54th Annual Grammy Awards Reveal Ups and Downs of Industry

Alex Fredkin, Contributing Writer

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards were held this year at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on February 14.
Bon Iver won Best New Artist over rappers Nicki Minaj and J. Cole. Bon Iver’s super-indie cred supports the fact that fans are on the lookout for new and talented artists whether or not they are going to be the top sellers. The biggest statement (albeit not a huge surprise) was Adele’s sweep of the Grammys; she took home all six awards she was nominated for, including the top three awards that all artists aspire to win. “Rolling in the Deep” won Song and Record of the Year, and her album “21” won Album of the Year. At a time when many are skeptical about the quality of music coming out, Adele is a saving grace. She has an incredible singing voice and displays much promise in her songwriting and raw talent. Her performance of the winning song “Rolling in the Deep” illustrated this. Adele shows that artists who have talent can still sell platinum albums today and that people will notice great music when they hear it.
Another band that proves this is Foo Fighters. They produce great rock songs year after year and don’t try to mess with their tried-and-true formula, which the band showcased with their popular new song “Walk.” The single netted them Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance awards, and their album “Wasting Light” won Best Rock Album.
During Foo Fighter’s acceptance speech, frontman Dave Grohl said “To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s most important. Singing into a microphone and learning to play an instrument and learning to do your craft, that’s the most important thing for people to do. It’s not about being perfect, it’s not about sounding absolutely correct, it’s not about what goes on in a computer.” Grohl’s statement drew loud applause and is an important lesson for aspiring musicians to persevere and not get discouraged.
Nowhere can it be seen that Dave Grohl speaks the truth better than in some of the other performances of the night. Nicki Minaj gave a sub-par performance, and she is considered one of the best up and coming rappers (and almost won Best New Artist). All style and no substance was the norm. Her performance started with a video clip entitled “The Exorcism of Roman.” Roman is one of her many alter-egos. The act started with her rapping while sitting next to an older man who resembled the Pope, and by the end she was levitating. The whole performance was a debacle and distracted from the song itself. It left viewers scratching their heads and wondering why all of the extra production was needed. Katy Perry turned in a similarly questionable performance featuring what appeared to be a futuristic spacesuit amidst strangely dressed dancers. By contrast, Foo Fighters and Adele simply walked on stage and performed.
The Grammys showed what the music industry is like today, in that superficial acts need fireworks and gross displays
to make themselves more entertaining. This type of artist is becoming more and more prevalent. That being said, many talented bands do exist today and give hope that great music is still alive and kicking.

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