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The Grammys Need A Facelift

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brian washburn

It’s the biggest night in music. It’s a night when music wannabes become music royalty. It’s the night where the glitz, the glamour and the red carpet is ushered out for an array of people from Herbie Hancock to Fall Out Boy to Kanye to Elton John and all musicians in between. But when did the Grammys become the MTV Video Music Awards?

Last week, in an extremely unnecessary mega presentation, the Grammy nominations were announced and all some people could think was, “What the hell?”

For instance, here’s a look at the nominees for Album of the Year: Beyonce — “I am … Sasha Fierce,” The Black Eyed Peas — “The E.N.D.,” Lady Gaga — “The Fame,” Dave Matthews Band — “Big Whiskey” and the Groogrux — “King” and Taylor Swift — “Fearless.”

Yes, the category does contain some big names in the music industry, but album of the year? Really? Only two albums on that list deserve to be there: Beyonce and Dave Matthews. While Lady Gaga does deserve some recognition for claiming Michael Jackson’s throne of the most bizarre artist in the industry, her music is nothing new or spectacular from what we have come to expect from the female pop genre.

I am convinced Grammy voters put The Black Eyed Peas on here as a joke and will continue laughing into their senility how they actually fooled the nation and nominated The Black Eyed Peas for an Album of the Year Grammy.

And that brings us to Taylor Swift. She does deserve a few accolades for her album (and for being strong through the Kanye West fiasco, which is hilarious if you look back at it), but she most definitely did not have the Album of the Year.

But even though the Album of the Year category is a joke this year (no Kanye, no Phoenix, no Kings of Leon) the problem with the Grammys is simple and (with many other problems, specifically the Napster debacle) the music industry needs to take a cue from the movie industry. There are simply too many categories at the Grammys to keep up with or to even care about.

With each new category and nomination, the prominence of winning a Grammy is shrinking to the point where eventually we will be wondering if the VMAs or the American Music Awards might be better than a Grammy.

Cutting categories and having just an Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Rock/Rap/Country/R&B categories and Best New Artist will give the Grammy the glitz and glamour it has been missing in the past few years.

This should cut down on the pop and exec-driven crap blasting out of pre-teens’ radios these days from winning the music industry’s highest honor and referring to themselves as the “Grammy-nominated” Katy Perry, or someone of the sort.

The Grammys might have been lost to some fans because of apathy or because of anger over choices, but one category seems to get it right every year and that is the Best New Artist category. With past winners and nominees encompassing everyone from Fall Out Boy and Paramore to Amy Winehouse and Alicia Keys to Kanye and John Legend, it never seems to miss out on letting all Grammy viewers know who is going to dominate music in the coming decades.

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