Everything I Hate (And A Couple Of Things I Love) About Music: The 2013 Grammys Real-Time Review
I'm joined by a lovely six-pack of Brooklyn Winter Lager. My wife is at work and my son is asleep, which means I have to carefully straddle the line between drunk enough to tolerate this crap, and sober enough to put the boy back to sleep should he wake up. It's gonna be a war, but it's one worth fighting.
8:02 Oh, fuck me. Taylor Swift to start things off? Dressed in some sort of hooker Mad Hatter getup and clowns and dudes on stilts? I feel like I just dropped moron acid. Way to start things off with a cockpunch, Grammys. It's that "We Are Never Getting Back Together" song. BITCH, WHAT MAKES YOU THINK HE WANTS YOUR CRAZY ASS BACK?
Taylor Swift is seriously awful, you guys.
8:05 This song isn't getting any better. It's also not ending. I already want to drown in whiskey and kill God. IT'S BEEN FIVE MINUTES. WHAT WAS I THINKING?
8:07 Oh, but the good news is that it's hosted by LL Cool J, who just came in to the theme of Public Enemy's "Welcome To The Terrordome." That's surprisingly appropriate. He's boring me to tears with some blather about dreams and happiness. Just fight a shark and let's move on.
8:11 And now a performance by Elton John and Ed Sheeran. I'm glad that Elton is still getting pub, but I have to say this is pretty much just boring pablum. Also, Ed, get a real fucking haircut. It looks like a scarecrow shit on your head.
8:19 Pitbull and Jennifer Lopez. I've never actually seen this Pitbull fellow before. He looks like a Killer Klown with the makeup rubbed off. They're doing the award for Best Solo Performance. If fucking "Call Me Maybe" wins I'm going to destroy a planet.
It goes to Adele for "Set Fire To The Rain," a decent song with a dumb title/chorus. OK, I can live with that. Also? I adore Adele's accent.
8:22 Neil Patrick Harris! I love him, but he also did Smurfs. Let's leave it at that. He's introducing Fun., a band with a truly terrible name. This song... isn't terrible. That's the best I can do, though. They're doing that "it's raining on stage" gimmick, which really should have been retired after Pink's insane performance a couple of years ago.
8:32 Bonnie Raitt and John Mayer. A stunning living legend and a gigantic, purple velvet-tux wearing dickwagon. Terrific. They're announcing a performance by Dirk Bentley (warning: I probably got that name wrong) and Miranda Lambert, so here's to insipid, tepid limp-dick country without any soul or nuance. Fuck you, Grammys. Somewhere, I hope the Drive-By Truckers are slugging whiskey and throwing a TV out a window.
8:37 Oh boy. It's time for a tribute to Dick Clark. According to LL, "he is missed, and remembered." Well, I'll give you remembered.
There are two people I've never heard of performing as part of the tribute (I think?) and one of them is dressed in what appears to be television static. It's hard to explain. Just drink ten shots and smash your head into a ceiling fan. Same effect, I'd imagine. The rapper sucks, but whoever the guy singing is, he's got pipes. And they're somehow the ones who get to announce the winner for Best Solo Country Performance. This is an award where there are no winners.
It goes to Carrie Underwood, and my case, she is rested. Carrie Underpants is proof that the universe likes to eat its own shit and then vomit it back out onto our heads.
It's been 45 minutes and two awards. Does. Not. Compute.
8:51 LL Cool J is talking about his Twitter account. WHY IS THERE NO WHISKEY IN THIS BEER?
Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are presenting, and they are completely and totally stonefaced. Absolutely bereft of expression. They're black holes in eveningwear. The winner of Song of the Year is...
... "We Are Young." by Fun., proving that you can rip off MGMT and a half-dozen other bands and still win an award.
8:54 Johnny Depp is here, dressed like some sort of zombie-cowboy Jim Morrison. He introduces Mumford & Sons. Can we talk about them for a second? I get that not everyone likes them (I kinda dig them), but what I don't get is the visceral reaction people get towards what is ultimately pretty unoffensive music. What's the deal there, anyway? For what it's worth, songs like this are why I like them now and then.
I look forward to one of you petty asshats condescendingly berating me in the comments. Always good for a chuckle.
9:02 Random pairing of the day: Beyonce and Ellen Degeneres. And Beyonce is flubbing her lines badly, mainly because of Ellen is gazing at her creepily and without blinking, because Ellen is awesome. They introduce Justin Timberlake. I'm secretly hoping Woody Harrelson's character from Friends With Benefits shows up in a boat. And the gimmick of the night is the olde timey grainy filter they're filming this through, which is stupid considering it's LIVE TV. But Jay-Z just showed up, and I will semi-guiltily admit that I love me some Jay-Z.
