Maybe There’s Hope …

Esperanza Spalding won Best New Artist in one of the most meaningless award ceremonies ever The Grammys last night.

The committee bestowed this honor upon her despite the fact that uber-teen freak-of-the-week Justin Bieber was up for the same award. Thankfully, it seems that the committee had a brief moment of lucidity and awarded the individual who actually has talent. I might not agree with the “new artist” moniker, but whatever–she beat Bieber (“What’s a ‘Biebuh’?!”), and that’s all that matters. I would have been happy if Mumford and Sons or Florence and the Machine had won too, but I’m impressed that they gave the award to someone of her musical background.

This has all the same feel of the 2003 Grammys when Norah Jones stunned the music world by walking off with 5 awards, including Best New Artist. She went up agains Avril Lavigne, John Mayer, and I don’t remember who else, but I can tell you this much–she far and away deserved it. She has infinitely more musical talent than at least those two.

To be clear, I couldn’t care less about the awards as a general rule. The overwhelming feeling to these kinds of award ceremonies is one of favortism and elitism … precisely what I loathe. Like I said, Florence or Mumford would have been fine wins as well, but had that little kid won, I’m afraid that the last flickering candle of hope for the Grammys would have been blown out by the winds of crap. And yes–somewhere in there is a metaphor for passing gas, which is mostly appropriate for that award in the first place. But with Esperanza’s win, who knows where the music acadamy is heading. At least there are signs of life.

Crap. I wrote all that, and now I wonder if there isn’t another point to consider, and I wonder if this one isn’t more accurate.

Esperanza wasn’t the only talent to take home an award last night. Muse took home an award for best rock album. Arcade Fire brought home an award for album of the year. Right there are two amazing bands. And they went up against some established musicians. Muse won against Pearl Jam, Tom Petty, and Neil frickin’ Young. Arcade Fire beat out Eminem, Katy Perry, Lady Antebellum, and Lady Gag. Well, hmm … okay, so Arcade Fire didn’t have a lot of tough competition, but I’m all for giving Eminem his due. Could’ve gone to him, but AF won out. That’s great. Muse, though … good grief. They took on some power houses, and they were victorious.

So … I think back over the last 10-15 years of winners, and wonder what the talent pool was. I mean, in a case like Norah Jones, look at her competition. She rightly won the award–hands down. When talent rises, talent wins.

Maybe it isn’t the music academy that’s having the rough time; maybe it’s just who’s available at the time. As someone posted in a message board, and I paraphrase, “it’s not about popularity; it’s about talent.” And thankfully, this year’s best new artist proved that.

© 2024 A Theme