Monday, February 09, 2009

2009 Grammy report, brought to you by Hick Chic

For us, a music biz family, the Grammy awards are AN EVENT.  We all hunker down to watch, including the dog and the cat, although I suspect they're just in it for the stray popcorn.  

Short summary: With Robert Plant and Alison Krauss sweeping up the place, I feel good about music again!  On the other hand, the sound on this show was inexcusably BAD.  If I can tell how bad it was on my non-HD Sony 20 inch TV, without the audio run through the room speakers, then it had to be bad.  

Anyways.  You're here for the highlights and colour commentary.  Let's go!

The show opened with U2.  And they were U2!  Wheee!  The big screens helpfully flashed all the lyrics.  Thanks.  They played their new single, "Get On Your Boots" which I'm thinking of adding to my Theme Song List.

Then Whitney Houston showed up. I have no picture, but I will say that I was relieved.  She looks like WHITNEY HOUSTON rather than like a washed up, beat up, cracked up mess.  Were we all worried?  She's looking good.  Apparently the gossip is that she was acting kinda crazy, to which I say... So?  This is the music biz.  What is your standard of crazy?

Jennifer Hudson won a Grammy, looked gorgeous, thanked her family in heaven and here, and was pure class.  It was a bittersweet moment, and she handled it with such beautiful dignity.

She is amazing.  I might be developing a little bit of a girlcrush.

Soon after that, Justin Timberlake brought out Reverend Al Green, who then proceeded to make Justin Timberlake sound like a little white boy.  Yeah, I know.  He is.  He's super talented, but... Al Green.  Yeah.

Coldplay did a performance and I suddenly found myself wondering why I sort of don't get it. Doesn't everybody love Coldplay?  I mean, they're really good right?  Well their outfits were neato and the drummer appeared to be having a hell of a good time with his giant bell and tympani set-up.  I think it was a tympani.  Really, the bell was very cool.  (We should get one.)

When they won for Song of the Year, an award given to the songwriters, I was tingling with anticipation... I was waiting for guitarist Joe Satriani to leap up on stage and announce that they ganked the melody from one of his songs, or bring his lawyer or something.  But no!  Not to be.  Maybe I made up that whole melody-stealing thing, or I was half asleep and only dreamed that I heard about it on the radio.  No Soy Bomb for you.

Carrie Underwood hit the stage in what is becoming all too common for her: a weird outfit with wings.  The fact that I like weird, and wings, but did not like this outfit, speaks to how bad it was.  
 Left: acceptable but suspiciously synthetic looking red carpet dress.  
On the right, I just don't know.
However, Carrie's lovely, has great legs, plus those shoes are killer, and she can sing the hell out of anything, so she's excused.

Kid Rock did a thing, and I went back to liking him, the scuzzy character that he is.  This is likely to change without notice.  I'm like that with him.  Later, the camera cut to him as his name was called for a nomination.   He had a drink in his hand.  Oh man.  Stay classy, and I mean that in the most sarcastic way!

Continuing my confusion, I had to watch a little Miley Cyrus/ Taylor Swift duet.  There was a whole lot of CUTE on that stage.

I'll give you this: they appeared to sing live, for real.  The Cyrus kid's got pipes and the Swift kid can play guitar and sing at the same time.  

But I don't get it.  Maybe it's because I'm old, maybe it's because my kids have never been into the Disney-showbiz-kid thing, and they'd rather listen to Apocalyptica and Sepultura.  Yeah, it could be that.  In any case... I don't get it.  Maybe it's not them, it's me.

When Alison Krauss and Robert Plant got their first Grammy of the televised awards, there was a collective yip of happiness in our family room, followed by Jethro and me flinging our hands up in the air and sighing in thankful relief.  MUSIC, people.  This is still about MUSIC!

Robert Plant said that in the old days, this would have been called "selling out" but if was really a nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon.  Snort, hee hee.

I couldn't help but wonder, though, if these two youngsters know who they just handed a little golden gramophone to.  I mean, they've got to know, right?  My kids are younger and believe me, they know who Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are.

But I have this vision of the girls linking arms, heading back stage, and giggling about the wacky British dude.  I wonder.  These kids are supposed to be music artists; they'd have to know that the man is ROBERT PLANT I mean, Robert freakin Plant, and that the pretty woman is ALISON KRAUSS and that she is collecting up her 22nd Grammy, and that she has more of them than any other woman on the planet.  The girls would have to know that they were on the same stage as Greatness, wouldn't they?

