Music’s biggest night honors Eau Claire native

Story by Eric Christenson

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I mean, what is there really to say about the Grammys?  It’s the music industry’s biggest night and millions of people tuned in.  In fact, 39 million people watched the Grammys, which was the show’s largest viewing audience since 1984.

It was a special night, I suppose, for a few reasons.  Eau Claire’s hometown hero, Justin Vernon, accepted Bon Iver’s two Grammys for Best Alternative Album and Best New Artist, the latter being televised.

In Vernon’s acceptance speech, he thanked his parents, awkwardly stumbled around words about awkwardly stumbling around and gave a shout-out to Eau Claire, Wis. in front of those 39 million people.  For those watching from a dorm in Towers Hall or at Volume One’s Grammy party at the Fire House, it was pretty remarkable.

But honestly, apart from this, the Grammys kind of sucked?  I don’t know.  I have a hard time with these things.  I get that it’s all pageantry and record sales, but it’s also crazy boring.

It’s a three and a half hour broadcast and they announced eight awards, I think?  That means the rest is filled with performances, which, after 15 of them, start to blur together in a nightmare mess of glossy pop and tractor-country tunes until everything sounds like Deadmau5 and David Guetta are playing with the Foo Fighters.

Here are the top five things I liked:

1.  Bon Iver winning things.

2. I will always love Paul McCartney.  I enjoyed both his new song (and jacket straight outta Tony Bennett’s closet) and that he played the last quarter of Abbey Road.  Not to mention, there’s now a Tumblr called “Who’s Paul McCartney?” where the worst kinds of teenagers tweet about how they don’t know who this old dude Paul McCartney is and why Lil’ B isn’t performing instead.

3. That Chipotle commercial about compassionate farming.  Did you see it?  The animation was excellent and the message was good.  I’ve never had Chipotle (WHAT?), but their commercial was great!

4.  I enjoyed Jennifer Hudson’s tribute to Whitney Houston quite a bit, though it was super short.

5. Hard-pressed to come up with a fifth …

And the top five things I didn’t like (which I’m sure I’ll elaborate more on):

1. The fact that the Grammys played Chris Brown’s performance and Best R&B Album win off as a comeback story and that he’s totally redeemed.  The fact is that when you do unforgivable things, there’s no being redeemed no matter how many cubes you dance on.

2. The aforementioned David Guetta, Foo Fighters, Deadmau5 combo.  It’s like if you took a bunch of Nyquil and then fell asleep flipping through Sirius XM channels, this would be the exact nightmare you would have.  Wait, was Lil’ Wayne there?

3. Speaking of nightmares, I’m definitely on Team Nicki-Minaj-Please-Settle-Down. Woof.  Did you guys see her performance of “Roman Holiday”?  She did this pre-taped Exorcism parody starring her alterego, Roman, and then a huge dance number with popes and priests doing sexual things and what a nightmare! Oh, and the Catholic Church is mad now, duh.  That was the point.  Not that I really care, but one good point they made is that the Grammys would never let someone get away with criticizing Judaism or Islam.  Haters gon’ hate, I suppose.

4. Wouldn’t the Beach Boys tribute be nice if it was just the Beach Boys playing?  Then we wouldn’t have to wait through Maroon 5 and Foster the People to do an injustice to two of my favorite Beach Boys tunes, “Surfer Girl” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” respectively.

5.  Taylor Swift’s performance with a bunch of raggedy musicians that looked like they were pulled from the set of a live action “Home on the Range” was strange.  I didn’t know if she got really inspired by the “Grapes of Wrath” or “Little House on the Prairie” (probably the latter?), but dang girl!  You don’t play a banjo with a pick down at your knees.

So I guess things could’ve gone worse, right?  It was certainly weird and gaudy, but that’s probably why everyone loved it.  I don’t regret watching it, but I certainly could’ve spent my time better elsewhere.

Maybe next year we can save a little time and only let the Foo Fighters and Chris Brown perform once?

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