(reposted from The A.V. Club blog)
Okay, full disclosure: I only half-watched this. We had to take a break for Veronica Mars and then I kind of wandered in and out of the room for a while. Awards season fatique has set in early this year and I have to keep in shape for the Oscars. But I'm glad I caught Sly Stone, although the appearance left me a little shaken. The man still knows how to make an entrance, even if he doesn't know how to stick around. That's one of the reasons, Grammy tribute aside, I'm not sure he's ever gotten his full due. No one got it together quite like Sly in his heyday, and only a few have grown bitter and broken quite so publicly. That his appearance was a little terrifying is kind of appropriate. Whatever he does next—and I'm not sure we'll ever see him again—it won't be the extended respect-your-elders goodwill tour of Carlos Santana.
Why is it that only geniuses turn into eccentric recluses? Why not Seal? Or Will.I.Am? It seems like he's been drawn into the respectable-music-industry-circle that allows him to turn up at every awards show like a major artist. No thanks. And no thanks to Maroon 5, either. When Adam Levine shared the stage with Paul McCartney and Jay-Z you could almost feel him sucking the talent off the others.
Album Of The Year: U2? Sure, why not? But didn't that album come out in the late-'90s? The Grammys really should revise their consideration period (which currently ends in September of the previous year.) Just pushing it back two months would solve the problem. No one releases anything in December but plenty of high profile albums come out in October and November. It would be nice not to have the current Grammys turn into a nostalgia trip into the recent past.
Best New Artist: John Legend. That would have been my pick, too, in a pretty thin field. (Am I the only one who's never heard of SugarLand?) I hope he breaks the curse.
The rest is more or less what the Grammys always do: Pick the most obvious choice from a pool of obvious choices. There are a few curveballs. (Slipknot... Grammy winners? Did they show up in costume?) There's a category for Best Rap / Sung Collaboration? But mostly, business as usual. Maybe they can drag our Syd Barrett next year to make it really interesting.