Sunday, February 13, 2005

Ladies and gentlemen, the 2004 Grammys.

801pm: Every time I think I can't possibly hate Black Eyed Peas more than I do, I'm proven wrong.

804pm: Every time I think I can't possibly love Gwen Stefani and Eve more than I do, I'm proven wrong. "Rich Girl" is an utterly perfect mutant-pop song.

806pm: The bf: "How far is heaven? Far enough away that God doesn't have to listen to this crap." We are aligned in our loathing of Los Lonely Boys, who, frankly, aren't lonely enough.

811pm: Do we need Franz Ferdinand more now, or could we have used 'em more back in '81?

812pm: Notice that Gwen and Eve had the good sense to keep themselves out of the horrid opening-closing medley.

815pm: Memo to Queen Latifah: that red dress makes you look like Star Jones. Lord, her opening is awful. Does she really think she's channelling Henny Youngman? And since you already lost your Grammy, do we have to hear you perform?

818pm: Hearing Pinetop Perkins' name not even 20 minutes into the show makes me very happy. And how damned cool is the combo of Travolta and Steven Tyler?

821pm: Me: "Loretta Lynn is sitting next to Jack White."
The bf: "Yeah, they've got 'a pitcher to go' under the seat."

831pm: Oh, fuck. I mean, oh, fuck. As if Alicia Keys' pull-out-the-stops (yet subtly!) perf of "If I Ain't Got You" wasn't enough, she brings out Quincy Jones to conduct and Jamie Foxx to duet on voice and piano to do fucking "Georgia On My Mind." Foxx really is pretty amazingly talented. And Q is still one bad motherfucker.

834pm: Why is Adam Sandler wearing a polar fleece? Is it cold at the Staples Center? And - what?! Prince beat out Usher for R&B Male? And didn't show up?!

841pm: Uh oh, Bono's speechifying in the intro to "Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own." The song is a bit limp, methinks, apart from its chorus, but I do love how Edge's guitar still chimes so gorgeously. "Sometimes," by the way, became U2's second consecutive #1 in the UK today, the first time they've ever pulled off back-to-back charttoppers. They're lucky that the Elvis single they had to beat was the totally limp "Wooden Heart." And Bono, would you lose the fucking cowboy hat?

850pm: Billie Joe Armstrong: "Rock'n'roll can be dangerous and fun at the same time."
Shame you're neither, Green Day.
The bf, again, gets the last word: "They've become so fucking respectable," he says disgustedly.

856pm: Can we have Ellen back as a host, if we promise to be good? Please?

858pm: Me: "Is this [Marc Anthony and J.Lo's duet] a Univision telenovela?"
The bf: "I think it's a new season of 'Newlyweds.'"
Ms. Lopez's gown is one of the ugliest dresses I've ever seen, and Mr. Lopez has got way too much greasy kid stuff in his hair.
The bf: "No, his hair has to be as shiny as her gown ... I'm just a little worried that I might be watching a commercial for Levitz furniture."

904pm: Gretchen Wilson sounds almost stilted singing "Free Bird." On the contrary, Keith Urban singing "Fooled Around and Fell In Love" sounds fine and makes perfect sense. Even money on Urban becoming the new Garth, in that he can do arena rock, '70s schmaltz, and hard country in virtually the same breath. But since when is "Fooled Around" considered southern rock? And oh dear Lord, "Ramblin' Man" couldn't be more out of Tim McGraw's key if it was written that way. This performance is just as messy as last year's "salute to funk," but that one at least had OutKast and George Clinton. The finalé of "Sweet Home Alabama" works a charm, though - I mean, who can't sing that?

917pm: Ellen was funnier in less than 60 seconds than Latifah's been all show - but, unfortunately, she wasted it on introducing, yep, Latifah.

921pm: I am appalled that the goddess Tyra Banks has to appear on stage with the vile Hoobastank. If you haven't heard, America's Next Top Model 4 premieres the first week of March! Woo hoo! Best New Artist is, no surprise, Maroon5. Why am I not surprised that they beat out the likes of Kanye and Gretchen? Four words: Hootie and the Blowfish. Blandness wins this award, especially where men are involved. The good news is that in 5 years, we'll only remember Maroon5 the way in which we remember Darius Rucker's band of merry men today.

927pm: Mario Batali's engaging in some naughty reparteé with Alton Brown during Battle Chocolate! Oh, sorry, we flipped to Iron Chef America during the commercial.

930pm: Do you realize that Quentin Tarantino brought The RZA as his "date"?
I hate to say it, but God bless Green Day for actually repping rock'n'roll at the Grammys. I want, badly, to hate "American Idiot," but honestly, it's a pretty great pop-punk nugget.

