I’ve been seeing pretty much everywhere, people going apeshit about Kanye West being Kanye West at the Grammys the other night. Lots of funny memes and whatnot going around in the aftermath, including a tweet talking about how Mr. West told a musician who plays 14 instruments that he needs to respect the artistry of someone who needs four people to write one song. I laughed, and the point is well-taken, but then on the other hand, if the song in question (“Run the World (Girls)”) was actually any good it really wouldn’t matter how many writers it had (see, for example, most of the songs on Metallica’s first three albums).
But I’ll admit that I don’t really have a dog in the fight as neither Beyonce nor Beck are my thing, although that doesn’t make Kanye West any less of a jackass. If I was going to be rolling my eyes at the Grammys it’d be for completely different reasons, namely that Sturgill Simpson was nominated in a category that shouldn’t even exist (Americana — you know, for all the stuff that’s “too country,” as Dale Watson once put it) AND lost, to boot. And then there’s the fact that Tenacious D has now won more Grammys for a Ronnie James Dio song than Dio himself won for singing his own songs.
But to revise and extend my own remarks from the other day, the fact that there wasn’t a category for Best Country Album between 1967 and 1995 and the category for Best Metal Performance didn’t even exist before 1990 should tell you all you know about NARAS’ attitude towards those two genres. And in the end, it’s okay. Like I’ve said before, every single one of those award ceremonies, from the American Country Countdown Awards all the way up to the Grammys, is nothing more than a big circle jerk designed to sell albums. It’s not about artistic excellence and really never has been, even if they get it right every so often.