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Grammy Awards: Arcade Fire prove the Grammys aren't a complete waste of time

Look at that! Oh my, oh my. So a band is allowed to perform without someone popping up from the middle of the stage? It's possible for a band to sing A FULL SONG without trotting out some kid or some veteran artist, who supposedly the Arcade Fire were influenced by?

And it not only worked, but it was also far and away the strongest performance of the night, in fact the ONLY non-tribute/non-MusiCares performance actually better than average? So that can happen?

So it is.....possible? Really? The Grammys can be -- gasp -- relevant? Huh. Weird. Never woulda thought so. 

Anyway, the act's take on "Month of May" was no frills, all epilepsy-enducing lights. I was hoping for "We Used to Wait," which shows off the way the band can build to an arena sing-along, but "Month of May" hits hard and fast, and it was the only moment of pure rock 'n' roll on this telecast.

Still, coulda done without the BMX biker dudes with cameras on their heads. Not really sure what was happening there.

As  for the inanity of giving the band an album of the year nomination and then not awarding them alternative album of the year, well, we covered that earlier. The Grammys are sure to muck up something.

-- Todd Martens

Photo credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (18)

With the awards given tonight, the Grammys finally have proven how irrelevant they are. Arcade Fire, album of the year? Barbra Streisand thought the album name, "the Suburbs" was the name of the band. That has to say something about their impact on the musical world. Puhleeze? Esperanza (I can't remember her last name) new artist of the year? Very talented but made barely a ripple in the musical ocean. Another organization should be formed to give out awards to artists who merit them. I mean, why nominate such great artists as Neil Young, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Pearl Jam if you are going to give the award to some 15 minutes of fame English band? Soon the Grammys will be more of a joke than an honor.

Bob West is a fool. It's those types of folks who only listen to top 40 radio, who couldn't be bothered to listen to an artist that started after about '78. Tom Petty? Really?

As for your dig at Muse. They have been cranking out high quality rock from across the pond for years. IF you listened to something other than whatever Casey Kasem is feeding you, you might have come across them.

@ bobwest
So your criteria for whether a band is relevant is whether barbara streisand knows who they are? That's...interesting.

@Bob West: They gave Neil Young the best rock album award, which he didn't deserve, mostly because he didn't pen the best rock album of the year. Are you happy? The Arcade Fire make incredible records that make even my father (an avowed Young/Zepplin/Zappa fellow) believe in new music. If they're giving awards to has-beens because the 40-60s buy their CDs at Starbucks, then rather than appreciating what's relevant now, the show will have to do it 30 years. The Grammy's are a joke, but like a broken clock, they're right twice a day. Cheers to my favorite Canadians!

Wow, Mr. West, I was just thinking quite the opposite. I have the Grammy's on in the background as I do real work, and after seeing a few awards, I'm thinking "Jeesh, America is in an intellectual downward spiral that seems to be accelerating. The longer I live the dumber America gets."

My education came from four years at Berklee College of Music - a lot of my fellow alumni were in tonight's audience because they played on a lot of the nominated albums.

Then I pop up the news on the internet and it says Arcade Fire and Esperanza Spaulding win! Could this be the same Esperanza Spaulding I saw last summer performing at the Hollywood Bowl with Herbie Handcock for his 70th birthday? The same Esperanza Spaulding who commanded the attention of the entire audience and held us in rapture as she played? Yep, it was her!

So stick to Justin Beiber and the Jonas Brothers and all the rapper and pop hit writer wannabe's who make records in their bedroom in hopes of getting rich. People who learn to make computers play music for them so they don't have to learn to play an instrument. People who wonder how they can get rich because they're so freakin' talented playing a plastic guitar on Guitar Hero. You don't need to think to understand their "music." I prefer music by artists, to hear art being created by people who love music, not money.

Apparently, for one short moment tonight, the Grammy's vapid awards for who made the most money last year in the music business slowed our downward spiral for a nanosecond.

if not everything.

if not everything.

...if not everything.

I suspect the BMX bikes refer to their video. But they still seemed out of place. That said, Arcade Fire, Muse and Cee Lo/Paltrow(!) had the best performances.

