Charles’ Grammy winner no ‘Genius’
Oh, the Grammys, how you mock your industry. Let me count the ways. Or at least the ways you did Sunday night. Clearly this year’s biggest miscue is Ray Charles’ victory in the ‘Album of the Year’ category. I smelled this one coming a mile away, and have already reserved a spot for ‘Genius Loves Company’ in the worst Grammy albums of all time, right next to ‘Toto IV,’ ‘Christopher Cross’ and ‘Two Against Nature.’
Don’t get me wrong, I love Ray Charles. I finally saw how amazing ‘Ray’ is, and love his music so much that I’m going to wear out that block of my iPod with my Ray playlist, but ‘Genius’ will never grace it. I heard the album, and it’s the biggest piece of Grammy-praised dreck yet. The duets don’t seem natural, and are absent of any of Ray’s character. The winner for ‘Record of the Year,’ ‘Here We Go Again’ with Norah Jones, is a win I can accept, but even then the song fits more on a Norah Jones album then one of Ray’s records.
Also, if weak music wins Grammys, it’ll prompt people to keep supporting weak music because it bears the coveted winner sticker. Maybe it’ll be a good thing because people will buy more Ray Charles records, but if they only buy ‘Genius Loves Company,’ it’s a horrible move.
Who should have won ‘Album of the Year’? My vote would have been for Green Day. I know, everyone thinks all their songs sound the same. If you had read my review or heard ALL of the album, you’d know otherwise. The band plays its ass off on this record, and said in Entertainment Weekly that they personally feel the win would have vindicated their career. Sure, they won best rock album but it’s not the same. It’s like being conference champions but losing the Super Bowl; it’s nice but it’s not the real deal.
My other problem was Brian Wilson’s snub. The man puts out what critics collectively feel is the best album of the year in ‘Smile,’ or least good enough to be top five, and it doesn’t even get nominated for ‘Album of the Year.’ It got three nominations and won one award-his first ever, but it should have been up for the whole shebang.
Despite these two glaring problems, the rest of the awards were great. Loretta Lynn, the outside shot, winning the major country awards over the more contemporary artists was awesome. Lynn put out an amazing album with true crossover appeal, enlisting the help of Jack White, and the results are stunning. Kanye West, while being denied some big awards, did end up with best rap album and song. Prince’s two Grammys were a bit of surprise in categories dominated by Usher, but just seemed right, as Prince is four times the performer Usher will ever be. Maroon 5 was a decent pick in a weak field of Best New Artist where Franz Ferdinand should have been nominated.
Probably the biggest surprise of the night was John Mayer’s win for ‘Daughters’ as ‘Song of the Year.’ Mayer released ‘Heavier Things’ in September 2003, and the album was mostly forgotten. Everyone had Alicia Keys as a lock for that category for ‘If I Don’t Have You,’ off her second album, ‘The Diary of Alicia Keys.’ Then Mayer came out of nowhere with this big prize. Looks like everyone missed something. It turns out ‘Song of the Year’ is actually about lyrics and message, and Mayer came through big time.
The Grammys did all right this year, though their predictability was fairly simple. Heck, who knows what legend’s duet album is next in the pipeline for instant success. I heard Santana’s at it again, or maybe Brian Wilson should sell out to finally win the big on
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