Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Why We Don't Care About the Grammys

Oh sure, I'll bet plenty of people tuned in to watch the Grammys (sorry, 'Grammies' just looks too weird, it sounds like the award is sitting in a rocking chair on the front porch next to Grampies), but who's going to remember who won what in say, two months? I'm sure someone is going to commit it to memory now and recite it back in two months just to spite me, but the point still stands. It's fairly glamorous and gives people a good excuse to dress up, but the awards simply have no weight behind them. Here's why:
  • Music is too subjective - People take great pride in having a 'weird' taste in music. When is the last time someone has told you 'Oh, I just like whatever music everyone else likes'? No, when it comes to musical taste people like to believe they are unique and beautiful snowflakes (go go go fight club!). Somehow these snowflakes are all supposed to bunch around one single song or album as the best for everyone, when each one has their own unique favorite song, and each one of those songs is on someone else's all time worst song list. If someone hates rap with a passion, a rap song getting song of the year won't get any respect from them no matter how well done or popular it is. Other fields like movies and books have this issue as well, but don't suffer as badly from the spread in opinion that music does.

  • There are too many of them - In order to bridge some of that gap, the Grammys sectioned themselves into billions of little categories in an attempt to appease everyone. Instead it just dilutes the award. So a band won "Best New Male Rock/Alternative Song by a Group or Band that Sounds A Little too Close to Pearl Jam for Comfort", big whoop. I'm sure it's some musician's dream somewhere to win the BNMRASGBSALCPJC when they make it big, but the rest of us have no interest. For every category that sparks any interest for you, there are 300 that don't. The Grammys themselves have realized this over the years; this year only showing the absolute broadest categories and showing more performances then awards. Of course this cheapens the awards that aren't shown on TV.
  • Individual taste is narrow and deep, collective taste is broad and shallow - Like any good compromise, the Grammys don't leave anyone happy. Think back, was there ever a year when all of your favorite songs and artists were nominated, let alone a year when they all won? Despite the protests of the millions of people that claim "I actually like a little bit of everything...except country", most people have a very narrow set of musical characteristics (not necessarily genres, but it could be that too) that they enjoy. Chances are that if you're enthusiastic about a band or just music in general, some of your favorite songs are either not by mainstream artists or not songs that got any radio airplay; they're flat out not popular, yet that doesn't affect your enjoyment of them.

    The selections of the Grammys however don't, can't, take that into consideration. The fact that they are voted on by groups of people, and the probability that the group is made up of diverse panelists instead of like-minded individuals, eliminates the chance for anything but more popular and mainstream songs being selected. While that may sort of satisfy a portion of the viewing audience, it's not really going to fully satisfy anyone and still leave a lot of people mad.
That said, Alicia Keys looked really good, and any excuse for that is fine by me.


Post a Comment

<< Home