Introducing: MUSICOLOGY 101

After my rant last week on the career of Ashlee Simpson, as expected, I received some good and some not-so-good feedback from readers. Some people went as far as questioning my musical knowledge and my street credibility – or as we in the biz’ call it, “street cred” (it isn’t that cool of a term, you just subtract the “ibility”). I must assure whomever reads this that I am qualified to write a column on music.

Here are just a few of the credentials that I possess. 1) If you notice in the picture, I have long hair and refuse to use hair-care products except for shampoo. 2) I habitually wear scarves when it isn’t that cold out. 3) I drive a Volkswagen. It isn’t a VW Bus, but it’s ugly, so that counts. 4) The majority of my footwear resembles orthopedic shoes from the 1970s.

I think that about covers it. I hope that is a sufficient amount of supporting evidence.

Onto the title. I was asked to come up with a running title for the column and out of a stroke of quasi-brilliance; I arrived at “Musicology 101.” It just rolls off the tongue and describes what this column is about, spreading the ology of music to everyone in the world. The whole 101 thing is just filler. I needed 13 letters in the title. OK, onto the good stuff.

Within the past few days I have been thumbing through the laundry list of over-exposed artists that are nominated for awards during the 47th Grammy ceremony, which is to air in mid-February. I am baffled as to how they arrive at these nominees. I would love to meet one of the members of the selection committee and pick their brain for a few hours or days.

What exactly qualifies a musician or group to be up for the prize of “best” record or album of the year? The Black Eyed Peas are nominated for record of the year for its radio hit “Let’s Get It Started” (apparently the group’s unedited and in poor taste “ode to the disabled” version of the song isn’t a part of the nomination). The song is catchy, I must admit, but is it really good enough to be considered the best record of the year?

U2 is up for best rock performance by a duo or group for its song “Vertigo.” Don’t get me wrong here folks, I love U2, but as a Spanish-speaking American, (a few phrases I learned in the 10th grade) this song is exploiting a beautiful language to sell records.

The song opens with the line “uno, dos, tres, catorce!” What the heck is Bono thinking? It doesn’t sound all that bad in Spanish, but if he shouted “one, two, three, 14!” at the beginning of the song, there is no way the song would be up for a Whammy.

Lastly, Green Day is nominated for six Grammies for its album “American Idiot.” As an old school Green Day fan that puts its record “Dookie” in the top 20 of all-time, I am curious as to why this album is getting all the attention. “American Idiot” is a concept album, meaning each song tells part of the overall story of the record, but that is nothing new. Bands have been doing that for ages.

My 2 cents on this whole artist nomination B.S. is that they leave out a word in all the category titles. A word that puts the list of nominees into perspective – that word is “selling.” If they were to add that word, people would understand how the selection committee makes its choices: the best “selling” album of the year or the best “selling” song of the year.

To me, it seems like they all sit in front of the Billboard’s top 100 list and use it as a guide. It is hard to make sense of the situation, but this is the only logical solution I have been able to come up with.

Sorensen is a junior advertising major and a columnist for The Spectator. Musicology 101 will appear Thursdays.