I’m usually not a big fan of awards shows – I think they’re generally too long and kind of boring, but I was actually looking forward to the 2012 Grammy Awards when I learned several of my favorite artists received nominations.
It’s obvious that EDM has been growing in popularity – Deadmau5, Pretty Lights and Skrillex were on the bill of almost every major festival last year. But the fact that Deadmau5, Skrillex, Cut Copy and A-Trak were nominated for Grammy’s proves that electronic dance music is more than a rave scene of ecstasy-riddled kids wearing neon accessories. It’s evolved from debauched spring break club music into a creative art form worth industry recognition.
I think it’s a sign of the times too. I agree with Dave Grohl and his reasoning about the human element – real people playing instruments and singing songs does make music more human and emphatic. But technology and digital music (RIP Steve Jobs) have allowed electronic music to explode! Some of the biggest and baddest shows I went to last year consisted of a single guy masterfully manipulating a computer and some switches. Plus, I don’t think people know how talented these people are as producers. A-Trak and Diplo have produced and created beats for other Grammy nominees and winners like Kanye, M.I.A. and Beyonce – it’s nice that their work is getting recognized too.
I don’t want to overload you with my opinions about the state of the industry – there’s already enough news online and on Twitter about last night’s awards show, but I thought I’d share a few of my best and worst moments from last night:
Unfussy Rock Music
I’m stoked that Bon Iver and Foo Fighters took home Grammys for best alternative and rock albums considering Wasting Light was recorded on tape in Dave Grohl’s garage and Bon Iver was recorded in a remote cabin in Wisconsin. Goes to show that these bands are incredibly talented with or without fancy studios and gobs of cash. Plus, on Saturday I watched the Foo Fighters: Back and Forth documentary on Fuse, which rekindled my huge respect and adoration for their music. Dave Grohl’s a genius and his bandmates are crisp, creative and talented too.
The Foster The People and Maroon 5 tribute to the Beach Boys was so rad! The Beach Boys are famous for their beautiful voices and rich harmonies and Mark Foster and Adam Levine have two of the most unique voices in pop rock. Wouldn’t it be nice to showcase that with classic Beach Boys songs? Lest we forget the Beach Boys’ fashion choices – Hawaiian shirts under blazers AND a hat emblazoned with The Beach Boys logo. High fashion, I tell you.
Regardless of what Grohl said about making music with computers, the Foo Fighters’ side-by-side performance with Deadmau5 was off the chains. Rope is one of my favorite tracks off of Wasting Light and the remix does it justice.
Foo Fighters – Rope (Deadmau5 Remix)
Red Carpet Pranks
Deadmau5 wore Skrillex’s cellphone number on his t-shirt for America to see. Probably the cheapest and most buzzed about Red Carpet fashion statement.
My favorite part of the evening was actually before the program even started. Ryan Seacrest – prick that he is- interviewed the Foo Fighters and right as they were saying their goodbyes guitarist Pat Smear shook his hand and said something along the lines of “Love your show, man. Watch it every week.” Seacrest’s embarrassed/pissed off reaction was priceless. I wish I recorded it.
Red Carpet Overkill
There are few people in the public eye who I respect less than correspondents on the E! Network. Those people include Hugh Heffner’s playmates, the Real Housewives of various parts of America and the Kardashian sisters – ironic because the E! Network is primarily why these individuals are famous. Did Ryan Seacrest feel like an asshole for interrogating every celebrity he interviewed about Whitney Houston? He sure sounded like one. Did Giuliana Rancic feel like an idiot when she asked the Kings of Leon how long they’ve known each other? She sure looked like one. To her credit, I bet she knows that Victoria Secret model Lily Aldridge is married to frontman, Caleb Followill, but she somehow failed to realize that Kings of Leon are brothers who have known each other their entire lives. It’s not like Kings of Leon are comparable to Bon Iver either – Use Somebody and Sex on Fire have been on pop radio for at least 3 years. E! Network is for assholes and idiots.
Best “New” Artist
I already expressed how happy I was that Bon Iver received mainstream acclaim for their self-titled album; that record was spotless. But Best New Artist? Really? I don’t know who The Powers That Be are or what the criteria is for the Best New Artist category, but their 2011 record was their sophomore album. Their first album came out four years ago. Their first album is a year older than Mumford and Sons’ Sigh No More and Mumford and Bros were nominated for Best New Artist last year. No wonder Justin Vernon’s acceptance speech was so cryptic; winning that Grammy was hardly a breakthrough moment for the band. They’re already huge in folk and indie circles. I’m sure he’s glad that his music was worthy of a Grammy achievement – but calling him new almost discredits the four years of hard work and touring that preceded last year’s album. Plus, the deluge of Who is Bonny Bear? memes will follow in the footsteps of Arcade Fire’s win last year.
Bon Iver – Skinny Love (2008)
Where’s The Throne?
I’m not positive if there’s good reason why Kanye and Jay-Z were not present during the biggest music event of the year, but I doubt it. Are they at Fashion Week? Are they christening Ivy Blue Carter? Kind of lame when Marc Anthony accepts the award for Best Rap Performance because Ye and Jay were no shows. Kanye also won awards for All Of The Lights and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy; why wouldn’t his cocky self want to claim those in person? Plus, how sick would it have been to see them perform Otis or N*ggas In Paris? They secured a slot during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show; how hard could the Grammy’s be (at least for them).