Monday, February 14, 2011


Grammy Awards 2011 Likes & Dislikes


Cee-Lo (channeling Elton John's 70s "outrageous outfit" persona), Gwyneth Paltrow & Muppets doing "Forget You." And, yeah, Gwyneth held her own quite well.

Rihanna's flowing dress during her "Love The Way You Lie" performance with Eminem.

Speaking of whom, the man once known as Marshall Mathers has one of the best stage presences of anyone in music today -- regardless of genre. For the second year in a row, an Eminem performance (which also featured Dr. Dre on "I Need A Doctor") brought down the house. It's too bad that his lyrical choices, of course, cause many of his words to be excised during a broadcast.

While the segue from the "roll call of the dead" was unflattering, you gotta tip your hat to 68-year old Mick Jagger for tearing it up in his cover of Solomon Burke's "Everyone Needs Somebody To Love." He's a master showman who can still bring it up. 

Not being a country music fan, this was the first time I had heard Miranda Lambert. She's got a sweet voice and really managed to put real passion into her "The House That Built Me" without crazy bells and whistles... just her singing.  

Arcade Fire?? Really!! Wow!! Kudos to our friends to the north for The Suburbs! I can't remember the last time that a truly deserving bad surprised everyone and actually won Best Album -- and on their first nomination too!! 


Justin Bieber AND Jaden Smith? Regardless of their individual talents, Usher and Will Smith have much to answer for. 

Rihanna's skanky mini-skirt and barely-there outfit in her "What's My Name" duet with Drake? Uh, no.  

Lady Antebellum -- despite their great harmonies, their name strikes me as vaguely offensive. While it wouldn't have been my choice, I'm not surprised "Need You Now" won for both "Song of the Year" and "Record of the Year." It has that ear-candy radio-friendly melody that is catnip for Academy voters. See: 2010's winner, "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon. 

How did Esperanza Spalding get away with stealing Macy Gray's hair and Drake's -- or, if you're under the age of 15, Justin Bieber's -- Best New Artist Grammy? For that matter, who the heck is Esperanza Spalding!?!?

Why was Seth "Green Hornet" Rogen on stage? He's not connected to anything musical -- and he's not (as far as I know) appearing on any CBS TV show (unlike presenters Neil Patrick Harris, Pauly Perrette and others). However, the main reason I put him in the "dislike" category is that, well, the realization that he will, inevitably, play Al Franken in a future movie of the Minnesota senator depresses me greatly.

Um, how does one say this politely? Maybe it's time for Bob Dylan to pack it in? His performance had the Willie Mays-falling-down-in-the-outfield-during-his-final-season-with-the-Mets feel to it. 

Why was John Mayer dressed as Johnny Depp? As one tweeter pointed out, they bet that Depp's penis isn't racist.  OTOH, Mayer probably doesn't have the hygiene problem's that Depp is somewhat notorious for.  

 OK, I could deal with having to hear Barbra Streisand sing (her pipes are still there), but why on earth did she and Kris Kristofferson (who introduced her) also get to present the final Best Album category? Geez, Academy, spread the love around a bit!!

Not sure if  the plan was to have the Album winner also sing the last song of the evening (can imagine what Eminem might have pulled out) -- or whether Arcade Fire had been pre-picked to do that. Either way, it looked real awkward, and seemed to force the winner of the top award to rush through the acceptance speech. Figure something else next time.

Finally, while it's impossible to include everyone in the "people who died" section, omitting rapper Guru of Gangstarr -- a seminal hip-hop act of the late-1980s/early-90s -- is really unforgiveable. Aside from several great songs and albums under the Gangstarr brand, Guru also released groundbreaking hip-hop/jazz projects that were hugely influential. How the Academy dropped the ball on that one, we'll never know. RIP, Guru:


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