Thursday, February 09, 2006

Grammy 2006

Pop culture before politics, if you don’t mind.

I had stopped watching the Grammy Awards because, well, I like music. And I like not being irritated. And I like liking music. No serious music connoisseur watches the Grammy Awards and I always realize that after watching the Grammy Awards. It’s a sick cycle. But if you are gung-ho about it, the best way to watch the Grammy Awards is with a bunch of old college buddies and with battle hardened, flagrantly snobbish NYLA (New York-Los Angeles) record industry A & R people on their fifth cocktail. Shheeesh.

Okay, so this year I had a stake: ABM- Anyone But Mariah. The total Skankification of Mariah has been the bane of my existence for sometime now. Don’t… please… don’t ask.

Anyway, not that you asked, but here is my review of the 48th Annual Grammy Awards.

My son knows Madonna. And I used to dance to Madonna in high school. What’s wrong with that picture? It’s like the touching scene at a Rolling Stones concert where father and son share a roach. The show started with Ms. M strutting her stuff. The woman looks amazing. You can’t pay me listen to her music, but shout-owwwt to the womenz in their 40s.

The obligatory chitchat with presenters started with a very awwwwkkkkward back and forth between Alicia Keys and Stevie Wonder. “Doesn’t she look beautiful?” asked Stevie. Hmm. Liked that joke when Ray Charles told it umpteen years ago. Mercifully, their acapella saved us furthur discomfiture. By the way, Alicia’s Armani Privé dress--- the way God meant fabulous to be.

Braced for my first ABM moment: Best female vocal performance… Phew! Some pipsqueak I’ve never heard of won. She squealed out a thank you. Camera swung to Nicole Kidman and Lord strike me dead if she didn’t have the best “whatever!” look of the century.

Coldplay. Coldplay. Coldplay. What can you say about Coldplay? (Besides that it made up for what Creed did to us?) Amazing band. Johnny Buckland, the guitarist... on par with The Edge. Yes. There, I said it. Coldplay has made listening to music in the 2000’s almost bearable.

Had to fast forward through some dude called John Legend. Never heard of him… and if there is any justice in the world, won’t hear him again. Is muzak back in fashion? Bee-bee-bop-be-wee… fast forward through country music.

U2… Bono saves the world and saves us from numbing boredom. We discussed how no act can fill stadiums anymore. Have you noticed that? Remember the Zoo TV tour? These are sad times. U2 did a phenomenal rendition of Vertigo and then hooked up with Mary J. Blige for One. I love Mary J. Blige. I love U2. Blige and U2? I was stirred but not shaken. But it’s better than a poke in the eye.

Best Rap Album: “Late Registration” … the one, the only, Kanye West, whom I like. I really like. He was the first winner to thank God. No mention of Jesus Christ. Kanye usually looks spiffy and I was getting used to his iconoclastic ‘preppy rapper’ look. Alas, he looked like what a pimp would look like on Star Trek if they had pimps on Planet Zorksbish. Collectively now, ewwww.

Hey. Pipsqueak who beat Mariah is back singing/squealing. Hm. Moving on.

By the way, a surprising fashionista: Gwen Stefani. I totally expected her to wear some her god-awful creations (because everyone who sings thinks there is a designer in him/her yearning to be free), instead she had a tasteful animal print gown, although the green at the bottom looks like someone threw up on her—but flawless hair and makeup, and minimum jewelry. Exquisite.

I hate it when rock stars get giddy. Remember when Eddie Vedder said “I don’t know what this means. Probably nothing” when Pearl Jam won a Grammy? Well, someone tell Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day to stop grinning like a little nitwit! We like our rock stars, especially our punk rock stars, depressed and moribund. Hello? Keith Richards? Or, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi… if Ato Meles was a lyin’, cheatin’, phony, irrelevant demagogue… Ohhhhh. (You see where that went?)

Billie Joe and Gwen gave the Best Rock Album award to… U2. I was secretly hoping for Coldplay, but I’m a nihilist like that. Bono gave a thoroughly incomprehensible thank you speech… circus… rock band… shoveling elephant shit. You see? That’s how rock starts do it. The Edge swept in to save the day. He thanked us… the fans.

I’m not being unnecessarily insolent here, but… can someone put down Paul McCartney? Beqa. Y’bqa. Icon, trailblazer yeah.. yeah… just please someone make him stop singing. By the time he waded through Helter Skelter I wanted to pass him an oxygen mask. And a lozenge. His back up band though was the bomb!

