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Friday, December 07, 2007

The way of the Dodo they've gone...

Yeah. She's not so NEW.

First, a little vocabulary lesson. I know we're all smart creatures and have a grasp on the meaning of this particular word, but I feel it needs to be here as a reminder: New: (as defined by Webster's Dictionary) 1. having just come into being or been made or acquired or discovered; 2. having no previous example or precedent or parallel; 3. fresh; 4. unfamiliar; 5. recently.

Each of these artists are nominated for Best New Artist category for this year's Grammy's. You might have heard about this since it was just a few days ago these were announced. It should be noted that the elegibility year to be considered for a nomination in this category is October 1st 2006 to September 30 2007.

Feist
Ledisi
Paramore
Taylor Swift
Amy Winehouse

According to Google:

Feist has 5 albums, the first dating back to 1999's Monarch (Lay Down Your Jeweled Head)
Paramore has 2 albums, the first dating back to 2005's All We Know Is Falling.
Amy Winehouse has 2 albums, the first dating back to 2003's Frank.
Ledisi has 3 albums, the first dating back to 2001's Soulsinger.
Taylor Swift. One album. October 24 2006's self-titled Taylor Swift.

Please. Again. Read this: New: (as defined by Webster's Dictionary) 1. having just come into being or been made; 2. having no previous example or precedent or parallel; 3. fresh; 4. unfamiliar; 5. recently.

Here's the truth: I gave up watching the Grammy's when Maroon 5 won the Best New Artist category in 2004. I developed a fine hatred for the Grammy's when Maroon 5's "This Love" off of Songs About Jane won for Best Pop Performance By A Duo or Group with Vocal in 2005. (It's no secret, though, that I don't at all for any reason like Maroon 5. Adam Levine's voice makes me want to poke something really sharp into my ears. It's true. There is not one other singer out there that I can think of that irritates me instantly.) This wouldn't have been an issue had Songs About Jane HADN'T BEEN RELEASED, oh, I don't know, IN 2002. Let's not forget there was also a "surprise" nomination for Fountains of Wayne, who had also been around releasing albums for awhile when their name was called.

I will give the Grammy's this: I didn't know who the hell Ledisi or Taylor Swift was when I read the list. In fact, that's what I said, "Who the hell are these people?" and it gave me a little hope. I thought, hey, maybe the Grammy people finally picked people who are new! Maybe these are fresh new artists this time around! Actually, that came after my huge sigh of relief when I looked up Taylor Swift, because honestly, I'd been walking around for a few days thinking it was actually Taylor Hicks, the American Idol guy. But it came around, that disbelief and wonder about these two people I'd never heard of being properly nominated. Then my bubble was burst when I found out Ledisi has several other albums and that left me with Taylor Hicks, who by default, I will be rooting for to win.

Seriously, though. Best New Artist. Why don't they just change it to Best Artist? Or Best Artist That Has Had 2+ Previous Releases But Thanks to iTunes/Verizon/Nike Commericials Are Only Just Getting Into Their (Mainstream) Popularity Between the Dates Oct. 1 - Sept. 30th?

I've heard the argument that even though some of these artists have had had previous releases, they don't really "count" because they weren't on "major" labels. That doesn't even make sense: an album is an album and if you've put out 2 or more of them, then you're an established act. You have past sales, past shows, and a fan base. I don't care what label you're on. You aren't NEW. You're almost...old. New no longer applies. Maybe Best Artist That Has Had 2+ Previous Releases But Thanks to iTunes/Verizon/Nike Commericials Are Only Just Getting Into Their (Mainstream) Popularity Between the Dates Oct. 1 - Sept. 30th is the way to go because Amy Winehouse, Feist, and Paramore all hit their stride with the MTV/Radio crowd in the elegibility period.


It's disappointing. Seriously disappointing that an institution that is supposed to weed out all the garbage and give us a definitive answer as to what is "the BEST" continually fails when it comes to new artists. They have Taylor Swift, but what about...well...I'm hard pressed to find someone truly new. Sean Kingston? Soulja Boy? A Fine Frenzy? Ingrid Michaelson? Colbie Caillat? The Last Kiss Goodnight? Emerson Hart? Boys Like Girls? Sure, they aren't the greatest artists ever, but they at least fall into the label of "new". (Well, okay, Emerson Hart is iffy...but this is a solo album and all other work before was done with Tonic. But still.) They've somehow managed to turn Best New Artist into a joke and this year's nominations only goes to prove that once again.

Let's face it, just because some people haven't heard of these acts before, it's not enough to qualify them as new and I don't know why the Grammy's insists on passing them off as so. As soon as I finished that sentence, I realized why: popularity = money = people watching the broadcast. If you're going to load up on a bunch of acts no one has ever heard of, those who are truly new, you run of the risk of losing viewers. (If you're a college football fan, it's like the BCS of music!) It's all about money when it should be all about music and I fear it'll never be all about music again. You can't give awards to artists people don't know because said people won't tune in, no matter how blockbuster your live acts may be. People like their favorites to win awards, it's that simple. I'm fine with that, but it doesn't mean I have to agree with it. If the Grammy's aren't going to properly give new artists a chance, then they need to drop the category; offering it to one true new artist just isn't enough to keep it around.

With that said, Go Taylor!


2 comments:

The Brunette said...

The Best New Artist category reminds me of how NBC used to sell reruns - "If you haven't seen it, it's new to you!"

And Grammy voters aren't exactly the savviest music consumers. While we were listening to "Let It Die" and "Frank," they were probably trying to figure out how they can give a no-talent assclown like Michael Bolton more awards.

It would be best for the academy to rename the BNA award "Best Breakthrough Artist," but the Grammy voters probably have never even heard of the word "breakthrough."

Jill said...

Best Breakthrough Artist is certainly easier to say than what I came up with.

I agree with you but at the same time, I wonder who is more to blame? The Grammy institution that puts together the ballots or the voters? I mean, one does put together the end all be all list and the other simply goes by the choices they have...so where does fault lie?

Either way, the Grammy broadcast is old and tired and I predict they'll be phased out completely here in a few years.