Monday, February 12, 2007

Grammys tell Blunt: You're not that beautiful

We can't help but wonder if James Blunt's failure to convert any of the five Grammy nominations into a prize is partly because, like the rest of us, the Grammy academy went "didn't You're Beautiful come out like five or six years ago?"

Or maybe they just thought it was shocking.

In fact, it was a bit of a bad night all round for British music: Blunt, Corinne Bailey Rae, KT Tunstall and the Arctic Monkeys all discovered there was an end to how far they could coast on charm alone, and will now be recalibrating their hopes from "winning a prize on US network television" down into "might get a grope off Russell Brand."

The Dixie Chicks did splendidly, winning five prizes - best album, record of the year, song of the year, country album and country performance. This, of course, is the US midterm election replayed as prize ceremony. Indeed, so much did they dominate the ceremony that Yahoo lists the winners of everything under "Dixie Chicks news".

The Red Hot Chili Peppers scooped four awards - scandalously, Stadium Arcadium's so-so packaging beat out that goth compilation which came in a corset; it also picked up rock album, Rock Song (Dani California), and rock performance.

Despite Fergie sounding more bored than a dull child being forced to revise latin ("check it out" indeed), the Black Eyed Peas' My Humps was given best pop performance by a bunch. Christina Aguilera's Aint No Other Man was the best female pop and John Mayer's Waiting On The World To Change was the bloke's version.

Poor Justin Timberlake struggled with flu to make sure he didn't miss out a chance to boost the post-Christmas market ("didn't let down his fans"), but it was still The Police's first gig in, ooh, three or four years that won the most excited reviews - even although SFGate's Culture blog was less than thrilled:

The once-blonde trio played its hit, "Roxanne." In a word, it was "jazzy." Sting missed all the high notes, which is pretty much missing the point of the entire song.

But no other tunes were forthcoming. No "Every Breath You Take." No "Message In A Bottle." Not even a stupid medley with just the chorus from "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic."

The most surprising thing was how little all the members have aged. Seriously, it looked like 1983 up there. Especially if you were watching it on a black and white TV and pretended the drummer's hair wasn't gray.

Oh, and it was kind of weird that Sting didn't break out in a lute solo while having Tantric sex with a tree from the Amazon jungle.

Roxanne (not, we suspect, their real name), commenting on Monsters and Critics didn't put on a red light, either:
They should have picked up a phone and sung it in.
Don't bother getting back together.
That was awful and painful to watch.

The Associated Press reports that Randy Jackson seemed desperate to try and use Carrie Underwood's Grammy to somehow "prove" that American Idol is more than just a passing talent show - why, it's at the very heart of American cultural life:
"These kids definitely help to validate what we do," Jackson said. "... People talking about how mean and crazy we are — Simon (Cowell) calling people names and all that kind of stuff — the truth of the matter is that at the end of the season, someone great that wouldn't have had a chance otherwise, wins it and gets a shot at a career and I'm really happy about that."

If it is true that Carrie Underwood is that good, and it's true that she wouldn't have got a shot without American Idol, doesn't that not so much validate you, Abdul and Cowell shouting at thousands of hapless wannabes on TV less than condemn the whole music industry whose foul heart you are currently celebrating, Jackson?
Ryan Seacrest, of course, hosts both Idol and the Grammys, so he doesn't care either way. He wasn't afraid to ask the difficult questions, grilling John Mayer on the important issue of if he'd shagged Jessica Simpson (he didn't phrase it like that, of course - the FCC were Tivoing the show). MTV reports that Mayer answered in Japanese. We hope the delay on the broadcast was long enough to let someone translate the response.

And is Underwood really that good? Cinemablend certainly wasn't impressed:
Shame on Carrie Underwood for an inexcusably bland rendition of “Desperardo.” Here is a song that is loaded with passion and heart, and she served it up cold on a big plate of blah. It takes more than just reciting lyrics, Carrie … you have to at least pretend to be feeling them. Especially if you’re going to win the Best New Artist award over your far more exceptional peers.

