One would think that after the shining example of the importance of audio quality and artistic choice that was the Black Eyed Peas’ Super Bowl XLV half-time performance, we’d probably need a break from the big cultural events and their onslaught of mostly mediocre musical acts. But alas, the chill of winter has once again affected our brains and we’re at the mercy of the 53rd Annual Grammy Awards. It’s hard to understand the appeal of the Grammys once you reach a certain point in your life, the one where you magically discover music outside of the mainstream, where you’re free to pick and choose the sounds that will make up your day beyond the simplicity of what airs on the radio or makes the tops of various charts. But part of the appeal has to stem from the fact that there is an inherent comfort with the Grammys, a feeling that while all of your musical influences will grow and expand and mutate beyond the tastes you had in years prior, the Grammys will be around as a kind of universal truth, one where people of all walks of life can know the biggest, most important musical offerings of a given year and then watch in anticipation as results are revealed, dreams are fulfilled or extinguished, and betting pools are made all the more interesting.
As we usually do, we celebrate the glory that is the Grammys with some of our most beloved musical performances. This time around, however, there’s none of that “worst of” stuff; no, each of these performances stand as a monument to shared musical experiences and the power and impact a rocking showcase can have. But we should also take time to look forward to the bounty ahead of us. This year’s festivities will be marked by performances from Arcade Fire, Katy Perry, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Lady Gaga, Cee-Lo Green, Miranda Lambert, Mumford & Sons, and Bob Dylan. A mighty list if there ever was one, but what’s most exciting about it isn’t who is actually playing; rather, it’s the potential for another great musical moment possibly occurring in almost any of these showcases. Eminem could kill it, Gaga could shock us, Dylan might cement his legacy for the umpteenth time, or maybe Mumford & Sons might get that next-level-bump. Whether you love these acts or not, the performances, and the awards as well, are a chance to see a band or artist elevated to the next echelon in front of your very eyes. That is why each year, despite knowing better, we all flock to our TVs and absorb every slight, subtle moment of musical joy and every second of every guffaw-inducing disappointment.
We’d like to see football do that.
– Chris Coplan