Chris Brown created controversy, as is his wont, at the Grammys on Sunday evening simply without leaving his seat. People seemed enraged that Brown was not a better sport about losing an award to Frank Ocean, with whom he recently brawled in a Los Angeles parking lot a few weeks ago. People were also excited that a now-infamous photo taken on Sunday night depicted what many assumed was an argument between Adele and Brown; the truth, of course, is that Adele was not scolding Chris Brown. The British singer-songwriter claims she was "complimenting" Brown rather than yelling at him.
I’m no fan of Chris Brown, but it seems that the hatred toward him (which, by the way, is mostly fine with me) has reached insane levels. He didn’t stand up for Frank Ocean. So what? He also didn’t give Jack White a standing ovation after his performance the way that many of his neighbors in the audience did, but I didn’t see any animated .gifs of that. (By the way, congrats for spending the time in Photoshop to create a .gif of some dude sitting in his seat.) Chris Brown seems to like the attention—it’s part of his job, after all, to get it—but at this point he doesn’t even have to do anything to get people to complain about him. Give it up, folks. The best way to get someone to stop being famous is to stop paying attention to them.
"Miguel," Kelly Clarkson said from the stage after winning the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album, "I don’t know who the hell you are, but we need to sing together. I mean, good God. That was the sexiest damn thing I’ve ever seen." Clarkson was referring to, of course, Miguel’s performance earlier that night of his song "Adorn" from Kaleidoscope Dream. Let’s hope that when the pair met last night backstage, as seen in the picture Clarkson posted on Instagram last night, they negotiated some terms for an upcoming collaboration.
Quoth Chris Brown on his new song "How I Feel," regarding how he sees the media response to his career since beating up his girlfriend: "All you wanna do is twist my words up / And all I wanna do is flip my birds up." Well then! Of course a song called "How I Feel" would address his life since attacking Rihanna before the 2009 Grammys, but it was probably a bit much to expect complete penitence. "Nineteen, a n—- went through a tragedy / Three years, a n—- found a better me," he sings. Really reflective, this guy. You can listen to it after the click.
The easiest way to ignore Chris Brown’s tough guy bullshit would be to simply ignore it, but it’s not that simple. His fanbase is so big that even if every reasonable person stopped giving a crap about his new singles and dance routines, that fanbase would just continue to swell and subsist on its own dissonant hubris rather than coming to any sort of conclusion involving the thought, "Hey, maybe I shouldn’t support a barely repenant domestic abuser." As someone at Vice wrote last month, it’s not that Chris Brown the person can’t be allowed his redemptive moment — far from it, since life is about learning from mistakes and "growing" or something — but that Chris Brown the corporate entity demands no such greater faith, since he’s just one of a billion good-looking highly-skilled singer/dancers that could have big money behind him in the name of "artistry."
It’s vaguely infuriating that he gets away with everything he did because he’s good at selling shoes or whatever it is he does, so I suppose the best you can do is listen to this once so you know to change the station every time it comes on. You can just choose to ignore it anyways, but it’s hard to have that blind spot in one’s approach to pop culture — if you’re capable, well, more power to you. As for the arrogance of calling that Grammys incident "a tragedy" for himself, does it even need a response?
At Sunday’s Grammys ceremony, Dave Grohl’s acceptance speech for one of the Foo Fighters’ wins talked about how his album was recorded in a garage, and how it’s important to remember the "human element" in music. Basically, the same ole "rock n’ roll is real and will never die" stuff that’s been repeated for decades. But apparently this was controversial to some people, as Grohl has released a press statement clarifying the intention behind his words: celebration, not a snide dismissal of the non-human elements that find their way into most of the music that’s nominated at the Grammys these days. (Paging one Skrillex.) You can read the full text of his clarification after the jump, in which Grohl affectionately refers to himself as "Davemau5."
Oh, what a night we had last Sunday at the 54th Annual Grammy Awards. The glitz! The Glamour! SEACREST! Where do I begin?? Chillin’ with Lil’ Wayne…meeting Cyndi Lauper’s adorable mother…the complimentary blinking Coldplay bracelet…..much too much to recap. It’s really is still a bit of a blur. But, if there’s one thing that I remember VERY clearly, it was accepting the Grammy for Best Rock Performance…and then saying this:
"To me this award means a lot because it shows that the human element of music is what’s 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. It’s about what goes on in here [your heart] and what goes on in here [your head]."
Not the Gettysburg Address, but hey……I’m a drummer, remember?
