I have a confession: I like the Grammy Awards.
For some, this is a strange statement. For many, this is an embarrassing statement that is met with the same sort of awkward downward turn of the eyes generally associated with seeing a couple fight in public. The Grammy Awards suffer from the same problem that various other highly publicized events that try to appeal to a broad swath of what is an increasingly diverse and fragmented American society. As such, it is frequently lambasted by media elite, random blogger and parent's neighbor alike, often not without merit.
And yet, I like the Grammys. Music is different. It has different genres, different influences, different volumes; it comes from different people and different cultures and different pasts; it reaches different people at different times in their life and different moods throughout a day; perhaps most relevantly, it has different complexities, different intentions and different emotions. It is because of this that music is so important to so many people.
Yet, despite the supposed open-mindedness of music lovers, I often find that they forget this simple fact. This isn't to say that all music is equally good or worthy of praise. But I do think that the Grammys suffer from trying to bring together so many genres; it is a task of immense difficulty and scale. And yet, degree of difficulty is seemingly rarely taken into account in the Race to the Quip. While those music critics with the loudest opinions will make sure to be heard Sunday night and Monday morning, I think it would behoove them to realize that the Grammys aren't really for them and, perhaps more importantly, the Grammys should be considered an ally, not an enemy. If their goal is to more ably and efficiently disseminate good music, then perhaps deriding music's biggest night for short term personal gains should not be considered the best approach.
I don't like all of the music that will be featured Sunday night on CBS. There are genres that elicit eye rolls and artists whose bring out visceral anger. But I appreciate the Grammys and what they try to do. There is music that I have never heard to which I will be exposed and will further investigate. There are (currently) poorly known artists that I would love to gain a wider audience and popularity, even if that comes through notoriety from the acts of petulant teenyboppers. And there are some artists who have put together historically great albums, even in years where the overall industry was a bit disappointing, who I fervently hope get the recognition, praise, and awards that they deserve.
It is in this last category that our FAV comes from. Frank Ocean came out with an amazing album that challenged the idea of what R&B music is, where it is going, and what type of love can spur the emotion that drives the best of it. For one such as I who loves neo-soul and modern R&B, it was almost deliriously good. While this isn't my favorite song from the album, this is the best video I could find online from the album. Cheers.
Frank Ocean - Thinkin Bout You - Saturday Night Live (2012) (via FrankOceanVEVO)