Deserving an extra prize, surely, is Ludacris. Probably for chutzpah. The LA Daily News was almost delighted by his decision to thank Bill O'Reilly at Fox News for his help in securing the best rap award, as it was by Mary J Blige's refusal to take the subtle hint of an orchestra as loud as an angry hell-hound trying to get her off stage:
After winning best R&B album, Blige thanked her husband and children then started down a long list of names. The orchestra music began to get louder but Blige wasn't going anywhere. She kept reading names and as the music got louder, so did she until she was at the end of her list.

Apparently at the end, they were throwing depth charges.
Fahsionista's Fashion & Style blog nominated red-carpet best-dressed: Aguilera, Fergie and Blige. They do, however, bemoan the one-note dresses:
Grammy's red carpet Best Dressed vary, except they were all missing one thing: the color!

Mind you, the Grammys didn't embrace grey so tightly as to give a prize to James Blunt.
ClayCrane made it through the whole slew of prize-givings, and also had something to say about fashion:
One of the best performances of the night was from the Dixie Chicks who sang their “you just can’t take it” anthem, "Not Ready to Make Nice", which is an ode to all the rednecks fools of country music. The voice and performance was flawless…but to see Natalie Maines stuffed in that white dress, which resembled a middle school prom “cream puff” gown was insulting to their "political statement."

Hang about, though... did the Dixies even deserve to be flouncing about on stage in a puffy white dress? Tisbury Lane pulled on a tinfoil hat:
Grammys are rigged. I swear they are. The Academy is ridiculous. The Dixie Chicks and Mary J Blige did NOT deserve to walk away with that many Grammys. The Dixie Chicks especially did NOT deserve album of the year, over Justin Timberlake and John Mayer. Not in the least bit.

Yes... they must be rigged. Or, possibly, voted for by morons.Why go to the trouble of rigging an election when your candidate will win anyway?
Newspaper man Driving to Oahu suggested his paper run the following headline to mark the Chick's victory:
Recording industry jumps on worldwide bandwagon

- he was, we should point out, joking.
Young at Heart, however, wasn't:
Anyways, I'm actually kind of shocked that the Dixie Chicks were there, much less won what was it, 4 awards? I got nervous every time they went up on stage, kinda like I got nervous when Kanye West came out. Now I haven't heard all of "Not Ready To Make Nice" but I can guess from what I did hear of it tonight what point they were trying to make.

And really not joking? That'd be Live Free or Die:
Why in the holy living fuck did the Dixie Chicks win a jagillion awards at the Grammys? They suck. They always have. They are a bunch of whiny cunts who don't deserve a record deal. I hope their tour bus crashes.

The oddest performance of the night caught the attention of GingerSnaps. Yes, yes, The Police doing Roxanne is some sort of classic, but:
Lionel [Richie]...omg..."Hello"...I'm back in 1985 again...

Funky Brown Chick rated the man-candy on offer:
Justin Timberlake was surprising sexy last night — baby’s growing up nice and gooood.

Most interesting blog coverage of the Grammys must be Arty Velarde, who sketched the event for his blog.
Without Arty's stamina was New and Used Records, who set out to liveblog the whole thing but sometime around 9.55pm collapsed in a howl of rage:
That's it - I can't handle this anymore.

But if they think they had it bad, spare a thought for Hurry up Fashion:
I sat through three hours of Grammy whoredom waiting for the Police on the Grammys, all to discover that they played the opening segment of which I missed. Duh!

So, the winners in full - and we mean full, polka prizes and all:

Album of the Year: "Taking the Long Way," Dixie Chicks.

Record of the Year: "Not Ready to Make Nice," Dixie Chicks.

Song of the Year: "Not Ready to Make Nice," Martie Maguire, Natalie Maines, Emily Robison and Dan Wilson (Dixie Chicks).

New Artist: Carrie Underwood.

Female R&B Vocal Performance: "Be Without You," Mary J. Blige.

Pop Vocal Album: "Continuum," John Mayer.

Pop Collaboration With Vocals: "For Once in My Life," Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder.

Country Album: "Taking the Long Way," Dixie Chicks.

Rap Album: "Release Therapy," Ludacris.