Okay. Scankville alert. A puffy Mariah in a taped interview burbles about music and spirituality and dreams coming true. Pass the tequila. Then she is allowed to sing. Can Mariah please put on a friggin’ dress once more before she dies? Will she ever look classy again or is she terminably destined to perish in Skank Land? A little less bronzer and a few less miles of hair weave and ta-da! The Mariah we used to love and be loved to. And enough with the Gospel choir people accompanying her! So www dot last-century dot com. And the screaming. Oh God, the screaming.

Oh, by the way, I know now why Jon Stewart called Fiona Apple “an unwashed bag of sticks.” That’s all I’m saying.

I am all for saluting hot-bod women in their 40s but… Cheryl Crow… yeeawza. Where’s my gramma’s gabi? Teri Hatcher… no. No. Stop it. Someone shoot Jean Paul Gaultier with a tweed gun.

The pipsqueak won again. Found out her name. Kelly Clarkston. She is massively annoying.

I miss Santana.

Jay-Z was the best dressed man alive on February 8, 2005. He collaborated with one of my favorite bands, Linkin Park … and hooray for unusual collaborations, they won Best Rap Collaboration for Numb/Encore. Believe Me from the Meteora album still rocks to high heaven, as do all the tracks on Hybrid Theory. Mercy.

Hey. Dave Chappelle is alive. And he doesn’t look crazy. Huh? He was in Africa, w’nnt he? Everybody goes crazy in Africa. Good thing he was not in Ethiopia. He would have come back sporting a “certified lunatic” toe tag.

Everybody is talking about the tribute to Sly Stone. Listen. He came out of a 19-year exile and then walked out of his own tribute. What does tell you about the tribute? And by the way, if you wondered what death looks like when it’s wearing a gold lamé coat and a soaring bleached blonde mohawk, click here. Thanks, Grammy people. Now we won’t be seeing the dude for another 19 years. No, seriously. Thank you.

Jay-Z and Linkin Park- awesome performance. Awe-some! Numb/Encore never sounded better … and then… but then! I knew something un-Christian like would unfold when Chester suddenly started crooning… Yesterday. Yes! Yesterday! Sweet Mother of Everything Sacred. Yep. Paul McCartney materializes out of thin air and savagely snuffs out the little ray of sunshine God afforded us lowly Grammy watchers. Aren’t there whales that need saving?

Paul needs to be put down.

Quick question: Why is Tom Hanks at the Grammys? Better yet, why is he still alive?

Best performance of the evening: Bruce Springsteen singing Devils and Dust, sounding and, more importantly, looking like Dylan. Mannnnnnn! All acoustic, all raw. How did John Kerry lose the election with Bruce on his side? Bruce was mesmerizing.

Got my finger on the trigger
But I don't know who to trust
I look into your eyes
There's just devils and dust

I got God on my side
I'm just trying to survive
But if what you do to survive
Kills the things you love

Fear is a powerful thing
It can turn your heart black you can trust
It'll take your God-filled soul
Fill it with devils and dust

Bruce also made the only political statement of the night, “Bring them home.” No one wanted to Free Tibet this year.

We interrupt this review for another Skank “ABM” Alert… Mariah is nominated for Song of the Year… Phew! U2 wins for Sometimes You Can’t Make It on Your Own. This time Bono delivers a decent speech. How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb was all about his dad. “Actually I was talking about my father, Bob. He was the atomic bomb in question and when he died set off kind of a chain reaction in me and I’ve been shouting about him, and giving off about him, and complaining about him and screaming about him for the last few years and maybe, maybe tonight is the time to stop.”

Next best performance of the night: Kanye West and the insufferable Jamie Foxx singing Gold Digger minus the racialist (as Ali G. would say) words. The marching band accompanying them was in-crredible! It was liquid fire. A moment in music.

Best Record of the Year: Boulevard of Broken Dreams- Green Day. Billie Joe was still smiling like the village idiot. His acceptance speech sounded more like a debutante at her coming out party and definitely lacking that certain rock star impudence. I think the days of sulky rock stars are officially over. How can this change to this? I mourn.

The room groaned when Herbie Hancock and Christina Aguilera paired up for A Song for You. I thought it was a great performance. But then again, you can mesh-up Herbie with anyone and magic happens. Who thought the Christina chick could pull off heartfelt jazz? Flawless.

