Why I Hate the Grammy’s

photo 1 (4)The media is a tool used to instruct the masses on what to like and what should be popular. The Grammy’s is one of their many enablers. Rather than a celebration of talent, hard work, and musical artistry, the Grammy’s is an ongoing advertisement, disguised in the form of a live, mixed genre concert. It’s the fast food of the music industry, stuffed with over-produced and unfulfilling garbage, packaged in a flashy show of lights and sounds, and consumed by the masses. With the persuasion of the media determining trends and popularity, the fate of the nominees and award winners has already been sealed.

Despite my cynicism, I did tune in Sunday evening, in my most mocking disposition. Surprisingly, I realized that the number of musical performances outweighed the amount of awards given out almost 2 to 1. For a 3 ½ hour show, only a total of ten awards were presented, further proving the exercise of media exploiting power masked by sparkling lights, colorful costumes, and far too often, mediocre talent.

Kelly Clarkson’s powerful tribute to Patty Page and Carole King was a highlight of the evening, and perfect demonstration that flashy production is unnecessary. Clarkson’s music is not a favorite of everyone, but that doesn’t retract from her immense musical gift. She filled the room with her commanding vocals, accompanied only by piano, guitar, and enough lighting to illuminate the small stage surrounding her.

Further facilitating the merry-go-round of influence and control, the Recording Academy only considers music popularized by media persuasion to be worthy of their recognition. Radio declared “We Are Young,” by indie pop band Fun., the song to shove down the throats of the masses in 2012, ensuring it’s win as “Song of the Year.” Does this make the song’s recognition upon its original release in 2011 less worthy? Fun. also claimed the Grammy for “Best New Artist,” but new artist according to whom? The band formed in 2008, while The Lumineers, their competition in the same category, has been making music together since three years prior, in 2005. Why is it the decision of the Recording Academy, media, and pop culture in general, that these artists are now worthy of our acknowledgment?

You can call me a hipster if you want. If that’s the term we’ve coined to define someone with a profound love and connection to music beyond the gold dollar signs stamped flashily across most of it, then I wear the label proudly. I’m not interested in embellishment. Quality music, of ANY genre, stands on its own, without the need for the elaborate extras it’s so often accompanied by. My intimate connection is to the music, and I don’t believe we need to be told by the media, or anyone else, what’s worthy of our ears.

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18 responses to “Why I Hate the Grammy’s

  1. I don’t think I’ve watched the Grammys in 10 years. They lost their appeal to me long before that, though. With the exception of maybe Frank Ocean, I don’t listen to anyone that was nominated. It’s the equivalent of the record industry’s ‘dog and pony show’.

    I wasn’t aware the radio even still existed(other than the internet variety). And I’m with you on the whole ‘Best New Artist’ fiasco. Shouldn’t they pick a band that truly was new to 2012? Makes absolutely no sense. It should be amended to ‘Best New Platinum-selling Artist’ of the year.

    • Agreed. Haven’t turned the radio on in ages so I’m often out of the loop on what’s “popular.” Which is just fine by me! Love my spotify. I would also like to nominate a title change to the less formal of “best artist the radio has decided it’s time to shove down the throats of the masses.” We should write them a letter 😉

  2. I am with you 100% on this. I never watch the Grammys anymore. As much as I love music, I believe that the Grammys are a cheap sell out. Their winners are often the most vapid music out there.

    • Exactly. And it’s always great to hear from other intelligent people who recognize the same and are a step above the “mold-able masses.”

  3. I completely agree with you, but I also have to say that I was totally entranced by Carrie Underwood’s magic dress. Call me a puppet of the media machine, but there were flying butterflies on it. Butterflies! =) Great post. You have a genuinely thoughtful and interesting point of view.

  4. One of the most well-written posts I’ve read in a really long time.

    I DVRed the Grammy’s so I could fast forward through commercials and most performances (with the exception of Miranda Lambert, she’s a favorite of mine), so the lack of actual awards stood out to me. Glad I didn’t sit through the entire show.

    • Wow. Thank you Melissa! You can’t imagine how much that means to hear. And glad you didn’t have to sit through all of it! I wish I had DVRed.

  5. Very good post! As I’m reading, I can’t help think it comes down to money for someone. Or a company. More than ever, when things just don’t make sense there’s always a dollar or two pullings strings on what we are supposed to like or promote. Good writing Marisa!

  6. definitely…that’s why the Internet is beautiful like youtube to discover the taste of music that suits you, but its all about giving someone a chance instead waiting to see what everyone else is listening to or tell you to enjoy.

  7. I believe I share your cynicism. I don’t watch the Grammy’s although we do get them in Australia. Due to the time difference and social media we know all winners by lunch time of mid afternoon, anyway so there’s little point watching that night for the surprise factor.
    But I agree it’s incredible how much influence the media has on all sorts of things.

    • It can be a somewhat scary thing when you truly sit down and think about it. I’m also a bit overprotective of that which I love dearly, such as music 🙂 Thanks for reading, and your feedback. Glad you enjoyed!

  8. I agree for the most part. Usually I tune into the daytime GRAMMYs online, but rarely actually watch the evening show. Nothing wrong with a spectacle, which the evening show essentially is…I just don’t like watching musical acts on TV in general, especially not in cotton-candy format.

    The daytime GRAMMYs, however, are a great way to learn about new and international talent, and to see the industry give usually overlooked players a nod. Historical album and box set design are two of my favourite categories, for example.

    I work in the music industry (the record company I intern for got 2 GRAMMYs this year, so maybe I am biased), so I do appreciate the exposure that recognition of this caliber can give some of the smaller categories and genres. The REAL problem comes when they get rid of world music categories, like this: http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/music/article/Streamlined-Grammys-stacked-against-Tejano-4266244.php

    • Thanks for the tip. I might just have to check the daytime Grammys out! And I hear ya, of course that exposure is great, and very often so well deserved. I just dislike the packaging and way things are presented to us for the most part. Some actually take a moment and see through, but the sheep unfortunately do not. Thanks for your feedback. And for reading 🙂

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