Some Thoughts About the Grammy Nominees

Grammy“Record of the Year.” What are they going to do if Cee Lo Green gets it? Will they have Bono make the presentation given that he’s comfortable dropping the F-bomb on broadcast television? Will CBS be able to afford another dustup with the FCC? And why is it that three out of the five nominees need to leverage themselves with another performer (B.o.B featuring Bruno Mars; Eminem featuring Rihanna; Jay-Z and Alicia Keys)? Shouldn’t Cee Lo and Lady Antebellum get some sort of single-combat advantage?

“Album of the Year.” This is clearly a carefully calculated blend, one that may have been concocted to help move discs with those little “Grammy” stickers that can be affixed to the packaging of nominees. Arcade Fire from Alternative; Eminem from Rap; Lady Antebellum from Country; and Lady Gaga and Katy Perry from Pop. Sell, sell, sell.

“Song of the Year.” Again, the Cee Lo issue.

“Best New Artist.” This is the damned-if-they do/damned-if-they-don’t situation. Justin Bieber is on the list. The word best is not relevant. This is junior high. Most popular is key. But won’t it seem like a sell-out if he gets it. Wait, I almost forgot these are the Grammys.

“Best Female Pop Vocal Performance.” The best thing that could happen to the broadcast would be a brawl between Katy Perry and Lady Gaga, sort of like something out of the WWE Royal Rumble. Meanwhile, Beyoncé walks out with the little gold gramophone


“Best Male Pop Vocal Performance.” This would be an opportunity to bring out Haley Joel Osment who could utter, “I hear dead people,” and then announce Michael Jackson won.

“Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.” So: is there a variant version of this nominee from the Glee Cast: “Don’t Stop Believin’ (Regionals Version)” Regionals Version?

“Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals.” Chances are “Imagine” isn’t going to win because there would be too many little gold statues involved: Herbie Hancock, Pink, India.Arie, Seal, Konono No 1, Jeff Beck, and Oumou Sangare.

“Best Pop Instrumental Performance.” I suppose I need to take this moment to note that this seems to be the year of Jeff Beck. Not only was he cited in the previous entry, but he’s in this one. He’s in “Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals” (for “I Put a Spell on You” with Joss Stone), “Best Rock Instrumental Performance” (“Hammerhead”), and “Best Rock Album” (“Emotion & Commotion”). And maybe he’s in there elsewhere, too.

“Best Pop Instrumental Album.” Did you know that Robby Krieger had a record out? Did anyone?

“Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album.” Consider these performers: Michael Bublé, Barry Manilow, Johnny Mathis, Barbra Streisand. For years here on GloNo I’ve been decrying what has become of Rod Stewart. He is in contention with those people. If I never write about him again, it doesn’t matter because that list nails it.

“Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance.” Who would have thought that a song that was originally released in 1968 would be a contender: “Helter Skelter.” McCartney is the veritable Energizer Bunny.

“Best Rock Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocals.” “Tighten Up” by Archie Bell and the Drells was also released in 1968. But that’s not the song nominated here; The Black Keys aren’t doing a cover.

“Best Hard Rock Performance.” I am beginning to wonder whether Ozzy isn’t in some way related to Rasputin.

“Best Rock Instrumental Performance.” There will undoubtedly be part of the GloNo crew seriously hoping for a victory by Dweezil Zappa.

“Best Rock Song.” While Neil Young isn’t having quite the year that Jeff Beck is, he isn’t doing too badly. Not only is his “Angry World” nominated here, but it is also in the “Best Solo Rock Vocal Performance” category. And the album on which it appears, “Le Noise,” is nominated for “Best Rock Album.”

“Best Rock Album.” With all due respect to some of the nominees, this really does bring Paleolithic to mind. Jeff Beck’s “Truth” album—his first post-Yardbirds LP—came out in 1968, the same year as “Neil Young,” his first solo outing. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers were formed in 1976. Pearl Jam came on the scene in 1990, and Muse in 1994. Justin Bieber was born in 1994.

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