Best New Artist went to that John Legend person. Hm. They shouldn’t have given the same award to Millie Vanilli. It sullied it.

It pains me to say this, but abzol-lewtly one of the worst dressed people of the evening… Queen Latifa . C’mo! Who hasn’t raised a fist to Who You Callin’ a Bitch? but… someone needs to fire their stylist, pronto. Somewhere out there a dominatrix is missing her garb. Shush!

Finally… finally the end arrived. Album of the year… Bonnie Raitt, who I will have you know is on “walks-on-water” status with me, came out with James Taylor. Now why couldn’t they have let them two sing?

Uh… uh… final skank “ABM” alert…

Nominees: Mariah Carey, Paul McCartney, Gwen Stefani, U2 and Kanye West.

Drumroll… oh, please. It’s three hours later… enough already…

Album of the Year goes to… U2.

There you go. A skank shut out.

Some music industry goober told us to go to Mardi Gras and the jazz festival in New Orleans. Yeah. Right.

But it ended with a bang: Bonnie Raitt, The Edge, Elvis Costello, Yolanda Adams, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint backed by a kick azz, no holds barred, sweat it like you mean it, levitate like you want it performance of Yes We Can and In the Midnight Hour that was out of this world!

G’night, everyone.

I was going to talk about politics… I was, too. Heh. Whachoo gonna do?


Check out Revolutions Per Beat for band/music/live performance review in Addis from the same brilliant mind that brought you Satisfy My Soul (Ego).


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally Habesha who understands and comments on Ferenji staff. Aren't you what they call at home "Betbela kurit new betteta Tegi yenema Wonqiye Yabesha Ferenji" Love you!

5:51 PM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Kezira said...

you are totally playa hatin' on the mariah, wonqilat. next thing you know you'll be riffing on wham! wake me up before you go-go. but ditto on paul mccartney.

7:16 PM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous mim X said...

:( missing you @fashion week.

7:46 PM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...incase you missed it! Do you think is this staged or is he realy still challenging PM melese in parilament. If it is true can you imagine what the opostion could have accomplised had they joined parilament as a whole?

You hate Mariah? what a surprise! I thought almost if not all Ethiopian chikas dig her. give her a chance she has come a looooong way from the days of glitttttter.

love your work
peace out!

8:03 PM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Abesha said...

That John Legend dude that you haven't heard is actually a very awesome R&B artist...try to get hold of the video for "ordinary people" his lyrics is on point and his voice is just uhm!

8:33 PM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Tobian said...

I missed the Grammy's (again!). I've never watched one of those shows, and I wasn't planning on reading up on one either, but here I find myself...

Thumbs up to Madonna. 10 thumbs up to U2. Don't have enough energy nor desire to comment on ...whoever.

10:52 PM, February 09, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Woody Allen in Annie Hall:

Awards! They do nothing but give out awards! I can't believe it. Greatest, greatest fascist dictator, Adolf Hitler!

4:33 AM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very nice writing, WELL EXPRESSED , I M HAPPY ,THAT Yelling chick (Maria) did not get the album of the year , very happy , Good for U2 , huuuuuuuuuuuuuu who hates U2 i love U2.

5:27 AM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous Brook said...

I am glad to know that I am not the only one who is repulsed by Maria’s “Skunkiness”. I think this repulsion comes from liking her back in the days when there was a fatherly figure in her life. I am surprised however; that you were not nauseated by the bloated ego of the space pimp. He needs to bring it down a notch or two.

10:09 AM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous not anonymous said...

Me? No, I did not watch the Grammy Awards. Not because I like music or dislike music or dislike music but like whatever, but because I didn’t have the right type of people to watch the darn thing with. Like those record industry A&R people! Alasaznm?

But, thanks to my wonq, I’m now fully prepared to sound as affected as I need to be in the very unlikely event that I run into flagrantly snobbish people.

Of course, some of you cynical ETs out there (shame on you) might insist on giving the credit to one Joan Rivers whose “fashionwrap” might have been the inspiration behind this post, but please let’s not fight over something as trivial as who copied from whom. There is enough “skunkification” around to embrace all.

I don’t know why, but this somehow brings me to Gooch. Hasn’t Gooch been promoted to House Manager of this Halfway House? If so, where the hell is he? Are you getting cold feet or something, Brother-Gooch? I know, I know! Wonq is a hard act to follow, ain’t she? One of a kind, the woman is!

