Sunday , September 27 2020

Two More Looks at the Grammys

There’s breathless excitement from Grammy.com:

    The Recording Academy today tapped Kid Rock, the Roots, and Dave Grohl to perform on the 45th Annual GRAMMY Awards. In addition, Ja Rule, Joe Pantoliano, Kylie Minogue, Kim Cattrall, and Fred Durst are scheduled to present awards. The 45th Annual GRAMMY Awards will take place on Feb. 23 at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be broadcast on CBS from 8-11:30 p.m. (ET/PT). The show also will be supported on radio via Westwood One worldwide, and covered online at GRAMMY.com and AOL Keyword: GRAMMY.

    The newly named musical acts will appear in joint sets with previously announced performers. Kid Rock will perform with Sheryl Crow, and GRAMMY Award winners the Roots will perform with Eminem. GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist Dave Grohl will join Elvis Costello, Tony Kanal, Bruce Springsteen and Steve Van Zandt in a tribute to Joe Strummer and the Clash. Grohl currently holds three nominations: Best Rock Song, Best Hard Rock Performance as a member of the Foo Fighters, and Best Hard Rock Performance as a member of Queens of the Stone Age.

    Earlier announced performers include Ashanti, Vanessa Carlton, Coldplay with members of the New York Philharmonic, Elvis Costello, the Dixie Chicks, Eminem, Faith Hill, Norah Jones, Avril Lavigne, John Mayer, Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland, No Doubt, ‘N Sync, Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, and James Taylor with Yo-Yo Ma.

    As reported on Feb. 18, performances and special segments on this year’s show will be introduced by personalities associated with the city of New York itself. GRAMMY nominee Ja Rule and actor Joe Pantoliano join this group, which includes Marc Anthony, Ed Bradley, Queen Latifah, Paul Shaffer, Jamie-Lynn Sigler and Robin Williams. Also reported earlier, the GRAMMY Legend Award will be presented to the Bee Gees during a special segment featuring a performance by current nominees ‘N Sync.

    Finally, Kylie Minogue, Kim Cattrall, and Fred Durst will join the lineup of presenters previously named, including Mary J. Blige, Michelle Branch, Harvey Fierstein, Aretha Franklin, Peter Gabriel, Herbie Hancock, Alicia Keys, B.B. King, Cyndi Lauper, Martina McBride, Pat Monahan, Bonnie Raitt, Raphael Saadiq, Rod Stewart, and Justin Timberlake.

It’s the kitchen sink approach: throw everything we’ve got at them.

John Pareles has a bit more jaded view of the proceedings:

    This year, the 45th annual awards are up to 104 categories, including completely indistinguishable ones like best R & B album and best contemporary R & B album; more are doubtless on the way. Categories keep splitting by gender, separating male and female vocalists; they also separate by generation, with traditional as the code word for graying (as in best traditional R & B vocal performance). For the Grammys, it’s too late to turn back now. Hey, there’s still no punk-rock category (only rock, hard rock, metal and alternative).

    With all those categories, shouldn’t the nominations and awards provide an accurate reflection of the past year’s music? (Officially, it’s the year from Oct. 1, 2001, to Sept. 30, 2002.) That’s the idea, but it ain’t necessarily so. The Grammys have a gift for embarrassing oversights. This year, two major producers — the Neptunes, who had hits all over the pop, R & B and hip-hop Top 10, and Linda Perry, who’s forging a new confessional pop with Pink’s best-selling album “Missundaztood” and Christina Aguilera’s “Stripped” — weren’t nominated, simply because no one sent in applications for them.

    Although the Grammys are back in New York, neither the best new artist nominations nor the rock categories noticed the Strokes, who are leading a New York rock renaissance. Although the Strokes’ album was released in September 2001, just before this year’s deadline, singles would have been eligible. (The best new artist nominees do include Michelle Branch, whose debut album came out in August 2001.)

    When it comes to choosing winners, the Grammys often back away from the show of rebellion, sex and youthful energy that the music business spends the rest of the year marketing. No wonder the show gets unimpressive ratings. Meanwhile, predicting the awards tends to be an exercise in perverse calculation.

    The Grammy voters, who qualify to vote by amassing credits on six tracks, have historically shown a penchant for ballads over rockers, professionalism over punch, familiar names over newcomers, old songs over new ones. Movie connections also seem to help. Last year’s big winner, the soundtrack to “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” was not only made for a film; it had by far the oldest songs: traditional ones.

    This year, the top awards are likely to split between youth and experience. The experienced side belongs to Bruce Springsteen’s song and album “The Rising,” his heartfelt attempt to come to terms with the aftermath of Sept. 11. Nominated for album of the year, “The Rising” seems weightier and worthier than Eminem’s sour “The Eminem Show,” the Dixie Chicks’ smart string-band anachronism, “Home,” Nelly’s party-rap album “Nellyville” and Norah Jones’s album of old and new torch songs, “Come Away With Me.”

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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