Monday, February 12, 2007

Another triumph for The Grammys

Jeff Lebowski had it right: "The fucking Eagles?"

Salon - David Marchese
Oh, to have been a fly on the wall during the production meeting before last night's Grammy Awards. I imagine it went something like this: A hopelessly out-of-touch baby-boomer industry bigwig dumped a pile of his favorite albums on a boardroom desk, said "make it happen" to a bunch of yes people and walked out. How else to explain such a backward-looking and tone-deaf production?

And, most mind-blowingly, there was a three-song tribute to those young tyros the Eagles. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the 2007 Grammy Awards.

It was actually sort of fitting that the show began with a song about a hooker ("Roxanne") because the lackstravaganza that followed exhibited all the decision-making smarts and sensitivity of a cheap one-night stand. Justin Timberlake, pop music's most kinetic performer, was stuck behind a piano for the first of his two appearances. The cryptic jazz genius Ornette Coleman was paired as a presenter with Natalie Cole -- I guess because their last names have a syllable in common. Noted head-banger Al Gore earned loud applause when he and Queen Latifah presented the award for best rock album to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Beyoncé sang a song, "Listen," that wasn't nominated for a Grammy (but was for an Oscar, where she's expected to again perform it in a mere two weeks). MTV's Video Music Awards apparently lent its hokey fraudience, which filled the space at the foot of the stage and gyrated obediently during the performances. Then there was this whole weird biz where television viewers were repeatedly implored to vote to give one of three pretty young things the chance to duet with Timberlake. Having never seen any of these girls before, I was thus hard-pressed to care when one of them (Robyn Troup) ended up singing "Ain't No Sunshine" and "My Love" with J.T. The one time Timberlake was free to dance, unencumbered by a baby grand, he's paired with an amateur.

A possible clue to the evening's origins came when, during his brief speech telling everyone how amazing the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences is, academy prez Neil Portnoy revealed that seeing Elvis on TV when he was 6 years old made him realize what he wanted to do with his life. That fact was instructive. It makes sense that the Grammys -- so soulless and bland -- are headed by a man who saw Elvis on TV and thought: "I want to be a record executive."

Jeff Lebowski had it right: "The fucking Eagles?"

Ray Richmond - Hollywood Reporter

Mind you, the Grammys (try asking a teenager or young adult if they know what a Gramophone is, evemn though this is what the Grammys were named for) have been around a mere 49 years, or precisely as long as me -- and I don't really consider myself ancient (much). But in a record industry that no longer presses records and sells fewer and fewer CDs as the MP3 continues its stranglehold on the business, it's increasingly difficult to work up much enthusiasm for this kudofest. If you know if any Grammy parties and Grammy pools going down tonight, consider yourself in what appears to be a tiny minority.

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