Monday, February 14, 2011

Some Grammy thoughts

We have friends in town so I missed a few chunks of the Grammys... didn't see Lady Gaga hatch for an egg and sing Madonna's "Express Yourself," for example. (That song IS basically "Express Yourself," right?) But I did see a lot of good stuff:

-- Our local boys, the Avett Brothers, looked good in the stage time they shared with Mumford and Sons, and then Bob Dylan. Fans must have enjoyed it, too -- last night, Mumford and the Avetts were #1 and #2 on the iTunes album sales chart. (As of this morning, Justin Bieber had wedged himself in between.)

It was an interesting moment if you've followed the Avetts for a while... Mumford and Sons looked and sounded like the early Avetts, to the point where I saw some people on Twitter asking if they WERE the Avetts. Then the Avetts followed with "Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise," part of the new direction they took on their last album. Made me think a Mumford/Avetts tour would be a lot of fun.

And then Bob Dylan came out.

Yes, he's one of the most important musicians of all time. Yes, his music made it possible for guys like the Avetts to succeed. But as he started croaking his way through "Maggie's Farm," it reminded me of a bunch of kids playing pickup hoops who let Grandpa on the court to try a few set shots. Grandpa was a three-time All-American. But maybe he should just let the kids play.

-- My man Cee-Lo Green went for the full Elton John in his performance of "Forget You," which many of us know in a different (and better) version. Muppets! A Cee-Lo rocket! Gwyneth Paltrow! And it turns out Gwyneth can sing! This was fun all the way around.

(For a little more Cee-Lo, here's him doing "Crazy" with Prince at Madison Square Garden a few nights ago.)

-- Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now" won the two biggest single-song awards: Song of the Year (for songwriters) and Record of the Year (for artists/producers). I do love the song, but I can't help but wonder if Alan Parsons feels like he's finally won a couple of Grammys.

-- Good to see our own General Johnson make it into the People Who Died montage.

-- And finally, Arcade Fire, who beat out Eminem, Gaga, Lady Antebellum and Katy Perry for Album of the Year. It was a night of big production numbers -- Justin Bieber danced with ninjas, and Rihanna did a duet with Drake around a giant version of one of those backyard fire pits. Arcade Fire started out doing their part -- "Month of May" featured seizure-inducing strobe lights and kids with helmet-cams riding bikes around the stage. (I couldn't find it on YouTube.)

But then, going back out to accept the big Grammy, frontman Win Butler said: "We're gonna go play another song, because we like music." And then they played the great "Ready To Start" straight ahead, with no fancy lights or special effects. Just a fine band playing their hearts out on the biggest stage of their lives.

We're gonna go play another song, because we like music. Isn't that all you hope for, as a fan?


chupacabra said...

The Westminster Dog show is on tonight. A far more talented buch I guarantee.

Lynne Stevenson said...

Congratulations, Avetts! You finally got some extra national exposure and are finally arriving...Made us local folks almost as proud as Brooklyn Decker does...

Anonymous said...

Wish they'd given Dylan some decent backup. Avetts and their
Mumford clones don't rate.

Anonymous said...

Tommy and chupacabra might enjoy this:

"Lady Antebellum Awarded Nobel Peace Prize, Purple Heart, Best in Show"

"The most prematurely awarded group in pop-country history gained a few new distinctions this morning ..."

Anonymous said...

I thought every song by Lady Antebellum sounded like a cover tune. One reminded me of Carly Simon.

They should do a cover of "You're so Vain".

I'm sure it would be a hit.

Adrian DeVore said...

Too many musical trains wrecks oversaturated this year's ceremonies. Esperanza Spalding winning Best New Artist,Usher, Arcade Fire getting Album of the Year, and Lady Antebellum's five Grammies were my favorite takeaways! Also, I was very unhappy with the lack of R&B acts that weren't shown on TV.