Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Time's Up... Step Up

Thirty years ago next month I took my first trip to New Orleans. My best friend Robert got us tickets to see Sting at UNO in February, 1988. I mean it wasn't U2, which he passed up the chance to go see just a couple of months prior, because he didn't know any U2 fans who might want to go with him. ME ME ME! I would have sold my soul to go see U2 in Baton Rouge, November 1987. I WOULD HAVE.

But we went to see Sting, Robert, myself, our friends Alicia, and Robin and two French girls I didn't know and never saw again. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. I found Mecca in Tower Records. I discovered that I'd lost my class ring in the Riverwalk mall. Found it back at Hard Rock. Changed clothes in a stairwell because we couldn't find a bathroom.

It was 30 years ago and I can still remember that day like it was yesterday because it was one of the best days of my life. That was my first real concert.

Sting was incredible. I still love the ...Nothing Like the Sun album.

Englishman in New York is still a favorite song. I stopped listening to Sting in the late 90s. I was never a major fan. But still a fan. I was a massive MASSIVE fan of Bono and the boys.

Sting and Bono got old somewhere along the line. The Edge, however, isn't aging.

I watched the Grammy awards last night.

I have spent most of my now 49 years loving music. That's my thing. Music. I love rock and pop and country. I listen to just about anything that isn't religious or soft jazz. I don't particularly like soft jazz. Which is why I sort of drifted away from Sting. I'm not overly fond of heavy heavy metal either, just sayin'.

I have spent the better part of my pre-teen, teen and adult lives buying music. I watched the Grammys almost religiously until a couple of years ago.

I was never sure if I finally got old or if the Grammys lost touch.

Until last night.

When I say I watched the Grammys last night... well, I lied. I power watched the show. I recorded it and hit fast forward through the stuff that didn't interest me. I paused on the awards. I paused for performances. I went through the filler.

And the commercials.

The thousands of commercials. Five minutes of show. Ten minutes of commercials. For three and a half hours.

I like James Corden. I do. But I am begging you please don't have him host again. Skits and late night stuff took up so much of the show. I mean I could have lived my entire life without seeing him and Sting trying to be funny on the subway. I never thought Sting was a good actor. He still isn't.

I saw female recording artists speak up for their rights. Time's Up.

I watched Sting sing a song from 30 years ago. Englishman, in New York... got about halfway through before it dawned on me why he was singing that particular song at this particular time. He's a legal alien... I watched U2 do what U2 does. I watched four of the five artists/acts nominated for Album of the Year perform. The only one who didn't perform was the only female nominated. Lorde sat in the audience while the four male groups performed. She wasn't invited to perform because there wasn't time, is what I've read was the reason... but there was plenty of time for Sting to perform a thirty year old song.

I watched P!nk, whom I adore take the stage in jeans and a t-shirt and sing live with no glamour or glitz. Live. The woman has a voice that transcends.

Miley Cyrus, whom I also adore, joined Elton John in a tribute to Elton John and do justice to Tiny Dancer.

The magic nerd dude from Pitch Perfect can fucking sing y'all. Did you know that? I didn't. The two gentlemen who paid musical tribute to Chuck Berry and Fats Domino... incredible. There was so much talent on those stages. Between all the fucking commercials. And the inane shit that was Corden's filler.

And Patti Lupone... the woman taught a master's level class in all things vocal last night. 

I watched as no women won a single award. I think I missed the girl who won for Best New Artist, but that award is cursed anyway, she'll never be heard from again. BNA winners rarely ever survive. Kiss of death award.

Four women were nominated for one award, the most in any category featured live last night, but Ed Sheeran won it. 

Now, to stop for a moment before I carry on and add this, I sincerely don't like separating awards into male and female categories. I don't. But last night...

There were 86 awards given, most of them given before the show. Of those 86 awards, 11 were won by a woman. Unless I counted wrong. Most of those were in Classical, Opera, and Gospel. Carrie Fisher won a posthumous award for Best Spoken Word. And Shakira won for Best Children's Album. And one award went to a woman in the popular music categories awarded on air. Just one. The Best New Artist award.

These were the wins with a female name attached first. I checked out every female sounding name. There was one group with Lady in their title, but not a woman in the group.

Alabama Shakes and Little Big Town won awards. They have female members. I didn't count them in the 11.  But even then that makes 13 out of 86 categories in which a woman was given a Grammy last night.

I turned off the television and erased the recording. In disgust. And sadness.

I got old. Finally. I didn't know any of the songs that won. Not a single one of them.

I thought I had kept up. I still have a young person. I still love music. I was happy to see Sting... he lost his voice. Bono looks like my father-in-law now. He's the same age as my husband who doesn't look a thing like his father, thankfully.

I wish I had gone back and watched P!nk again.

That was three and a half hours I am so happy I didn't sit through live. And that is a shame.

Then today, I read the most asinine piece of bullshit I've ever read.

If women want to win awards... they need to step up. As stated by the President of the Grammys organization whose name and title and stuff I'm too lazy to look up... he's that dude that comes on near the end to bore us to tears.

All of the Time's Up on the stage and the Grammy Awards are still a boys only club after all these years? Well, no... it's more a boy's club than I've ever seen it and I've watched that show almost religiously since about 1982. I've found new artists. I've celebrated with my favorites. I have always been entertained by the collaborations honoring legends.

I turned off the Grammys last night deeply saddened. And woke up pissed off.

This past year was an incredible year for female recording artists. They work their asses off doing twice the work, to get less than half the credit.

So, as a fan of music.

I'm done with the Grammys. Women don't need to step up. The men who run the music industry need to step up. Or step aside.

You lost me. And my music loving almost teen daughter.

And that's a damned shame.

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