The Anticlimax of Primetime

After a weekend that was more epic that a nine minute-long prog rock song, it was inevitable that this evening was going to be a letdown of similarly epic proportions. Yet despite this obvious fact, I still persisted in a planned evening of sloth in front of the television set, since this evening featured not one, not two, but three shows of note: the Pro Bowl, the English Premier League highlights (had to see James Beattie’s headbutting of William Gallas) and the Grammys.

Now…okay: the Pro Bowl is a farce and the Grammys a pitiful reflection on what was good about music. But when your brain is clicking on about three cylinders, you’ve just gotten out of a two-hour car ride and you’re already missing your significant other, I feel as though a night of mindless television watching is in order. And though no one will particularly care about the specifics, here’s what my mind was thinking about tonight:

  • For the record–ha!–I own both College Dropout and American Idiot. Both are mind-blowing albums, and either one would be a worthy recipient of the Album of the Year award. Which is why neither of them will end up winning it.
  • Led Zeppelin received its lifetime achievement award from…Mark McGrath of Sugar Ray? Can someone explain this to me??
  • Green Day won a richly deserved Grammy for Best Rock Album. After their acceptance speech the cameras panned to…Cyndi Lauper? Again, someone needs to explain this one to me. Just an unbelievable assortment of b-list celebrities on hand this evening.
  • The Pro Bowl is so ridiculous. I just figured out–not sure how this never occured to me before–that the special teams are comprised of members of the offenses and defenses…which is how Hines Ward just returned a botched on side kick attempt for a touchdown.
  • Everybody’s favourite yokel, Peyton Manning, is doing his usually stellar job of dominating a meaningless game: 130 yards passing, three touchdowns. Meanwhile, as Daunte Culpepper completes a fifty yard bomb to Torry Holt (which Holt then fumbled back to the AFC–the play was actually called back for a penalty on the AFC), ESPN cut to a sideline interview with Manning as he praised his teammates for contributing to his stupid touchdown record while Joe Theismann gushed about Manning’s consummate professionalism. Yet according to the same Joe Theismann, Tom Brady–winner of three of the past four Super Bowls–is not a superstar. Logic was never Theismann’s strong suit.
  • Back at the Grammys, a sequence of events more horrific than Vanilla Ice singing “Ice Ice Baby” on The Surreal Life. First, Rob Thomas–he of the mysteriously popular matchbox twenty–introduced a lifetime achievement award. Then, an inexplicable shot of Ellen DeGeneres, whose association with the music industry in general seems tenuous at best. And after that, we get a performance from John Meyer, the most criminally overrated musician to ever sully the airwaves with his bland, non-descript brand of AM papcrap. I have no idea how this was ever allowed to happen.
  • At some point I’m going to write a blog entry in which I attempt to figure out why so many university students listen to John Meyer, Coldplay, the Dave Matthews Band and the Counting Crows. Just…I don’t even know where to begin. Back on that fateful November 2 night in which Bri and I went to see Green Day, we bonded over our mutual detestation of said bands–and three-and-a-half months later, her taste in good music is but one of the many reasons why I love her so much. (Of course, if you listen to any of these bands and like them, by all means. Just don’t come crying to me when your kids make fun of you for having shitty taste in music.)
  • Maroon 5 just won Best New Artist. In related news, top price seats for their headlining show at the Air Canada Centre are selling for $60 Canadian. I think this marks the official point where I cease to be down with the kids.
  • This just in. “Hi. I’m Anthony LaPaglia [dramatic pause, as he awaits for applause; when the audience realizes he’s supposed to be famous, they duly clap].” He then goes on to introduce a cover of the Beatles’ “Across the Universe” being done to raise money for the tsunami relief fund; this precipitates a genuinely surreal moment in which Velvet Revolver plays backup for a choir that includes Bono, Stevie Wonder, Norah Jones, Brian Wilson, Alicia Keys, Scott Weiland, Tim McGraw and Billy Joe Armstrong. The most forced moment in award show history–especially given LaPaglia’s dramatic assertion, “This is history in the making.”
  • Someone needs to tell Stevie Wonder that presenting an award and winning an award are two different things.
  • Unbelievable: John Meyer just won the Song of the Year Award. In thirty years our kids will look back on the 2005 Grammys and say to themselves, “Wow, did music ever suck in 2004!” Someone, please, stop me from gouging out my eyes.
  • The Premier League highlights are an anticlimax for lack of a single good game this weekend–although United’s 2-0 win over Manchester City was enjoyable to relive. (I woke up at 7:50 this morning, walked over to Jimmy English’s house and watched it with him.) Memo to Liverpool supporters: Morientes is a chump.
  • Check out the credits for the Usher album Confessions:

Bobby Ross Avila, Valdez Brantley, Bryan Michael Cox, Vidal Davis, Destro Music, Jermaine Dupri, Andre Harris, Rich Harrison, IZ, Jimmy Jam, Just Blaze, Sean Garrett, James Lackey, Terry Lewis, Juan Johnny Najera, Pro J, Usher Raymond, Jonathan “Lil Jon” Smith, Aaron Spears, Arthur Strong, Thicke & James “Big Jim” Wright, producers; Ian Cross, Kevin “KD” Davis, Vidal Davis, Vince DeLorenzo, Jermaine Dupri, Blake Eiseman, Brian Frye, John Frye, Serban Ghenea, Andre Harris, John Horesco IV, Ken Lewis, Kelly ‘Dred’ Liebelt, Matt Marrin, Manny Marroquin, Tony Maserati, Pro J, Donnie Scantz, Jon Smeltz, Jonathan “Lil Jon” Smith, Phil Tan, The Trak Starz, Mark Vinten & Ryan West, engineers/mixers; Herb Powers, Jr., mastering engineer

  • Can someone explain to me how an album with twenty-two different producers can even vaguely be described as “music”?
  • Can someone also explain to me what I have to do to be called Pro J?
  • I can’t watch the Pro Bowl.

…and with that, I give up–because as much as I’ve love to watch Usher apeing Ray Charles, the thought of not watching is vastly more appealing. I’m sickened at the thought of people thinking the Grammys are in any way, shape or form indicative of what was good about music in 2004. Sure, the two front runners for Album of the Year (College Dropout and American Idiot) offer a rare instance of the Grammys getting it right…but when you’re watching an awards show in which footage of Ellen DeGeneres and a self-promoting Anthony LaPaglia (how is that even possible??) is spliced together with Maroon 5 and John freaking Meyer winning prominent awards, it sort of undermines the evening’s integrity.

This is a sad, pathetic excuse for a blog entry–but really, I just wanted to posit that “why is Mark McGrath giving Led Zeppelin a lifetime achievement award?” question. It needs to be answered–and I feel as thought Lukas Neville is the person to do just that. In the meantime, I think I’d rather pass out than wait for Album of the Year to be awarded.


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