The Grammys (Sunday, CBS) are America’s premier music awards
show. I’m not talking about rinky-dink awards shows like People’s
Choice, Billboard, The Source, AMAs, VMAs, ACMs, Soul Train or even
the Latin Grammys. This is the real deal. Winning or performing at
the Grammys is like winning the New Hampshire primary. It’s a
highly anticipated event for a whole week.
Could this finally be the event to cure me of my SAD (Seasonal
Affective Disorder)? The answer is a resounding no. So why don’t I
care about the Grammys? It could be because it’s on right during
Curb Your Enthusiasm and Sex and the City. It could be because I
know none of the performances can top the titillation of the Super
Bowl halftime show.
Seriously, they really can’t: CBS will have a 10-second tape
delay so anything remotely entertaining will be censored out.
It’s most likely, however, that the nominees are so mainstream I
could accomplish watching the three-hour show in just 15 minutes of
listening to Z104.
The problem with the Grammys is they never deliver any hits
close to the punishment Teddy Bruschi laid on Jake Delhomme during
the Super Bowl. Instead, this Sunday, we’ll get to see Rufus
Wainwright. Who the hell is that? A quick trip to
Rufuswainwright.com revealed that (1) this guy sounds like every
other UK-wannabe musician and (2) he signs notes to his fans with
If I have to see men singing in tight pants, I’d take Warren
Sapp over this guy any day.
The closest the Grammys ever come to a last-second field goal is
the gap in Khia’s teeth when she sings “My Neck, My Back.”
I could go into detail about what is wrong with the Grammys, but
I’ll address only the most glaring errors. First, up for best new
artist is Sean Paul. Back in 1998, I remember “Infiltrate” was a
Homecoming-dance favorite. Six years is a long time — Sean Paul is
a pretty moldy new artist.
Second, I always assumed that the members of the National
Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) were 60-year-old,
white men who composed classical music and had no idea what
constituted a good record other than high sales numbers and clean
Apparently the voting members are actually music-industry
professionals across all genres with creative or technical credits
on at least six commercially released tracks. But who decided that
these people were among the music gods? I don’t remember
Didn’t Vanilla Ice release six commercial tracks? I hope he’s
not part of the NARAS.
The most egregious errors the Academy makes are in choosing the
award winners. Just look at the track record of Best Solo Rap
Performance. Since the category started in 1991, Will Smith has won
twice. I never got jiggy wit any of Will’s music — it’s awful.
Will Smith didn’t even get any airplay on the urban radio stations,
simply pop radio; that’s why his victory was such a joke.
As long as industry insiders keep rewarding terrible music, it
helps answer the question as to why hip-hop has declined in quality
so much since its hey-days in the early ’90s.
The Academy could right a lot of wrongs by choosing deserving
artists this year. In the country music category, I’m really
rooting for a Dolly Parton win. And by win I mean “wardrobe
malfunction.” Seriously, female country musicians are just smokin’
hot, hotter than the average rock/hip-hop chick. It’s not a tough
choice. Missy or Shania?
Aside from sterilized performances, censored speeches, obvious
winners and three hours of bullshit, the Grammys should be great.
See you on the red carpet.
Andrew Fein ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in