(Honestly the sound was terrible.  Right about here I turned to Jethro and asked if the sound guy on this gig should get fired.  I cannot print his reply.)

Now if I didn't get the Cyrus/Swift thing, I really seriously did not get the Jonas thing.  I might never get it.  I'm still trying to figure out, the next day, what in the heck they were doing up there with Stevie Wonder.  Hello?!  Who's idea was this?  I'm pretty sure Stevie will get up there on the Grammy stage anytime, since he owns it and all.  

But I just did not, did not, did not understand this.  If anybody can explain it, please do.  

When Coldplay won an award for Rock album, I giggled.  I scoffed and I snickered. 

Then Chris Martin won my heart and said that they're not so much rock as, say, limestone, which cracked me up.  We have a big thing in our family for the oxymoron known as "soft rock" and feel that it generally should not exist, but I'll let Coldplay go because... they are good, aren't they?  Right?  They made a little joke at their own expense, which is always refreshing.  Plus I like their Sgt. Pepper-esque suits.  

And still, no Satriani.  I must have dreamed that.  Never mind. 

You know, they were in the Rock category with Metallica.  Let's see, when you think ROCK and are given the choice between the two...

It's okay. Apparently Metallica got the Metal award.  That should be obvious!  Here is Robert Trujillo, bassist, loving up his little trophy.  

He does not look heartbroken about losing the Rock award to Coldplay.  

Kings of Leon were also in that category.  

I'm including their picture because it's my blog and I think they're cute. Apparently they won an award off-screen for their song "Sex On Fire" which previously won an award from me: the NOT AS MUCH FUN AS IT SOUNDS AWARD.

Okay, my British friends: Who is this adorable Adele person?  She is so appealing!  And man, she can SING!  
How did she sneak under my radar?  In her speech she declared that she loves Duffy.  To which I say, who doesn't!

I would like to report now that A) Katy Perry is wack B) I think I like her but I didn't get the stage set, because I wasn't sure if the giant fruit was supposed to be sexy, C) I also didn't like her dress because it appeared to have plastic fruit hot glued to it, D) I'll give her huge credit for singing it live, and you could tell because you could hear her breath from all the jumping around, E) singing the chorus along with the track.  Yes, it was track.  Duh, there was no room for actual musicians on the stage, what with all the stripping dancers.  

Sorry, no photo.  NEXT!

Further adding to the list of Things I Don't Get:  Where does Kanye buy those awful clothes, and why must he drag Estelle there?  

See him behind her?  You can't really see it but... I think he's wearing his hair in... a mullet!  A fro mullet!  A FRULLET!  I am officially confused at this point.  Also it took seven people to write that song.  Just felt like pointing that out.  

My confusion increased when Morgan Freeman aka GOD introduced Kenny Chesney as a good friend.  I couldn't get past the annoying ground hum in the audio- like, what is this, a basement full of teenage cover bands? - and I had to go to the bathroom.  

Plant and Kraus scooped up anothe award YAAAAAYYYYYYYY  for Record of the Year, which is for the artist. The song on the nomination was "Please Read The Letter."  Natalie Cole did not read the letter, because she got the title of the song wrong. Twice. Forehead smack.

But I see things like this...

... and hear Robert Plant thanking Alison, and the producer, T Bone Burnett (that's him with them) and the engineer, and how he and Jimmy Page wrote this song years ago, and all is right in the world.

Have I ever mentioned that I love Robert Plant?

Have I mentioned that the sound was terrible on this show? Man, it's a MUSIC AWARDS SHOW and we couldn't hear any music as the artists walked up to the stage to get their goodies. Gah. Frustrating! Who's running this show? Did the guy who sets the brick on the button go out for a beer or what?

M. I. A. totally cracked me up. She's about 11 months pregnant. Ha ha. She performed live on her due date. Gutsy chick! I'm slightly jealous because I never made it 9 months. And I kind of wanted to, except for the fact that I literally could not walk.

