Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Grammys or the Shammys???

Yes, it's that time of year again... time to make fun of the Grammy panel and their often complete lack of touch with what really happening in the music industry.

As I peruse the www.grammy.com site for a list of the finalists for the 51st Grammy Awards, I notice the usual curious selections and even more curious omissions. Let's start with Record Of The Year. While I have no problem with three of the nominees - "Bleeding Love" by Leona Lewis, "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay and as much I hate to admit it, "Paper Planes" by M.I.A., two of the nominees leave me scratching my head. Now there's no doubt that newcomer Adele has written a pretty good song in "Chasing Pavements." It's melodic, it's catchy, and I even bought it myself from iTunes about a month ago. However, at last check the song has only had very modest success - top 20 on the Hot AC chart, and barely cracking the top 100 at pop radio. Now that's tame compared to nominating Robert Plant and the extremely overrated Alison Krauss for a song called "Please Read The Letter." Has anyone that actually listens to music heard of this song? I didn't think so. Much better and more musically relevant selections would have been Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" and Estelle's "American Boy." At least those two were nominated for Song of The Year so it wasn't a complete loss for them.

Of course, in the above category, the most GLARING omission is Kid Rock's huge three format top five smash "All Summer Long." The song was the anthem of the summer and maybe the year at BOTH Pop and Country radio, so how in the world could they leave it out???? Thanks to some marketing genius (not releasing the song for individual sale) the song almost single-handedly sold over TWO MILLION copies of Kid Rock's Rock N Roll Jesus album. I'm no fan of Kid Rock, but honestly leaving that song out of the Record of The Year finalists is a COMPLETE travesty! Even more curious is the fact that "All Summer Long" actually did get a nomination for Kid Rock in Best Male Pop Vocal Performance. Best pop vocal??? lol. Seriously!!! Now there's another category that is a TRAIN WRECK! Ne-Yo's smooth "Closer" (how again did that song stall at #2???) and Jason Mraz's ginormous multi-format smash "I'm Yours" obviously belong... John Mayer's "Say" is marginal, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. But did any of you know Paul McCartney or James Taylor released new music this year? Yeah, me neither!

As I continue to glance over the list, the Best New Artist nominees and those missing definitely leave me scratching my head. Jazmine Sullivan? Jazmine who? Jazmine? Can any of you name a Jazmine Sullivan song? An album by her? That nomination will live in Grammy infamy for years to come. Yes, Lady Antebellum and the ubiquitous Jonas Brothers obviously belong there, but how do you justify putting Adele and Duffy in there and not Leona Lewis??? Duffy's song "Mercy," despite having lots of international success, was a HUGE flop here in the U.S as was her Rockferry album!!! Leona Lewis' "Bleeding Love" not only was the most played record here in the U.S. this year, it also sold the most copies of ANY single! It even managed to sneak four weeks in at #1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart despite their convoluted formula. Leona's Spirit album is one of the top selling albums of the 2008 year, and even boasted a top 3 follow-up hit in "Better In Time." Leave it to Grammy committee to truly screw up one category beyond reapir! Out of the possible nominations I expected Leona to get, this was the one award which I thought was a shoo-in win for her - and they didn't even nominate her! Crazy... Beyond dumb. I'm truly at a loss for words!

Let's see about my other favorite genre, Country... well, I see they MASSIVELY messed up in the Best Country Song category. "I Saw God Today" by George Strait, "Stay" by Sugarland and "You're Gonna Miss This" by Trace Adkins are without a doubt three of this year's biggest songs and are definitely worthy of their nominations... it's the other two though that have ZERO business being there!!! "In Color" by Jamey Johnson??? Why? I heard other Jamey Johnson songs on the radio this year, but not this song. "Dig Two Graves" by Randy Travis? Once again, why??? Yes, Randy Travis has achieved a lot in Country music, but most of that is in the distant past. Did any of you hear this song on your radio? I didn't think so. Lady Antebellum's "Love Don't Live Here," James Otto's "Just Got Started Loving You," Brooks & Dunn's "God Must Be Busy," Brad Paisley's "Letter To Me," Carrie Underwood's "Last Name" and countless other songs would have been much more worthy of those final two spots. At least those five deserving songs all managed to get nominations in other Country categories. Perhaps the most deserving Country song of all, Darius Rucker's "Don't Think I Don't Think About It" was COMPLETELY SHUT OUT tonight!