Rock Album: "Stadium Arcadium," Red Hot Chili Peppers.

R&B Album: "The Breakthrough," Mary J. Blige.

Producer of the Year, Non-Classical: Rick Rubin.

Traditional Pop Vocal Album: "Duets: an American Classic," Tony Bennett.

Female Pop Vocal Performance: "Ain't No Other Man," Christina Aguilera.

Male Pop Vocal Performance: "Waiting on the World to Change," John Mayer.

Pop Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "My Humps," Black Eyed Peas.

Pop Instrumental Performance: "Mornin'," George Benson (& Al Jarreau).

Pop Instrumental Album: "Fingerprints," Peter Frampton.

Rock Instrumental Performance: "The Wizard Turns On ... ," the Flaming Lips.

Rock Song: "Dani California," Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis and Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers);

Solo Rock Vocal Performance: "Someday Baby," Bob Dylan.

Rock Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Dani California," Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Hard Rock Performance: "Woman," Wolfmother.

Metal Performance: "Eyes of the Insane," Slayer.

Alternative Music Album: "St. Elsewhere," Gnarls Barkley.

Dance Recording: "Sexy Back," Justin Timberlake and Timbaland.

Electronic/Dance Album: "Confessions on a Dance Floor," Madonna.

Rap Solo Performance: "What You Know," T.I.

Rap Performance by a Duo or Group: "Ridin," Chamillionaire featuring Krayzie Bone.

Rap/Sung Collaboration: "My Love," Justin Timberlake featuring T.I.

Rap Song: "Money Maker," Christopher Bridges and Pharrell Williams (Ludacris featuring Pharrell).

Urban/Alternative Performance: "Crazy," Gnarls Barkley.

Male R&B Vocal Performance: "Heaven," John Legend.

R&B Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocals: "Family Affair," (Sly and the Family Stone), John Legend, Joss Stone With Van Hunt.

Traditional R&B Vocal Performance: "God Bless the Child," George Benson and Al Jarreau featuring Jill Scott.

R&B Song: "Be Without You," Johnta Austin, Mary J. Blige, Bryan-Michael Cox and Jason Perry (Mary J. Blige).

Contemporary R&B Album: "B'Day," Beyonce.

Traditional Blues Album: "Risin' With the Blues," Ike Turner.

Contemporary Blues Album: "After the Rain," Irma Thomas.

Female Country Vocal Performance: "Jesus, Take the Wheel," Carrie Underwood.

Male Country Vocal Performance: "The Reason Why," Vince Gill.

Country Performance by a Duo or Group With Vocal: "Not Ready to Make Nice," Dixie Chicks.

Country Collaboration With Vocals: "Who Says You Can't Go Home," Bon Jovi and Jennifer Nettles.

Country Instrumental Performance: "Whiskey Before Breakfast," Bryan Sutton and Doc Watson.

Country Song: "Jesus, Take the Wheel," Brett James, Hillary Lindsey and Gordie Sampson (Carrie Underwood).

Bluegrass Album: "Instrumentals," Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.

Contemporary Jazz Album: "The Hidden Land," Bela Fleck and the Flecktones.

Jazz Instrumental Solo: "Some Skunk Funk," Michael Brecker.

Jazz Instrumental Album, Individual or Group: "The Ultimate Adventure," Chick Corea.

Large Jazz Ensemble Album: "Some Skunk Funk," Randy Brecker With Michael Brecker, Jim Beard, Will Lee, Peter Erskine, Marcio.

Jazz Vocal Album: "Turned to Blue," Nancy Wilson.

Instrumental Composition: "A Prayer for Peace," John Williams, composer (John Williams), from "Munich — Soundtrack."

Instrumental Arrangement: "Three Ghouls," Chick Corea, arranger (Chick Corea), from "The Ultimate Adventure."

Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s): "For Once in My Life," Jorge Calandrelli, arranger (Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder), from "Duets: an American Classic."

Gospel Performance: "Victory," Yolanda Adams.

Gospel Song: "Imagine Me," Kirk Franklin (Kirk Franklin).

Rock or Rap Gospel Album: "Turn Around," Jonny Lang.

Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album: "Wherever You Are," Third Day.

Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album: "Glory Train," Randy Travis.

Traditional Gospel Album: "Alive in South Africa," Israel and New Breed.

Contemporary R&B Gospel Album: "Hero," Kirk Franklin.

Short Form Music Video: "Here It Goes Again," OK Go.

Long Form Music Video: "Wings for Wheels: The Making of Born to Run," Bruce Springsteen.

Producer of the Year, Classical: Elaine Martone.

Classical Album: "Mahler: Symphony No. 7," Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor, Andreas Neubronner, producer (San Francisco Symphony).

Orchestral Performance: "Mahler: Symphony No. 7," Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor (San Francisco Symphony).

Opera Recording: "Golijov: Ainadamar: Fountain of Tears," Robert Spano, conductor, Kelley O'Connor and Dawn Upshaw; Valerie Gross and Sid McLauchlan, producers (Women of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra).

Choral Performance: "Part: Da Pacem," Paul Hillier, conductor (Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir).

Instrumental Soloist(s) Performance (with Orchestra): "Messiaen: Oiseaux Exotiques (Exotic Birds)," John McLaughlin Williams, conductor; Angelin Chang (Cleveland Chamber Symphony).

Instrumental Soloist Performance (without Orchestra): "Chopin: Nocturnes," Maurizio Pollini.

Chamber Music Performance: "Intimate Voices," Emerson String Quartet.

Small Ensemble Performance: "Padilla: Sun of Justice," Peter Rutenberg, conductor (Los Angeles Chamber Singers' Cappella).

Classical Vocal Performance: "Rilke Songs," Lorraine Hunt Lieberson (Peter Serkin), track from Lieberson: Rilke Songs, The Six Realms, Horn Concerto.

Classical Contemporary Composition: "Golijov: Ainadamar: Fountain of Tears," Osvaldo Golijov (Robert Spano).

Classical Crossover Album: "Simple Gifts," Bryn Terfel (London Voices; London Symphony Orchestra).

Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Walk the Line," Joaquin Phoenix and Various Artists.

Score Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Memoirs of a Geisha," John Williams, composer.

Song Written for Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media: "Our Town (From Cars)," Randy Newman (James Taylor).

Musical Show Album: "Jersey Boys."

Musical Album for Children: "Catch That Train," Dan Zanes and Friends.

Comedy Album: "The Carnegie Hall Performance," Lewis Black.

New Age Album: "Amarantine," Enya.

Traditional Folk Album: "We Shall Overcome — the Seeger Sessions," Bruce Springsteen.

Contemporary Folk/Americana Album: "Modern Times," Bob Dylan.

Latin Pop Album (tie): "Adentro," Arjona. "Limon Y Sal," Julieta Venegas.

Latin Rock, Alternative or Urban Album: "Amar Es Combatir," Mana.

Tropical Latin Album: "Directo Al Corazon," Gilberto Santa Rosa.

Mexican/Mexican-American Album: "Historias De Mi Tierra," Pepe Aguilar.

Tejano Album: "Sigue El Taconazo," Chente Barrera.

Norteno Album: "Historias Que Contar," Los Tigres Del Norte.

Banda Album: "Mas Alla Del Sol," Joan Sebastian.

Latin Jazz Album: "Simpatico," the Brian Lynch/Eddie Palmieri Project.

Native American Music Album: "Dance With the Wind," Mary Youngblood.

Hawaiian Music Album: "Legends of Hawaiian Slack Key Guitar — Live From Maui," Various Artists.

Reggae Album: "Love Is My Religion," Ziggy Marley.

Traditional World Music Album: "Blessed," Soweto Gospel Choir.

Contemporary World Music Album: "Wonder Wheel," the Klezmatics.

Polka Album: "Polka in Paradise," Jimmy Sturr and His Orchestra.

Spoken Word Album for Children: "Blah Blah Blah: Stories About Clams, Swamp Monsters, Pirates and Dogs," Bill Harley.

Spoken Word Album (Includes Poetry, Audio Books and Story Telling). (Tie): "Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis (Jimmy Carter)," Jimmy Carter. "With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together (Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee)," Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee.

