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Grammy Thoughts - 2013

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Last year, I remember being heavy-handed with the DVR while watching The Grammys, but there were only two performances this year I couldn't make it through: Rihanna and Frank Ocean. And they weren't Nicki Minaj horrible, just boring.

These were some of the performances - what were your thoughts?

Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

Backed by a circus, so there were plenty of distractions if you didn't like the song. Was good to get this one on first before the kids went to bed. For the rest of the show, Taylor was the default cutaway whenever they needed to show someone enjoying the music, as she enthusiastically sang along to every performance.

Fun. - "Carry On"

Rain fell, which I guess isn't a big deal with wireless equipment, but it kind of freaked me out knowing that Keith Relf of the Yardbirds met his doom that way. Fun won Best New Artist, and pounded home the point that they were anything but "New," as they have been touring for 12 years. They might need to change the name of this award.

Miguel and Wiz Khalifa - "Adorn"

Miguel was great. So great that an apparently tipsy Kelly Clarkson kept talking about him when she won for Best Pop Vocal Album. But you have to be careful with rappers. They're rarely content to stand by and deliver their verse on cue. Instead, we had to hear Wiz Khalifa grunt ("uuuhhh" "yeah") over the song until it was his turn. I would have turned his mic off until it was his time.

Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait"

Seems like this song has been around for 3 years, but it's a good one. Got into a disagreement with Mrs. Songfacts over this one. Topic: Is it hard to sing, play guitar, and hit a bass drum all at the same time. I say yes. The only drum was at Marcus Mumford's feet, putting him in charge of two instruments plus vocals. The Mrs. said that if you tap your foot anyway, it makes no difference if there's a drum there.

Justin Timberlake - "Suit and Tie"

If you like basil, you'll like pesto. If you like Justin Timberlake, you'll like this performance. I like Justin Timberlake.

Alicia Keys/Maroon 5 - "Girl on Fire"/"Daylight"

Alicia seems tired. I'm sure she was on fire when she wrote the song and through the first 100 performances, but now she's tired, and it's totally understandable. Adam Levine is getting really good at this (being a pop star), which makes sense considering he does it all the time.

The Black Keys with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band - "Lonely Boy"

If there's a tuba, I'm in. I have never been disappointed by any performance featuring an unexpected tuba, and this includes various productions of "Hollaback Girl." Considering I also have a Pandora station set to Dr. John, this one was right in my wheelhouse. Fantastic stuff.

Bruno Mars/Sting/Rihanna/ assorted Marleys - "Walking On The Moon" and more

Let's give the Grammy people credit for ignoring Justin Bieber and going all in on Bruno Mars. He's an exciting performer worthy of sharing a stage with Sting. And he has horns, which were a welcome addition to Sting's "Walking On The Moon." Damian and Ziggy Marley were up there in tribute to their dad. I like to remain ignorant when it comes to Bob Marley's personal life, but Mrs. Songfacts can't get past how he spread his seed so carelessly and shirked his fatherly responsibilities.

Jack White - "Love Interruption", "Freedom At 21"

Jack White is doing that thing Beck used to do where everything is memorable and different. He did "Love Interruption" with a girl band dressed in Victorian garb, then slid to an adjoining stage and belted out "Freedom" with the boys. That's never been done.

Carrie Underwood - "Blown Away", "Two Black Cadillacs"

Has that trick where images are projected on a dress been done before? Poor Carrie had to stay perfectly still, but she's a pro. Can't be easy to sing two songs while remaining motionless.

Elton John and others - "The Weight"

This is the #1 song on Songfacts this morning. When you cram a bunch of superstars on one song, it usually turns into a big mess, but "The Weight" is made for this. It's where Elton John, Mumford & Sons, Mavis Staples and the girl from Alabama Shakes can take turns doing what they do best. Mavis has done this before - she sang this with The Band in The Last Waltz. There is a spiritual element to the song that comes out when she sings it, and I can't think of a better way to pay tribute to Levon Helm.

