They invariably end up pissing me off with their unjustifiable inanity, but because I’m a music fan all the way down to my toenails, I always look forward to the annual Grammy nominations. And because I’m an eternal optimist at heart, I always pray that this is the year the recording academy will get it right. Well, I’m not holding out a great deal of hope that the Grammy folks will suddenly correct their typical foolishness tonight by uniformly nominating people who actually deserve the praise, but let me just say this at the outset: if “Use Somebody” doesn’t at the very least nab a nod for Record of the Year, I’m throwing a rock through my television set. Let the concert commence!

8:07pm: A is in hog heaven because the Black Eyed Peas are singing. This is not a good omen.

8:09pm: OK, I’m ready for some actual nominations!

8:12pm: Get to it, George!


  • SONG OF THE YEAR: OK, I’m certain that I could have come up with a more interesting group of five songs than this collection, but in actual fact, by Grammy standards, this group isn’t that bad, with only one genuine head-scratcher — Maxwell’s “Pretty Wings” (??) — in the mix. Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” predictably makes the cut, as does Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me” (personally, wouldn’t you have bet on “Love Story”?), but at least the Academy is thinking outside the box by including Lady GaGa’s “Poker Face” and Kings of Leon’s ferociously brilliant “Use Somebody.” I’d go ahead and proclaim that the instant front-runner, but since everything seems to be breaking in Swift’s favor lately — I’m stunned that little heifer didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize last month! — she seems like the one to beat.

8:20pm: Sugarland!

8:22pm: Linkin Park has two Grammys, and Tori Amos has none? Double-you tee EFF??


  • POP VOCAL, DUO OR GROUP: How in the HELL did Hall and Oates sneak in here with “Sara Smile,” a song that’s thirty freakin’ years old?! Black Eyed Peas (“I Gotta Feeling”), Bon Jovi (“We Weren’t Born to Follow”), MGMT (“Kids”), and The Fray (the wrenching instant classic “Never Say Never”) round out this list. And since Ike and the boys clearly deserve it, you just know that those doofy Peas people will win it.

8:27pm: A wasn’t terribly impressed with Nick Jonas.

8:28pm: Incidentally, neither was I.

8:33pm: They decide to do a Michael Jackson tribute, and they pick Maxwell?!

8:34pm: What, was El DeBarge booked or somethin’?

8:34pm: Christ, this is horrendous. You have got to be kidding me!


  • ROCK ALBUM: Don’t passionately care about this category, although I thought that the Dave Matthews Band record, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, was their best one yet, and that the U2 record, No Line on the Horizon, was atrocious. Also here: AC/DC, Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood, and Green Day.

8:46pm: A just saw Amanda Peet on TV and is super-excited because he recognized her. (He knows her because I forced him to sit through all 21 brilliant episodes of “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” earlier this year, and he has yet to forgive me for it.)

8:50pm: Damn, Smokey looks scary!

8:53pm: These categories are flying faster than I can type, let alone think!

8:59pm: Black Eyed Peas get to sing again?!

9pm: OK, I’m going to Grammy.com to check out the full list of nominees, then I’ll be back with further thoughts. Give me a few.


  • RECORD OF THE YEAR: Identical to Song of the Year, except that, in a rampagingly ridiculous move, Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” gets swapped out in favor of Beyonce’s “Halo.” (Don’t get it twisted: I carry no water for Beyonce, who never fails to find new ways to incessantly irk me, but “Single Ladies” was one of the most inescapable singles of the year, so if you’re going to include her in this list, why the hell do you pick a second-rate midlist track to do it with? Ridiculous!) Is it too much to pray that “Use Somebody” — which, by anyone’s measure, was magnificent — will win no fewer than one of the top two prizes? (I won’t get greedy and demand both!)


  • ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Don’t even get me started on this horrific batch of untenable nonsense! The Black Eyed Peas mystify me, entirely. And listen, I like Lady GaGa as much as the next fun-loving homosexual, and I most seriously think “Just Dance” is one of the decade’s most riveting singles. (Really, I mean that!) But The Fame as Album of the Year material? Sacre bleu! Ditto Beyonce with her Sasha Fierce-ly overrated pablum, and Taylor Swift (whose ability to sing I still strongly question, no matter how wide-ranging and accessible her abilities as a songwriter undeniably are). Dave Matthews Band rounds out this hideously underwhelming list.

