Gripe Bag: The Grammys

Feb 6, 2017

When you watch any high-profile awards ceremony, like the Oscars or the Emmys, you go in knowing a lot of it will be Hollywood fluff. But at least with those, you’re fairly confident that quality films and TV will be recognized.



That, unfortunately, is not the case with the Grammys. While the Emmys, for example, have rightfully helped put series like "Breaking Bad" or "Game of Thrones" in the history books of quality shows, the Grammys tend to write the wrong history.

The music awards ceremony typically glorifies pop artists who most likely had someone else write their songs for them. These are the music industry sell-outs who said "hey look, I’m good looking and have talent"—and decided they could use that to sell their souls for tons of dough.

Now, I’m not going to name names. But I will tell you about the kind of music you hear and see get nominated. In categories like “Album of the Year” or “Record of the Year”, you’ll almost certainly see a mix of the big pop divas, the hottest boy band-ish thing, and maybe one token, mainstream singer-songwriter who squeezed onto the nominees list.

For “Song of the Year” I can guarantee it will be some hit which dominated the radio that year. And what kind of songs hit the radio? Ones that are purposefully catchy, highly overproduced, and have brain-dead simple instrumental tracks. All hook. No heart.

As a musician, that’s troubling. When you see trained artists struggle for existence—in the shadow, no less, of these relatively unskilled pop stars—that is a problem. While some spend their lives going to music school, practicing, gigging, and starving, these folks just dress up in a flashy way and kick back in their sea of stardom.

In essence, the Grammys signal to the greater public that music is all about image, and not at all about…well, the music. If it were, we’d be seeing and hearing a lot more about the bands and songwriters who build their way up with the authenticity of their own personal expression.