Well, me and my big mouth. Never has a 33 second acceptance rant evoked such caps-lock postboard rage as my lil’ ode to analog recording has. OK….maybe Kanye has me on this one, but….Imma let you finish….just wanted to clarify something…
I love music. I love ALL kinds of music. From Kyuss to Kraftwerk, Pinetop Perkins to Prodigy, Dead Kennedys to Deadmau5…..I love music. Electronic or acoustic, it doesn’t matter to me. The simple act of creating music is a beautiful gift that ALL human beings are blessed with. And the diversity of one musician’s personality to the next is what makes music so exciting and…..human.
That’s exactly what I was referring to. The "human element". That thing that happens when a song speeds up slightly, or a vocal goes a little sharp. That thing that makes people sound like PEOPLE. Somewhere along the line those things became "bad" things, and with the great advances in digital recording technology over the years they became easily "fixed". The end result? I my humble opinion…..a lot of music that sounds perfect, but lacks personality. The one thing that makes music so exciting in the first place.
And, unfortunately, some of these great advances have taken the focus off of the actual craft of performance. Look, I am not Yngwie Malmsteen. I am not John Bonham. Hell…I’m not even Josh Groban, for that matter. But I try really fucking hard so that I don’t have to rely on anything but my hands and my heart to play a song. I do the best that I possibly can within my limitations, and accept that it sounds like me. Because that’s what I think is most important. It should be real, right? Everybody wants something real.
I don’t know how to do what Skrillex does (though I fucking love it) but I do know that the reason he is so loved is because he sounds like Skrillex, and that’s badass. We have a different process and a different set of tools, but the "craft" is equally as important, I’m sure. I mean…..if it were that easy, anyone could do it, right? (See what I did there?)
So, don’t give me two Crown Royals and then ask me to make a speech at your wedding, because I might just bust into the advantages of recording to 2 inch tape.
Now, I think I have to go scream at some kids to get off my lawn.
Fair enough. Watch part of his speech below and judge for yourself.
It was a wild night for music last night as the annual Grammy Awards were handed out (well, about six of them, anyway) to the best and brightest in the music industry (and also to Chris Brown). While we were all collectively mourning Whitney Houston’s death, we also got the chance to dance out our grief with a little help from David Guetta, Katy Perry, Rihanna, and that old familiar dance group Foo Fighters. Here are some moments that’ll stick with us for at least the rest of the day.
For Someone Who Sings About Being Lazy, Bruno Mars Does a Nice Job Channeling the Hardest Working Man in Show Business
Say what you will about Mr. Mars or the lackluster “Lazy Song,” but dude helped bring the energy and spirit of James Brown, complete with dance moves and pompadour, into the building. There was something satisfying about him telling all the people in the audience to “get off their rich asses” and dance.
Mario Manningham + Butch Vig = True Love 4Evr
One of the moments Team BlackBook was most excited about last night was when, following the Foo Fighters’ win for Best Rock Performance, Mario Manningham of the New York Giants hugged Foo Fighters and Nirvana producing legend Butch Vig. Still not over it.
Chris Brown is Apparently Worthy of More Screen Time than the Following More Important Musicians Who Died In the Past Year: Amy Winehouse, Don Cornelius, Gil-Scott Heron, Jerry Leiber, Heavy D, Sylvia Robinson
There were a lot of tributes to the recently deceased and ailing last night, pretty much all of which were well-executed and well-deserved (Glen Campbell rocked “Rhinestone Cowboy” and Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys did a nice job saluting Miss Etta James), and this did indeed have to be Whitney Houston’s night, so it makes sense the Grammys didn’t want to overdo it on the musical obits as to not overshadow recent tragedies or cast an even darker pall over the evening.
But saluting the late, great Don Cornelius by having a “Soul Train” line led by Chris Brown — who had already performed once and ugh, everyone — featuring Lil Wayne, Deadmau5 and David Guetta?
Here’s what a Don Cornelius tribute looks like:
Also, no Amy Winehouse tribute? We were hoping for a surprise Adele rendition of “Back to Black.”
Chipotle Gives People Feelings Other Than Burrito Cravings, Indigestion
Willie Nelson’s beautiful acoustic rendition of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” for a new Chipotle commercial got more emotional response than Coldplay themselves. Go figure.
Dave Grohl, Proponemt of Non-Computerized Music, Still Loves the Heck out of Deadmau5
Dave Grohl, in his acceptance speech: "This award means a lot because it shows that the human element of making 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; it’s about what goes on in here (heart) and it’s about what goes on in here (head)."
Perhaps in anticipation following the general shock of Arcade Fire’s win last year, it didn’t take long at all for a “Who Is Bon Iver?” Tumblr to become a reality. Brooklyn Vegan also has an archive of all the kids on the Twitters asking who “Bonny Bear” was. The memes just write themselves.