OK, Timberlake is kind of killing it here. (nods approvingly)
9:11 Kelly Rowland and Nas, who was apparently nominated for FOUR Grammys? Nas? Really? That's... kind of awesome. They're announcing the nomination for the clunkily titled Best Urban Contemporary Album. FYI - Chris Brown is in this category, as is Frank Ocean. I think we all know how I'm going to react depending on how this goes.
... Frank Ocean wins it. Every now and then, the universe gets something right. "Channel Orange" is a genuinely goddamn terrific album. He's disarmingly charming, too. That will likely be the highlight of the evening.
They just announced like a dozen award winners in 15 seconds. You suck rat dicks, Grammys. You suck them in hell and then you die. To think I'm DVR'ing "The Walking Dead" and watching this crap instead.
9:26 What the balls? I went to get a snack and I came back to Maroon 5 serenading Alicia Keys? Alicia, darling, you are seriously slumming this motherfucker. And Maroon 5 is seriously one of the worst things to happen to music since glam metal.
But my snack is the tits. You guys smear peanut butter on your oatmeal cookies and serve it with straight Bailey's, right? That's not just me? Good, thought so.
9:27 Kaley Cuoco and Keith Urban (who is sadly not Karl Urban) are announcing Best Pop Vocal Album, which I'm almost certain they've announced before, or maybe I'm just trapped in some sort of hell-loop. I'd like to see Florence + The Machine win here, or maybe Pink.
... but no, it's Kelly friggin' Clarkson.
OK, she was actually kind of endearing. But still, come on.
9:32 LL is talking about Twitter again, and is now starting every sentence with "hashtag." Is this what dying feels like?
Now we have Rihanna performing. I don't mind her, actually. So I have no snark to give for the moment.
9:45 The next two announcers are Carly Rae Jepsen and some dude in a suit made out of Bondo®. They're giving the award for best Rap/Sung Collaboration. It goes to "No Church In The Wild" by Jay-Z and Kanye West, featuring Frank Ocean and The Dream. That's a pretty decent track, actually. The Dream is dressed like a 1980's rapper, and is surprisingly sweet. Weird.
They just showed a bunch more awards, including lifetime achievements for The Temptations and Ravi Shankar. Seriously? We couldn't see those? Suck a rabid dog's ass, Grammys.
9:53 OK, Kat Dennings is here. I'm OK, you guys. Things are gonna be OK. Because despite how awful "Two Broke Girls" is, everything is OK when Kat Dennings is on stage, introducing The Black Keys with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. They're doing "Lonely Boy" and they're pretty much blowing the fucking roof off. Oh, Black Keys, I can't quit you. I even forgive you for that disappointing "Brothers" album.
NO, DON'T YOU PEOPLE FUCKING START. That was the worst Black Keys album ever. God, it sucked.
And then we go to Kelly Clarkson, doing a tribute to Patti Page and Carole King and I just blacked out from the abrupt shift in tone. She's doing "Tennessee Waltz," followed by "Natural Woman," and it's... eh. Not bad. Not exactly blowing my skirt up, though.
OK, she nailed the chorus of "Natural Woman," though. Well played, Clarkson. You're doing well at these here Grammys.
10:01 Now we're doing Best Country Album, because why bother awarding good music when we have this garbage to celebrate?.
The Zac Brown Band takes it. Of course they do. Well, they're better than Miranda Lambert, but they're still pretty much derivative country-lite slurry.
10:07 Ah, now it's time for the Bob Marley tribute featuring Bruno Mars.
Bruno Mars? Really? Pretty much the only thing I like about Bruno Mars was the snippet of his music that was used in Pitch Perfect. And Mars takes a perfectly good Marley song and renders it completely unrecognizable. I guess we have different definitions of "tribute." And now Sting is on stage. Talk about worlds colliding. I must say, I haven't heard a new Sting song in a decade at least, but he can still get up there and put the youngsters to shame.
They keep cutting to Taylor Swift during performances, showing her awkwardly throwing her elbows out with a heavily made-up rictus plastered on her face. It's disconcerting and I don't like it. She creeps me out. Stop your spastic twitching, Stalkerina.
Now they've brought out Rihanna and Ziggy Marley. They're doing "Could You Be Loved," and I have to admit, it's working.
However, they just hilariously cut to Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman, looking just breathtakingly, unrelentingly white.
I have to say, while it's strange to have an award ceremony with so few awards, the new performance-heavy format really does benefit the Grammys. It's still way too long, and features some collaborations that fall flat, and LL Cool J is an absolutely wretched host, but it's not as bad as it's been in the past. The awards themselves are garbage, invariably going to people who can only barely be called artists. But the show is now a show, not a ceremony. There's something to be said for that.
