Monday, February 09, 2009

Random Notes: The 2009 Grammy Awards

Okay, the awards don’t really matter much…who remembers them two days later?...with the Grammys the show’s the thing. I only watch two awards shows a year…the Grammys and the Oscars…and so I’m always hopeful they’ll be worth the 3+ hour investment of time they usually require of me.

Thumbs up: U2 (you usually can’t go wrong with Bono and the boys kicking off your show), Al Green and Justin Timberlake (a last minute sub for Chris Brown who was having legal problems to do with domestic assault) with Boyz 2 Men and Keith Urban, Jennifer Hudson (the performance was stirring), Stevie Wonder and the Jonas Brothers (the kids were a bit hyperactive…but hey they’re kids…and the combination was a bit weird but, strangely enough, it worked), Radiohead and the USC Marching Band (very cool), Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (the big winners in a year when the Grammy show was jam packed with hip hop), Kanye West and Estelle, Sugarland and Adele (the Best New Artist winner), Timberlake and T.I. (my favorite hip hop performance of the night), Paul McCartney with Dave Grohl (a wonderful time was had by all…though of all of the Beatles songs he could have picked, it was a bit strange that Sir Paul decided to use the one that starts with the line “…well she was just 17 if you know what I mean…” :-), Carrie Underwood, Kid Rock, and Kenny Chesney (who knew he was pals with Morgan Freeman?)

The tribute to the Four Tops…with Smokey Robinson, Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo, and the last surviving Top Duke Fakir…was very sweet (though Foxx seemed to flummox the director by going one way while the other three guys went the other way.)

The tribute to New Orleans was fine but it could have been better if Lil’ Wayne could have shut up (after finishing his part with Robin Thicke) while Allen Toussaint and Terence Blanchard were playing.

The Bo Diddley tribute…with B.B. King, John Mayer, Buddy Guy, and Keith Urban…was also fine (though you might have hoped that a tribute to Bo would have been a bit more animated…)

There was something oddly cool about both Green Day and Blink-182 coming out to present awards.

Special props to M.I.A. for enthusiastically singing the hooks for the “Rap Pack”…Kanye West, Jay-Z, T.I., and Lil’ Wayne…even while it looked like her water could break at any moment. The song itself…”Swagga Like Us”…was lively enough but, as these rap collaborations too often tend to go, it ended up with the four rappers seemingly trying to out-shout each other.

The appeal of Coldplay continues to elude me (please spare me your barbs, Coldplay fans…which are, of course, legion…your mileage may vary…so just let it go), Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus have had better nights (ibid.), Whitney Houston seemed a bit…spaced out (but hopefully she is still on an upward trajectory), and Neil Diamond was…well…Neil Diamond (and I guess somebody has to be so there’s that…and hey Jay-Z really liked it…)

And I’m completely over “I Kissed a Girl” and Katy Perry should be too if she doesn’t want to end up a one-hit wonder/novelty act.

All in all, not a bad show…too long, of course (they cut off Stevie Wonder’s closing song) but most of the winners kept their acceptance remarks short (well until the end when Robert Plant seemed like he was going to go on for a while) and things kept moving a fairly good clip most of the night. Like I said, it was not a bad show.

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