Once again, the Grammy committee's lack of respect for the industry and living in the past catches up with them. Is there any hope that someday the award show will actually become relevant? I seriously doubt it. And rest assured, I'll be back in a couple of months to mock all of the wrong selections they made in choosing the actual winners!!!

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6 comments:

Daniel said...

Oh, and much more laughable than Jazmine Sullivan being nominated is the fact that we have a Best New Artist nominee that, in the release timeline for the upcoming Grammys, released its SECOND album. Yes, it's the Jonas Brothers I am talking about.

Daniel said...

Yes, the Grammys DO deserve a mocking for the way they seem to hand out awards more as thinly-veiled Lifetime Achievement awards than anything.
Thing is, dissing the Jazmine Sullivan, Duffy, Adele or the Robert Plant/Alison Krauss nominations on the basis that none of them had mass appeal hits in the American market is, quite frankly, demagogic. To be honest, the only one out of the names I referred that still tickles a minimum of my pink is precisely the most unknown of them - I don't really care about the others. But come on! I mean, can't these awards have a little shred of artistic merit thrown in the middle, in the middle of all the smug self-congratulation these types of awards truly are? Is it so wrong that the industry tries to acknowledge some lesser known/less recognized talent in-between the obvious hitters? Is it stipulated anywhere that just because a song/album/artist was one of the biggest of the year MUST therefore be nominated? Likewise, where is it stipulated that lesser known acts cannot be, at least, nominated?
Bottom line: these aren't the Blockbuster Awards or the Billboard Music Awards, where a set criteria (the biggest selling items) is used for nominations. Awards shows like the Grammys, the VMA's, the CMA's or other such industry bashes don't really have a predetermined formula for its nominations, except for the release timeline. From that point on, it's up to the members of all these committees to establish their own criteria for the noms. Therefore, debate is never far away.

John C said...

Daniel:

I very much do take issue with the Grammy awards overlooking the obvious. Leona Lewis was EVERYWHERE this year. She was on all the big shows - Oprah, Leno, Lettterman, Regis & Kelly, etc... she had LOTS of exposure here and the song of the year. Overlooking her and putting in 5 artists that COMBINED didn't accomplish what Leona did this year is an utter disgrace. Leona has plenty of artistic merit. She can sing anything which is more than I can say for the other nominees. Putting in less recognized talent in at the expense of an obvious selection (and likely winner) is beyond pathetic. And this is yet another reason why we call them "the Shammies."

Daniel said...

First of all, during the Grammy release timeline, the Jonases actually released their THIRD album. One more reason for their nomination for Best New Artist to be an even bigger joke than it already was.
So Leona was everywhere in 2008. Yes, and...? As I already explained, awards shows like the Grammys, the VMA's, the CMA's and their ilk only have two predetermined set criteria for their noms:

a) the artistic work must have an official release in American territory.

b) a timeline (Oct 1, 2007 - Sep 30, 2008)

From then on, it's up to the members to decide, according to THEIR OWN criteria. So if they didn't find Leona deserving of a nom, tough luck! Regardless of her artistic merit - and good voice aside, I think her material is generic, formula-driven, same old-same old, LCD, pop music -, she already got a thing not many artists can be proud of boasting these days: a blockbuster album that paid back the investment, with two big hit-singles (one of them a bonafide global juggernaut) and the luxury of not even having to tour to promote it. The rest is just small talk, really.
As I also said earlier, these awards shows are just the music industry smugly patting itself in the back. I even question their relevance these days. I mean, aren't these awards one of the biggest symbols of the old model?

John C said...

Daniel:

I did have to modify your comment slightly as I don't allow links to most third party sites on my blog.

You are obviously a music critic and don't see the artistic merit of someone as talented as Leona Lewis. You probably feel the same way about Carrie Underwood, Martina McBride and anyone else who actually gets help in choosing songs that are going to connect with the intended audience. It's actually A LOT of work to go through a bunch of songs that others have written and find something that you're actually gone to be able to shine through.

Until the Grammy committee gets their head out of the sand, they will continue to be looked upon as a second class act.

Jessica said...

I agree, John. Leona definitely should have been recognized for BNA. I don't understand the Jasmine Sullivan nomination at all, and most especially at Leona's expense.