5 Things the Grammys Should Change for 2014
Love them or loathe them, you've got to admit the Grammy Awards could always use some improving. The ratings this year were down from last, when Adele's big night and Whitney Houston's death drew a huge audience, and let's face it, "Music's Biggest Night" is borderline boring, out of touch, even irrelevant. We're not saying we can fix the show, or even that it's completely broken, but the following suggestions -- 5 Things the Grammys Should Change for 2014 -- might make the telecast more exciting.
When in doubt, Grohl it up. The 2013 Grammy ceremony, like every one before it, had its share of boring moments, and when Dave Grohl is in the building, there's simply no excuse for that. He slays the drums. He sings and plays guitar like an arena god. He makes documentary films that spawn all-star bands. Sometimes, he even parties with Skrillex. He's a one-man entertainment dynamo. Next year, instead of stating, say, a lackluster Bob Marley tribute, let Grohl do just about anything he wants.
While we respect all those tributes to dead rockers (Bob Marley, Levon Helm), the Academy should focus more on those musicians and bands who are still alive and kicking but are generally ignored by these sorts of institutions. Enter Black Flag, the legendary hardcore punk band whose influence on the genre and rock in general cannot be overstated, but whose record sales and recognition (no Grammy nominations, consistently snubbed by the Rock Hall) cannot be understated. Two Black Flag-related projects (one called Black Flag, the other simply Flag) are reuniting this year, and while neither will match the authenticity or authority of the original, having either (or both!) play the Awards would be like instant karma for the Grammys.
The debate regarding Jack White's possible dropping of an F-bomb -- did he or didn't he? -- rages on, but his decision to perform with two different backing bands certainly doubled the pleasure. Maybe next year he could rock with three bands. A Raconteurs, Dead Weather and reunited White Stripes triple bill is a little too much to hope for, but if even just one of them hit the Grammy stage, we'd be so excited we would probably let an F-bomb to two slide by without even noticing.
“Everybody can see our faces [while we're on stage] and we are not very young," fun. singer Nate Ruess joked while accepting one of the band's multiple Grammy awards last night, but he also made a good point. It's been noted repeatedly that Best New Artist Grammy winners are often not new at all: Academy guidelines say the award is "for a new artist who releases, during the Eligibility Year, the first recording which establishes the public identity of that artist." In other words, that identity-establishing first release doesn't have to be the band's overall first, and fun.'s wasn't. (They formed in 2008 and 'Some Nights' is their second studio disc.) In the future, New Artist should mean New Artist.
The Artist Formerly Known as a Symbol was in attendance this year to hand out the Record of the Year trophy to Gotye. It was undoubtedly one of the show's highlights -- Gotye himself couldn't stop talking about the Purple One -- so why not have Prince pass out every prize? Dude plays every instrument -- why can't he hand out statues for album packaging and long-form videos, too? And would it kill him to perform? We'll hold the cane while he does!