This year, once again, I was not invited to Clive Davis' mega-party before the Grammys. But neither was Janis Ian, who certainly deserves to attend more than I do, since she actually won a Grammy this year. But staying home, watching on my big 91" screen wasn't wasn't too bad, except for the lack of much in the way of engaging music during the 3½ hours.
Last year I gave out my own awards, the Stoneys, but since I'm not really into personal traditions, I'll forgo the awards shtick in favor of highlights and lowlights.
Musical Highlights - Only a few moments got me to fist-pump in affirmation of musical right-on-ness. At the top of my list was the all too short (was it even 45 seconds?) rendition of "Take Five" by Chick Corea, Kenny Garrett and Stanley Clark. At least jazz fans had something to listen to. Classical music, as far as the 2013 Grammys' broadcast was concerned, ceased to exist. My second fist-pump moment was for Alecia Keys - she delivered nuts-on rhythm on drums while singing in perfect pitch, all the while looking utterly fabulous.
Musical Lowlights - Notice the plural, as there were all too many to choose from. At the top of my list had to be Frank Ocean's pointed argument for the value of auto-tune during live performances. Coming a close second was the final tune by LL Cool J, which made me glad they cut to credits and final commercials. Most performances weren't bad but many were so forgettable that on Monday morning without photos to jog my memory I couldn't tell you about more than 1/3 of them. Also, as the only real country music in the Country category, the Time Jumpers were robbed since they deserved a Grammy in that category far more than the other nominees...
Technical Highlights - You had to love Carrie Underwood's dress and it's clever projection system. It certainly upstaged her singing. The rain falling on Fun. was, fun. But I felt bad for that nice Gibson J-45 on stage. Water and acoustic guitars are not compatible. I had a vision of a cadre of roadies on "wipe-up" duty, desperately trying to dry off all of Fun.'s instruments, including that Gibson J-45.
I thoroughly enjoyed the choreography that went into Justin Timberlake's dynamic, and heavily retro-tinged performance. Think what you want about his music, Timberlake knows how to put on a performance that was both technically and physically challenging while making it all seem easy. Frank Ocean, please take note.
This year's Grammys did have the best sound I've ever heard on a Grammy show. I was especially impressed by the low bass response. The bass drum used during Kelly Clarkson's performance had real impact and "air." And except for a small glitch when Katy Perry first came onstage (who knew that guitar amplifiers could produce cat calls?) the overall presentation was impeccable.
Fashion Highlights - Katy Perry's dress was simply OMG perfect. Her "girls" stayed in place and boy did she look killer from the back while waiting for Gotye and Kimbra to accept their award. The other dress that I thought was perfect for its wearer was that white number on Taylor Swift. Wearing it, she looked like she was having fun. Which could not be said for Jay-Z, who looked as if he was sitting through a long and boring school-board meeting. Honorable fashion mentions go out to Alicia Keys, Kelly Rowland, and Rihanna.
Fashion Lowlights - Where to start? J Lo's thigh sorta jiggled as she walked and it was not a good look, unless you're sexually aroused by jello. But she looked toned and fit compared to Miranda Lambert, who should never wear a thigh-high dress ever again on stage. But then there was Adele's Valentino bedspread, which took my breath away with its hideousness - easily the ugliest shmata to ever befoul a red-carpet runway.
But, the saddest thing about this year's Grammys was that the music wasn't as interesting as the fashion. And if this was really "Music's Biggest Night" it's time to pull down the shades, put out the lights, and say, "Goodnight Gracie, and BTW what 'ya wearin'?"