Oh the Grammys. Such a polarizing event. Some reason that it's a crap awards show since it doesn't award the most talented artists and ignores so many genres. It is overrun with pop, rap and radio hits. When people are upset that a classically trained musician beat out a teeny bopper pop star for a Grammy...you know something is wrong. There is truth to this view. For years I hated the Grammys and didn't watch for some very similar reasons.
But truth be told, as of late I usually enjoy them. There is talent represented. And the performances are often collaborations between artists you wouldn't normally see together...which I love. Last years Mumford and Son's performance with Bob Dylan and The Avett Brothers was a highlight for me (even if Bob Dylan was half dead). And I'm not "anti-pop" by any stretch of the imagination. Every genre has its place, its talent, and it's crap.
The thing about music is...there are a lot of ways to measure talent. How you measure talent will determine what you believe to be good or bad. And because there is no universal system to measuring talent in music, it will always be an area that people disagree vehemently about.
Do you measure talent by successfulness? By records sold? Or rather is it more about the genres you enjoy most? Do you measure it by musical skill? By creativity? By production? By catchiness? By song writing? By live performance? By innovation?
I meet few people who can really be neutral about music. We all love it in general, don't we? I rarely meet people who "just aren't that into music." More often I meet people who say it's their life, their soundtrack, adds to their happiness or gets them through their sorrows. And we have such strong opinions about it. At the end of the day you should listen to what you enjoy, because that is the purpose of music---to be enjoyed.
But I guess it's nearly impossible for someone to watch the Grammys without feeling some sense of injustice no matter what genres you love.
It's always risky to talk to about music (or to put anything in writing), but I was having a lot of thoughts without a lot of outlet last night. So, these are just my opinions, but here were my impressions from the night:
I think Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga are all talented artists in their own ways. But Lady Gaga's gimmicks annoy me, Rihanna is getting trashy, Katy tries too hard in the fashion department, and Nicki Minaj's performance last night was a miss. I think few would argue otherwise about Nicki's performace.
I think Adele is great and am not upset that she won over the other people nominated in her categories. Do I think there are more talented people who were not nominated? Yes, of course. But that doesn't mean she isn't talented in her own right as well.
I don't like Bruno Mars. I know there is a good argument for why he is talented but I just do not enjoy his music. At all. I loved Paul McCartney. More due to nostalgia than anything else, but I enjoyed it.
I'm glad Bon Iver was nominated and won some things because I do think they're talented. That being said, I think the folk-genre is an acquired taste and that fans of it tend to idolize it. It's a great genre with great song writing and talented musicians. But it's also often simplistic and when someone asserts a folk artist is better than everything else out there...I just don't buy it. There are more talented musicians in other genres. Jazz, classical, rock, blues---some seriously skilled musicians are out there in other genres.
I'm surprised Foo Fighters beat out Mumford and Sons, Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Dream Theatre, Kings of Leon, Wilco and Jeff Beck. Although in all fairness I didn't listen to every album represented and am more going off how talented I think the bands are in general. The rock genres are the ones that I feel are more often then not misrepresented of what's out there. I'm not against Foo Fighters, but they just shouldn't be nominated in the "Metal" category. Ever. (Much less win it).
As far as R&B goes, it's good to see Cee Lo Green and the Roots in there, but Chris Brown just isn't talented enough to win a Grammy in my opinion. (Which he did). Rap is an interesting genre because they represent the most popular artists, and they aren't without talent, but I'm not sure how well it represents the genre in general. Though I knew all the nominees well, it's not a genre I spend a lot of time on. The same goes for Country, though I was happy to see The Civil Wars and Lady Antebellum win in that category. Both are very talented I think.
The unaired segments such as Jazz and Blues almost always have great artists represented. The Christian/Gospel categories I feel do not represent the best that Christian music has to offer. Rather, it's really the more popular/mainstream usually. I was thrilled to see Gungor nominated, but in no way think Chris Tomlin should have won over them.
Latin, Children, etc. ---I don't pay much attention to. For the musicals and movies, I'll wait for the Oscars.
So those were my impressions. The Grammys had some good and some bad, as usual. We live in a time when making music (and decent sounding recordings) is easier than ever. Because of that there is a ton of mediocre musicians out there and I do believe we have to sift through it all to find the gems. Further, I believe the truly talented should be the ones who are getting the credit and awards. But that being said, there is talent in every genre and a lot of fabulous musicians out there both mainstream and off the grid. I think we let our biases often blind us from seeing the good in other genres.
But like I said, the important thing is to listen to what you enjoy. The Grammys are just one group of peoples opinions and can't possibly cover the whole of great music out there.