As we continue our countdown to the Feb. 13 Grammy Awards, we’re predicting the winner in a category a day. Today we look at Best Short Form Music Video, which includes one of the more interesting video projects we’ve seen in recent years that deserves more attention than it initially received.
Best Short Form Music Video
“Ain’t No Grave/The Johnny Cash Project” (Johnny Cash)
“Love The Way You Lie (Explicit Version),” Eminem & Rihanna
“Stylo,” Gorillaz, Mos Def & Bobby Womack
“F*** You,” Cee Lo Green
“Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga
If you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and check out the “Ain’t No Grave” video and backstory here. It’s video as social experiment. Fans/artists manipulated pre-selected images to create their own frames that then were edited into the black & white video. It speaks to the power of music as a singular and collective experience and is very moving. It goes so far beyond video as promotion, although it is that as well, that it deserves its own category. Having said that, unless Grammy voters have really spent time with it, it will likely be completely dismissed in favor of the other four more traditional form videos here. As colorful and fun as it is, “F*** You” breaks no new ground. We would have replaced it with Katy Perry's cotton-candy-colored "California Gurls" video here. “Stylo” is fantastic, but kind of “more-of-the-same” from our favorite animated reprobates. That leaves “Love the Way You Lie” and “Bad Romance.” Eminem’s video has the sexy stars and controversial content, but Lady Gaga’s pod people video is a work of art that remains fascinating and worth dissecting all these months since its release. The last scene still gets us. It’s like something out of the Faulkner short story “A Rose for Emily” via John Waters.
Winner: “Bad Romance”
Britney Spears goes from “Circus” performer to “Femme Fatale.” Her new album, out allegedly March 15, is called “Femme Fatale” because, according to her label, Jive Records, the set is “a tribute to bold, empowered, confident, elusive, fun, flirty women and men.” Doesn’t that sound more like a perfume?
Anyway, Max Martin and Dr. Luke executive produced the album and their paw prints are all over first single, “Hold It Against Me,” which shot straight to the top of the Billboard 100 the week of release.
Jive isn’t admitting that March 15 is the release date, despite the fact that it leaked out in an internal memo last week, but these things are always subject to change, so keep tuned to Hitfix for updates.
The Grammys are notoriously out of step when it comes to the country field. Occasionally they get it right, but that seems almost more by accident than by knowledge. For example, let’s compare the singers nominated here with those nominated for the upcoming Academy of Country Music Awards: Lambert and Underwood are up for both, but the ACMs then picked the much more appropriate Reba McEntire, Lee Ann Womack and Taylor Swift. October’s Country Music Assn. Awards nominated the same females as the ACMs, but swapped out Womack for Martina McBride. So how the hell did Rimes, Wilson and Jewel get in here for most prestigious music award there is? Who the hell knows, but it might be time for the Grammys to rethink who gets to vote in the country categories and make it a little more restrictive. I’m not saying that the Grammys have to be in lockstep with these other shows (that are voted on by the country music industry) or that they aren’t all fine singers, but Rimes, Wilson and Jewel are nominated for performing songs that were in no way hits (remember that country is still a very radio-dominated format). What year do the Grammy voters think it is? Venting my spleen is pointless here, thank goodness, because there’s no way Rimes, Wilson or Jewel are winning (again, ladies, this is no commentary on your singing abilities) unless the voters in the know split their votes between Underwood and Lambert. If we go totally on vocal prowess, former best new artist recipient/"American Idol" winner Underwood wins, but Lambert’s delivery on “The House That Built Me,” which also had the bigger buzz since it is up for both song and record of the year, is so heartfelt and touching that a win may be undeniable.
Winner: “The House That Built Me,” Miranda Lambert
Katy Perry will be in her more natural setting—the 2011 Grammy Awards— on Feb. 13, but before that, she’ll show up on “How I Met Your Mother” on Feb. 7. "How I Met Your Mother" is on CBS and the Grammys are on CBS. Hmmmm.
She plays the cousin of Zoey, played by Jennifer Morrison, and is so naive that she thinks, well, see for yourself in the clip below. Let’s just say we could sell her the London Bridge. Everyone calls her Honey, as in "Oh, honey..." They probably also say "Bless her heart," about her a lot.
“Mommy, what’s a ball gag?” If Rihanna has any underage fans left after “Rated R” scared most of them away, expect to have to answer that question after watching her new video for “S&M,” the latest single from "Loud."
