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Cranky Grammy Thoughts

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Easily the most fun and varied Grammy show in years. Yea, yea, the ‘cool’ people aren’t supposed to care about the Grammys. I can’t say that I care about them, but it’s a lot of fun to see who can make the silliest speech, who can surprise us, and who can bore us silly. Let’s see:

Gwen Stefani. OK, here’s a piggish case of me being won over by old-Hollywood good looks, a cute voice and mile-long legs. The wife didn’t approve but then I had to remind her that she didn’t think Gavin Rossdale was “too hard to look at.” Plus, we happened to listen to her solo CD at some friends’ house on Saturday night after a coupla martinis. Fun was had by all.

Southern Rock Tribute. Sure, “Free Bird” is the “Stairway To Heaven” of southern rock. So what? The old southern boys are gettin’ old and grizzled, but they can still play with a lotta heart. Gretchen Wilson can really belt it out too. And maybe it’s just me, but that Tim McGraw guy has so much less character in his voice than, well…everybody else on stage. Man, I haven’t heard “Fooled Around And Fell In Love” in years!

Green Day. So sorry if you can’t take the political content. American Idiot kicks serious ass.

Los Lonely boys. How did I not pick up on these guys? Their CD becomes a part of my collection later today.

Black Eyed Peas. Yes, that whole medley thing at the start was sort of a big mess. But it was a big mess in the way that those Parliament/Funkadelic shows were a big mess. Everything louder than everything else. “Let’s Get It Started” is serious ear candy earwurm material. Another record I’ve gotta snag later.

Alicia Keys. Whooee, she can really sing. Still doesn’t really do anything for me though…can’t quite put my finger on why. Still, there’s absolutely no denying the talent there.

Jennifer Lopez/Ricky Ricardo….unlike these two. I sorta wanted to root for them but it’s just so obvious that this song was a huge stretch for both of them.

Loretta Lynn/Jack White. My favorite moment of the night. First Loretta bosses Jack around on stage, followed by the hilarious and respectful “yes maam”‘s. Then Jack rubs it in the face of the modern country music establishment. My advice: get yourself a copy of Van Lear rose. It’s killin’.

Kanye West. I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never heard of this guy. Nope, not one little syllable or note. Still, it was refreshing to hear from the part of the hip-hop community not obsessed with chrome wheels and other assorted bling. West, Mavis Staples, Blind Boys of Alabama. Yow, it was inspiring.

Maroon 5. This reminds me of back when I still used to watch the Academy Awards show even though I hadn’t gone to a movie in several years. Yep, I’ve never heard of Maroon 5 either. Best new artist? I guess so…though my choice would have been Los Lonely Boys.

The Janis Joplin Tribute. Wow, Joss Stone was sorta OK…but then Melissa Etheridge came out and fricken tore the roof off the sucker.

The Ray Charles Tribute. Man, I’m all a-teary eyed.

The Tsunami Tribute. Not great, not bad. For some reason, I get nervous watching Brian Wilson sing.

U2. The band people either love or hate. “Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” was a moving tribute to Bono’s father and one of the best songs from “…Atomic Bomb”. Live, it was spectacular.

Usher/James Brown. That Usher guys sure can dance. “Sex Machine” was waaaay too short. A missed opportunity there.

That’s it. Nothing earth-shattering this year (is there ever, really?), but it was about as fun as a scripted awards show can be.

About Mark Saleski

  • Eric Olsen

    very similar to my view Mark, thanks

    there are worse ways to spend a few hours than catching up with the industry over the last year

    Keith Urban was the highlight of the Southern rock segment, doing a killer MIckey Thomas on “Fooled Around” (where was Mickey, by the way, a Starship date?), and busting out some tasty lead guitar among all those legends, as well

    I think Gwen is cool and pretty hot, but that outfit wasn’t my fave

  • http://www.thebeautifullull.com Tom Johnson

    Strange, I thought the entire show blew chunks of a massive and impressive amount.

    Green Day was undoubtedly the highlight, and I don’t even particularly like Green Day (I do, however, respect them and their ability to stick around and continue putting out music that doesn’t seem to pander.)

    The lowlight? Without a doubt that tsunami “tribute.” What a horrible rendition of “Across the Universe.” Did they bother practicing together before the performance? The only voice I was impressed with was Scott Weiland, who managed a dead-on Bowie impersonation. Otherwise, the song was embarassingly bad. Your 99 cents for the song on Itunes is better served going directly to some tsunami aid charity.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    shoot, i forget to give Urban a mention. he did play a mean telecaster.

    it made me wonder if any of his records are worth checking out. you’ve gotta be careful though..i mean, Brad Paisley is a killer guitar player, but almost none of that seems to make it through to his records.

  • Eric Olsen

    I agree the song was much more impressive as an “event” than as a musical performance. And I also agree Tim McGraw is today’s Garth Brooks; not much going on in there

  • http://www.getyouroj.com jason

    Kayne West isn’t hip hop, he’s a propoganda spewing pawn… for who I have yet to decide.

    And those cowboy songs you haven’t heard “in years”… yeah… so… why should we have to sit through them at the 2004 grammy awards. I’m sure they had their day in the sun at the 1712 Grammy Awards.

    Why didn’t they get more relevant acts up there? Beastie Boys perhaps?

  • Eric Olsen

    Beastie Boys more “relevant” than Kanye West?? Surely you jest. And if West is “propaganda” for anything, it’s for himself, and who the hell isn’t?

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    given how roc-oriented ‘country’ music has become, the southern rock bit was very ‘relevant’.

  • http://www.thebmrant.com Matt

    How do you measure relevancy? And exactly what is the propaganda that West is spewing?

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall

    I really didn’t want to like American Idiot, but it is a fine record. Definitely Green Day’s finest in years. I also like the fact that the last couple times I have seen them play live, they have an additional guitar player to fill out the sound. Sometimes a trio can benefit greatly from that.

    Lord knows that Nirvana benefitted from having Pat Smear onstage with them.

  • Eric Olsen

    I think Green Day has transcended “punk” and become a truly great American rock band – there aren’t all that many left

  • Eric Olsen

    oh, and I thought Warning was really great as well

  • http://www.filteringcraig.com Craig Lyndall
  • Dawn

    Mark,

    I couldn’t have said it better, but I would add that Keith Urban, mmmmm,mmmm, good.

    I don’t like country, but DAMN, that is one sexy mo.

    Also, I hadn’t heard of Kayne West, but that whole medley gave me chills!!

    Nice roundup.

  • SFC SKI

    Regarding Los Lonely Boys: Go for the DVD “Texican Style” as well, it is one great concert video that shows of the Boys as a great live act. I had the opportunity to see them in their hometown of San Angelo, TX a few times before they hit the big time, and I was hooked immediately. I am glad to see them making it and still sounding good.

    As for Gwen Stafani, her roots go back to the ’80′s and she was smart enough to mate that to some ace 21st century production to make a fun album, not everyone feels the need to make a statement and change the world, that is what music is there for. Her album is not my style, but she has the smarts, the talent and the looks to make a solo album on her terms, and kudos for that.

    Southern Rock is a much needed antidote for all these emo-bands whining because someone told them “No ” and sent them to their rooms.

    It’s always funny to see the crowd shots when real bands are playing after some studio-enhanced dance/pop act has come on. They can’t help but feel the power of real music. James Brown didn’t need Pro-tools, he is a true performer, and his bands can play circles around kids 30 years younger.

    I didn’t watch the Grammies, but if I had, I probably would have been watching with the TV sound off and podcasting real music.

  • Rita

    Los Lonely Boys were the highlight of the show. They outshined all the other “stars”.