LL Cool J and friends - "Whaddup"

To close the show, LL was joined by Chuck D, Travis Barker (blink-182 drummer) and Tom Morello for a monster jam that appeared to be called "Whaddup," but was more of a mash-up of Chuck and LL's classics along with a bit of "No Sleep Til Brooklyn" in honor of MCA. LL and Chuck were two of the very first rappers to put out albums. They are the Hip-Hop equivalent of 1985 Chuck Berry and Roy Orbison - in danger of being forgotten by the younger generation, but nearing the point where their accomplishments are put in historical perspective. Travis and Tom brought other genres into the mix, showing how Rock and Rap and live in harmony. Note that Flavor Flav wasn't invited.

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Jack White was clearly the best performance. Between the smoldering Love Interruption and the outright on fire Freedom at 21, I'm surprised the Staples Center didn't burn to the ground. Frank Ocean was the biggest disappointment of the night. He has boatloads of talent, but he was obviously terrified and he picked his worst song for some reason. The Bob Marley and Levon Helm tributes were very well done.

As for the big winner, it's incredible that even in a year where I enjoy all five albums nominated, it's my least favorite that wins. But Mumford and Sons have the combination of backwards looking and non-threatening that Grammy voters enjoy, so I guess it was inevitable. The Black Keys are too loud, fun. is too pop, Jack White is too weird, and Frank Ocean is too black.

Also, the Grammy's are still so stuffy that somehow even in 2013 a final performance by LL Cool J, Chuck D, and Tom Morello felt kind of subversive.

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I definitely thought Jack White was the best performance of the night. And I also enjoyed all the albums that were nominated this year. I personally would've picked either "Blunderbuss" or "El Camino" for the win, but that's me. I loved "Babel" too.

I like that the Grammys are acknowledging indie rock more and more. It's not just what's been blowing up the radio stations as much. I loved that Alabama Shakes got so much notoriety, they're great. Overall, I thought it was a pretty good Grammys.

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I loved Taylor's performance because of the circus feel. I don't particularly like that song and I can't figure out why that one, of all her stuff, has gotten so much notice. It's not her best.

I loved "Ho, Hey" by the Lumineers, too. I told my kid about them, how she was a schoolteacher until a couple of years ago and they are probably all in shock over the attention that song is getting. It was fun to watch regular people with regular lives performing at the Grammys when a year or so ago they were not even known.

Mumford kept my attention with the mad guitar rhythm while singing at quite a slow pace. it was distracting and spellbinding all at once.

The highlight for me was the Bob Marley thing. If his kids don't care that they're related through a common gene, I don't care (although I'm guessing all the women he got babies on have a different point of view).

Unfortunately, and most blasphemously, I totally missed "The Weight." I tried to look up a Youtube of it this morning and can only find a thoroughly sliced up offering, so I don't get the full effect. Damn me for turning away before that one came up. Why didn't you people on the East Coast tell me something incredible was going to happen? :mad: :mad:

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Should have been more of a tribute to Adam Yauch than a 1-minute blip in someone else's song. Not just for his musical contributions/talent, but for all the philanthropy and charitable work he's done, especially for Tibet. I didn't watch because I can't stand these award shows, but a lot of people on Twitter were talking about it at the time, and then later this morning.

I thought it was sad that last year they threw together some huge tribute for Whitney Houston in a matter of days, a woman who spent the last 20 years of her life slowly killing herself with drugs......but then this year when they had nearly a year, couldn't come up with something better for a man that died of cancer.

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The performances were good and entertaining, but not over the top or significantly memorable a month from now. I really like Elton's performance with the tribute to Levon Helm of The Band.

I'm glad for the winners, possibly the best Grammys of the 2000's with artists like Black Keys, Fun, Gotye, Mumford & Sons, etc winning big awards.

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