. But now it’s almost as if I’ve switched parties. I own practically all the music that was nominated last night – something I definitely can’t say about the Oscars. I realized that these music people? They’re my kind of people.
There were some typical moments you’d expect at a music awards show, but here are the parts I found myself enjoying, the parts that made me realize how much I love music and it’s effect on my life.
1. Bruno Mars Lights Up the Stage
The Grammys opened on a somber note, a prayer by awesome host LL Cool J to honor the late Whitney Houston, who suddenly passed away the day before. But what followed was an amazingly upbeat and kickass performance by one of my 2011 faves, Bruno Mars. He sang his song “Runaway” from his album Doo-Wops And Hooligans. He got everyone on their feet, literally telling them all to “get off your rich asses” and celebrate. He then channeled James Brown with his suit and dance moves and proceeded to blow everyone away with his performance. Great way to get the show going.
2. Dave Grohl Tells It Like It Is
When the Foo Fighters won for Best Rock Performance, frontman Dave Grohl let everyone know how he really feels about today’s music industry, basically telling off any artist who’s ever used autotune while creating music. Why is this important? Well, it’s important because there are some truly talented musicians out there who can sing their asses off, yet the ones who seem to get the success are the ones who are singing someone else’s song in a studio with no real talent required. His words:
“To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s most important,” he said, as members of the audience began to applaud. “Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about sounding correct. It’s not about what goes on in a computer. It’s about what goes on in here (points to heart) and what goes on in here (points to head.)”
3. Bon Iver Wins Best New Artist (And Gives An Awesome Shout-Out)
Bon Iver, aka Justin Vernon is one those artists that only Hipsters know about, as they will be the first to tell you. He’s very indie, recording his Grammy-nominated self-titled album deep in the Wisconsin woods, and relatively unknown to fans of Katy Perry and Rihanna. But he managed to beat out newcomers like Nicki “I Exorcised Myself” Minaj and The Band “No Relation To Katy” Perry to win Best New Artist, and while people were trying to figure out who the hell this guy was, he gave a shout out to his hometown Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he attended college…wait for it…AT THE SAME TIME AS ME. Awesomeness.
4. Adele Sings the S*** Out of “Rolling in the Deep”
When the world first heard that Adele had throat surgery, many wondered if she would ever be able to sing again. Then we wondered if she was going to be able to perform at The Grammys. And then we wondered…well…what is she going to sound like after having throat surgery??? She sounds so amazing in the studio recording, how will she ever sound that way again??
Well….she pretty much killed it last night at the Grammys.
Adele doesn’t need people dressed up as animals doing flips behind her on stage. She doesn’t need a dance crew. She doesn’t need to roll around on the floor to get people’s attention. All she needs to do is open her mouth and sing. She is an absolutely amazing singer and deserved all six awards she received. Fank you, Adele. Fank you.
5. Jennifer Hudson Makes Me Cry Like a 13-year-old Girl
Since the passing of Whitney was so sudden, literally happening 24 hours before the Grammy Awards, the academy knew they had to do some sort of tribute despite not having any time to do it. They kept it simple, having ex-American Idol, ex-Dreamgirl Jennifer Hudson sing Whitney’s biggest hit, “I Will Always Love You” (even though the song really belongs to Dolly Parton, who is probably in some bar somewhere going, “Hey, wait, um…that’s my hit!”). J Hud could have easily belted out that song like the Dreamgirl she is, but whether it was nerves or emotion or respect, she kept it low-ley. Which was probably the best and only way she could have done it. She sounded great, and when her tears came at the end, well, I turned into mush circa 1992 all over again.
All in all – and even though Chris Brown won a Grammy and Bruno Mars didn’t – it was a good show. It made me realize that although the music industry has changed over the past few years, it’s stronger than ever, and I’m so excited for what kind of music I’ll discover in 2012. See you next year at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards!