Friday, February 18, 2011

Grammy Report: Music Lives!

I've always loved music. Not only was it the noise in the background in all my memories of my high school and college years, it was a point of common ground among friends.

“Isn't that new K.C. & the Sunshine Band song horrible?”

“Yeah, almost as bad as 'Funkytown' or whatever it's called!”

“Right on!” (or whatever silly expression we used back then.)

I can still remember certain points in my life just by hearing a specific song. That's probably true for a lot of people. For me, it's a little more intense since I spent ten years of my life playing songs on various radio stations across the country. I've heard a lot of songs so often that I can no longer stand even the opening guitar riff. That's rock, pop, country, and the dreaded oldies -- it spans many formats. As a result, I gave up much of my musical interests due to overexposure and a lack of new music that really interested me.

Over the past few years, I have regained my interest, and now consider myself somewhat fluent in current music even though my friends and I don't sit around and talk about how horrible the latest Katy Perry song is. I actively seek out new music these days, aided by the advanced technology of satellite radio and the Internet. So, as I sat down to watch last weekend's Grammy Awards, I didn't have to keep asking my children why Eminem wasn't red with a big M on his chest or why Usher was on stage instead of showing people to their seats. I knew the cast of characters, and I knew most of the music. For the most part the show kept me entertained, at least as much as an awards show can entertain.

I did notice that there is still a kind of reverence shown to some of the, um... more EXPERIENCED musicians. The show began with a tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, and later Mick Jagger paid tribute to the King of Rock 'N Soul, Solomon Burke. Ironically Jagger, who wore what could best be described as “skinny jeans” to perform, was only three years younger than the recently-deceased Burke. Make whatever you want out of that.

The biggest disappointment for me was another antique, the incomparable Bob Dylan, who sang with a voice that was really incomparable. All I can gather is that years of singing through his nose has left Dylan without a singing voice, and what could have been an incredible musical performance turned into an unbearable performance. I guess we're all getting older.

Oh, and there was an obvious plea for attention by a popular singer who arrived at the theater in a translucent egg carried by shirtless men in gold lame shorts only to emerge on stage to debut her new single. I'm sure she would appreciate me mentioning her name since she went to that much trouble to draw attention to herself. Oh well.

But I've seen the proof that music is still alive and well. I've seen the Internet buzz generated by Grammy performances by great performers like Mumford & Sons, Esperanza Spalding and Florence and the Machine. Sure, music has grown and changed in the past few decades, but I still love it. Music has power over feelings and emotions. Nothing can turn my day around like just the right song. And nothing can turn my stomach faster than the wrong song. Power is power. Right on.

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