Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m getting old. I used to look forward to the Grammys. You’d get to see some great artists perform. Awards would be given to fantastic musicians. Life was good. What happened?
Somehow, it seemed to start going south about the same time as they started adding so many categories. You’d think that would be a good thing, wouldn’t you? I mean, look at the categories for 1975. Country, folk, classical, pop, gospel, jazz. And the biggies: Record of the year, song of the year, album of the year, best new artist. (As an aside – Why a record of the year and a song of the year? Yes, I know that one is for the performer and one is for the songwriter. The names just seemed a bit off to me, somehow.) Pretty limited.
And this year? Yes, there’s still the record, song, and album of the year, and the best new artist. But now we’ve got pop, dance, electronic/dance, traditional pop, rock, hard rock, metal, alternative, R&B, traditional R&B, urban/alternative, contemporary R&B, rap, country, new age, contemporary jazz, gospel, southern/country/bluegrass gospel, latin, regional mexican, tejano, norteno, banda, americana, bluegrass, blues, folk, hawaiian, native american, zydeco, reggae, world music….. and that’s not even all of them.
And as near as I can tell, Beyonce and Taylor Swift are nominated for an award in each and every one of them, with the possible exception of the Hawaiian category. And maybe even there.
It’s not so much that there are too many categories. It’s that there are so many categories that will be presented like a roll call, with no feel for the music or the performers. We’ll be overloaded on the pop and dance, with silly production numbers instead of just a few good performances. And the same three people will be nominated over and over again for the categories that we’ll see. Cross-over is one thing, but if the same artist is the best that can be found in 2 or 3 different categories (sometimes for the same song), wouldn’t you start to think that just maybe the categories are too fractured?
Heaven knows, 1975’s categories weren’t really workable. If nothing else, I think it’s safe to safe that metal and pop don’t belong in the same category, and there are great rock songs that never won awards because a category didn’t really exist for them. But there shouldn’t be that much duplication of performers in rock, hard rock, metal and alternative. (I know, bad example, because those categories don’t really duplicate this year.)
And just once, I think I’d like to see the awards NOT showcase the same tired pop princesses over and over again. Let’s have some zydeco or blues performances. Or maybe the nominees for best native american music album.
And today’s title is from Goo Goo Dolls – “Name”