Some random thoughts on the Grammys, both the awards themselves and telecast:
Funk ruled the night, starting with Prince's medley that reestablished his
preeminence as both songwriter and performer, aided by Beyonce making like
Tina Turner. The mid-evening funk jam showed off older and newer generations
of funksters, even if Robert Randolph and the Family band's music sounds
like it predates Earth, Wind & Fire's or George Clinton's. While most
of the musical pairings looked designed to just showcase musicians from less
mass media-friendly genres (Foo Fighters and Chick Corea - why?) the inspired
teaming of Andre 3000 with a marching band meant that the bassline for "Hey
Ya!" was played on sousaphone.
Samuel L. Jackson was also the only non-musician who justified his inclusion
as a presenter. As with his appearance on other award shows, he is one of
the few actors who clearly memorizes his speeches and imbues them with feeling.
Based on his joining in the P-Funk jam, this wasn't just acting; he was clearly
excited to be part of the music. He may have a new movie coming out, but
he was the only actor who didn't look like he was just there to plug his
Why don't they create a category Best Late-Career Album by an Artist We
Ignored in Their Creative and/or Commercial Heyday so that they can clear
out dreck like the Eagles and leave room for artists who are currently doing
quality work in the "real" categories.
The Beatles tribute was like last year's to Joe Strummer: musicians chosen
because there were there already as nominees, not for any musical connection
to the honoree. About all Dave Matthews has in common with the Beatles is
that he probably smokes pot. About all Sting has in common with the Beatles
is that, like Paul McCartney, he did his best work in a band with creative
tension, and his solo work has been boring in comparison. Fortunately, the
Warren Zevon tribute was done by people who worked with him and admired his
music throughout his career.
And I'm disappointed that Fountains of Wayne was shut out, but perhaps they
are destined to be forever on the verge of superstardom.