Monday, February 13, 2012

Grammys 2012: Didn't Adele almost have it all

So, it would have been Adele's night - and some sort of irony that a singer whose launchpad was funded, in part, from the Brit Award receipts turns up at the bigger award ceremony and carries off the prizes.

It would have been Adele's night, but for the death of Whitney Houston. One room. So many executives who have pushed their talent a little too hard, or turned a blind eye and sent them out working when they weren't fit. So many musicians who know that the difference between "tragic Whitney" and them was luck rather than judgement. Grief, guilt and there-but-for-the-grace-of-god.

It made for an odd night. Whoever might have been able to rise to the occasion, it was unlikely to be the man who played the chef in Deep Blue Sea. Clunking on to stage to host the event, LL Cool J announced that - for him - the only way to start was a prayer. Like it was Bideford Council.

Really, Ladies Love? The only thing you could think of was a prayer? In a gaudy gong-giving backslapfest, you thought the apt thing to do would be to pretend for a moment that you were in a place of worship?

Still, with an ever-present reminder of what happens when music careers go really wrong, there was a chance to correct the idea that the record companies care about nothing but how many units they can shift, right?

Right?

No. Chris Brown came on and was treated like a returning hero. MTV unwittingly captures the reason why this is a problem:

In the end, there were no innuendos or screen cuts to Breezy's ex-flame Rihanna. Brown simply finished his number, stood triumphantly and saluted the crowd before taking a bow.
Yes, MTV wrote up his appearance as if it was some sort of soap plot. "Tee-hee, they didn't do a reaction shot to show the look on the face that Brown had beaten to a pulp, ho-ho." Why should MTV care? After all, if the Grammys think that it's okay to give Brown a "triumphant" platform, who won't see his domestic violence as anything other than some sort of massive jape?

Here's the list of winners on a night when everyone lost a little:
Album of the year: Adele's 21

Record of the year: Adele's Rolling the Deep

Best pop solo performance: Adele's Someone Like You

Song of the year: Adele's Rolling in the Deep

Short-form music video: Adele’s Rolling in the Deep

Best rock performance: Foo Fighters' Walk

Long-form music video: Foo Fighters’ Back and Forth

Hard rock/metal performance: Foo Fighters’ White Limo

Rock song: Foo Fighters’ Walk

Rock Album: Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light

Best rap performance: Otis, by Kanye West and Jay-Z

Rap performance: Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Otis

Best new artist: Bon Iver

Alternative music album: Bon Iver’s Bon Iver

Country duo/group performance: The Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow

Folk album: The Civil Wars’ Barton Hollow

Country solo performance: Taylor Swift’s Mean

Country song: Taylor Swift’s Mean

Dance recording: Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Dance/electronica album: Skrillex’s Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

R&B album: Chris Brown's F.A.M.E.

Country album: Lady Antebellum's Own the Night

Recording package: Caroline Robert’s Scenes from The Suburbs, for Arcade Fire

Pop duo/group performance: Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse’s Body and Soul

Pop instrumental album: Booker T. Jones’ The Road from Memphis

Traditional pop vocal album: Tony Bennett and various artists’ Duets II

R&B performance: Corinne Bailey Rae’s Is This Love

Traditional R&B performance: Cee Lo Green and Melanie Fiona’s Fool for You

R&B song: Cee Lo Green and Co.’s Fool for You

Rap/sung collaboration: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi and Fergie’s All of the Lights

Rap song: All of the Lights

Rap album: Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

New age album: Pet Metheny’s What’s It All About

Improvised jazz solo: Chick Corea’s 500 Miles High

Jazz vocal album: Terri Lyne Carrington and various artists’ The Mosaic Project

Jazz instrumental: Corea, Clarke and White’s Forever

Large jazz ensemble: Christian McBride Big Band’s The Good Feeling

Gospel/contemporary Christian music performance: Le’Andria Johnson’s Jesus

Gospel song: Kirk Franklin’s Hello Fear

Contemporary Christian music song: Laura Story’s Blessings

Gospel album: Kirk Franklin’s Hello Fear

Contemporary Christian music album: Chris Tomlin’s And If Our God Is For Us…

Latin pop, rock or urban album: Mana’s Drama Y Luz

Regional Mexican or Tejano album: Pepe Aguilar’s Bicentenario

Bands or Norteno album: Los Tigres Del Norte’s Los Tigres Del Norte and Friends

Tropical Latin album: Cachao’s The Last Mambo

Americana album: Levon Helm’s Ramble at the Ryman

Bluegrass album: Alison Krauss and Union Station’s Paper Airplane

Blues album: Tedeschi Trucks Band’s Revelator

Regional roots music album: Rebirth Brass Band’s Rebirth of New Orleans

Reggae album: Stephen Marley’s Revelatino Pt. 1: The Root of Life

World music album: Tinariwen’s Tassili

Children’s album: All About Bullies… Big & Small

Spoken world album (includes poetry, audio books and story telling): Betty White’s If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t)

Comedy album: Louis C.K.’s Hilarious

Musical theatre album: The Book of Mormom

Compilation soundtrack for visual media: Boardwalk Empire: Vol. 1

Score soundtrack for visual media: Alexandre Desplat’s The King’s Speech

Song written for visual media: I See the Light (from Tangled)

Instrumental composition: Bela Fleck and Howard Levy’s Life in Eleven

Instrumental arrangement: Gordon Goodwin’s Rhapsody in Blue for Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band

Instrumental arrangement accompanying vocalist: Jorge Calandrelli’s Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me), for Tony Bennett and Queen Latifah

Boxed or special limited edition package: Dave Bett and Michelle Holme’s The Promise: The Darkness on the Edge of Town Story

Album notes: Hear Me Howling: Blues, Ballads & Beyond as recorded by the San Francisco Bay by Chris Strachwitz in the 1960s

Historical album: Band on the Run (Paul McCartney Archive Collection – Deluxe Edition)

Engineered album, non-classical: Alison Krauss and Union Station’s Paper Airplane

Producer of the year, non-classical: Paul Epworth

Remixed recording, non-classical: Cinema (Skrillex Remix)

Surround sound album: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs (Super Deluxe Edition)

Engineered album, classical: Aldridge: Elmer Gantry

Producer of the year, classical: Judith Sherman

Orchestral performance: Brahms, Symphony No. 4 by Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel

Opera recording: Adams: Doctor Atomic

Choral performance: Light & Gold - Eric Whitacre, conductor (Christopher Glynn & Hila Plitmann; The King's Singers, Laudibus, Pavão Quartet & The Eric Whitacre Singers)

Small-ensemble performance: Mackey: Lonely Motel – Music from Slide

Classical instrumental solo: Schwantner: Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra by Christopher Lamb, Giancarlo Guerrero conducts Nashville Symphony

Classical vocal solo: Joyce DiDonato with Kazushi Ono and Orchestre de l’Opera National de Lyon with Choeur de l’Opera National de Lyon for Diva Divo

Contemporary classical composition: Robert Aldridge and Herschel Garfein’s Elmer Gantry

UPDATE: Thanks to @tismey for pointing out that LL Cool J was the chef; Ice T was the Kangaroo in Tank Girl. I regret the error.


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