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    I’m also one of the few people who hadn’t seen a video or heard a song of Kanye West’s until the Grammy’s. However, my reaction to him is far different from everyone else apparently. Am I the only one who found his performance to be nothing but self-worshipping rubbish? The guy basically deified himself on stage. Where does he get the nerve? The arrogant freak.

  • Eric Olsen

    whoa, I didn’t see it that way at all; I saw the act as a very powrful method of conveying a message, not self-aggrandizement

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    What I saw was that he dies during his performance, the people mourn him, and he returns to walk amongst them again. I see that as him claiming he’s like Jesus. Not to mention that he ends his performance with him ascending as an angel with a smug look on his face.

  • Eric Olsen

    it’s a metaphor for his own spiritual journey: he had a serious accident, almost died and became a Christian

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    Don’t even get me started on his speech after the performance when he was accepting that award. “I guess we’ll never know!” All I’m seeing from him is blatant cockiness, like he deserves the world for his suffering or something.

  • Eric Olsen

    there is no doubt he is cocky, but I see it as confidence in the importance of the role he sees himself playing, the message, rather than egoism

  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    It’s probably the deist in me that makes me see him the way I do. He is no prophet. Even if his performance was a presentation of his spiritual journey, he still did it in a way that equated himself to Jesus, and that is what fuels my reaction.

  • Eric Olsen

    there is certainly messianic symbolism there, but I didn’t take it as self-referential, or at least not self-honoring

  • melanie

    i found this site while wandering around the net… just thought i’d let you know that if you enjoyed keith urban’s performance at the grammys, then you should check out his records. the man can tear it up on a guitar. his self-entitled cd has an insturmental called “rollercoaster” that’s amazing.

  • http://www.markiscranky.org Mark Saleski

    thanks melanie.

    it was pretty obvious he knew what he was doin’ on the guitar….but all of the samples i checked out seemed kinda bland.

    that “rollercoaster” this seems more up my alley.

  • BoB

    Los Lonely Boys owe everything to Los Lobos, including their oh-so-original band name. Los Lobos are STILL the best band in America, if you disagree or don’t know, check out their latest album ‘The Ride.’ These guys have been kicking ass for 20 years.

  • kanyewestsucks

    I am a white man who bought your new CD, but I threw it in the trash this morning. You have a right to your uninformed ignorant opinion, but last night you were supposed to be HELPING people. Who the majority needing help happened to be black people. You showed that you in fact are a racist and selfish.
    Did you know the Mayor of New Orleans is a black man? Mayor Nagin could have used New Orleans School Buses to evacuate people starting Saturday? The Hurricane didn’t hit until Monday, idiot. It is common knowledge that the low lying flood prone areas of New Orleans are poor people and black, but this is from the Associated Press two days BEFORE the Hurricane hit:

    NEW ORLEANS (AP)8/28/05 — In the face of a catastrophic Hurricane Katrina, a mandatory evacuation was ordered Sunday for New Orleans by Mayor Ray Nagin.
    Gov. Kathleen Blanco, standing beside the mayor at a news conference, said President Bush called and personally appealed for a mandatory evacuation for
    the low-lying city, which is prone to flooding.
    ————————————-

    So President Bush PERSONALLY called the Mayor and Governor and asked them for a Mandatory Evacuation of “low-lying” areas, which everyone knows the majority are poor black people. I have seen pictues of thousands of New Orleans School Buses under water. Why didn’t Mayor Nagin do public announcements on tv and radio telling people in low-lyng areas that the city will pick them up in, New Orleans School Buses, on every other even numbered street? That would have saved many lives. The decisions made by the state of Louisiana were made by Governor Kathleen Blanco, and the decisions made for the city of New Orleans were made by Mayor Nagin(who happens to be a black man, who was in control of the New Orleans Police Department). So if anyone gave the order “of shoot black people” it would have been this black man’s decision not President Bush. I never knew you were such an ignorant racist self-centered man until last night.

  • http://www.thebmrant.com Matt

    kanyewestsucks–could you please retrive the cd and send it to me? Its a shame to see your money go to waste.

    Thanks