West Side Story Can Be Terrifying
Since Gaga was too busy raising awareness about the adverse effects of commercial tuna fishing on dolphins, it was up to Nicki Minaj to carry the Madonna torch of provocative performance and blasphemous use of Catholic iconography that will undoubtedly offend someone somewhere.
Minaj’s performance was perhaps the most polarizing of the night, but one thing’s for certain: no one here will ever listen to Sondheim the same way again.
Adele is Wonderful, Even When She’s Talking About Snot
Enough said. As she put it herself last night, “girl did good.”
Her performance of "Rolling in the Deep" was class, but here’s a video of her best award-show performance: tearing it up at the 2011 BRIT Awards. Get the tissue box ready.
There Will Never Be Another Whitney Houston
Again, probably more a reinforcement of what we already knew. Whitney Houston was a legend whose music and cultural impact were beyond-beyond. Although Jennifer Hudson’s rendition of “I Will Always Love You” was gorgeous, appropriate and impressive in the singer’s maintaining of composure, it served as a reminder that Whitney herself is truly irreplaceable.
● It seems safe to say that Adele won all the awards (six, to be exact) at last night’s Grammys before she won the show in general with her stunning comeback performance. Girl’s still got it. [AP / Huff Post]
● The night, though, really belonged to Whitney Houston, who was honored with a prayer, multiple shout-outs, and a touching and teary tribute sung by Jennifer Hudson. [JustJared]
● New rumors citing sources at the L.A. County Coroner’s office suggest that Whitney Houston died from a combination of Xanax and alcohol, not drowning. Official coroners reports will not be available for six to eight weeks. [ABC]
● One of Lindsay Lohan’s movers is trying to sell pictures of her packed-up things and information about her move, totally undermining LiLo’s recent effort to "keep a low profile." [TMZ]
● Anna Wintour, apparently, does not do revolving doors. [NYDN]
● MySpace has picked up one million new users since December. Now that’s what you call a comeback. [NYT]
Tonight’s Grammys are sure to include plenty of tributes to the late Whitney Houston, a ton of Adele, some choice quotes from Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon on why he doesn’t give a shit that he won/didn’t win, and some stellar performances. It will also include girlfriend basher Chris Brown, but should it? Rihanna will also be there to perform.
Just days ago Brown, whose anger management is clealy not doing wonders, Tweeted a pic of his middle finger. It could be his classy way of showing of solidarity with M.I.A., but was more likely a message to critics on the anniversary of his beat down of Rihanna on the eve of the Grammys three years ago.
Brown never made it to that show leaving producers scrambling to fill the time slot and has not appeared since. This year, not only is he up for 3 awards for F.A.M.E. (Forgiving All My Enemies), he’ll be performing.
Grammy Executive Producer Ken Ehrlich told ABC that, “I think people deserve a second chance, you know. If you’ll note, he has not been on the Grammys for the past few years and it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.”
The Grammys were the victim? Mmmkay.
Brown’s album had good sales but plenty of members of the public aren’t ready to forgive him and there have been plenty of articles today deriding the choice. Plus, having Rihanna in the house and on-stage is a constant reminder of what happened and is a clear message that the Grammys, if not straight out condoning domestic violence, do pardon it.
What do you think? Should he be forgiven or forever banned? Either way it’s happening, but maybe enough complaints about it will put a plug in future offers or, ugh, vice-versa.
By now you have heard about the tragic passing of Whitney Houston. Described as acting erratic in her final days while practicing for an appearance at Clive Davis’ annual pre-Grammy bash, Jennifer Hudson will pay tribute to her during tonight’s award ceremony. While many artists who die unexpectedly have music released posthumously, it isn’t known whether Houston had any new songs she was working on. However, you will be able to see her one last time in the film Sparkle, set to be released this summer.
The film, also starring Jordin Sparks and Mike Epps, is a remake of the tale of three singers who struggle with addiction, a topic Houston clearly knew well and led to her demise. It is sure to make this an emotional watch and boost ticket sales. Having dazzled audiences in The Bodyguard, Waiting to Exhale and The Preacher’s Wife, many saw it as her big comeback. Along with acting, she also served as executive producer on the film and bought the rights to the original more than 10 years ago, reports the LA Times.
“It is presenting African-Americans in a beautiful light. Everybody on camera is just beautiful, and we’re smart and we’re educated and we’re dealing with our time of civil unrest. And raising children at that time as a single parent at that time must have been…” Houston told HitFix several months ago. “Phew. That’s why I put church in it, because it’s a foundation. In my life I know — and anybody who was raised in the church or the gospel or the Word — that’s exciting, that’s what makes… everybody be able to feel it.”
Since the films storyline is based around music, there is a chance Houston does sing in the film. Below is her final performance, taking the stage with Kelly Price at a pre-Grammy event this past Thursday.