I was planning to avoid the Grammys. Then Fox put on The Cleveland Show, which if you haven’t seen it, you’re doing something right. So I sighed deeply and changed the channel. Switched over just in time to see the Zac Brown Band lose an award (to Lady Antebellum…which is just barely better than a lateral move, but still). For a second I thought, “Oh, hey…wow…maybe there’s some hope!”
Then Cee Lo (and the Electric Mayhem) did a bad song with someone who isn’t even a singer (country music-based movie notwithstanding). I shuddered briefly and decided to keep it on as background noise for my Internet browsing.
Then something amazing happened. Justin Bieber did NOT win Best New Artist. I am completely unfamiliar with the lady that DID win (as are apparently most of my Facebook friends)…but she wasn’t Bieber!
Somewhere in there, they also did a tribute to Solomon Burke that was VERY much deserved. The man wrote some incredible songs and it was great to see that honored. (And as a side note, I’m glad Mick Jagger didn’t attempt a medley with “None of Us Are Free” in there somewhere. Woulda been weird.)
Then the unthinkable happened. Arcade Fire took the stage and did a performance (“Month of May”) that was both visually and musically outstanding. Despite the onslaught of “When did Arcade Fire join forces with the X Games?” jokes on my Facebook feed, there was no denying that they were the performance of the night. (With much disrespect intended to Eminem—who I don’t believe was singing live, given that I heard at least THREE vocal lines coming out of his microphone, unless he’s just got the only WORKING live Vocoder in the industry—which is possible, since he’s richer than most people).
I enjoyed AF’s performance and then thought, “Oh well…that was cool…but they don’t have a chance.” They were up for Album of the Year against Eminem, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Lady Antebellum. Any of those would’ve been logical, safe choices and I would’ve shrugged it off and given due credit to who-ever won, because at least they all have worked their asses off in live performances over the past year to promote their individual projects. Then it happened. They announced the winner, and it was Arcade Fire!
Rock and Roll finally got a SERIOUS victory over all the tacky, over-produced, auto-tuned crap that we’ve been hit in the balls with for the past several years. And it was a GOOD band! It wasn’t the glossy-rock answer to Gaga! It was a Bowie-influenced, weird, at times extremely heavy, inventive, GREAT rock band! One whose albums I’ve bought! One who was on my top ten list for 2010! I am STILL shocked!
…and I will now go on to prove that I’m not just a Hipster music snob (as I have on occasion been accused) by going on to continue supporting a band that have actually made it as big as they SHOULD have and are now a household name. I won’t be jumping off the ship. I’ll be playing “The Suburbs” on my drive to work tomorrow. And I’ll be waving the rock-flag proudly this week. I’m so glad I gave them another shot after I didn’t care for most of “Neon Bible.” It’s so nice to be in on the party for once! (Uh oh…unpleasant Jr. High flashbacks…ugh…woah…….. Okay. I’m back.)
For once…thank you Grammys!
EDIT: When I initially wrote this, I thought Jay Z was also nominated for the award. As is my nature, I did my research after offering my opinion and found that I was incorrect about that…so all references to Jay Z have been removed—except for this one.