GRAMMYS: As noted in our Grammy live-blog, last night was our first Grammy-watching experience [as newly minted members of the “media,” it is now our “responsibility” to do so] and although there were some fantastic performances and some super-cute children, we’re not sure if we’ll bother tuning in next year. For example; the night took a very sour turn at approximately 11:25 PM. Prior to that moment, Beyoncè had already cemented her spot as the first woman ever to take home six Grammy awards, and that’s a beautiful thing. Lady Gaga had changed outfits several times. Rihanna brought Solange Knowles’ kid up on stage and he was adorbs. Even the Dave Matthews Band made us feel warm and stoned inside, just like in college.
Let’s relish in those moments for a bit. Here’s Gaga’s performance:
Here’s our gallery with funny captions!
But then, once again America felt it necessary to balance the impact of our Socialist President by electing another Republican to the House of Representatives I MEAN
giving Best Album to Taylor Swift.
Following the announcement of Taylor’s win we shut off the teevee, unable to bear another “oh gee you like me even though I sing country music?” speech. Yes, yes, we know: Taylor is a very nice girl, she’s got a “good head on her shoulders,” she plays an instrument and she writes her own songs. (Frankly we’d be concerned if anyone over the age of 21 was responsible for “She’s cheer captain and I’m on the bleachers.”) That’s fantastic, good work Taylor. Unfortunately this is not the Good Head on Her Shoulders contest or the Nicest Contest, this is a Good Music Contest. (Or is it? More on that in a bit) Yes, she’s young. But honestly, Gaga’s only 23. Taylor is not a puppy, as the entire nation seemed to think she was when Kanye West interrupted her VMA speech last year and the entire world gathered around to crown her martyr of the week.
But ok really — does it even matter that Swift won? Well, sorta. It sorta matters ’cause when Taylor Fucking Swift wins Album of the Year, that means the Idiot Populists Have Won. It means the people favored Digestable over Daring in a major way. It’s a familiar feeling for us queer weirdos: Kris Allen wins American Idol, Two and a Half Men snags repeat Emmys, George W. Bush wins the presidency, Utah needs another year to decide if illegalizing discrimination against gays is a good idea and My So-Called Life gets canceled. It means that our people are not in charge of the world, which annoys us, because we want to get our way. Perhaps it’s not an honorable emotion, but it is what it is.
Or maybe we’re just irritated by her seemingly shameless persistence in claiming she succeeded against all odds simply because of her musical genre of choice/geographical headquarters (Nashville, in case you missed it). I’ve only seen the girl speak three times and every time I’ve been inspired to immediately wikipedia her ass to find out what tragic narrative has inspired such platitudes. I’ve come up short.
Taylor grew up white and well-off in America with supportive parents who, following Taylor’s one-and-only Life Complaint that, “junior high was actually sort of hard because I got dumped by this group of popular girls” for “liking country music” and “not being pretty enough,” swooped her out of Pennsylvania and took her to Nashville for a recording contract and Christian home-schooling. Unimpeded by hard knocks, financial troubles or discrimination, Taylor has been successfully performing since she was a pre-teen. Sounds pretty awesome.
We’re not faulting her for a privileged life; many deserving performers share similarly blessed narratives. I’m sure many of us here and many of you have had great lives that don’t diminish your achievements.
But these similarly privileged stars certainly don’t label their rise to fame a “fairy tale,” (a rags-to-riches archetype is intrinsic to that genre) and Swift’s entitlement to a story far more dramatic than her actual tale is just kinda grating. But she is, I suppose, only 19, and a lot of things seem dramatic when you’re 19.
Or maybe we’re just pissed because Taylor Swift performed at the 2008 Republican Convention! Or maybe because we honestly still wonder why, unlike the Undeserved Winners of Award Shows Past, Taylor did not acknowledge in her eventual MTV VMAs speech that Beyoncè DID indeed deserve that award, just like Kanye said. Although it’s practically par for the course to mention & celebrate your other nominees when a performer wins any award, Taylor never has. Furthermore when you win an award you clearly don’t deserve, it’s proper to attribute your surprise at winning to your achievements relative to the quality of your fellow nominees. However, it’s kind of grossly indulgent to chalk up your surprise to the alleged “story for the grandchildren” that you claim your life has suddenly, just this moment, become. It is this persistent entitlement and lack of humility that ultimately pisses me off the most.
Okay — yes, Taylor has worked hard, yes she deserves all the success in the world, and she’s gotten it! But does she also need the Grammy?
Let’s talk to Gaga’s Number One fan, Autostraddle’s design director Alex Vega:
Fuck Taylor Swift. Maybe if she gave a great live performance like Grammy-nominated artists are supposed to, I could’ve lived with her win for album of the year… maybe. Well, we should’ve done our research: Grammy experts bet on Taylor Swift for the win before the event even started.