I can't say that I understood the performance... in fact, I thought there was something going wrong at first.  It sounded like the four rappin dudes came out and cut her off.  I suspect all of it was synced to track. I really don't care; I admire women who are on their feet while pregnant, whether it's running a cash register, running a farm, running after a toddler, or running around on a stage wearing a bizarre half-see-through polka dot thing!
The blue tent is fun, but the black outfit is hilarious. The baby belly is awesome!

One of the most hyped performances of the night had to be that of Sir Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl.  Both of these guys are singer/songwriter/ instrumentalists.  Both were a part of bands that have been influential to the point of being legendary.  Both went on to new and successful projects.  

But what really matters is that they played "I Saw Her Standing There" while Sir Paul looked the healthiest and happiest he's been in years, and Daaaaaave Grooooohhhhhhhl....

...appeared to be The Happiest Drummer In The World.  He kicked the hell outta that song!  I love it that Grohl so clearly and obviously loves music.  He grinned all the way through it.  And, it was great to see McCartney's old Hofner bass again!

I'm not totally familiar with Sugarland, but I will sum up their sweet performance in four words: That Girl Can Sing.

I was eager to see Radiohead perform.  I never know what to expect with those guys, but I know it'll be brilliant.  

They did not disappoint.  

Holy smokes, they came out backed up by this massive marching band to play "15 Steps" which, in my under-educated estimation, cannot be an easy number to play!  

Here are the comments in our family room during and after:





That pretty much knocked me out... my brain was blown.  The next few lines in my notebook (yeah, I watch the Grammys with a notebook!) are slightly mushy and don't say much.  The most legible quotation would be, "What a terrible mix.  Somebody needs to get fired."  Sounds like something Jethro would say.  

I was getting tired of the ground hum.  And getting tired.  I don't understand why it has to be so long.  The Juno awards are a tight, rocking two hours, and that's including the seven awards given out.  The Grammys hand out ten awards but we have to stretch it out to more than three hours????  I would like to thank Robert Plant for his nice short concise acceptance speeches.  I'd listen to him all night (I love his speaking voice) but he had the brains to keep it short and sweet.  

I would have enjoyed the Blues tribute (including John Mayer and BB King) but I couldn't figure out who was playing what.  They'd show a guy playing a part that was not the lead that I was hearing.


Neil Diamond came out to do "Sweet Caroline" and the dude is exactly the same, except older and grayer.  He looks and sounds just right, and I thought affectionately of my Mom's little sister, who was always my cool aunt, and had pretty much every Neil Diamond record ever.  

There was a New Orleans tribute, in which Lil Wayne and Robin Thicke strutted around the stage in front of a montage, because you know everything's better with a montage.  I think Robin's a good singer but how the heck could you tell?  Was his mic even on?  Geez.  Clearly it was getting to be past my bedtime.  

Speaking of Lil Wayne... I know sweet F. A. about hip hop and rap.  I really don't have the stomache for the bitses-n-hoes-mah-homies-mah-hoopty-rims-got-shot-nine-times thing.  (I tend to gravitate towards the fast-car-sleazy-girlfriend-big-****-Whaooooyeah kind of thing, but mostly because it is delightfully, stupidly ridiculous.)  Lil Wayne kind of won my heart last night.  He ran up to the mic and did the coolest victory leap, jumping up and kicking his heels together.  How do you do that?  Then, he had what appeared to be his entire extended family come up to the stage with him.  He smiled with his giant teeth and did a nice short speech which I can't totally remember, but thanked "God" and "You."  Aw.  He didn't cuss or talk like his mouth was full of marbles.  Well done, young man.  I approve.

Now pull yer darn pants up.

When Raising Sand won Album of the Year, I felt like there is still hope in the world of music, and I could go to bed and sleep well.

I fell for Robert just a little bit more.  He thanked producer T Bone Burnett, he thanked the engineers by name, (even though it went by so fast, I can't tell you what it means to me that he took the time to thank them) and he thanked the band.  He thanked Alison for "teaching me how to sing in straight lines instead of all that twirly stuff."

I wrote that down because it made me snicker, but it also made me think.  Here's a guy who is known to many as a Rock God.  Or rather, THE Rock God.  In his late 50s, he started a project that took him in a different direction.  He hadn't done harmonies with another singer.  He took a chance, and he learned something new.  He relied on a woman more than twenty years younger than him to guide him.  I think that's beautiful.  

