To say I was shocked that Arcade Fire won the Grammy for Album of the Year would be somewhat of an understatement. For as long as I’ve been alive, The Grammys have been a place where artists, 10 or 20 years past their prime, win awards. If you look at the winners of Album of the Year from 2000 to 2010 this is what you would see:
Supernatural by Santana
Two Against Nature by Steely Dan
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Soundtrack by Various Artists
Come Away With Me by Norah Jones
Speakerboxxx/The Love Below by Outkast
Genius Loves Company by Ray Charles
How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb by U2
Taking the Long Way by Dixie Chicks
Raising Sand by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
Fearless by Taylor Swift
I’d say the list above is pretty telling of who wins at the Grammys. Of the ten winners above 4 of them could be considered new or contemporary artists, Outkast, Taylor Swift, Norah Jones and Dixie Chicks. The others are, well, old. The average age of the rest of the musicians is 57 (which doesn’t count all the various artists from O Brother.) Oh, and Ray Charles is dead.
Does this mean that the people behind the Grammys are catching a clue? That they realize there is music being made by folks under the age of 50? Or have Arcade Fire somehow hit a level of mainstream that was unbeknownst to me? Well, based upon this round-up of reactions on Twitter by Brooklyn Vegan, I don’t think the latter is true. No matter what, congrats to Arcade Fire on their win, and here’s hoping that the Grammys have finally learned… something.
Also, big congrats to The Black Keys, who won Best Alternative Music Album for Brothers. They were up against Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, Band of Horses and Broken Bells, a pretty strong list of competitors.