Tuesday, December 08, 2009

grammy thoughts 09

[I was waiting to give you my thoughts because I had agreed to hold off until the Grammy site published by official Grammy blog entry on last week's dance-related nominations. I'm told there were technical issues with the Grammy blog and, as far as I know, it still hasn't gotten off the ground. So here's what I sent them]:

The dance music nominations were as pop as they've been in years, and some purists aren't going to like seeing Lady Gaga and Britney Spears in the Best Dance Recording category or LMFAO and the Pet Shop Boys in the Best Electronic/Dance Album slot. Dance music has had a huge year brought on by Gaga, the Black Eyed Peas and an electronic-minded Kanye West, so it's hard to ignore its pop aspirations. But nothing from dance music's core draws – Tiesto, Deadmau5, Kaskade – was represented at the Kodak Theater in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday. And none of its recent, edgy movements, from the neon punk of “nu electro” to the dark wave of techno and house (DJ Hell, Radio Slave, Dubfire) was present either.

The most genuine dance artists in the bunch included The Crystal Method, nominated for its solid long-player Divided By Night. TCM is the one act with gravitas, heft and electronica roots. David Guetta, whose album One Love was nominated and who also got nods under the recording and remix headers, is a pop star in Europe, but he has verifiable dance-floor chops. Pretty much every remixer nominated is a product of the electronic dance music scene (unlike Gaga or the Black Eyed Peas), particularly Trentemoller, Dennis Ferrer and Dave Aude.

Even the Black Eyed Peas' Will.i.am, speaking to press backstage, admitted the edgiest pop you'll hear today is “not on the radio ... it's underground dance music.” This year's group of Grammy finalists reflects the mainstream's infatuation with the trancey synths, uptempo beats and disco-ball allure of clubland without diving into the after-hours head first. Guetta, a French DJ who produced music this year for the Black Eyed Peas and Kelly Rowland, said the floodgates will continue to open for core e-music, however. “Next year is going to be so big,” he said, getting more attention from reporters than Ringo Starr, who also appeared for press.

“It's in a massive way,” Guetta said of dance music's explosion. “There's no more frontiers. It's all about good music and sharing passion. There's no more opposition.”

[I encourage you to check out LA Weekly music editor Randall Roberts' take on the overall roster of nominations, which nearly made him puke, here].

[Above: Are Grammy noms getting 'retarded in here?' Photo of the Black Eyed Peas backstage at the Grammy nominations by yours truly].

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