Monday Morning Jukebox: On The Grammys and Timbaland

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Sam Wilkinson

According to a faithful reader, I'm Ordinary Times's "least thoughtful writer." So I've got that going for me, which is nice.

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  1. Avatar Chris
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    Man, your pop sensibility is way, way beyond mine. With the exception of two of the Missy Elliot songs, I didn’t remember any of these until I listened to a bit of them here, and I still don’t find any of them interesting (and I like Jay-Z OK, but I prefer his songs produced by Kanye, like this one, or Pharrell, or Rick Rubin). Also, I prefer S1 as a producer generally (e.g., this, which is friggin’ awesome). I don’t think he’s ever going to win a Grammy. Missy Elliot is awesome, though.

    Anyway, my favorite comment on the Grammy’s was a Tweet from Spin Magazine, which read in full:

    Congratulations Frank Ocean on winning Album of the Year (We are in denial and refuse to believe Mumford is happening).

    I admit that I’m not really a Frank Ocean fan, though my girlfriend thinks he’s the second coming of Prince (and she is a huge Prince fan), but listening to Channel Orange I can appreciate why people think he is or is going to be very good. But Mumford and Sons? Honestly, if they didn’t have a banjo in their songs, would anyone think they were interesting at all? To me they’re boring, and their music makes me want to take a nap.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Chris
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      says:

      The Grammys consistently rewards bands who are “boring, and their music makes me want to take a nap” so I don’t see anything inconsistent with them then rewarding Mumford and Sons.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Sam Wilkinson
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        says:

        Heh… I wonder why Iron and Wine haven’t cleaned up at the Grammys, then.Report

        • Avatar Sam in reply to Chris
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          says:

          Give the Grammys Lifetime Achievement Committee time. Iron and Wine will get something soon.Report

          • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam
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            says:

            I think I was one of those drunk a-holes who talk really loud at an Iron & Wine show once. I normally hate that. But it was just…so…boring.

            When there were a lot of those beardy folky I & W – type things going on, a female friend asked me why I didn’t like it.

            I said, I was too young to be listening to beardy folky stuff just yet.

            She said, but you’re [age that was not that young].

            I said, with any luck, I would ALWAYS be too young for beardy folky stuff.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
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              says:

              “Excuse me, could you wake up your boyfriend? He’s snoring over the music.”Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
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                says:

                But I love Nick Drake. Go figure.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                I love Nick Drake too. And Donovan, who’s similar. Hell, I’m not averse to Elliot Smith. But there’s something about this recent trend of almost whispery folk rock, a trend that includes Mumford and Sons, Iron and Wine, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, and the aptly named The Low Anthem that just bores the piss out of me.

                I think they all have Black Cab Sessions. I actually like Fleet Foxes there. Seems like just about the right venue for them (we could scale it up to a coffee house). I like this one, in a similar vein, too.Report

            • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Glyph
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              says:

              Glyph, at an I & W show? Among all those earnest, flannel-clad people? Whoda thunk?Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                This was a while back, maybe in ’02 or ’03? My friends wanted to go. I thought I should give it a chance; I don’t hate all quiet music, as I mentioned I like Nick Drake, and Low (and I saw Ida a few times back in the day, they are very folky, with harmonies) .

                But I was bored and I drank too much and made an ass of myself. It was a small club, and it had no patio or separate area from the bar/stage, which is where I would normally have gone if I just wanted to have a drink and chat. I was basically that guy that I usually complain about.

                I wouldn’t go so far as to say I was heckling, exactly (a friend of mine got drunk and did that once when we saw Jega – and at the time, he LOVED Jega), but I was being a loud jerk.

                I do better at a rock show, where at least if I am a loud drunk jerk, I am not the only one.Report

              • Avatar BlaiseP in reply to Glyph
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                says:

                I can’t see you being a jerk. Put it this way, everyone went back and found Nick Drake after they discovered Elliot Smith. Nick Drake was the Emily Dickinson of rock, everyone can quote a few lines, even now. But she was an intensely private person whose fame only emerged posthumously.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to BlaiseP
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                says:

                I somehow missed Elliot Smith (though my wife was into him). I don’t think I could name a single song.

                In the 80’s bands that I was into would always talk Drake up (REM, The Cure, and Dream Academy – supposedly “Life In A Northern Town” is inspired by Drake).

                There’s a Lloyd Cole song (who is great, BTW) where he name-checks Drake’s “Five Leaves Left”, while poking fun at himself, and the kind of person who listens to it and thinks themselves deep:

                Smile, she said, and if you want I’ll look the other way
                Until you regain your melancholy disposition
                Or until you get over yourself.

                You’re such a European SOB, could you exist without your irony ?
                I guess that you’re afraid to alone or be alive
                Or be a boy without a girl.

                Monday morning, feeling alright
                What’s wrong with this picture ?
                Nothing at all.

                Open your eyes, there’s nothing but blue skies
                What’s wrong with this picture ?
                Nothing at all.