I mean who else but SHE could do a dog and pony show called “Grammy 2006” about a dog and pony show called Grammy 2006 and, in one fell swoop, turn this perfectly respectable Halfway House with its perfectly respectable neurosis into a cheap ad for Peoples Magazine?

Gooch, how could you possibly top THAT, especially if you're not the best dressed man alive? Man, do you have your work cut out for you!

12:21 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous not genet zewdie said...

which one of you took away gashe not anonymous' kosso medhaneet?

loved the post, wonq. especially since it managed to offend the right people. damn. you can't swerve away from what people want you to be without having to shovel elephant poo-poo.

that said, you are wrong, wrong WRONG about Linkin Park. what have they done that the red hot chili peppers haven't done? or the beastie boys?

12:58 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous derash said...

joan rivers??? is it 1990 again?

3:04 PM, February 10, 2006  
Anonymous dube said...

how is madonna fabulous wearing less than Mariah who is a skank?

algebagnim negeru.

butch skinny white woman = great
curvy chica = skanky


I'd put both of them in revolutionary kahkis

2:06 PM, February 11, 2006  
Blogger enaseb said...

goooooooooooooooooooooooch?????? ere be`egziabher!

dube ...... sam sam.

11:24 PM, February 12, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Wonk!You make our days bright.Please post this piece .this is my first attempt at writing.I was so mad by Tony Blairs interview.I am sure you are going to mincemeat him.

Tsega and Leo

My daughter is called Tsega.It means Grace in my language (amharic). She was born in London the same day as Leo Blair in May 2000.I am an Ethiopian and live in Ethiopia. I was very ill during the time of my pregnancy and by the grace of god I could get medical treatment in the UK and got a lovely baby the same day as P.M Tony Blair. Being in the hospital at University College of London and watching the news of the Blair’s baby. I felt very happy for the proud parents and very grateful for the British because had I not come to Britain for medical treatment I would have probably died along with my baby. But today I am alive, back in my country with good health and a lovely daughter who is the center of my life reading about Blair’s press conference in the progressive leaders summit in South Africa.

P.M Blair .Few food for thought. Let me tell you a true story, which happened in Ethiopia last June

Let us reverse the situation and say it happened in The UK. Lets say that the conservative party is in power in Britain and has powerful allies who provide it with a lot of money so that it could do anything in Britain from silencing The BBC to putting the whole leadership of the labour party in prison for daring to oppose them. You competed in elections and won [By the way did you say the Ethiopian government actually won the elections. A few minutes of your time Mr. Blair, Please read reports of the European Union mission about the so-called fair election in Ethiopia.] To get back to the story so the conservative party didn’t want to loose power and wants to remove you so they fabricated charges and sent soldiers to your house to arrest you. Cherie says what right have you to arrest him show me the warrant, so after the soldiers put you in the truck one of them goes back and kills your wife for daring to speak this words. All this time Leo and your other kids were watching and later on your daughter is asked to sign a paper saying that it is members of the labor party who killed Cherie not the Army. So your brave daughter says no, no, I will never sign a paper like that; this would be like killing my mom twice.

Dear Mr. Blair. The Voice of America dared to run this story and interviewed the little girl and our progressive government sued VOA because of this and other similar stories and wants to imprison the reporters. This is the over reaction that you said in your press conference.

Dear Mr. Blair you might have your own reasons why you don’t want to condemn your ally Meles but could you please be brave enough to use words like brutal, murderous, demonic etc [I am sure your oxford dictionary has enough of them]. When soldiers kill mums in front of their young kids as young as your lovely Leo or my Tsega.

It is an insult to 77 million Ethiopians when brutal leaders who imprison and charge 16 year olds for treason get invited to PROGRESSIVE LEADERS summit.
Many people consider you as a great world leader. Show your greatness. Condemn our brutal leader, even though you had once praised him as a new breed of African Leaders. The Tsega`s of Ethiopia currently don’t want your money as it is not going to reach them any way. Help the Ethiopian people not their brutal leader who uses your money to terrorize a country.

Tsega was given a chance to be born because of the British, help her to grow up. I believe she has the same right as your Leo to grow and become a useful citizen of this world. Do the right thing for her country. Whenever you want to do your work as Africa’s champion, remember Tsega and Leo.

I would have put my name and Tsega`s picture to this plea but I don’t want my Tsega to experience what has happened to that little girl who saw her MUM killed for daring to protest the unlawful imprisonment of her father.

4:18 AM, February 13, 2006  

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