Once you have a song with that as the title, you can’t really be surprised if there’s bondage, ball gags and rubber suits involved, can you? It may have been fun if Rihanna had gone and made the sweetest, purest video ever for a song about “sex in the air, I love the smell of it. Sticks and stones may break my bones/but chains and whips, they excite me," but instead she went for the obvious.
The broader, "high-brow" concept here is that her real S&M relationship is with the press. We see her behind plastic during a press conference, as headlines, presumably some of them real, about her “daddy issues” or her voice “crackling and popping” scroll by. The reporters are “gagged,” and she even gets Perez Hilton, whose 15 minutes of fame are soooo over, to parade around on all fours on a leash and pretend to pee on a fire hydrant. She's never involved with a man in the film, just the press, including a kiss on the taped lips of a female journalist. Way to puss out, Rihanna.
“King of Anything,” Sara Bareilles
“Halo” (Live), Beyonce
“Chasing Pirates,” Norah Jones
“Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga
“Teenage Dream” Katy Perry
What? No Ke$ha? We kid. Although nothing would have surprised us in this year where pop is absolutely king (and queen) at the Grammys. Seriously, we are a little taken aback that Rihanna didn’t earn a spot at the table. We know the Grammys love Norah Jones on principal alone, but Rihanna’s “Rude Boy” or “Only Girl (In the World)” should have gotten either Jones’ place for “Chasing Pirates” or Beyonce’s slot for a live version of “Halo” (C’mon! The recorded version won this award last year). That is if we look at it solely as a popularity song contest.
If we really do look at it as a vocal contest, it becomes a different ball game (and Bareilles or Jones should win), but we don’t think the Grammy voters will see it that way, so we’re not either. We’re still baffled over “Bad Romance’s” exclusion in song and record of the year, so we’re giving Lady Gaga the award here because she both deserves it and out of sympathy.
The cover of Ricky Martin's new album 'Musica + Alma + Sexo'
If we thought this week, in which the “Grammy Nominations CD” is likely to be the top seller on the Billboard 200 with less than 40,000 copies sold, looked bleak, just wait until next week. The Feb. 1 release slate has some tasty elements, but the only mainstream titles are George Michael’s reissue of “Faith,” Rod Stewart’s “The Best of...The Great American Songbook,” and Ricky Martin’s English/Spanish hybrid, “Musica + Almo + Sexo.” They should handily conquer the top 3 spots next week, but we predict that none of the other new releases for this week debut anywhere near the Top 10.
Kings of Leon have added three U.S. tour dates around the group’s April 15 headlining slot at the 2011 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 15. Tickets go on sale Feb. 12. We smell Valentine’s Day gift.
Additionally, the KOL’s Australia and South Africa dates, which were postponed due to drummer Nathan Followill’s arm surgery, have been rebooked for October/November.
The group’s already announced European tour starts May 28 in Slane, Ireland.
New dates for Kings of Leon:
4/8 Tulsa, OK BOK Center
4/9 Memphis, TN FED Ex Forum
4/12 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center
The 53rd annual Grammy Awards take place Feb. 13 live from Staples Center in Los Angeles. Little gramophones are given out in an overwhelming 109 categories. Each day between now and the awards ceremony, we’ll take a category or two and pick the act we believe will taken home the statue. First up: Best Alternative Music Album.
This is one of the strongest slates in this year’s awards with each album a stand-out—and there were, arguably, a number of albums waiting in the wings that could have also earned a spot among the top 5: Best Coast’s “Crazy For You”, Beach House’s “Teen Dream,” Joanna Newsom’s “Have One on Me,” etc. Plus, the Grammy powers-that-be parse things up further by taking someone like Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs and put them in the contemporary folk album category instead of alternative. Even we aren't sure where something like Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" should fit in. So there’s a lot of hair splitting. Having said that, despite the fact that “Broken Bells,” was my No. 1 album of the year across the board, this is most likely a race between “Brothers,” “Contra” and “The Suburbs,” all of which were strong, if occasionally spotty, efforts. “The Suburbs” is also up for Best Album, which, in Grammyland, presumes some level of superiority over the other contenders. Hey Grammys: why no best alternative music song category?
After The Decemberists debuted at No. 1 this week with a comparatively healthy 94,000 for “The King is Dead,” album sales plummet like the winter thermometer again as it looks like the “2011 Grammy Nominees” compilation will bow at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with a record low of around 40,000.
There’s a chance that Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday” will finally reach the summit, as her set and the Grammy collection are too close to call right now. “Pink Friday’s” first-week sales of 375,000 in November were only enough to bow at No. 2. Now it could climb to No. 1 on sales of 10% of that tally.