The InsiderOne Daily Report

  Friday, January 5, 2001

Kicking Grammy Down A Flight Of Stairs

InsiderOne's Michael Goldberg writes: One of each year's minor cheap thrills is the opportunity to lay into that awards show of all awards shows, the Grammy Awards. This year's list of nominees was announced on Wednesday, January 3 and it confirms once again that unless you're signed to a major label, you're not going to win in any of the significant categories. Let's look at Album of the Year nominees: Beck's Midnite Vultures, Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, Radiohead's Kid A, Paul Simon's You're the One and Steely Dan's Two Against Nature. One could in fact argue that this isn't a bad selection. Beck is a real artist, as are Radiohead, Simon and Steely Dan. Eminem's sophomore album was both a critical and commercial score. But were these the best albums of the year? No way. The Beck album is good, but no Odelay. Simon and Steely Dan both delivered albums that paled beside their best work. And Kid A? It's good, but not as good as OK Computer. None of these albums compares with PJ Harvey's Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea, Cat Power's The Cover's Record, Sleater-Kinney's All Hands on the Bad One or Jurassic 5's Quality Control. I could go on, and so could you. You've probably got 10 or 15 albums you'd prefer to listen to over any of the five nominees, but I'd wager many of those who voted don't actually care that much about music (other than as a source of income) and have never heard of Cat Power. Dig the nominees for Record of the Year: Destiny's Child's "Say My Name," Macy Gray's "I Try," Madonna's "Music," 'N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye" and U2's "Beautiful Day." Come on. Where's Coldplay's unbelievable "Yellow"? Juliana Hatfield's "Cool Rock Boy"? Kelis's "Mafia"? Best New Artist: Papa Roach, Jill Scott, Sisqó, Brad Paisley and Shelby Lynne got the nomination. Again, where's Coldplay? Where's Le Tigre? How did Badly Drawn Boy get left out? And what of Tami Hart, a truly new artist who released a brilliant debut on the cool Mr. Lady label? Nowhere to be found. Papa Roach? Finally, 'cause this is getting kinda tiresome and not really going anywhere 'cause basically we know going in that none of the really good stuff is even on their map, these are the Best Alternative Music Album (which is a ridiculous category) nominees: Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney's Liverpool Sound Collage, Beck's Midnite Vultures, Fiona Apple's When the Pawn ...., the Cure's Bloodflowers and Radiohead's Kid A.. Again, an okay handful of albums, but were any of them really the best of anything this year? If one has to ghettoize albums into an alternative-music category, what about The (International) Noise Conspiracy's Survival Sickness, Juliana Hatfield's Beautiful Creature, At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command? Oh, forget it. Shows like the Grammy Awards and the MTV Music Awards are good for one thing, and one thing only: a few hours of laughing at how lame most popular music is, and at those who'd attempt to give credibility to the mediocre by giving it an award. In case you're up for some sick humor, the 43rd Annual Grammy Awards ceremony will be held February 21 and broadcast on CBS, which is now owned by Viacom, and isn't it a small creepy world we live in.

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Michael Goldberg is the president of He founded Addicted To Noise in 1994.

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