It’s not surprising I guess to realize the world revolves around money (honey):
“The Grammy’s are a grand televised celebration of mediocrity. Whatever is putting the most money into the recording industry’s coffers is what’s going to win. Artistic excellence has nothing to do with it what so ever…. Artistry + monster sales – plausible threat from low-selling record by member of music’s old guard = Taylor’s biggest win of the night.”
I’m angry not because Gaga should’ve won necessarily, but that Taylor Swift shouldn’t have won! But since we’re talking about Gaga, I’d like to add that she’s earned four consecutive #1 Billboard hits from “The Fame,” and her 5th is “Bad Romance” from The Fame Monster. If she solidifies a 6th consecutive #1 song with her next Fame Monster single release, she will have tied only the Bee Gees and The Beatles for that record. Whitney Houston had 7. JUST. FUCKING. SAYING.
It’s a conspiracy, is what I’m saying.
Jezebel’s Dodai in Lady Gaga was Robbed, regarding Taylor’s positive financial impact on the music industry, which many are crediting for her win:
But I’ll argue that Lady Gaga has done something Taylor Swift has not — in an era of dwindling attention spans, she’s made music interesting. By pairing outrageous fashion with relentless dance beats, she energized pop music and kept people guessing what she’d do, wear, sing — and wear — next. She is heavily influenced by other artists, yet has a unique vision. Unlike Swift, Gaga seamlessly transitions between genres — tackling both dancefloor anthems and ballads — and her voice is incredibly strong when she sings live, despite the fact that she’s also keeping up with choreography. Swift’s out of tune duet with Stevie Nicks as was painful as Gaga’s dueling piano number with Elton John was glorious.
When Taylor Swift won Country Music Association’s Entertainer Of The Year, Wynonna Judd said it was “too soon.” She got shit for it, but she was right. Lady Gaga was still a brunette recovering Catholic school girl playing tiny, urine-scented clubs at that age, and she’s shown a lot of growth and determination. So why didn’t Lady Gaga win? Maybe the members of the academy find Swift’s unoffensive, friendly tunes truly exquisite. Or perhaps pop music politics mirror that of American society — Gaga the liberal versus Taylor the conservative — and “conservative” makes the Academy feel more comfortable.
There’s no way that the telecast, which aired on CBS, was going to hand an Album of the Year honor to a performer who has come out as such an unequivocal gay rights activist and tends to smash bottles of vodka against grand pianos over someone as Wonderbread as Taylor Swift.
Pop/country crossover sensation Taylor Swift took home the award for Album of the Year, and it’s probably not a total coincidence that at 5.4 million copies sold, it’s also the most successful collection of material released since January 2009.
Ann Powers from the LA Times, “On the 2010 Grammy Awards”:
… as well-crafted as her platinum-selling tales of suburban high school life are, it’s Swift’s persona that really sells. This smart young woman comes across as a perky, living American Girl doll, and that appealing version of traditional young womanhood, not her music, is at the heart of her stardom.
Her singing certainly can’t be credited. Appealing enough on record, it always seems to let her down live. Swift gave a strikingly bad vocal performance at Staples Center on Sunday, sounding tinny and rhythmically flat-footed as she shared the microphone with the distinctive Stevie Nicks. Swift’s inability to match or support Nicks as they worked through a medley of each woman’s hits stood in stark contrast to the evening’s other pairings, particularly soul man Maxwell’s sensitive response to Roberta Flack and Lady Gaga’s bravado turn with Elton John.
So there you have it. Moving on!
3-D: Last night when they did that 3-D thing at the Grammys I remembered a 3-D stunt from the 80’s, back when 3-D was reserved for theme park rides and Imax theaters and still considered relatively novel and unlike this time, we all had our glasses. I tracked down the event I recalled, here it is:
NBC‘s Bob Costas introduced the halftime show on air, which included a 3-D commercial for Diet Coke, and computer generated 3-D effects during the show itself. In the days leading up to the game, Coca-Cola distributed special 3-D glasses to be worn during the performance. The set list included several 1950s doo wop style songs, but despite an Elvis impersonator as the star, no Elvis Presley songs were included.
Last night, one of the many atrocities committed at the Grammys was a poorly conceived Michael Jackson 3-D video. Nothing says “the future” like 3-D. The only problem is we’re not quite ready for it on this level.
ON DIRECTING: At the Directors Guild of America Awards, “Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman EVER to win the DGA top honors for feature filmmaking [for The Hurt Locker].”
SKINS: EMILY’S relationship with lesbian lover Naomi is under threat in this week’s Skins – when her mum gets involved on this week’s episode of Skins.
Meanwhile we learn that “Skins beauty Kaya Scodelario wishes she could have been part of the show’s racy lesbian plot. The actress said she was disappointed she did not get to join in the action between characters Naomi Campbell (Lily Loveless) and Emily Fitch (Kathryn Prescott).”
TILA: Tila’s quitting twitter: “Twitter, by FAR as THE MOST HATEFUL, DEVIL WORSHIPPERS, RACIST, AND VIOLENT COMMUNITY THAT I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED! TWITTER IS BAD . . . My true fans know where to find me.” (@celebnewswire)