The Grammy’s? Whatever, You’ve Probably Never Heard of It

The Grammy’s never please everyone. Music executive Steven Stoute made sure everyone knew he was and has been extremely unhappy with the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for years. Stout took out a $40,000 full-page ad in the style section of the Sunday edition of the New York Times to publish a 900-word letter revealing his true feelings about the Grammy’s.

In this letter he says a lot of nonsense things, but the two major problems according to him, very simply seem to be: 1) J.Biebs didn’t win Best New Artist and 2) The Arcade Fire preformed, then won Album of the Year (and not Eminem), and then immediately preformed again. Stoute pretty much took this as a sign that the Grammy’s were rigged.

“These very artists that the public acknowledges as being worthy of their money and fandom are snubbed year after year at the Grammys,” he wrote.

I understand that he is an avid hip-hop fan, and really, really likes music and feels like Eminem and the Biebs were completely snubbed. What I don’t think he understands is America doesn’t always buy things that are good. The “fundamental disrespect of cultural shifts as being viable and artistic” that he talks about aren’t good. If you look at what has been popular on the radio in the last six months you’ll hear a lot of crap. He’s claiming what is popular is automatically art. Since when are “Baby, Baby, Baby ohh!” good lyrics? Why should anything with auto tune or Rihanna be recognized as “art”?

Grammy Awards show producer Ken Ehrlich addressed the Arcade Fire’s second performance and said the additional song was a last minute thought, but it was planned. Both stages were going to be fully equipped but empty, so it made sense to let the band play again.  It wasn’t dependent on the Arcade Fire winning at all.

“I talked to Win, I said either way, will you come back? He said absolutely. That was one of the unexpected things,” Ehrlich said.

Apparently the intent of the letter was not to point out how Stoute thinks the Grammy’s are flawed, but to point out “that the popular artists are used to sell the show and to get ratings.” Big names like Bieber and Eminem were used in the headlines to advertise the show but didn’t get big awards. I’d like to point out that Eminem was nominated in 7 categories and won both Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance. Bieber on the other hand didn’t win anything, but he’s only 17 so he can’t exactly peak too soon. So what is Stoute complaining about?

Personally I think he’s suffering from “Esperanza Spalding Syndrome” and is mad that an artist he has never heard of beat out a more popular artist. (I might be a little bitter that Spalding beat out both Drake and Mumford & Sons for Best New Artist.) The Arcade Fire are not nobodies. Their first two albums were both nominated for a Grammy under Best Alternative Music Album in both 2006 and 2008. Their song “Wake Up” was used in the popular trailer to the Spike Jonze film “Where the Wild Things Are.” I have been an avid listener since their freshman album “Funeral” dropped in late 2004. I was very happy when they won Album of the Year. I felt like finally someone was winning a Grammy for their work and not their fame. Front man for the Arcade Fire, Win Butler agrees.

“This award is for our record,” Butler said. “We really believe in records. When we make a record, we really put all of our soul into it. To be recognized for that [by] this group of people, in the age of the iPod or in the age of the single or whatever it is, we still really care about records so it means a lot to us.”

Originally Published on: Feb 22, 2011 @ 20:28


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