943pm: No, it wasn't Latifah's dress that made her look like Star Jones, it's her hair. The headband is not working.
Why is it, the bf opined, that every time there's a "salute to gospel," "I'll Take You There" is hauled out like a hoary old warhorse? Because it's the only gospel song most white people know, I replied. The fact that Kanye's rapping to his record - no big live choir, no live band - is a colossal disappointment. And could someone please take the cat out of Mavis Staples's throat? Now that The Blind Boys of Alabama are singing "I'll Fly Away" with John Legend in front of a coffin on a church set, it really feels like one big minstrel show. Kanye, has anyone ever acquainted you with the concept of hubris? And the angel wings are really, truly embarassing.

951pm: Presenter Ludacris: Grammy winner! If Rap Album goes to the Beasties, I'll be livid. No, it's Kanye, of course. The bf: "At least he took the wings off." With each passing day, I like Kanye a little bit less. I just wish he'd keep making good records and shut the fuck up.

955pm: How many performances can be called "once in a lifetime"?

959pm: I can't wait to hear what they have to say about the Grammys on Best Week Ever.

1004pm: Melissa Etheridge fucking rocks, and is so perfect to be up there singing "Piece Of My Heart." And how do you love the balls of her, rocking with no hair due to her recent chemo for breast cancer. Sometimes, lesbians do get it right. [Doesn't hurt that she's clearly having the time of her life.]

1013pm: You have no idea how close "Live Like You Were Dying" came to making my P&J ballot. [It finished #16 on my year-end list, but today probably would be about #12.] Tim just gets richer and richer as an artist as he ages and grows.

1022pm: I loved Here For the party more, but I'm nonetheless happier that Van Lear Rose won Country Album. Not to mention that Loretta and Jack need to take their comedy act on the road.

1028pm: There's something about the spareness, the almost jazziness of John Mayer's "Daughters" that I love without reason. And those lips of his need my cock between them.

1031pm: I think we're legally required to give U2 a Grammy on the broadcast every year or they'll stop hanging out with U.S. Senators, or something. Larry Mullen, Jr. has finally crossed the line from looking eternally young & cute to looking like a gas station attendant. Unfortunately, he seems to have forgotten that many, many of us don't care about the whole U2 concert ticket imbroglio.

1040pm: It's telethon time, time to take it until it hurts! Bono, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, how-medicated-is-he? Brian Wilson, Alicia (standing in front of Duff McKagan!), Scott Weiland (sounding oddly operatic), Billie Joe, Tim (performing on stage for the third fucking time tonight), and Steven Tyler (equipped with maracas) are collectively making my ears bleed. Alison Krauss gamely plays fiddle, while everyone's backed by Velvet Revolver. Plus, "Across the Universe" isn't a particularly good song to begin with. Why the fuck would anyone want to pay to download this nightmare?

1045pm: I'm tired of being emotionally jerked around by Stevie Wonder, of feeling like I should applaud any time he breaks into spontaneous song on stage at an awards show. How about you make a good album one of these days, Stevland? Wait, John Mayer wins Song of the Year?! The bf: "Stevie read [the braille] wrong, didn't he?" Some people might look back at 2004 at think of "If I Ain't Got You" or "Live Like You Were Dying" as the best song of the year, but "Daughters"? No friggin' way.

1055pm: Usher's "Caught Up" sounds thin and uninspired as a single - but live, fleshed out with a full band (horn section! four-count-'em backup singers!), it's like almost anything he touches, golden. To hear James Brown call Usher "the new Godfather," well, what can you say to that? Their pairing on "Sex Machine" is utterly magical, and makes perfect sense.

1101pm: Just like with Song, "Here We Go Again" is basically no one's Record of the Year. No one's going to remember it years from now, especially as a single. I hate to sound so cold hearted, but this won a Grammy - this Grammy - because Ray Charles is dead. [Norah Jones's prescence doesn't hurt, but is largely irrelevant.] Oh, and you can damned near bank on Genius Loves Company taking Album of the Year. He's dead, remember?

1113pm: It's not a good sign when you're just getting to the annual death roll after the show's already supposed to be over.

1116pm: Let me make something clear: Ray Charles was fucking amazing, an artist like none other - and I know that's cliché, but he busted every cliché you could lay in his path. Having Bonnie Raitt and Billy Preston tribute him is perfect, simple and beautiful. [Memo to Bonnie: another album anytime soon?] I'll just be glad once the Oscars are done (i.e. Jamie Foxx wins Best Oscar), and we can end RayFest '04-'05. [And to make something else clear, I do think Foxx deserves that Oscar that's likely already got his name stamped on it.]

1126pm: What'd I tell you?

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