Recording Package: "10,000 Days," Adam Jones, art director (Tool).

Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package: "Stadium Arcadium," Flea, John Frusciante, Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith and Matt Taylor, art directors (Red Hot Chili Peppers).

Album Notes: "If You Got to Ask, You Ain't Got It!" Dan Morgenstern, album notes writer (Fats Waller).

Historical Album: "Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891-1922."

Engineered Album, Classical: "Elgar: Enigma Variations; Britten: the Young Person's Guide to the Orchestra, Four Sea Interludes," Michael Bishop, engineer (Paavo Jarvi and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra).

Engineered Album, Non-Classical: "At War With the Mystics," the Flaming Lips and Dave Fridmann, engineers (The Flaming Lips).

Remixed Recording, Non-Classical: "Talk (Thin White Duke Mix)," Jacques Lu Cont, remixer (Coldplay).

Surround Sound Album: "Morph the Cat," Darcy Proper, surround mastering.


Anonymous said...

this blog has to be full of underage teenagers because there comments are totally childish and assanine.

Mikey said...

Yeah. Plus there's so much poor spelling.


Anonymous said...

The Dixie Chicks are very talented, in fact it was their first album that made me give country music a try. However, the album they won all those Grammy's for, is awful. Only good song is "Not Ready To make Nice." Disappointing when "Home" was so beautiful and damn near perfect.

Carry Underwood is a mediocre talent. She has a decent enough voice, but is music really her passion? I've seen toddlers playing with poop act more passionate than when she performs. Her last name is poetic, she is Under-whelming-Wood.

Justin T., James Blunt and Corrine were robbed. Those three albums are outstanding and different among that genre.

Simon Hayes Budgen said...

Anonymous #1:
"underage teenagers" - since teenagehood is, by definition, an age range, how could a teenager be underaged?

Anonymous said...

i don't typically read such lists of awards but as soon as I spotted the "Polka Album" award my curiousity got the better of me and I'm happy to say that yes we can purchase Jimmy Sturr's Polka in Paradise in the UK... looking at the incredible album cover (here) I think we can safely say that the best packaging award was stolen from them!!

Anonymous said...

Rock on Chicks! Just saw an independent film documentary called, "Protesting the Dixie Chicks" which was revolutionary!

Rob Rockerr said...

The awards given to the Dixie Chicks were one thing....sending a message.

As you know, these awards were not given by the people. This was not the People's Music Awards, rather less than 11,000 members of professionals in the music industry. One writer brought up the idea that the vote for the various catagories was so split, that the largest chunk of votes left were the politically active members who had the opportunity to "make a statement" with what amounts to a lackluster album and a really boring song.

First of all, there's no way a song like that would take song of the year at the Grammys unless it had help, through collusion or other means, or jury nullification, just like the O.J. trial. And for them to win 5 awards if just not only improbable, but impossible! It looks like the Grammys jumped the shark last night, allowing politics to influence the outcome of not one but 5 awards and I personally could never look at them in any kind of positive light again, though that's been coming for a long time now.

I've been a professional musician for over 35 years, a session player on albums and a touring sideman. I'm hearing nothing, and I repeat nothing, but disbelief at what happened last night. Some are asking for an investigation to see if there was indeed any wrong doing in the "winning" of these awards. And all along, Natalie and the world still actually think that they really won those awards.

Sad. Hope they never realize what really happened. They were used!

Ben.H said...

rockerr, you've been a professional musician for over 35 years and never noticed the Grammys aren't always awarded on musical merit alone?

Anonymous said...

All of this Dixie Chicks drama is grist for my songwriter's mill, starting with this Dixie Chicks dissin' dittie:

Merle Hasn't Lost His Fightin' Side
words and music by Dr BLT (c)2007

Then came:

Playin' Politics with the Dixie Chicks
words and music by Dr BLT (c)2007

and now, after swearing they were Not Ready to Make Nice, I wrote and recorded this:

Not Ready to Make Rice
words and music by Dr BLT (c)2007

Bring it on, Dixie Chicks!

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