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It’s the morning after the 54th Annual Grammy Award and after a few hours sleep, we have a little Monday Morning Quarterbacking to do:
*To quote a Don Henley song title, “Everything Is Different Now”: Last night was a clear referendum on real music between Adele and the Foo Fighters’ sweeps. Of course, the Grammys are cyclical and the wins are very dependent upon the pool of albums released during the eligibility period but for those of us who hope to never hear another autotuned, scantily-clad cutie in our lives, it was a victory. Plus, Skrillex’s three wins showed that EDM is a full force to be reckoned with that must be recognized as its own musical art form. That is something that, sadly, the David Guetta/Deadmau5/Foo Fighters/Chris Brown/Lil Wayne performance may not have hammered home.
*Rock needs some new blood: The Foo Fighters can’t carry the mantle themselves. Yes, there are plenty of other rock bands out there who were off-cycle this year like Muse, My Chemical Romance, etc., but where are all those bands who are incubating in their parents’ garages who can become the next arena headliners? Having said that, last night was also a solid showing that while we’re waiting for the new guys and gals to show up, the old guard is representing just fine, as Mssrs. Springsteen and McCartney showed (and as we know the new Neil Young/Crazy Horse album will confirm).
*If Bruno Mars is the future, we're in good hands: When Bruno Mars appeared on the scene a few years ago amid a flurry of other new solo males some of whom rap, some of whom sing, but all of whom are R&B-influenced pop artists (i.e.: Taio Cruz, Jason Derulo, B.o.B, etc...) it was hard to see who was going to rise to the top. But last night only confirmed what last year’s Grammys started: Mars is at the absolute head of the pack. He sings, he writes, he produces, he dances.... there’s nothing he can’t do. And he looks damn stylish doing it.
*Nicki Minaj’s whacked-out performance of "Roman Holiday" was a revelation to some, an abomination to others, and, for the vast majority of us, just a big old question mark. Even with Katie Hasty’s guide here, I still don’t know what the hell that production was about, but I do know this: if Minaj herself had hit it out of the park with her vocal performance, I wouldn’t have cared about all the priests, chanting monks, etc., I would have been so blown away by her talent that all the clutter and debris would have fallen away. And she didn’t. And that is what separates her and Lady Gaga (that and many other things, but most folks are comparing them because of the outlandish, over-the-top performances)... Despite all of Lady Gaga’s excesses, when it comes down to it, she delivers on the performance almost every time. Minaj’s freak show did make me curious to hear the full album, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," which was delayed from tomorrow to April 3. This album will make her or break her.
*Chris Brown should not have performed on the show: Katie Hasty posted The Recording Academy’s chairman/president Neil Portnow’s explanation of why Brown returned to the Grammys for not one, but two appearances. Do I have any objection to Brown’s music being up for Grammys? No. I don’t even have any objection to his winning and accepting his awards, but to give someone who only three years ago was slamming Rihanna’s head repeatedly into a car door several minutes of air time is repellent. Brown doesn’t need to be banned for life by any means, and I am totally unsure of what an appropriate amount of time is, but I do know that last night felt like it was too soon. I wrestle with this one because he's so young and he deserves a second chance, but he's gotten that and I don't know if the Grammys need to be a part of his continuing road to redemption.Need any further proof that he shouldn’t have performed: Check out this: Yes, it’s a much bigger issue than Brown and the Grammys (and the road is littered with folks like Michael Vick, who, like Brown, have paid the legal price for what they did), but by allowing him to perform, The Recording Academy didn’t condone what he did to Rihanna, but it said, “You are welcome here. All is forgiven.” To quote past Grammy winners The Dixie Chicks: "I’m not ready to make nice" with Chris Brown yet.
*Who the hell is 'Bonny Bear?": This tidbit has nothing to do with anything other than to show how those of us who spend our lives around music can be very out of touch with reality. When Bon Iver won Best New Artist, lots of people in the industry grumbled that Justin Vernon couldn’t really still be considered new, could he? Contrast that with the Bon Iver tumblr here that has people wondering who the hell “Bonny Bear” is. And Vernon’s ambivalent acceptance speech did nothing to help them figure out what a “Bonny Bear” is.
Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitFixMelinda