Best new artist is a strange category to put Bon Iver in…due to the fact that many who know and love his music have been listening to it for a while now. ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’ was released in early 2008 and specific tracks from that album were on constant repeat in my room. I know, I know. ‘Skinny Love’ may be the cliche pick but it was and still is an amazing piece to listen to.
I find it harsh that some members of the press labeled Bon Iver as being snide for not performing at the Grammys. Let’s be honest. The performances tend to be produced as flashy. Not always–Tony Bennett performed impeccably and with class tonight. And the pressure on a night like tonight is huge. I won’t even get after those who lip synch. I understand it’s a liability at times to go without. Dancing and singing, or singing while flying through the air/jumping around in a Silk Spectre outfit/prancing in impractical shoes and spandex is tough. But either way, I respect his decision not to perform and I understand why. I’ve seen Muse live and they were amazing, but I felt their Grammy performance last year was a bit saturated with pop. Well, that’s just me!
Some viewers always seem to jump on the ‘lesser known’ acts this way, casting them as uppity. Think of last year and the response to Arcade Fire and Esperenza Spalding. Hey now, just because YOU don’t know who these artists are doesn’t mean they a) don’t deserve to be recognized b) aren’t good. Also, they have probably been around a lot longer than you think, but you were too busy listening to the same 10 Hot 100 hits. Even when I ordered tickets to Bon Iver’s show last year, the ticketing agency didn’t have his name correct. Oye vey! But it’s French, right, we don’t do that in America, right?
Kidding, kidding. (But the show was beautiful).
In the same way that others may jump at the chance to bark and bite at acts like Bon Iver and Arcade Fire, others will jump to ridicule bubblegum pop and uber produced, heavily auto-tuned and compressed acts. Just because I don’t enjoy Taylor Swift’s fairy tale act doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate the fact that she is bringing musical happiness to someone. Am I glad she wasn’t cast in Les Mis? Yes. Do I think someone is trying hard to alter her tween image now that her audience is getting older? It seemed a bit obvious.
Bon hiver, Bon Iver! (Though we are still waiting for the snow).