Friday, February 15, 2008

Speaking of Music...What's with the Grammys?

The Grammys are yet another "hot" topic that I have refrained from discussing on here until now. John Thomson's blog title yesterday was fitting when it comes to this topic: he asked "where has all the music gone?" and I'm sort of asking the same thing.

I actually watched a good portion of the Grammys last weekend, and, although I was happy to see some very talented artists perform (Josh Groban, Alicia Keys, for two), the most-talked about portion of the evening was Amy Winehouse's performance and acceptance speech for one of her five, yes FIVE, awards.

What have we come to when a burgeoning artist can not only perform on the biggest music event of the year via satellite while taking a "break" from rehabilitation for drug abuse, but is also rewarded for such behaviour not once, but FIVE times! To add the cherry on top of this equation, she also gives a "shout out" to her hubby in jail. Don't get me wrong: I think Amy Winehouse is a talented musical artist; much more talented than many of the over-processed pop princesses out there recording albums today. But when someone has been video-taped smoking heavy drugs one week, and then receives five prestigious Grammy awards the next, does a red flag not go up in someone's head?

Supposedly the Grammy wins have helped motivate Winehouse toward her recovery, and that's great. Maybe I'm wrong, and showing her what she could accomplish should she stay on the right path was in fact a good way to go, rather than punishing her for bad behaviour by not nominating her until she cleaned up her act. After all, drug and alcohol abuse is nothing new within the music industry: it has been around for decades. But I can't fathom how allowing her to participate in the show and awarding her for a year's worth of botched performanced and drug-infested nights can make a good impression on her fans, many of whom are young and impressionable. It sends the message that you can do what you want, and you'll still be rewarded as long as you make money for someone down the line.

Nevertheless, the award show also seemed to be confused about who its audience was. We saw collaborative performances that were in an obvious attempt to entertain viewers of all ages, while, at the same time, promoting the show's 50th anniversary. Alicia Keys and Frank Sinatra; Josh Groban and Andrew Bocelli; and Beyonce and Tina Turner (who was surprisingly agile for her age!) were a few of the most motable ones. I definitely think it was a great idea to bring together the new and older generations: it showed how far music has come, and celebrated 50 years of the awards. But when it came to award recipients, the lines begun to blur.

The most shocking of these was Herbie Hancock's win for Album of the Year. Not to say that he wasn't deserving: I'm sure he was. But what sort of judging panel awards an old school jazz artist and new school troubled starlet on the same night?

Reportedly, this year's event was one of the least-watched Grammys. Next year, the Grammys really need to take on a clear direction if it wants to achieve a solid viewer base. If half the people watching don't even know who the album of the year recipient even is, as I'm sure was the case with the majority of the teen and tween viewers that tuned in to see artists like Kanye West and Rihanna perform, then you've got a problem.


Jim said...

Herbie won, just goes to show you how out of touch the grammy people are, I know he had a CD out in 2007 but didn't think it was Grammy material, as for Rhianna or Kanye they don't really appeal to me I'm not 12 and that's where the problem lies trying to go after the tweens for TV viewing put it on the web and maybe they'll watch it. I like Amy I'd much rather watch Amy stumble and fall than listen to Mandy Moore princess sing anyday.

Anonymous said...

JOsh Groban has put out numerous multi-platinum cds and none have been nominated for an award...want to know why? Because he is too "adult contemporary" and doesn't fall into Rock and Roll, Jazz, Blues, Pop, Rap or R&B..Which seems to be the only thing the Gramny's reward. Or is it because he isn't a paparazzi target?

Tama said...

The Grammys are not meant to reward or punish for behavior, it is all about the music, and Amy Winhouse, as you said, is a talented musician. Heck, if they withheld Grammys from all the musicians with problems they'd give out about 2 a year!

Anonymous said...

To me, the only truly talented person in the entire show was Josh Groban. Actually, he's much too talented to lower himself to appear on that show. Josh was the only reason I watched the Grammy's. Usually I do not watch it because not only do I not know the "singers", the "songs" and can't understand the words they are singing. If there weren't half-naked dancers behind these singers, or 6 backup singers, or men doing gymnastics, how many would have gotten any award?

Anonymous said...

Want to know why Josh Groban hasn't been nominated for a grammy? Because it is shallow, not progressive, and not even legitimate among the music crowd because it only appeals to middle aged women. The only reason he has top selling albums is because middle aged women are the only demographic still paying for music en mass. He'll be doing vegas shows for the rest of his life in just a few years.

pjmolnar said...

Anonymous, you are only partially wrong. Yes, Josh does appeal to middleaged women, but also to women of all ages, as well as men of all ages. Middle aged women aren't into the "Grammy" type music, because take away the half-naked dancers, the backup singers, the gymnastics guys, and you are left with music you can't hear, words you can't understand, and voices with NO training. On the other hand, Josh not only has a trained, breathtaking voice,but you can understand each word he is singing, and the only thing on stage with him is a beautiful orchestra. Because of his Christmas album, EVERYONE now is a fan.


Anonymous said...

Josh Groban doesn't only appeal to middle age women. I absolutely LOVE Josh Groban and I am a 16 year old girl. I have so many friends that are also supporters of his music because he is good at what he does and he is a GENUINE artist. He sings from the heart and puts passion into his work. In my opinion, Josh Groban is the most deserving artist of a Grammy. He's the only reason I watched the Grammys.