It’s good to know the Grammys are still all about hype and hypocrisy, instead of functioning as a forum that celebrates music that actually says or does something. Just once, I’d like to see somebody get up on that platform and say what they really think, instead of chopping off their own balls, backtracking, and being contrite in the name of playing the game.
I was never a die-hard Bon Iver fan (I liked For Emma, Forever Ago, which I didn’t end up hearing until some time after the initial hype had come and gone, while what I’ve heard of the most recent album doesn’t do a whole lot for me). If I had been, I don’t think I would be anymore. Justin Vernon doesn’t have much credibility left with me at this point.
For those who have no idea what I’m talking about, the short version of the story goes something like this. In a recent interview, he talked about how the Grammy Awards are a bunch of bullshit. He said if he ever won one, he would tell everyone what a joke the whole thing is, and stress that none of them should be there celebrating artifice and mediocrity.
Then he was nominated for two Grammys and all of that was forgotten. He was grateful and excited. He licensed one of his songs for use in a whiskey commercial after denigrating other artists who do that sort of thing. He briefly reverted to something like his original attitude when he said he was rejecting the opportunity to perform on the show, because there was a stipulation that he collaborate with some other nominated artist, and he thought that would compromise his music (though he had no problem collaborating with Kanye West in the studio). He still allowed his music to be used in a commercial for the Grammys. Somehow that wasn’t a compromise.
When he accepted his award(s), there was a brief mention of making music for the sake of making music slipped in with the usual thanks, so quick it was easy to miss. No mention of how it’s a bit of a joke to win for “Best New Artist” in 2012, when your first proper album came out in 2007.
Seems to me this is a case of trying to have it both ways — claiming to be all about the music only to turn around and embrace the very commercialism you rail against. Then again, few people seem to have the integrity or the courage to stand up and run with what they believe — or what they claim to believe — and speak the truth when presented with a Big Moment that involves a lot of people listening and watching. So it’s no real surprise at all. Just disappointing.
On the bright side, I don’t even have the ability to watch TV at the moment, so I didn’t have the chance to catch the show as it happened.