Have I mentioned that I adore him?  I think I have a pretty solid girlcrush on her too.  Alison Krauss is completely amazing.  

Overall, the 51st Grammy awards didn't disappoint me.  We got some great performances, some totally weird ones, and some bloomin' awful clothes.  The sound quality was deplorable but it gave Jethro a chance to spout some creative insults at the TV, and that's always fun.  

I love showbiz, I love theatrics, but most of all, I love music.

How about you?  


Heidi said...

I would not watch the Grammy's just so I could get the show through you. This is so entertaining!!

I love your comments, although I am nto as hip to music as you, so I will have to accept your opinions as pure truth (everyone needs friends like that, right?).

great photos. great commentary. overall, I give this blog post a ten out of ten!

Tribble said...

you need to tone it down with the "oooh robert plaaannt googly googly!!!!!!!" like geez man! WE KNOW.

Heidi the Hick said...

Tribble, let's make a deal: I let you squeal about Eicca Toppinen and you let me squeal about Robert Plant and every other lovely man that I admire.

Including yo' Daddy, bwa ha ha ha ha!

Heidi, I am here for you, it's the least I can do!

Ten outta ten, whoo hoo!

pseudosu said...

Oh mah Gawd-- where to begin?!
I am almost as obssessed as you guys about the Grammys for no really good reason. I just am.

Chris Martin bugs the crap out of me for no good reason. Right before the Grammys he was on 60 minutes though and kind of won me over. I hated their outfits, because rockers aren't supposed to try that hard unless they're actually Sgt Pepper's Band. I thought they looks like skittles.

Dave Grohl !!!!! (give self chest compressions) OMG !!!! Not enough footage of him, and way too much clothing. Yes-- love how much he loves him some drums.

MIA's outfit was hilarious, and she was the best part of that act.

That deal with Kanyae and that other chick (sorry, not familiar w/ her)-- Yikes on the frullet, pleated pants, and what the hell was up with the chip bag she had on? It totally made me crave ruffles.

Katy Perry-- I liked her outfit because it was so goofy it had to be intentionally so, and she didn't attempt to sexy it up by wearing heels w/it. the set was completely whack-a-do. Dan goes, "Is she trying to do some kind of a Cher thing?" Which i thought was bizarre, yet insightful. Hmmm.

Ok, I'm sort of turning my comment into me very own blog on the topic, so I'll just shut up now. But I think I would have really enjoyed watching this with you guys.

--Sorry, one last thing-- Lil Waynes pants almost falling off made me so mad it erased the good will of his little heel kick for me. Pants UP dude!

Whew! I literally could go on and on.

Heidi the Hick said...

Oh you SHOULD go on and on! This is one of my favourite subjects!

Estelle wearing a chip bag - haw haw haw! Maybe that's where Kanye buys his clothes - the snack aisle. This could work, if only it wasn't so hard to rip open. Think of the disaster. Sit down too fast once, pop open the seam of your dress.

I should have watched that performance with my eyes closed.

But I would have watched a whole Katy Perry/ M.I.A show. They were hilarious. I did like it that Katy was wearing little flats and running around instead of high heels. Go girl! I just have a thing against plastic fruit. Yeesh.

I think Dave Grohl should perform at every grammy show.

Do you think that Lil Wayne character will make enough money off that album that he can afford a belt that fits? I could find a few at the thrift store that could work. I worry about the pants. I fear that a whole generation doesn't know where their waists are. It's troubling. I don't want to go to concerts and witness pants falling down. Cuz then it's a whole other kind of entertainment....

Music, people, I like theatrics but I want music!

CindyDianne said...

Do you really think there are people who don't know WHO Allison Kraus is? Really? Say it isn't so.

Sugarland - the girl CAN sing. It's nice to find one that really can instead of the one's that it take someone like Jethro to make sound good.

Lil Wayne - For the love of God and your mama, pull up your pants. Ugh!

MIA - really like her for some reason and it's kind of embarrassing.

Carrie Underwood - I'd dye my hair black or something to have legs like that.

Kanyae - I don't get him at all. Ever.

Heidi the Hick said...

hahaha Cindy!

"For the love of God and your mama, pull up your pants."


MIA- yeah I know. I feel the same way.

Wasn't it nice to see performances by some singers who are actually good singers? I mean, you can't win 'em all, but it sure is a thrill when you hear a good one!