                Could you believe in anything ? Could I believe in you ? she said
                And maybe I don’t want to be your mother
                And could you bear to be sincere for just one day ?

                Smile, she said, and if you want I’ll look the other way
                And you can go back to your Five Leaves Left
                And you can call me when you get over yourself.

                Monday morning, feeling alright
                What’s wrong with this picture ?
                Nothing at all.

                Open your eyes, there’s nothing but blue skies
                What’s wrong with this picture ?
                Nothing at all.

                http://youtu.be/hl1bAqMum2wReport

  2. Avatar Glyph
    Ignored
    says:

    Sweet post Sam!

    My knowledge of hip hop and modern r&b is not all that great, but I agree that for a while there, if you heard a beat on the radio and it didn’t sound like anyone else’s, you knew it was Timbaland. That was pretty futuristic stuff for pop radio.

    I agree that many of his tracks would work just fine sans vocals (but I think all the best hip-hop producers are that way – it’s a producer-driven genre, a nation of Phil Spectors.). I’ve heard the plagiarism stuff and it does seem pretty blatant – but in hip-hop, well….. (not to mention legal issues make crediting samples/beats, or using recognizable ones, prohibitively expensive).

    I pay no attention to the Grammys – do they often ignore the producers in favor of the rappers? Like, I think RZA has won Grammys, but when The Automator was on his streak did he ever win? What about The Dust Brothers, or Prince Paul, or The Bomb Squad?

    Do the Grammys just not understand how hip-hop/ dance music is made?

    “Again, the issue is the hotness here. “. – the production, or the girl? 😉Report

    • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      Fear of a Black Planet, produced by The Bomb Squad, was nominated for a Grammy, but didn’t win.Report

    • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Glyph
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      says:

      Predictably, I think the Grammys can generally be counted on to completely ignore the new, the interesting, and the genuinely innovative.

      Dan The Automator never won (which is criminal) and I don’t think Prince Paul did either.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Sam Wilkinson
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        says:

        Looks like Prince Paul-produced albums have won Grammys. Also, I’m pretty sure that Gorillaz’ first album was nominated, or a song from it was, and Dan the Automator produced that (didn’t he?).Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
          Ignored
          says:

          Yeah, he did.

          From wiki, this was the streak:

          Dr. Octagonecologyst (Dr. Octagon) (1996)
          When I Was Born for the 7th Time (Cornershop) (1997)
          Bombay the Hard Way: Guns, Cars and Sitars (with DJ Shadow) (1998)
          So… How’s Your Girl? (Handsome Boy Modeling School) (1999)
          Deltron 3030 (with Del tha Funkee Homosapien and Kid Koala) (2000)
          A Much Better Tomorrow (2000) (This is the only one of these I don’t have)
          Gorillaz (2001)

          Supposedly there’s a Deltron II in the works, but I admit I’ve kinda lost track of him.Report

          • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Glyph
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            says:

            A couple of things:

            1. Where are you guys finding this slew of nominations for Dan the Automator? My Google skills must be utter shit.

            2. I saw Dan the Automator, Del the Funkee Homosapien, and Kid Koala perform Deltron 3030 in Boston almost immediately after it came out. That was one of the great concerts of my life.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam Wilkinson
              Ignored
              says:

              Sorry, I didn’t mean he had nominations (I have no idea if he did, that was why I asked). I just meant that was the streak where he could do no wrong. All those albums are great, or at minimum interesting/fun.

              Leaving aside the one I never heard (A Much Better Tomorrow) that’s (at least) 5 good-to-great records in 5 years. That is a great run for any artist.

              And those are just full-lengths, I’m sure there’s probably singles/EPs/collaborations in that timeframe too.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph,

                Oh. Thank God. I was thinking I’d gone insane. A Much Better Tomorrow is okay. What you’re missing though is Lovage: Music To Make Love To Your Old Lady By an album that is close to perfect and yet almost entirely unknown. It’s on Spotify (and other services too probably). It’s incredible. Amongst a great collection of incredible accomplishments, I might rate it my favorite of all of Dan’s work.Report

              • Avatar Sam Wilkinson in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                I mean, seriously, “Strangers On A Train” and “Stroker Ace” are amongst my favorite songs ever.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Sam Wilkinson
                Ignored
                says:

                Er…yeah. I didn’t care for that one too much, actually. “Real Thing” and “Angel Dust” aside, Mike Patton is always an iffy proposition for me. I’ll dig around and see if I still have it and give it another spin, but I think that one got caught in one of the purges.Report

            • Avatar Chris in reply to Sam Wilkinson
              Ignored
              says:

              “Clint Eastwood” was nominated for a Grammy, and he produced it. That’s the only thing he produced that’s been nominated, that I can find.Report

  3. Avatar Glyph
    Ignored
    says:

    Sam- this sounds interesting and like it might be up yr alley. I’ve blown my record allowance for the month, unfortunately:

    http://www.avclub.com/articles/remembering-when-country-music-wasnt-white-conserv,92377/Report

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