by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
Thoughts on the Grammy’s… Morning Phase to me was merely a sequel to Beck’s far superior (and out of the blue) Sea Change album from 2002, so the fact that it won Album of the Year is really a testament to his earlier, better release. At least that’s how I see it. The whole deal with Kanye rushing the stage — a publicity stunt. In fact, most of Kanye’s career is a publicity stunt. At least that’s how I see it.
As for the rest of the Grammy’s, well, as I said last night on Facebook, the Grammy’s have always sucked. Look back to the history of the awards and you’ll see they’ve been consistent in honoring the most commercial, flavorless pablum released in the prior year, because that’s what the public wants. Even Beck’s victory is nothing more than a rehash of something he did before.
Needless to say, none of my favorite records from 2014 received accolades last night. Imagine if they had. Imagine if, say, Mark Kozelek had been nominated — or had won — a televised Grammy. It would have been surreal, since virtually no one in the audience has ever heard of Sun Kil Moon or Kozelek. Would I/we really want to see that? Do I/we really need our tastes validated by Grammy voters? The only thing I’d want to see is Kozelek giving Kanye a beat-down if/when he tried to grab his mic.
An aside: I recently heard on the Dan Patrick Radio Show a conversation about pop music, where Patrick lauded the qualities of Taylor Swift because she “writes her own music.” In fact, Swift does have writing credits on all the tracks on 1989, along with a stable of co-writers. You can’t blame Patrick for not knowing how modern pop music is created, with all the producers involved.
But Patrick went onto compliment Swift by saying no one writes their own music anymore. “They used to call them singer/songwriters.” Today’s pop stars are performers, not songwriters. Patrick points to people like Bieber, who is a media star as much as a pop star. That hasn’t changed much over the years, but if you look at the history of the Grammy’s pre-2000 a lot of the top-tier nominees wrote their own music — for better or worse. And certainly Beck wrote Morning Phase.
Patrick ignores (as most people do) the entire sub genre of indie music, where the material is almost always written by the performers rather than created in a production lab. Those folks who really enjoy The Grammy’s have never heard of indie music and never will and that’s the way it’ll always be. The Grammy’s and the music they recognize are a business, whereas indie music is a way of life, an often thankless one that involves holding down a couple jobs and walking away when it comes time to raise a family. So be it.
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We have a few things going on this week. Orenda Fink is Wednesday night at Reverb. Will she sell out? Maybe, maybe… Sleater-Kinney, which is Friday at Slowdown, sold out weeks ago.
Tonight, Cursive tour mates Beach Slang plays a headline show at Slowdown Jr. The Philly punk trio, which released an EP last September on Tiny Engines, joins Cursive on tour Feb. 10 in Denver and hangs with them until March 16. Telepathy Problems and Timecat open tonight’s 8 p.m. show. Tix are $8.
Also tonight, Maine goth/noise band Taboo (they’ve been compared to Throbbing Gristle and Royal Trux) plays at fabulous O’Leaver’s with Ruby Block and Hag. $5, 9:30 p.m.
Lots to do for a Monday…
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2015 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
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