Thursday, December 4, 2008

That's why I'm here to kiss the corporate ass

I was at work today, just hanging out, minding my own business. There's a television screen in the lobby that flashes random news stories across the screen. Nothing too in depth, just basically the headline of a news story and a few supporting details.

I was just kind of casually reading the words as they scrolled by, just half reading them, when I noticed a mention of Coldplay. With Coldplay being a band that enjoy quite a bit, I immediately began to pay attention. What I read was that Coldplay was nominated for seven Grammy Awards. The reason I decided to write about this is that their latest album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, is, in my opinion, their weakest effort. Agree or disagree with that opinion, I don't know if there are many who would disagree with the opinion that it's far from the best album released this year, or even one of the best.

While I consider award shows pretty pointless in general, I consider the Grammys to be of particular worthlessness. While most other awards shows (Oscars, Golden Globes, etc.) deal with mediums that have pretty solid lines in terms of "good" material and "bad" material, what defines "good" or "bad" music, more than the others, is a matter of opinion. It's pretty widely acknowledged that The Godfather is a "good" movie. Like it or hate it, there are few people who would deny the overall quality of the film.

With music, though, the lines that are drawn between "good" and "bad" are blurred, and sometimes disappear completely. People can find a reason to criticize any type of music. One classic example of a polarizing musician is Bob Dylan. Don't get me wrong, I love Bob Dylan. In fact, he's without a doubt on my top five list of favorite songwriters ever. But I wouldn't ever claim that he's a great singer. In fact, technically, he's a terrible singer. But that's one of the things that makes him great; he doesn't try to be anyone else. He stays true to himself, and it makes for music that I consider to be great. On the other hand, the fact that his voice is so different from what people are used to hearing in popular music, he earns himself a lot of flack for that. So here we have possibly the most celebrated singer/songwriter of all time, and tons of people hate him because of his voice.

I guess the bottom line to this rant is that I consider the Grammys to be the biggest corporate ass kissing session on earth. The Oscars and others are pretty bad, but at least they have a reasonable point to work from. Whereas someone like Dylan or Conor Oberst is praised for singing with their true voice, even if it isn't technically great, no actor or director has ever been praised for making a crap movie, regardless of whether he or she acted or directed with all the intergrity of the world. When it comes down to it, I think the Grammys are just a way for the most popular musicians, and not the best musicians, to receive recognition. I mean, come on, "Who Let The Dogs Out" won a Grammy. Enough said.


John said...

I agree 100%. But interestingly enough, Radiohead is being nominated for a few things this year.

Jonny P said...

Even a broken clock is right twice a day.

I Am Booya said...

I think of Coldplay like I think of a fast food chain. Easy to get sick of but you go there because its decent enough and theres nostalgia. Bottom line- nothing special just convenient and not a lot of thinking involved. The industry is made to puke out these kinds of bands. They might strike your fancy now and then just like Wienersnitzel and I like Wienersnitzel but I know its not the main course for a real meal. The real meat and potatoes are bands that aren't that marketable ironically.