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A Music Fan Should Never Watch the Grammys

Except NARAS voters, who naturally went with the least metal band on the ballot, Jethro Tull. My parents were big Jethro Tull fans and had, several times, repeated a story about how they went to a Tull show in New York and a tiny dot of light on the stage's screen transformed into a spinning ballerina that then "crashed through" the screen's invisible fourth wall just as Tull took the stage. They said it freaked them out, which I discovered soon afterward meant they were enjoying it in a state that's only legal in Washington and Colorado. They loved Ian Anderson's one-legged flute playing, they loved Aqualung and Thick As A Brick, but they never transitioned over to Motorhead's Ace Of Spades or Anthrax's Caught In A Mosh as a result of it.

Chances are it didn't sound like metal to Grammy voters, either. They're a delicate lot and don't like to be jolted unless absolutely necessary, even if they miss some cultural touchstones along the way. They gave Michael Jackson's Thriller a sweep in 1984 basically because the world and the album's sales wouldn't let them ignore it. They were able to shun Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP for Steely Dan in 2001 because their peers couldn't fault them for picking something far more sedate and less abrasive than their sensitive ears could handle. They made 2012 the Year of Adele because consensus was on their side, but passed on Kanye West's Graduation for Herbie Hancock in 2007 because, well, keeping Kanye West off the stage has become as much of a Grammy tradition as picking the Best New Artist that's either least new or has the absolute least staying power (think Starland Vocal Band or Milli Vanilli).

If given the choice between a raw, landscape-changing artist and someone that they and their spouse can listen to while sitting in their respective soaking tubs waiting for the Cialis to set in, Grammy voters will take the pruney latter option every time.

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This is why I get not only annoyed, but disproportionately angry when asked if I'm going to pay attention to this year's Grammys. Why? So I can see Kanye West's Yeezus not be among this year's nominees for Best Album. So I can watch the talented Sara Barellies sit there awkwardly and have her name go uncalled just because judges wanted a serene singer-songwriter who could show them what Lady Gaga would be like if Stefani Germanotta took off the makeup and went back to Wednesday night gigs at the Bitter End?

So I can watch Kraftwerk get a lifetime achievement award just so Grammy judges can revise their history and say they've always been hip to those crazy computer sounds Daft Punk is putting down? So Lorde can make the trip from New Zealand just to be the token representative of NARAS' youth movement? So Macklemore & Lewis' Same Love can win hip-hop's first Record Of The Year title ever or Song Of The Year title ever?

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