HomeStuff2017 . 02A Night at the Grammys, Featuring Lady Gaga and Metallica

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A Night at the Grammys, Featuring Lady Gaga and Metallica

Music

Disclaimer. I’m being careful. I don't want to get unnecessary dirt on my band, Corporate Girl, and make things awkward for us should we need to attend the Grammys to accept an award, or even just to perform.

... pausing here to allow some people to stop laughing.

Saw this, and there was really no going back:

Notes on two performances.

Uno.

The Weeknd and Daft Punk performed the song (#10 on Spotify as I type) “I Feel It Coming.” Here were/are the opening lines:

Tell me what you really like

Baby I can take my time

We don't ever have to fight

Just take it step-by-step

I can see it in your eyes

Cause they never tell me lies

I can feel that body shake

And the heat between your legs.

There’s another verse — utterly forgettable, so let’s do that — and then the next eight lines are these:

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

Two more pro forma verses follow, and then the next sixteen lines:

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

One of the difficulties in creating complexity in poetry and prose is that language is limited in what it can convey in a single pass. A writer can create the complexity, but he or she might need to walk up to something more than once. The opening paragraph of Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a good example. Robert Louis Stevenson creates “Mr. Utterson the lawyer,” the central character of his story, by describing him with a series of simple, disjointed descriptions. Yet, by the time Stevenson’s through, Utterson is on his feet.

It’s a short read, if anyone wants to see what I mean (and it will give the poor woman in the song time to breathe):

Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance, that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable. At friendly meetings, and when the wine was to his taste, something eminently human beaconed from his eye; something indeed which never found its way into his talk, but which spoke not only in these silent symbols of the after-dinner face, but more often and loudly in the acts of his life. He was austere with himself; drank gin when he was alone, to mortify a taste for vintages; and though he enjoyed the theatre, had not crossed the doors of one for twenty years. But he had an approved tolerance for others; sometimes wondering, almost with envy, at the high pressure of spirits involved in their misdeeds; and in any extremity inclined to help rather than to reprove. “I incline to Cain’s heresy,” he used to say quaintly: “I let my brother go to the devil in his own way.” In this character, it was frequently his fortune to be the last reputable acquaintance and the last good influence in the lives of down-going men. And to such as these, so long as they came about his chambers, he never marked a shade of change in his demeanour.

None of that has anything to do with this song, though. There follows one repeated verse, and then the song ends with these thirty-nine, not-complexity-building lines:

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I know what you feel right now.

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I know what you say right now, babe.

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I know what you say right now, babe.

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming, babe

I feel it coming, babe

Basically, the song was/is about five minutes of the singer feeling it coming.

I’m not about to complain about pornographic songs, so anyone reading, tensed over the comments, growing more and more ready to burst when finally pushed over the edge, can relax. I love the idea of being a serious people with a serious civilization, and of having an annual celebration and award ceremony for music. The best of the best musical artists performing at a venue a year in the making, people who love music watching and participating from home and the network, and kids staring up at televisions with wide eyes, falling in love with something beautiful, all sound great. Such a people wouldn’t have Donald Trump as their President (or Hillary Clinton), and they wouldn’t have this song performed at their annual musical award ceremony. As things are, we aren’t a serious people, we don’t have a serious civilization, and the Grammys isn’t a venue for the best of the best. And, as things are, it’s perfectly every-day for kids to stare at tiny screens with nothing on them and listen to pop-stars sing about wanting to f*** each other. The serious civilization ship has sailed.

No, the striking thing wasn’t that the “I Feel It Coming” performance was inappropriate, but that the song was so completely stupid.

In what universe is that song hot?

It’s true that it’s just one song in a growing tradition of cloddish songs that advertise themselves as “make-out music” while being as seductive as a sink full of dishes or videos of a monkey humping the back of a rhinoceros, but I want to take issue with the whole tradition. Out of context, I would have taken “I Feel It Coming” for a parody.

Welcome to Costco. I love you.

For comparison, here are two verses from Warrant’s song from “the 80s,” “Cherry Pie”:

Swingin’ on the front porch

Swingin’ on the lawn

Swingin’ where we want

’Cause there ain’t nobody home

Swingin’ to the left

And swingin’ to the right

If I think about baseball

I’ll swing all night, yeah!

Swingin’ in the living room

Swingin’ in the kitchen

Most folks don’t ’cause

They’re too busy bitchin’

Swingin’ in there ’cause

She wanted me to feed her

So I mixed up the batter

And she licked the beater!

Is there anything different about “Cherry Pie”? Yes — It’s a party song. The band is performing shocking (and ridiculous) lyrics and being bad boys. The audience and the band are both in on the joke.

“I Feel It Coming” is a ballad.

If there are any other survivors receiving this transmission, put “romantic love” on the list of things to put in the time-capsule for the after-people.

Más.

So —Lady Gaga and Metallica?

Awesome.

I’m not kidding. The Grammys is a comparatively long event. There were times when I was just enduring and once when I walked away. But when Lady Gaga and Metallica finally got started, I actually thought the words, “it was worth it.”

I don’t have much to say about this. Assessments of Lady Gaga’s and Metallica’s politics and persons is beyond my scope altogether. I just want to say that I shook my head and laughed when I saw #MetalliGa and that I’m not laughing now.

The girl can wail.

I’m not sure how this is going to play today in the chatter. The performance was broken, but many of them were. All night, the Grammys were plagued with mixing problems. Metallica’s Hetfield’s microphone was off when their performance started, and he eventually just walked away and shared Lady Gaga’s. That forced him to push like he meant it just to get into the cardioid (not that he regularly whispers) and for her to back up and do the same thing. Even after his microphone was hot, they went back into that rhythm a few times, and I suspect it was the performance going to hell that let them ultimately own it. And beyond the technical glitches, there was some silliness. Lady Gaga’s surprise crowd-surfing was pretty cool, but then immediately funny, because the little crowd she surfed was so small and carefully boxed in that it all came off as a little too careful. She also looked reluctant to jump into the water to begin with, but I would be too on a night as technically clunky as last.

Anyway, I’m a believer. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.

\m/

Leave you with this.

Note. I’ll play video mombo for awhile and try to find what we need. This current clip doesn’t have the best bits, but it’s all I can get to at post time.

20170213-0431-01

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