If there's anything the Grammys struggle with every year, it's how to encapsulate the vague concept of INTEGRITY into a sprawling, scattered three-and-a-half hour survey of a few corners of our huge musical landscape. There were points last night that we fully do not understand. Did The Foo Fighters really need to be involved so heavily? Why did the Beach Boys look so scared (actually we could answer that one in a few different ways)? Most confusingly, why did LL Cool J keep emphasizing his friendship with Paul McCartney? All the activity (we didn't even mention the bizarre three-pronged performance that was being referred to as a "live mashup" or Adele's much-deserved wins) left our heads spinning, wishing for the simpler times of 8PM when Bruce Springsteen, the E Street Band (sadly minus Clarence Clemons, who passed away last year) and an entire orchestra burned through "We Take Care of Our Own," Springsteen's latest single. It was a promising start to a not-very-promising Grammys—an industry veteran flexing his performance muscles to an audience of performers, playing a new song that sounds vaguely like Arcade Fire (does that close some sort of crazy music circle of artists being influenced by younger artists who in turn influence them in an endless loop?), and then getting the hell off the stage until the final performance with Paul McCartney, which unfortunately felt like a bunch of older dudes doing a bad job at convincing young kids that guitars are still cool. But that opening performance! Good job, Bruce.
February 13, 2012