Trying To Get To You

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Searching For Soul At The Grammys

Finding soulful moments at the Grammys is often akin to looking for a virgin in a whorehouse. But tonight, A Deeper Shade Of Soul is going to look hard to find the moments (or a moment) that are actually soulful. And we're going to rank them, 1-10 on the Soul Meter. Turn on, tune in and pray for the best.

8:01 - Sinatra is speaking to us from the beyond. He's still the man. Oh God. Alicia Keys is doing one of those creepy duets with Frank. She can't sing jazz for shit. She knows nothing about singing with subtlety. This is a crime against humanity. I'm kind of pissed. Soul Meter - 2.5

8:05 - Carrie Underwood looks like she stepped off the set of the Avengers. Great legs, strong but generic voice and forgettable song. Who comes up with the ideas for these sets? These dancers are kind of disastrous. She finishes it up with the Mariah Carey melisma, signifying emotion but containing none. Soul Meter - 2

8:09 - Prince struts out onstage to introduce the Best R&B Performance Female. He owns the stage. Soul Meter - 7

Alicia Keys wins. No big surprise. Very tasteful speech. I'm not a huge fan of her music, but she's impossible to dislike.

8:17 - A Time reunion! Morris Day looks great. They're doing "Jungle Love." This song has not dated at all. I'm happy. Oh comes Rihanna and "Umbrella." Another classic single, but...what is up with this mashup shit? She's adorable, but there's just something slight about her. Morris comes out to close it. Soul Meter - 6

8:23 - Tom Hanks emerges to introduce The Band. After Rihanna and the Time, honoring the Band feels completely surreal. Robbie Robertson gets about 3 seconds on camera. Now he's introducing the Beatles. Ringo and Yoko both look great. Cheesy introduction. Cirque De Soleil doing "A Day In The Life." Kind of a cool interpretation. John Lennon's voice still gives shivers and makes the whole production of the Grammys seem faintly ridiculous.

Good version of "Let It Be." Reminds me that it was written originally for Aretha. Good version. Whoever the male vocalist is, he's excellent. He brings it without overdoing it. Soul Meter - 7.5

8:34 - Amy Winehouse wins Best New Artist. Cyndi Lauper is wearing some great opera length black leather gloves.

8:45 - It's Kanye time. He's really not such a great MC. What makes him effective is his complete willingness to make a fool of himself. And he's got good taste in music. Cool glasses. Daft Punk doing some cool futuristic shit. Now he's singing for his recently deceased mother. It's very over the top and Kanye ain't much of a singer, but it's authentic and it works. Soul meter - 7

8:52 - Battle of the bland! Fergie and John Legend. Her voice is so damned ordinary. She sounds like the understudy at "A Chorus Line." She just tried to belt out a note that made my fillings fall out. Soul Meter - 4

9:03 - Cher is presenting Tina Turner and Beyonce. Cher's face doesn't move. Beyonce is doing a routine about the legacy of black jazz and r&b singers to introduce Tina Turner. Oh shit. Ok, I love Tina Tuner, but why can't people just age naturally??? Well, her voice is still there. And I'll shut up...she's Tina Turner and can do whatever the hell she wants to. Tina and Beyonce doing "Proud Mary" together. John Fogerty is in the audience somewhere. I hope he's smiling. Soul Meter - 6.5

9:15 - "Rehab" wins Song Of The Year. Cool.

9:22 - Foo Fighters. Dave Grohl looks really good. He's such a likable guy. I wish I enjoyed his music more. It just seems like there's no 'there' there with them. The girlfriend says, "They're boring." Soul Meter - 5.0

9:33 - Brad Paisley is doing the country portion of the show. That's all I have to say about that. I'm using this time to read up about the results of the Maine primary. Obama won. Excellent.

9:38 - I love Akon's coat. Kanye wins Best Rap Album. He got them to stop the music to talk about his Mama. God bless.

