Herbie Hancock?

Herbie rules, but the Grammys are a joke.

OK, OK, I was totally wrong about the Beatles, as a mere minute of research would have shown me. I think my confusion stemmed from the fact that they never won record of the year, which is considered the top award. But still, look at the records, albums, and songs that have won over the last fifty years. Do you see a lot of innovation? A lot of music that's stood the test of time? I don't.

I know it's piling on, shooting fish in a barrel, whatever metaphor you choose, but I have never cared about the Grammys. Every time I see "Grammy-award winning" whatever, it means absolutely nothing to me.

Everything about it seems arbitrary--the categories, the nominees, the winners. Did you pay enough attention to know that Herbie Hancock won album of the year? (I didn't until today.) Which year are we talking about--1973? 1983? No, folks, he won in 2008. Who's next--John McLaughlin? Chick Corea?

I've spent hours enjoying all of these guys, and I haven't listened to Hancock's winning album of Joni Mitchell covers (speaking of cutting-edge artists from 35 years ago), which may totally shred, but doesn't this kind of sound like a makeup call? "Sorry we ignored funk and jazz and fusion back when they were relevant, but we finally discovered that stash we hid under the hot tub back in '78 and darned if your new album doesn't sound half bad." Does this mean that LCD Soundsystem or Panda Bear will win in 2043? Or maybe it's meant to be more bait for Led Zeppelin to record a new album.

Doubtless there are incredibly talented people with great ears and hearts and souls who are also voting members of the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences. To their credit, they gave Amy Winehouse and Kanye West--two of the more talented mainstream artists making music today--plenty of awards. But there's just something perpetually out of touch and a little bit creepy about the Grammys, something that reminds me of the time my 70-something grandparents got so into Michael Jackson that they went to see him in Dodger Stadium. And that's why you've got media outlets making fun of the show before it happens and the lowest ratings in years.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Rosoff is an analyst with Directions on Microsoft, where he covers Microsoft's consumer products and corporate news. He's written about the technology industry since 1995, and reviewed the first Rio MP3 player for CNET.com in 1998. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network. Disclosure. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattrosoff.


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