Is Adele the GRAMMYs GOAT? … And other thoughts



I’m not one to normally watch the Grammys in its entirety, but this year I felt the need to for this blog.

At first, I was going to go all anti-Grammys with this post, but I think it’s better to remain somewhat neutral. And for the sake of length, here are only some of my thoughts (one long attempt at a cohesive post would result in pages upon pages of rambling):

i) The Grammys will never get it right. Music is such a polarizing entity. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) puts on this awards show to celebrate a wide range of artists from an insane amount of music genres. Why does it exist? It’s mainly a scheme to drive up record sales, let’s be real. At least artists, like A Tribe Called Quest, used it to voice their political and societal displeasure.

ii) Lady Gaga and Metallica perform… and then Sturgill Simpson is supposed to follow it up? What is going on? Sturgill Simpson deserves more than having to perform immediately after that stunt. Music as a spectacle is fine, but c’mon Grammys, is Lady Gaga crowd surfing in jean booty shorts as a metalhead really necessary?

iii) I know it’s a live event and needs to keep moving, but let Greg Kirstin (Adele’s main producer) talk! Give the producers and composers who work ridiculously hard behind the scenes and all year round speak for their musical creations. They deserve more of the spotlight, and unfortunately, the Grammys is one of the only events where this is ‘given’.

iv) It was refreshing to hear Chance the Rapper give a salute to independent music and artists. He even gave SoundCloud a shout-out. Respect. What a night for Chance, who won the Grammy for Best Rap Album, Best Rap Performance, and Best New Artist.

v) When Adele began her tribute to George Michael, I cringed. Her pitch was completely flat. Shockingly, she stopped her performance and restarted it out of respect for George Michael. Wow. That took a lot of guts and she stepped up and rectified her performance. She can really do no wrong (even if she does lay down some curses live on-air). The story will be spun negatively and positively. She’ll be a scapegoat for swearing and having to restart, but she’ll also come out of it as a heroine for doing so because it needed to be done.

vi) On a night that feels like a messed up music spectacle, it was nice to see Adele and Chance the Rapper, two genuine artists, clean up. The fact that Adele dedicated more than half her Album-of-the-Year speech to Beyoncé says it all: unselfish. She’s a true, humble fan of music.

My Grammys highlights:

  • Adele’s do-over tribute to George Michael.
  • A Tribe Called Quest’s “We the People….” performance.
  • The Bee Gees medley performance.
  • Chance the Rapper’s performance.
  • Bruno Mars’s tribute to Prince.
  • Adele giving Greg Kirstin the speech time he deserved during the acceptance of the Grammy for Record of the Year.

Oh and Adele is an immovable force. Let it be known that every fifth year will from now on be the year of the G.O.A.T. aka Adele (first in 2012 and now 2017… we’ll have to wait and see what she has up her sleeve for the 2020s):

Let me know what you thought of the 59th Grammys.



You won’t believe what Hans Zimmer, Phil Collins, Bryan Adams, and John Williams all have in common (Genres Uncovered | Soundtracks)

They’ve all composed soundtracks. Yes, Phil and Bryan did dip into the soundtrack scene at one point of their musical careers. (Sidenote: how’d you like the title? I could work on my click-bait writing skills a little more)

Do you know what makes a good movie great? The actors. Yes, first and foremost, great acting equals a great movie (assuming the screenplay is well written, directed well, and so on and so on).

I watched The Founder this weekend and found myself admiring the movie more so because of the soundtrack. Carter Burwell’s score fit perfectly with Ray Kroc’s persistence and determination. Michael Keaton played the bold, greedy, and heartless Ray Kroc wonderfully, but I really found that the music catapulted the film to the next level.

The soundtrack embodied the feeling of grand entrepreneurial horizons of riches, success, and promise. It also does help when you have Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit In The Sky” thrown in.

It won’t be heralded as one of the greatest soundtracks, but it stood out, and that’s telling of one doing its crucial job: to immerse the viewer in the story.

Believe it or not, soundtracks came before spoken dialogue in films (spoken dialogue only was introduced in the ’30s). During the silent-film era (1894-1929), live orchestras or pianists played in-house to fill the silence, give the audience a sense of reality (or a way to connect with what they saw on the screen), and of course cover up the noisy projector.

Here’s a fun fact that may help you in your yearly Trivial Pursuit gathering: Joseph Carl Breil’s three-hour score for The Birth of a Nation (1915) was the first original score produced for a film.

When I think of composers, I think of the famous ones: John Williams (Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, etc.), Hans Zimmer (The Last Samurai, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Pacific, etc.), and Howard Shore (The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, etc.).

But what is Winnipeg’s connection to composing soundtracks? My digging online has found that Mychael Danna, a Winnipeg-born composer and Oscar winner, has had a hand in some big films. He won Best Original Score for Life of Pi but has also produced original scores for Moneyball, Capote, and Little Miss Sunshine. Not a bad haul.

Nowadays, you can find all your favourite soundtracks on digital music services. So the next time you find yourself humming along in the theatre to a compelling soundtrack, remember, you have access to it instantly on the car ride home.

I don’t have time to get into video-game soundtracks, but it is a subgenre that continues to massively grow in today’s day and age.

Two favourite movie soundtracks of mine that come to mind are Phil Collins’s Tarzan and Bryan Adams/Han Zimmer’s SpiritFor video-game soundtracks, I’d say The Last of Us and the Uncharted series. What are some of yours?