9:42 - The gospel portion. Aretha is good, but not quite on her 'A' game. The Madison Bumblebees kicks some serious ass. Their trombone players were the highlight of the night so far. Soul Meter - Aretha - 6.5, trombone players from Madison Bumblebees - 8.5

9:56 - Carole King introduces Feist. I'm feeling the acoustic "1,2,3,4." Really good rearrangement with the horns, who are giving it a cool New Orleans feel to it. This is a winning performance for her. Her sales are going to go through the roof tomorrow. Great song, very good performance. An actual moment of understatement! Soul Meter - 7.5

10:00 - Weird matchup of the night. Keeley Smith and Kid Rock. Kid Rock doing Louie Prima. And he's doing a great job. I'm actually digging him. Keeley is always fun. Great performance. Soul Meter - 7.5

10:04 - Foo Fighters win Best Rock Album. I don't need to mention that I think Springsteen should have won this. Dave Grohl is a nice guy. Soul Meter - 5

10:11 - Stevie Wonder gets standing ovations just for showing up. He's introducing Berry Gordy as a Grammy Icon. Berry gets a smattering of applause instead of getting the five minute ovation he deserves. Now Stevie's introducing Alicia Keys who does "No One" for what will hopefully be the last time on an award sow. People really love this song. I'm not one of them. It's ok. John Mayer comes out to play guitar. Is it just me, or is he quickly becoming the American Phil Collins of his generation? Soul Meter - 6

10:25 - "Rhapsody In Blue" never gets old. Eighty-three years old and it still feels modern. One of those pieces that makes you believe in God. Herbie Hancock is an eternal bad-ass. And Lang Lang doesn't suck. Pretty awesome. Soul Meter - 9.0

10:41 - It's Amy time from London. "You Know I'm No Good" opens. She sounds good, but she seems a little scared to cut loose at first. She does some great phrasing in the second verse, and lets herself go. Then "Rehab," with a sly grin as she does the chorus. I still have the same complaint about the Dap-Kings; they play way too politely. Her voice is in good form, but there's something uneven about the performance. Soul Meter - 7.5

10:50 - Amy wins Record Of The Year for "Rehab." She looks stunned, but gets it together for a little speech and actually gathers some momentum toward the end. Is this the beginning of her getting it together, or a quick pit stop on the descent?

11:05 - Josh Groban. It's hard for me to take. Soul Meter - 4.5

11:13 - John Fogerty with Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis. I'm scared. Fogerty's voice is ageless. The great thing about Richard and Jerry Lee? They're just as weird today as they were in 1957. Jerry Lee looks and sounds old. Little Richard, the queen that he is, has kept himself in far better shape. Watching the kids in the pit jump for John Fogerty and Little Richard makes me feel like I'm coming down from taking some acid. Soul Meter - 6

11:25 - is doing a Grammy medley. Uh, ok. He worked hard on it. Soul Meter - 5

11:28 - Ok. Album Of The Year award. The big one. Kanye wants it badly. And the Grammy goes to...Herbie Hancock. Oh boy. I would not want to be in Kanye's crew tonight. I haven't heard the Herbie album, but you can bet there will be some controversy over the selection. Soul Meter - 6.5

Another Grammys in the books. Actually, not at all a bad show. I remember them being a lot worse when I was a kid. See you next year.


Unknown said...

"the girlfriend" might think this is boring, but "the wife" thinks you're a dork :)

Ben Lazar said...

True dat.

Unknown said...

Are you feeling Jesus? I'm not sure if I'm feeling him because I can't take my eyes off ARETHA'S ARMS!!!!! Can't she afford lipo? Oh yes Jesus, you will satisfy me. Everybody say AMEN!

Anonymous said...

I agree, my god. Jesus knows Aretha is soul. and tricep could be used as the base for a killer split-pea soup.

Unknown said...

Akon wearing fur in 80 degree weather is gangsta.

Anonymous said...

I'm mad at you that you give Prince a 7 and kid rock a 7.5

Anonymous said...

vince gill, funny. who knew

Becky Cheung said...

I agree totally with the fact that says " Finding soulful moments at the Grammys is often akin to looking for a virgin in a whorehouse."

I think there are better singers out there somewhere.

Anonymous said...

nice run-down, Ben.

i would've rated Tina & Beyonce higher, however.

that wasn't the Dap-Kings playing with Amy. but it was fun to see a performance that wasn't so polished as the others. hope she gets herself together someday.

somewhere in hell, Satan patiently awaits the day he collects's soul in payment for whatever deal they struck at the crossroads.

thanks for all the great posts!

Anonymous said...

Hey Ben - I didn't bother watching the usually-boring Awards but your excellent coverage makes me feel like I did. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post -- good job summarizing the show. The only one that made me want to go out and buy their album right away was the Madison Bumble Bees. Unfortunately, they have no album -- somebody should sign them up. Here's the only sample I could find of their work:

sluggo said...

hmmm i think we watched the same show...
little dick has to lose that wig at some point..jerry lee lewis reminded me of those tacky stuffed frogs you see at even tackier souvenir stands..I`m thinking that kids watching this would find it hard to believe either of these guys were ever big..rock was not well represented this time and rap /hip hop embarrassed itself bigtime...sluggo