9:45pm: Other thoughts:

  • I literally have no words for the fucking black hole that is Best New Artist. Looking at this list and seeing those awful Silversun Pickups standing alongside the likes of The Ting Tings, Zac Brown Band, Keri Hilson, and MGMT makes me long for the glory days of last year when The Jonas Brothers made the top five over Leona Lewis. Have these five artists combined even sold one million albums between them? Where the hell is Mat Kearney on this list? Or The Script? Or The Airborne Toxic Event? Or Gloriana? Or even Owl City? That’s a Best New Artist lineup you can fucking well get solidly behind!
  • One of the year’s most enjoyable records — Kelly Clarkson’s ferocious comeback All I Ever Wanted — manages to nab one measly nomination, for Best Pop Album? You’re kidding, right?
  • Sherry Ann told me to make sure I give the great science fiction legend Harlan Ellison a shout out for his Grammy nomination for Best Children’s Spoken Word Album. (For you uninitiated, Harlan was a guest on Tom Snyder’s CBS talk show in 1995, and the resulting exchange was laugh-out-loud hilarious and remains one of the most listened-to tracks on my iPod. Favorite quote: “I swear, this is like Caligula mating with Medea!”)

8 responses to “the 2009 Grammy nominations:
a brandon’s buzz gut reaction”

  1. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    “Pretty Wings” fits right into the classic-sounding, retro-ish ballads that generally get nommed for Song of the Year. “Single Ladies” and “Poker Face” are a couple of the best singles of the last year, but neither one of them are standout examples of songwriting IMO. Nominate ’em for Record instead.

    The Peas have three of these awards. Three. (cries) I love the term “doofy,” btw. Stealin’ it.

  2. the buzz from brandon:

    Steal away, Blake. PS: Are you in Austin? Because if you are, it’s just crazy that we don’t already know each other!

  3. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    Crazy how? I live in Nashville, but I’ve heard only tremendous things about Austin. Type fast—need to read the rest of your reactions.

  4. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    To cool your jets a little, “Single Ladies,” for some foolish reason, was not even submitted in the category.

  5. the buzz from brandon:

    Ah, ok. If I’m not mistaken, “If I Were a Boy” and “Single Ladies” were released as singles simultaneously last September, and since the range is Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, it probably wasn’t eligible. Good catch. And given that, The Fray’s “You Found Me” or Rob Thomas’ “Her Diamonds” should have gotten that fifth slot instead of “Halo,” which no one’s gonna even remember in a year!

  6. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    “Single Ladies” and “If I Were a Boy” were actually released in October, but her camp just didn’t submit “Single Ladies” for the category. Rolling Stone named it the best single of ’08 and it was such a big pop culture phenomenon that it would’ve been a shoo-in if they had submitted it.

    I’d love to know how Kelly Clarkson feels about “Halo” being nominated. Ha. Have you seen that KC was passed over in Female Pop for Katy friggin’ Perry?

    I don’t know how you could be more right about the Album of the Year disaster.

  7. the buzz from brandon:

    Kelly’s exclusion is very surprising, although, to be fair, they have picked the WORST songs off of that album to release as singles. Are you as flabbergasted as I am that “Long Shot” hasn’t been sent to radio yet?! That song’s a freakin’ grand slam!

  8. the buzz from Blake Boldt:

    Love “Long Shot” (Katy Perry is good for somethin’!). Really dig “Don’t Let Me Stop You,” though it just apes some of her biggest hits. I would’ve never released “Already Gone,” especially in light of the whole “Halo” mumbojumbo. Still, Kelly lost out to Taylor Swift and Katy Perry for a vocal award. She’s one of the most-talented singers of our generation! Ridonkulous.

    Once the Gags was thrown out as a possible BNA nominee, I knew we’d be screwed. Zac Brown Band is actually talented, I have to say, but your list is a helluva lot better than the Grammy one. (Mat Kearney! The Script! Airborne!)