Watered Down Awards

In cultureShock, Entertainment by Erich Cella0 Comments

From Kanye West’s ridiculously overly dramatic, egotistical, self appreciation after accepting his award, to Tim McGraw proclaiming that he wants to live like he’s dying, it was apparent to me that the Grammy awards were nothing more than a shameless promotion of the artists that the corporations want people to listen.

This isn’t much of a revelation but this year I actually brought myself to watch every second of this train wreck to see how they were going to pick up the pieces.

It’s like a motorist’s curiosity when there’s an accident and he or she succumbs to a voyeuristic nature by peering out his or her window while slowing down traffic.

The kicker to me is that the one band that had any substance was Green day. Yes! Green Day, the band that didn’t have a political stance until they were becoming irrelevant and needed new material for their new album.

Now I’ll give them credit for expanding their musical horizon and putting out a very ambitious record but it’s great timing to come out with an anti- bush album. You also have to give credit, especially when a band with below average talent can hang around pop culture for as long as they have.

It didn’t help matters that upcoming bands like Franz Ferdinand had a mediocre performance and Stone Temple Pilots with Slash actually won an award. It wasn’t a great night for rock or alternative music.

The one bright spot was the victory by Wilco, who was finally recognized for their creativity and gumption. Despite constant battles with record executives, they have remained persistent and have always released the record that they originally intended to release.

Other bright spots included Melissa Etheridge covering a Janis Joplin track, John Mayer showcasing his low key style and Alicia Keys sharing her soul with the audience.

The problem arises when you realize that those few performances are overshadowed by the other three hours of filler during the show.

Now I realize that you have to please everyone and cannot upset the corporate sponsors but you have to give a fair shake to rock music so that a larger audience would be exposed to up and coming acts. This would help the record industry and starving artists that deserve a break and prove that rock is by no means, dead.

Record execs would maybe stop whining about low sales if more artists were signed and sold double what they were when they had no contract.

The theme of this year’s Grammy Awards had to be the inability to let go of the past. How absurd was it that Ray Charles won basically every award he was nominated for simply because he had passed away?

I’m not disparaging from Ray Charles’ musical mastery, it’s just frustrating to see that before the movie came out, no one mentioned his name, but now that he’s up in the clouds and positive reviews of Ray have flooded the media circuit, he’s being exploited to the fullest extent.

I also cannot stand to see Jamie Fox act as if he is Ray Charles reincarnated, just because he spent some time with him and portrayed him for the movie. I don’t care how good Fox sings, he will never be Ray Charles.

Then to cap it all off, I have to see Bono with his sunglasses act like his new album can be equated to The Joshua Tree, when we all know they’re marketing this album so shamelessly that people will think it’s an untouchable piece of art.

The most embarrassing event occurred when James Brown was joined on stage by an artist named after someone who cleans the crust off the floor of a movie house, and Usher acted as if he had been listening to the King of Soul from the time he was in the womb. This fake hero worship is doing a disservice to the icons and legends that shaped American music and to the real fans who live their life listening to these greats.

Thankfully 2005 will be a surreal year in music, with some very highly anticipated albums set for release. Records set for release include a sophomore release by Audioslave, Queens of the Stone Age, Jack Johnson, Mars Volta, Beck, Nine Inch Nails, System of a Down, and Oceansize. The quantity of important records pouring out this year could make for a very competitive year in music when it comes to the billboard charts.

Most importantly, the infusion of rock could pump some testosterone and thoughtfulness back into pop culture.
Do you agree with Erich Cella? Let us know. Email us at nathasha@audacitymagazine.com