Those Hovercrafts

Floating with intention

Gabbing About The Grammy’s

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LL Cool Grammys

The Grammy’s are coming up, our favorite opportunity to feel out of touch with the zeitgeist/more in touch with what’s cool than our parents. LL Cool J’s hosting this year, which pretty much sums up the Grammy’s: maybe great in the past, now just a CBS procedural star in a bad hat. Who will win a shiny thing? Let’s see:

Record Of The Year

  • “Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys
  • “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Kelly Clarkson
  • “We Are Young” – Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe
  • “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye Featuring Kimbra
  • “Thinkin Bout You” – Frank Ocean
  • “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Taylor Swift

Funny how Frank Ocean made it into the mainstream here. I don’t mean the sexuality thing, though I guess that’s notable, but a guy who got his start with Odd Future is now a Grammy performer. Also a famous person. I wonder how he thinks of Tyler et. al., if he still finds the rape jokes funny or if he’s too Jay-Z for that now.

I’ll admit I was kind of meh about Nostalgia, Ultra, when it first came, and deleted it from my iTunes fairly quickly. As such, it took me a while to get around to Channel Orange, but it should win a whole bunch of awards.

Album Of The Year

  • El Camino – The Black Keys
  • Some Nights – Fun.
  • Babel – Mumford & Sons
  • Channel Orange – Frank Ocean
  • Blunderbuss – Jack White

How long do Mumford & Sons have before they’re just a novelty from the early-teens? Six months? A year? I assume they’ll probably mop up the awards this year, Norah Jones-style, then disappear to the back catalogues of dads with beards’ record collections. Also, on the other end: Jack White has been a critical and popular favorite for like a decade now. That is some impressive stamina from a man who I occasionally remember and think “oh yeah. Him.”

Song Of The Year

  • “The A Team” – Ed Sheeran, songwriter (Ed Sheeran)
  • “Adorn” – Miguel Pimentel, songwriter (Miguel)
  • “Call Me Maybe” – Tavish Crowe, Carly Rae Jepsen & Josh Ramsay, songwriters (Carly Rae Jepsen)
  • “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” – Jörgen Elofsson, David Gamson, Greg Kurstin & Ali Tamposi, songwriters (Kelly Clarkson)
  • “We Are Young” – Jack Antonoff, Jeff Bhasker, Andrew Dost & Nate Ruess, songwriters (Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe)

I used to think about Katy Perry what I now think about Carly Rae Jepson: one hit wonder with a catchy song too novel for its own good (this was “I Kissed A Girl” era Katy Perry). But that all changed, so who knows. Maybe she’s in it for the long haul. I’d be alright if she won this award, I guess. Enough time has passed since last summer for me to listen to “Call Me Maybe” again.

I don’t know most of these songs, but whenever I hear that Fun. song on on the radio I assume it’s some old Toto hit that I knew and forgot about. I suppose that’s a good sign, in that it’s not too obnoxious, but when you sound a lot like Toto I think you might need a revamp.

Best New Artist

  • Alabama Shakes
  • Fun.
  • Hunter Hayes
  • The Lumineers
  • Frank Ocean

Fun is a pretty solid name for a band, though. Minus the period, of course. That’s a dumb affectation that already seems dated. I had a friend of a friend in college who got “Fun.” tattooed on her inner forearm, just above the inside of the elbow, and she told me her parents said she would soon it. “Why would I regret fun?” she asked, laughing in the self-assured way that early-20-somethings sometimes laugh, unaware of a mediocre pop band that was just waiting to undermine her youthful insouciance.  I bet she regrets that tattoo now.

Best Rock Performance

  • “Hold On” – Alabama Shakes
  • “Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys
  • “Charlie Brown” – Coldplay
  • “I Will Wait” – Mumford & Sons
  • “We Take Care Of Our Own” – Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen pretty much won the election for Barack Obama with his song (along with Chris Christie), so it should probably win an award, too. It was the song that played Obama offstage at his rallies all summer and autumn long, the one that roared its faith in collectivism as he made his way along the edge of the crowd, blazer off and sleeves rolled up, to shake the hands of the Democrats young and old who had waited for hours to hear him recite a rote stump speech delivered dozens of times before. Romney, meanwhile, went off the stage to “Born Free” by Kid Rock, a man who has never won a Grammy award. Interpret from that what you will.

Best Alternative Music Album

  • The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than The Driver Of The Screw And Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do – Fiona Apple
  • Biophilia – Björk
  • Making Mirrors – Gotye
  • Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. – M83
  • Bad As Me – Tom Waits

There’s been a lot more electronica at the Grammy’s these last few years,  but it’s weird that M83 count as “alternative” here. Ditto Fiona Apple, but for other reasons. Really I don’t know what anyone is doing here. I also don’t know how to pronounce Gotye. Is it like “Got-cha”? “Goat-yee”? I guess that’s a pretty alternative name. Alternative to something pronouncable.

Best R&B Album

  • Black Radio – Robert Glasper Experiment
  • Back To Love – Anthony Hamilton
  • Write Me Back – R. Kelly
  • Beautiful Surprise – Tamia
  • Open Invitation – Tyrese

For some reason Channel Orange counts as “Urban Contemporary,” not R&B. I don’t know what the hell that means, but it seems like some bullshit to me. I don’t know. Some people call him and similar crooners (The Weeknd, How to Dress Well) PBR&B, which is the most awful thing I have ever heard in my entire life.

Best Rap Performance

  • “Hyfr (Hell Ya Fucking Right)” – Drake Featuring Lil’ Wayne
  • “N***as In Paris” – Jay-z & Kanye West
  • “Daughters” – Nas
  • “Mercy” – Kanye West featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz
  • “I Do” – Young Jeezy featuring Jay-z & André 3000

Obviously “N***as in Paris” is the winner here, though my favorite version of the song is when they played it 10+ times on repeat to close out their shows, like a Dadaist musical semantic satiation. It turns into drone, really, or becomes something of a performance art piece at that point. But I guess just playing it once deserves an award.

Best Rap Album

  • Take Care – Drake
  • Food & Liquor II: The Great American Rap Album, Pt. 1 – Lupe Fiasco
  • Life Is Good – Nas
  • Undun – The Roots
  • God Forgives, I Don’t – Rick Ross
  • Based On A T.r.u. Story – 2 Chainz

Rick Ross was the likely target of a shooting a couple weeks ago. He could very well have been dead right now. Gun violence: still a terror.

Best Reggae Album

  • Rebirth – Jimmy Cliff
  • Miracle – The Original Wailers
  • Tomahawk Technique – Sean Paul
  • New Legend – Jamaica 50th Edition – Sly & Robbie & The Jam Masters
  • Reggae Got Soul: Unplugged On Strawberry Hill – Toots And The Maytals

These are all (except Sean Paul) legends of 20th Century music. I didn’t even know half these dudes were alive. It’s weird that reggae is still doing its thing, out of sight to most adults who only ever latched onto the parts that punk appropriated. Good for reggae.


Written by thosehovercrafts

February 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm

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