The Grammy Performances

I thought about live-blogging the Grammys, b-rollers, I really did. When Nicki Minaj and Lady Gaga are attending in “clothing,” and Taylor Swift is “singing,” God knows there’s plenty of material. But I just couldn’t take the thought of five straight hours without a bathroom break (two weeks until the Oscars!), and how many times could I really type the phrase, “[Presenter/performer/winner] pays tribute to Whitney Houston” without it becoming redundant (bless her soul)? So instead, I took some notes on the live performances. Let’s play a game of “Will I buy this song on iTunes?”, shall we? Please note that I hardly ever listen to the radio and am wildly out of touch with what the kidz are listening to these days. This could go any number of ways.

  • Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, “We Take Care of Our Own”: Not the world’s biggest Bruce fan – I know, blasphemy – but I do appreciate that he’s singing live in a black shirt and jeans rather than a chicken suit. And damn, the man owns the stage. Still, tune-wise, this sounds very much like every other Bruce Springsteen that I vaguely recognize. Verdict: No, I’ll just listen to “Born to Run” for the 942nd time.
  • Bruno Mars, “Runaway Baby”: Bruno Mars is apparently the king of catchy little ditties that I download one at a time and then get stuck in my head FOREVER. Also, how does he get his hair to stay that way while doing James Brown moves? Is it chrome? I have questions. Verdict: Yes. I should probably just complete that damn album.
  • Alicia Keys and Bonnie Raitt, “Sunday Kind of Love”: I know the tragic passing of Whitney Houston is still very fresh, and so sad, but all that Etta James gets is a rather bland 90-second version of a classic? This could have been so much more. Verdict: Download the original, for God’s sake.
  • Chris Brown, “Turn Up the Music”: Interesting, “Turn Up the Music” is both the title and the entirety of the lyrics. And even the kettle drum sounds auto-tuned. Good grief. Oh, this song is so very boring. And also, Chris Brown is a horrible, horrible person. So there’s that. Verdict: Not even if I was on fire and the download of “Turn Up the Music” came with a free bucket of water.
  • Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson, “Don’t You Wanna Stay”: It takes a very special, very catchy country song to convince me to click “confirm purchase.” This is a pretty little song (and I have a feeling this live performance is not doing full justice to the harmonies), but I’m not sure I’ll listen to it enough to justify the $1.29. Verdict: Leaning no, but on the upside, I’ve listened to Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) many, many times. You’re welcome, Kelly.
  • Foo Fighters, “Walk”: Well, they look like they’re having a hell of a time. And Dave Grohl wore his nicest tee shirt, and everything. This is a pleasant song (if you could call guttural screams “pleasant”), but I’ve spent most of the performance googling to confirm the title of the song, and I don’t feel like I’ve missed much. Verdict: Not so much. Is Adele on soon?
  • Rihanna and Coldplay, “We Found Love/Princess of China/Paradise”: Is Rihanna’s look an homage to Whitney? She looks vaguely similar. Anyway, this performance is a little bleaty, but points for trying (live, while dancing). And “We Found Love” is catchy as hell. The Chris Martin/Rihanna duet of “Princess of China” is not. Not a huge fan of “Paradise,” either. I find Coldplay either haunting or boring. Much like this broadcast. Verdict: Yes on “We Found Love,” if only so I can practice my synchronized swimming routine.
  • Willie Nelson, “The Scientist”: This wasn’t so much a live Grammy performance as a Chipotle commercial. I just thought it warranted mentioning that Willie Nelson’s cover of a Coldplay song set to an animation of farmers was way more interesting than the actual Coldplay performance. Verdict: Yes. Yes, I will.
  • Maroon 5, Foster the People and The Beach Boys, “Surfer Girl/Wouldn’t It Be Nice/Good Vibrations”: I saw Maroon 5 in concert once and was stunned that Adam Levine’s falsetto totally stands up live. Hats off, sir. Their version of “Surfer Girl” is straight ahead but really quite good. So is Foster the People’s cover of Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” though the lead singer looks like Justin Bieber’s younger brother. Then we get a Ryan Seacrest intro (this performance would have been about 28% better without it), and here are the men themselves! Lest we forget, their heyday was, um, a while ago. Still, this is the best thing that’s been onstage tonight, correct? I know, I’m old. (Sidenote: Since this is a reunion performance, it’s not possible that their bass singer is Terry Bradshaw, right? Just an eerie resemblance?) Verdict: We all already own these, right? I mean, seriously.
  • Sir Paul McCartney, “My Valentine”: The Beach Boys immediately followed by Sir Paul? It was nice/ironic of the Grammys to schedule them for the early bird slots. This is a lovely little Tony Bennett-style romantic ditty that I have no desire to listen to again, really. Verdict: No, but I own about 700 versions of “Let It Be.” I’m not made of stone, people.
  • The Civil Wars, “Barton Hollow”: This will shock you, but the guy half of this duo looks exactly like you think a member of the band “The Civil Wars” would. They only do a short snippet of their song, and it’s folk-country, and kinda good! Color me curious. Verdict: Yes! I know, I’m surprised too.
  • Taylor Swift, “Mean”: Speaking of surprised, Taylor Swift is singing this really well! Girlfriend’s been working with a vocal coach. Not really my cup of tea, since it’s a perky little country song, but it’s adorable in the way that Taylor Swift songs are. Also, is it possible to play the banjo continuously while strutting peppily across the stage? I call shenanigans. I know, why I gotta be so mean? Verdict: Cute as heck, but no.
  • Katy Perry, “E.T. (Extra Terrestrial)/Part of Me”: Everything about this performance has me questioning, “Wait, was that supposed to happen?” Was the whole “E.T.” part supposed to just crash and die? Is Katy Perry’s outfit intentional? I’m confused. Also, “Part of Me”=Wow. “You can keep the diamond ring. It don’t mean nothing anyway”? Russell Brand, the (poorly written) gauntlet has been thrown. This is what happens when you marry/divorce a pop star. Verdict: I don’t like either of these as much as other Katy Perry songs, but “Part of Me” might grow on me a little. Contemplating a purchase, but oh, the grammar.
  • Adele, “Rolling in the Deep”: J’adore. Just, love. She sounds fantastic and looks gorgeous. Who needs blue hair and light-up cubes and auto-tune, anyway? I don’t care how many times you’ve heard this song, LISTEN TO IT AGAIN. Verdict: Duh. Wait, you don’t already own 21? What the hell is the matter with you?
  • The Band Perry, Blake Shelton and Glen Campbell, “Gentle On My Mind/Southern Nights/Rhinestone Cowboy”: This is an exceptionally well-performed medley of country songs, a genre about which I am pretty much on the record. Though I do own The Band Perry’s “If I Die Young,” which is haunting and beautiful. And as a newbie fan of The Voice, I enjoy Blake Shelton, though more for critiques than singing (at least this is more in his wheelhouse than that unfortunate Prince medley on last week’s episode). I’m stalling, I have no idea what to say about a country medley. Except that Glen Campbell looks damn good, and God bless him. Verdict: It would have been easier for me if they had put the song titles on the giant screens so I didn’t have to google using the lyrics. Just saying. 
  • Tony Bennett and Carrie Underwood, “It Had To Be You”: Damn, isn’t Tony Bennett 184 years old? How does he still look and sound this good? And Carrie Underwood is much better at this type of duet than I would have thought. What a charming little number. The fact that it ends with Carrie politely saying, “Thank you, Mr. Bennett” is so delightfully appropriate. Verdict: So sweet! 
  • Jennifer Hudson, “I Will Always Love You”: Stunning, perfect tribute to Whitney Houston. Amazing. I really, really wish they hadn’t cut to commercial right away; that deserved a longer ovation. Verdict: Holy wow, did you see that?!
  • Chris Brown, Lil Wayne, David Guetta, The Foo Fighters, Deadmau5, and a bunch of people with glow sticks, “I Can Only Imagine/Rope”: Well, thank God there were 74 people involved in the production and performance of these songs; meanwhile, anyone able to distinguish a melody in there anywhere? Bueller? Verdict: It’s getting late and I’m cranky. Who thought the mouse head guy was a good idea?
  • Nicki Minaj, “Roman’s Revenge (I Feel Pretty)”: Okay, this performance at 8:30pm might have simply befuddled me in an amused sort of way; but now, uh, WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING AND WHY AND HOW DO WE MAKE THIS STOP? Is it a satire on Catholicism? Why is she singing/rapping with a British accent when I’m fairly sure she’s American? Please send help. Verdict: Can I just go to bed now?
  • LL Cool J’s Homie Sir Paul McCartney (no really, he said that), joined at the end by Bruce Springsteen and, for the 8th time tonight, The Foo Fighters, “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight”: I really hope that Nicki Minaj has survived her exorcism and returned to her seat in time to watch this. See? See how it’s done, sweetie? NOW NEVER DO THAT AGAIN. Sorry, I’m working my way through that last bit. Anyway, this was a rollicking good time that I would have appreciated way more if I wasn’t slowly losing consciousness. It’s 11:30pm, you guys. How is Sir Paul this lively? Verdict: We’re not worthy.

Well, that’s a wrap, b-rollers! Anyone else watch the Grammys? Whadja think? What were your favorite performances? (The correct answer is: Adele and Jennifer Hudson. Not that I’m trying to sway you or anything.)

One comment

  1. Chocolate kisses. Lovely, deendcat smooth chocolate kisses. I am a slave to you. You sit in my closet, hiding. No one knows you’re there. Except me. You were Leftover from a meeting, and I couldn’t just leave you behind. I meant to take you to work with me. But I couldn’t give you up.You’re sitting in a tupperware container, in your plain Jane Hersheyness, so much better than Godiva could ever pretend to be. Dressed in just a silver foil wrapper, you play coy. There are times when I’m impatient to unwrap you, and I want you undressed and ready. Your brother Hershey Bar doesn’t play hard to get. He’s dangerous, because I can just strip him naked in a flash. But before I know it, he’s gone, and I’m left standing there, wanting more, silently cursing him under my breath, wondering why I let myself be seduced by him. I adore you in your little silver wrapper, because you soothe me in small doses. Ones that I can handle and have no regrets over later. It would be better, perhaps, if you were sitting in the candy bowl, so that anyone could have you. But you are my little secret for now. I don’t want you to be found by anyone else. You’ll be gone too fast as it is.

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