I’m still scratching my head at Sunday night’s main event and trying to figure out just two specific things that happened say about the state of music.
“Single Ladies”, a song written by three men, somehow won the Grammy for Song of The Year and Taylor Swift, the winner of the Album of The Year award for Fearless, gave a performance that would have gotten her booted from American Idol’s initial auditions.
Those two things (along with hearing a lyric that said “I’m your insulin…let me be your medicine” and Quincy Jones allegedly allowing Lil Wayne to sing a piece of “We Are The World”) have caused me to wonder where in the world music is going. Better yet, what are we requiring of our artists?
I’ve given Taylor Swift’s album a good listen. Well written and thought out. Yet her performance on Sunday night stains her triumphs. The thing that authenticates so many of the artists we see as great is something Swift lacks.
But you can sorta forgive that. So much of our music has been manufactured for years that it’s hard to tell what’s authentic and what isn’t. Most artists seem to come out of a factory with little ability to create for self. At least Swift has the ability to write a good song that carries weight, tells a story and has a sincere message.
Now, before I go here, let me state this: My longstanding disdain of one Beyonce Knowles is trivial at best, stemming from the initial Destiny Child break-up which forced my Letoya out of my sight line for several years. I think Beyonce is an extremely talented vocalist, a stunning look and a great performer.
When it comes to writing and actual substance, though, I’d give her D-minuses. I’d give the song “Single Ladies” an F+, and no that’s not some I-hate-female-anthems grade. And I know I’m no expert. It’s just that when you actually put the song up against ANY of the songs that have previously won the Grammy for Song of The Year it seems laughable that this song would even draw such a prestigious nomination.
And that it actually won seems like a parody of a parody in Quincy Jones’ worst nightmare (Seriously, Quincy gave Lil Wayne a lead in “We Are The World.” Something Sunday night shook the hell out of him). There’s nothing intricate, substantive or even remotely interesting about a woman in a club telling her just cut-loose ex-boyfriend that he should have put a ring on it if he wanted it, while backing it up into some new guy who’s interested in what he sees.
THAT IS WHAT THE SONG IS ABOUT.
Sure, it’s a fun record to listen to from time to time. It’s hypnotic and catchy. But, to me, it’s about as deep as “I’m your insulin, I think ya need your medicine.” It doesn’t belong anywhere near “Daughters”, “Beautiful Day”, “My Heart Will Go On”, “Kiss From A Rose”, “Every Breath You Take” or “What’s Love Got To Do With It”.
Hell, it doesn’t belong anywhere near “Pretty Wings”, “Use Somebody” or “You Belong with Me”, three songs it beat out for the song of the year. I understand that’s my opinion, but I really believe Maxwell, Kings of Leon and even Taylor Swift were sitting there wanting to pull a Kanye because they know just how undeserving that song is.
All of this makes me wonder where we’re setting the bar because it seems as if a little person couldn’t even limbo beneath it right now. At this rate, Plies might win the Grammy for Song of The Year in 2011. And when if that happens, I’m going Oedipus Rex on my ears.