Kanye West Needs to Take a Seat

So the Grammy Awards were last night and while I normally post a recap or reaction to my favorite award show of the year, this time I am going to digress and talk about the arrogant, egotistical train-wreck that is Kanye West. I am not much of a rap fan – I fully admit that, but I do respect the fact that Mr. West makes music that’s above your general run of the mill rap which talks mostly about strippers, butts, and spending Gs.

I guess we should be used to his behavior by now after the Taylor Swift debacle at the MTV Video Music Awards back in 2009, his 2 hour late arrival (and subsequent booing) at Bonnaroo, his accusation that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people,” and the MANY, MANY  other award show stage crashes over the years. He throws tantrums on stage when he doesn’t win, plays the race card every chance he gets and tries to take awards away from anyone who wins over Beyonce. And then there were last night’s remarks about Beck’s win for Album of the Year:

“I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyoncé. Because when you keep on diminishing art and not respecting the craft and smacking people in their face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration,” West continued. “And we as musicians have to inspire people who go to work every day, and they listen to that Beyoncé album and they feel like it takes them to another place.”

This, coming from a man who has won 21 Grammys, making him one of the most awarded artists of all time and the MOST awarded for someone his age.

Kanye has every right to think Beyonce’s album was the best of the year, but she didn’t win. The Academy didn’t vote for her – they voted for Beck. And he needs to respect that.

Also, who is he to say who is and isn’t an artist? What’s even more puzzling is that for over 20 years, Beck has put out critically acclaimed albums and been considered an “artist” in music circles. Strange fellow musician to pick a fight with over artistry, if you ask me. I suspect that it probably wouldn’t have mattered who won the award though (except mabye Pharrell), Kanye probably still would have rushed the stage.

Beck may have taken home the trophy, but he’s also a big winner in how he handled Kanye’s comments:

“You can’t please everybody. I still love him and think he’s genius,” Beck said of West. “I aspire to what he does. How many great records has he put out in the last five years, right?”

Class act right there, folks.

So here’s my advice to Kanye for future award shows: either sit down and shut up or just don’t go. You may not like who wins and I may not like who’s nominated (read: I hated Beyonce’s album for so many reasons that I won’t go into here) but someone somewhere does, and there is room for all kinds of music in the world. Quit whining. Stop making a fool of yourself. And stick to making records that you’ll probably sell millions of copies of and win a Grammy for.

2013 Grammy Awards Recap

The Grammy Awards are my favorite awards show all year – partly because I’m such a huge fan of music and partly because I enjoy picking the winners and seeing how many I get right. I’ve been watching the Grammys for as long as I can remember & still have several years in the late 90s taped on old VHS tapes. (Side note: I’m still bitter about Paula Cole and her hairy armpits robbing Hanson of the Best New Artist Grammy in 1998 – it was a tragic moment for a 14-year-old super fan.)

The past few Grammy Awards have just been so-so, but last night was one of the best I had seen in a long time. There were a few, good surprises, like Kelly Clarkson’s AMAZING album Stronger winning (and beating Fun, the favorite to win) for Best Pop Vocal Album. And as a long-time fan of the female-fronted rock band Halestorm, I was pleasantly surprised to see them win their first Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal performance.

The Black Keys had a fantastic performance and went on to win best Rock Album, best Rock Song and best Rock Performance for Lonely Boy. 

In the Country category, Little Big Town is FINALLY getting some recognition from the recording industry and stealing awards away from Lady Antebellum, who in my opinion, shouldn’t be winning them anyway. I am disappointed that Miranda Lambert lost to Zac Brown Band for the Best Country album, though.

The Grammys got it right by awarding Mumford and Sons’ Babel the Album of the Year and it’s refreshing to see a fantastic folk-rock band like Mumford and Sons winning in major categories as well as outselling Justin Beiber on the charts.

So let’s talk about the performances. Taylor Swift opened the show with We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together and while she sounded great, her performance was really quite baffling. Why she chose a stage get-up resembling something from Alice in Wonderland is beyond me, but it really just did not work. She should take a few cues from Kelly Clarkson, whose tribute to Carol King and Patti Page was simple and straight-forward but showed that if you’ve got the voice, you don’t need all the flashy gimmicks to go along with your performance. I believe KC could sing anything and it would sound amazing.

I’m not a fan of reggae, but the Bob Marley tribute with Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Sting and Ziggy and Damien Marley was a pretty fun time. Bruno Mars has been killing it lately with his songs and stint as a SNL host and I think his star is only going to get brighter.

Speaking of Rihanna, it was nice to see her do a stripped down performance for once. The song may not have been that exciting, but sometimes her vocals can get lost in her flashy performances. It was nice to be reminded that the girl can actually sing. Now if only she’d use her brain to ditch Chris Brown.

Let’s talk let-downs. Country wasn’t cool last night. Miranda Lambert’s duet with Dierks Bentley sounded weak and strained. Over You was one of the best Country songs last year, but the beautiful melody somehow got lost in the overpowering backing band. A real disappointment.

Carrie Underwood’s color-changing dress distracted everyone from her flawless performance, not to mention she had to stay in one spot throughout her medley of Blown Away/Two Black Cadillacs.

Frank Ocean’s performance was off-key and bland. His song, Forest Gump, sounded like a bunch of random ideas thrown together over a few piano chords. I do not get this guy at all.

While, the Lumineers easily have one of the catchiest and sweetest songs of the year,  they’re just not meant to play for big stadiums. Their style and sound works best in a theater or intimate club & while it’s great to see an indie act get some well-deserved recognition, I have a feeling they’re going to be a one-hit wonder.

I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for this, but Justin Timberlake’s new song is terrible. It conjures images of leisure suits, disco ball and the Bee Gees and I can’t help but think that if this song is the best thing he can come up with after a seven year hiatus from music, then he should probably stick to writing funny songs with Andy Sandberg for SNL skits.

All in all, though, it was a pretty good night of performances and well deserved winners. Only 364 days until the 2014 Grammys 😉