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Subject: Grammy Nominations a Snooze...

Written By: Davester on 12/05/08 at 5:30 pm

  So-called illegal downloads may no longer be the gravest danger faced by the imperiled recording industry: Just plain bad music may be what ultimately does the business in, and if you're looking for evidence, just scan the list of Grammy nominees announced Wednesday night in a prime-time TV special that was anything but.

  It's not just that the biggest selling record of the year is rapper Lil Wayne's "Tha Carter III" - last year's top seller was "High School Musical II," followed closely by Josh Grobin's Christmas album - or even the uninspiring lineup of dull, predictable Grammy nominations.

  It is the complete and utter absence of any major work by an industry that once shipped masterpieces weekly.

  Although the Grammys have never made a habit of honoring records that turned out to be classics - even by Grammy standards - this year's class is an undistinguished lot. "The Grammy Nominations Concert" set new standards in hollow show business hoopla - an awards show with no actual awards. But this year's nominees need all the help they can get.

  At least the Grammy Awards has Robert Plant and Alison Krauss. Last year's "Raising Sand" - the best album of 2007, which only now qualifies for Grammys because of eligibility periods - was a credit to all involved, especially producer T-Bone Burnett (who distinguished himself again this year with an album by B.B. King). But for this dismal calendar year, critics can't come up with a consensus pick for the best album of what is probably the worst year for pop music in a lifetime.

  Nobody thinks that Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" or Radiohead's "In Rainbows," worthy as they might be, represent the best efforts of either act. With the new U2 release stalled until next year and Bruce Springsteen waiting in the wings with a new album in January - the pre-release previews have not been terrifically exciting - there are no big statements from leading figures. The scramble for the year-end's best album title is clearly anybody's choice. There are no masterpieces to choose from.

  Whether pop music's critical elite this year anoint Kings of Leon, Fleet Foxes, TV on the Radio or even Glasvegas, the message is clear: The populist rock movement is dead and gone. The pop music panorama in the 21st century is a bleak landscape of commercial songwriters and professional producers who long ago traded away creativity and imagination in favor of craft and cunning. Artists working in anything less than the lowest common denominators have been marginalized into micro-categories and cut out of any access to mainstream audiences.

  Pop music in this century is a corporate entertainment, a lifestyle accessory, a purposeless, nearly useless disposable commodity that has practically returned the hit parade to the puerile, pointless days of "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window."

  Today's pop stars are manufactured by management firms in sleek offices with million-dollar budgets, staffs of legal counsel, publicists, stylists, marketing consultants - Pussycat Dolls anyone? Their records have been ProTooled into submission, every wrinkle smoothed out, every squeak, belch, intake of air digitally manipulated into a perfect, lifeless aural confection. Beyonce, one of the most talented of this clueless crew, is starring in a new movie where she portrays Etta James, a talent so immense, real and true to herself, Beyonce would need a ladder just to kiss the hem of her skirt.

  With the music business in virtual free-fall for the past half-dozen or more years, conservative forces have taken charge and their stranglehold has squeezed out of the industry whatever vestiges of fun and adventure that made the record industry exciting in the first place.

  Who would sign the Talking Heads today? The marketing departments run the major labels. Major labels? That's a laugh: There are only four still standing, and it's not clear in this Internet age of digital downloads just exactly what role these so-called majors will continue to play. The independent labels - where rock and soul music were born - are long gone. Alternative rock, which raised its head during the '90s as a safe harbor for the unruly original spirit of rock 'n' roll, has failed. And, by the way, alternative to what? Rock music? They don't make that anymore.

  The cultural freight that once loaded pop music's wagons has evaporated. The world no longer hangs on the next album by Dylan, Springsteen, Arcade Fire or anyone. The record business will be healthy again when it makes a record everybody wants to buy. Nobody makes records anymore simply because they like the music and, truth be told, many people in the industry don't like the music they are making. They go home and listen to old Van Morrison records like everyone else.

  An article I read in the San Francisco Chronicle about two hours ago at work.  What struck me is that despite all the pissing and moaning I've encountered on blogs and unnamed messageboards this is the first time I've seen my local major paper acknowledge "the problem".  I thought this article hit something spot-on even though spot-on what, exactly, remains elusive...

  Something did happen to popular music.  We all know "what", but "why" and "how"?  Makes you think...

  Enjoy this article.  Thank goodness it was online because I stole the section from someone at work and was prepared to edit the entire thing... ::)

  Link to the list of Grammy nominees.  Looking pretty lame...

Subject: Re: Grammy Nominations a Snooze...

Written By: apollonia1986 on 12/05/08 at 7:19 pm

*reading post*

Hmmm....No Michael Jackson....No Prince.... :(

Well that's three hours of my life I don't have to waste needlessly to watch the show. LOL.

Heck Michael and Prince may not be current or anything but to me and whole HECK of alot better than High School Musical. I went to high school for four years. No one ever burst into song on the middle of the lunch room and danced on the tables. Nope.  >:( It's just sickening. Music has gone down hill and I hate it because it's MY generation's fault.

The people before me had acts like Michael and Prince and Elvis and the Beatles and Aretha Franklin and all those people who are really actually talented and not digitized and all that.


Any one wanna play Thriller with me and reflect on the dying art that is good music?  :(

Subject: Re: Grammy Nominations a Snooze...

Written By: Badfinger-fan on 12/05/08 at 8:42 pm

I can't even watch these music award shows anymore as almost all of the "music" awards shows these days are nothing more than ego parties, and it seems that for many performers, it's about getting as much money as you can make and what kind of crib you have. these are the ultimate goals that are considered what's most important. even country music is now overloaded with Britney Spears/Jessica Simpson types.  Granted there are many honest hard working individuals in the business. It actually pains me to call it a business just like calling professional sports a business, but they are and that's become the identity of both. I often wonder how much behind the scenes lobbying goes on towards getting an award?

here's one of my favorite scenes from the movie Almost Famous where the legendary Rock critic Lester Bangs is schooling young journalist William on the death of rock/music as we know it.

Subject: Re: Grammy Nominations a Snooze...

Written By: whistledog on 12/05/08 at 9:42 pm

The only nomination I am excited about is 'Black and Gold' by Sam Sparro for best Dance recording.  That song (to me) was one of the three greatesdt songs of the 00s

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