By Gregory Swindasz
So the Grammys are all said and done, but the dust storm known as Taylor Swift has not yet settled. Taking home the most honored award in the music industry has not helped the doe-eyed country phenomena, in fact, it seems to have only hurt her future. As we all know, after the Kayne West MTV VMA embarrassment, Swift was on top of her game. Even Obama called West a “jackass”. We all felt bad for the cute young sacran-sweet blond from Tennessee. Her teenage ballads remind us of a time when we were young and hopeful for our fairytale ending (“Love Story”) or of the vulnerable times of young lives (“Fifteen”), but no one, at least of those who I have spoken to, thought she deserved what she got – either at the VMAs or the Grammys.
With contenders like “I Am…Sasha Fierce” (Beyoncé) and “The Fame” (Lady Gaga), Swift’s “Fearless” did not seem to compare for Album of the Year. As cute as the songs are, this was not game changing music that would go down in the anthems of American music history. Songs like “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” or “Poker Face” had a bigger impact on the music world then “Fifteen”.
This is only one piece of the puzzle. Her performance at the Grammy Awards (and really at any other live on-air performance) was less than stellar. So much so it prompted CEO of Big Machine Records, Scott Borchetta, to say to the Associated Press: “This is not `American Idol.’ This is not a competition of getting up and seeing who can sing the highest note. This is about a true artist and writer and communicator. It’s not about that technically perfect performance.” When the CEO of your record label has to compare the Grammys to American Idol to defend your seemingly undeserved victory, something is off, and it’s not just her pitch.
There is something off here. Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Green Day and so many others gave perfect and amazing performances. Beyoncé whipping her hair around as she bounced up and down on her knees, Gaga singing with Sir Elton John, or even the triumphant claim by Will.i.am at the end of the Black Eyed Peas performance “Welcome to the future” is what the Grammys are all about. I’m sorry Taylor, if you’re going to win Album of the Year, at least sing on key.
There could have been something else here. I remember hearing a few months ago that Swift was what the young people wanted, so the music industry was going to give it to them. If giving Swift this highest of honors was in some way a shot at reclaiming sales lost to piracy, then that truly is the furthest thing from honorable. Personally, I don’t believe that’s true. We will all just have to watch and see how things go. There is something off here, maybe it is just her pitch or maybe we will never know.