10:18 Ah, The Lumineers. I know people who swear by these guys. This song is... OK, I suppose. So tell me, peeps. Are they the real deal? The entire audience is barking out the "HEY!" parts, which is really fucking annoying and weirdly, uncomfortably lemming-like. And of COURSE they cut to Taylor Swift again, who is painfully mugging for the camera. God, it's like she craves my hate. My hatred is like a delicious sorbet to Twitchy McStalkerson over there.
10:21 This leads into a performance from Jack White. Is it weird that I like every single Jack White side project more than I like The White Stripes? I really don't care for The White Stripes. But Blunderbuss is a damn fine record, and Jack White is putting on an honest-to-god fucking rock show here. And if there's one thing the Grammy's consistently lacks, its rock and roll.
I do kinda wish he'd wash his hair though.
10:26 Hey guys, Katy Perry's cleavage is here! And believe it or not, she just took a shot at Bon Iver. This has truly entered Twilight Zone territory. She's doing Best New Artist, and...
... Fun. wins it. Over Frank Ocean and The Lumineers (and a couple of other shmoes). I'm calling bullshit on this one. Ocean got robbed on this. I blame Katy Perry's boobs. I do believe I'm going to give them a stern talking-to.
10:34 Someone named Hunter Hayes is performing, and he is over-emoting so badly that it's causing me to grind my molars into dust. And now he's introducing Carrie Underpants, and I'd like to say to my boy that if you wanted to choose a moment to wake up screaming and drag me away from this, now is the fucking time.
Baby bear? Hello?
Now it's time for Record Of The Year, being introduced by Prince, who is fucking PRINCE, people. There's no need for anything else. I don't give a fuck that he showed up looking like he's heading for a drink at the gay Mos Eisley Cantina. He's fucking Prince. Anyway, the winner is...
... Gotye and Kimbra's "Somebody That I Used To Know." Kimbra looks like a ballerina that smeared an exploded flamingo all over herself. Anyway, this song is... whatever. It's so goddamn ubiquitous that I've lost the ability to be objective about it. They're both a little overwhelmed by the fact that they were handed an award by Prince, which is appropriate.
10:49 Whoa, they just came back from commercial into a very nice little Dave Brubeck tribute by Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke and Kenny Garrett. But of course, we only get 30 seconds of it, because why would we want to hear more of such a gorgeous, classic piece of music?
Fuck your mother, Grammys.
Anyway, Justin Timberlake is here giving the Grammys' Very Important Message of the night. Oh, and that marvel of canned douchery, Ryan Seacrest is there as well. They're talking about music teachers, which is actually very nice, even if it feels a little forced and generic. And now, it's time for the Dead People Montage.
We lost another Bee Gee? AND A MONKEE? IN THE SAME YEAR?
10:57 Elton John, Mumford and Sons, Mavis Staples, and T-Bone Burnett is here, singing "The Weight" and yeah, this is doing it for me in a big way. There's also Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes, who I've never heard of, but she just blew up the joint with her verse.
There was just a commercial where LL Cool J rapped about CBS. I do believe that's the final stage of selling out. It's as far as you can go without simply tattooing brand names onto your face and cutting your dick off, encasing it in Lucite and delivering it to Nancy Tellem.
Some dude named Juanes just did a solid little cover of "I Hope You Don't Mind," and then introduced Frank Ocean, who is wearing a lemon yellow suit and a headband. And yet, he's owning it. He's doing "Forrest Gump," a song that on paper doesn't seem like it should work, but here we are.
11:15 Adele, all preggo, here to introduce Album Of The Year. God, please don't be Fun. I'd be cool with any of the other four.
Babel, by Mumford and Sons wins it. OK, out of those four, they're fourth. Beating out Frank Ocean, The Black Keys, and Jack White? Ehhhh, talk about going for the safe pick. Ironically, Justin Beiber's manager notoriously went on a Twitter rant about how The Beebs album Believe was snubbed. That's just... precious.
And for the final performance, it's LL Cool J performing with Chuck D, Travis Barker and Tom Morello doing a medley that starts with "Welcome To The Terrordome." Now we're talking. You know, LL may be a sad little commercial sellout, but he's bringing it here. It would be nice to see a little more Chuck D though, you know? It's not like he's a damn rap legend or anything. Morello's solo is off the chain, though, and it segues into a little slice of "No Sleep Til Brooklyn."
... aaand CBS is cutting this short so they can cram in their sponsors. Thanks, you shitmonkeys.
So there you have it. I think they actually showed 10 awards total during this three and a half hour show, which is a bit ridiculous. That said, this was certainly better than it has been. It could still be both tightened up (less superfluous crap) and more diversified (maybe show some of the rock/metal categories? Hmmm?)
Christ, I'm tired. Good night, or morning, or whatever.