Thursday, December 08, 2005

Grammys silliness, remembering John Lennon

Okay, here we go again.

The Grammy Awards are all about popularity. Period. Today they announced the 48th Annual Grammy Awards Nominee list. The fact that anything credible in the pop and rock fields got on the list is really amazing.

How else to explain the following...

Aimee Mann's "The Forgotten Arm" was nominated in the Best Recording Package. But what about the amazing songs on the concept album? Ignored completely. I can think of a number of great songs off that disc that deserve to be in the Record Of The Year category. But what we get are the embarrassing likes of Mariah Carey's "We Belong Together" and Gwen Stefani's "Hollaback Girl."

In the Album of the Year category, if Mariah Carey wins for "The Emancipation of Mimi," they better allow some time. It took something like 20 people to produce, engineer and mix the thing. Gwen Stefani also needed a bit of help on "Love. Angel. Music. Baby"; there are at least 10 other names credited with creating that forgettable effort. It only took a handful (specifically producer Nigel Godrich) to complete Paul McCartney's amazing "Chaos and Creation in the Backyard" in the same field.

In Category 4, Best New Artist, it's funny. Keane is there; didn't their debut come out in early 2004 here (and even sooner in England)? Grammy voters are often confused and can't read a calendar.

And why, oh why, didn't New Order's excellent "Waiting for the Sirens' Call" or Moby's strong "Hotel" (songs "Raining Again" and "Slipping Away" are epic) get nominated in the Best Electronic/Dance Album category? Those were two of the best albums of 2005, especially New Order's latest. That keeps finding its way back into my CD player.

Let me remind the Grammy voters of some other great albums they forgot to mention. Embrace's "Out of Nothing," Bruce Cockburn's "Speechless" (which had a trio of new instrumentals that could fit in somewhere I'm sure), singer-songwriter Glen Phillips' "Winter Pays for Summer" and Limbeck's "Let Me Come Home" (which could fit in any of a number of country, pop or rock fields).

Well, at least they didn't totally forget Neil Young's "Prairie Wind," U2's "How to Dismantle An Atomic Bomb" and Coldplay's "X&Y."

And on a more serious note, much has been written this week about John Lennon. It was 25 years ago today that he was murdered. I always try to put aside all of the endless controversy about his life, and legacy as seemingly directed by Yoko Ono and go back and enjoy his music. His songs remain a mirror into his soul, and often into our own. Whether it was his early gems such as "In My Life," "Help" and "Nowhere Man," or his later solo work, it holds up and still speaks to me. And his voice, it just conveyed an honesty increasingly rare in rock - especially when you look at the slim list of notable young rockers on the Grammy list today. Rob Thomas...are you kidding?

True, it doesn't seem like it has been 25 years since John Lennon was taken from us. It's a loss that hurts as much now as it did then. In his wonderful "God," Lennon confessed "I just believe in me." Truth be told, music lovers still believe too.

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