Thanks for your article.

I agree - there seemed to be a mix-up with them failing to grab the best alternative honors as well. However, this did give the Black Keys some credit for their excellent album - not as great as The Suburbs but certainly a highlight for 2010.

Now I am inspired - I have an ideal to aspire to.


Hey bob west, they're not from england dumbass. They're from montreal, canada. And you only listen to mainstream bullshit probably so that's why you don't know them. I know they're canadian and i live in california. I'm not even canadian, i'm american and i know this you fool.

I for one though Mumford and Sons and Florence and the Machine were deserving of the Best New Artist award. But as for Arcade Fire winning Album of the Year? It shows that people's taste in music is opening up. Arcade Fire is more than deserving of that award, and if you don't believe me, than actually listen to the ALBUM.

Music isn't something to complain about when it comes to artists that you yourself don't necessarily enjoy. To each his own. If Eminem would have won Album of the Year I wouldn't doubt that he is also deserving. But it was nice to see something, maybe strange or odd to some people, win the top award in music, as far as the Grammys are concerned. But just because you don't enjoy what other people listen to, doesn't mean they aren't good. And if you think Arcade Fire shouldn't have won, then open your damn mind.

@ bob west

Dude ur a complete ass and have no good taste

I didnt bother watching the grammys because i thought i was gonna have to watch one of the greatest bands out in the music industy lose to all these marketed, fame monstered, money making, artists. Arcade Fire is what music is truely about they make smart, pure, honest, beautiful music. i wish that could be reflected upon to society instead we have the majority of society listening to music about drugs, fame, lust, and sex and its sad that society actually does reflect that.

Its a sad world we live in but Arcade Fire winning album of the year at the grammys is a glimmer of hope for the collective conscious of society...if everyone knew and listened to them instead of lady gaga, eminem, katy perry, and justin beiber i think the motives of people would be different. Im just in complete shock that Arcade Fire won THERE IS A GOD!!!!! lol

look, i dont understand how you loose in your own music category then you win the album of the year !! i think judges just tried to choose something that no one expects so they may look cool and artistic .

I don't think Todd Martens and I were watching the same awards show last night. Now, to be fair, I don't know much about Arcade Fire and I won't debate whether they should have or shouldn't have won Album of the Year. However, to call it 'far and away the strongest performance of the night' can only mean that Mr. Martens was a little heavy on the channel surfing last night and only saw Arcade Fire, Bob Dylan and Justin Bieber. Any chance for a person like me to try and listen to their music and get a sniff of what this band is about was drowned out by the over-the-top light show and the distracting and nonsensical bmx bikers. Which leads to the question, if you're a good band, why do so much else to distract the listener from hearing your actual music? Again, no critique on their music and, personally, I find female drummers darn attractive, giving this band a head-start on my rating scale, but this performance was not in the same class as some of the others from last night, most notably: the raw, edgy show by Eminem, et al; the passionate, multi-talented performances of Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae; even Mick Jagger proved he's still got it

I completely agree. Glad to know I'm not the only who thinks so. I was expecting either "we used to wait" or perhaps "sprawl II", and the cyclists was a bit confusing...but when they won at the end of the night, I was thrilled and couldn't be any more happier for them. They truly deserve it.

I was very satisfied with the Grammy's; usually I find these shows a waste of time because they only give awards to super mainstream in-your-face artists and there's no diversity or anything special to it. But last night had a lot of diverse performances in terms of music genres, artists, etc.


Arcade Fire not only won album of the year but they actually made an album. None of the other nominations put together an album, but rather a compilations of songs that have no relationship to one another. As an avid classic rock fan I have also found hope in modern music. Arcade Fire is the best band out today besides Radiohead and I am happy to be a huge fan of them. Finally there's hope in music today. Instead of putting down arcade fire listen to the suburbs. It's magical.

I'm beginning to think the only way the Grammy Awards can please everyone is to have awards shows based on age. Perhaps a Grammy Awards Senior for those who shared Barbra's reaction, a Grammy Awards Middle Age for those who think music stopped after Tom Petty, and a Grammy Awards 35 and Under for people who actually know who actually at least recognized the younger acts last night.


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