“Best New Artist?! ‘Living On a Prayer’ Is Older Than I Am!!!” – A Grammy Recap

OK, so here’s the deal – even if you don’t care at all about the Grammys you probably have already heard something along these lines:

UPDATE February 14th Spin.com just posted Justin’s first post-Grammys interview.  Here are ten quotes that explain how he feels now compared to before his big wins:

  • “If it wasn’t the Grammys, it’d be something else. Can you imagine a Pitchfork Awards? That’d be worse…It’d be the same kind of problems. It’s not that the Grammys are evil, they’ve just been around the longest…I think Pitchfork probably wanted me to go up there and raise hell. Because then they get to look like the entity that helped fuel the fire that changed the industry. But all that is them funneling readers to their website.”
  • “I feel like I know now, I know what it’s like. Whatever concerns or discomforts I have about the Grammys don’t matter. Not that I should shut up about them, but just because one group of people is having an awards ceremony that they think is the center of the universe for one night… I know what I know and I feel what I feel, but it just doesn’t matter. For the time I was there, I just enjoyed it…I think I had more fun that I thought I would. I think the music was a lot better than I thought it would be. Plenty of things proved my concerns, like people just not playing music. Chris Brown was pure playback. A few other people were just playback. And that’s hard to swallow.”
  • “I realized last night, “I’m not the only different one in here.” Everyone is different from each other. Nobody has any idea how different we all are.”
  • “Five minutes before I went up there, I was looking at it and I said to myself, “I’m not going to say that.” It wasn’t the right place or time, but I cut out the part that said, “It’s hard to accept this award because of all the talent out there, but also because Bon Iver is an entity and something that I gave myself to. A lot of people give themselves to it, so it’s hard to think of Bon Iver as an artist. Bon Iver is not an artist. Bon Iver is an idea…I thought it would be confusing and too self-referential.”
  • “Clearly people saw the name Bon Iver on the screen last night and will never hear the music. Some people saw the name and made an opinion without having heard the music.”
  • “I was obliged to be grateful because a bunch of people were supporting me. But it’s both, as they say in Milwaukee: It’s bad and good…In this last week I’ve realized that, whether I liked it or not, I’ve put up some walls and defenses. I just couldn’t get up there and look all those people in the eye and say, “You suck.” Because I didn’t think that at the time. I don’t think that now. Any of those feelings I had beforehand were probably a combination of those defenses and doubt and skepticism about what all of this means. I also didn’t want to be rude. A bunch of people voted for me. I got myself involved. I said it was okay for the label to submit us for the Grammys. So, ultimately, I don’t think I was ready to get up there and try to take the system down. Because I realized that a) it’s not going anywhere; b) I don’t need the shitstorm to deal with afterwards; because c) it’s just not that important. And because it’s not that important, I was able to enjoy it and understand its relative relevance, while also enjoying all of its irrelevance. Like, LL Cool J had a really cool-sounding speaking voice. Bruno Mars’ drummer was pretty fucking good. It just feels a lot better afterwards because of that, because you can see it for how big it is.”
  • “Three-hundred-sixty-four more days until the next one. Every one of those days, I won’t be thinking about it.”
  • That scene in “Holocene” is about…that moment, as you realize your insignificance, you can therefore realize your significance. Whether we were on the Grammys last night or not, not much would change. Not much is different now… I’ve spent enough time caring about music that gets little to no recognition. So I know what it’s like. But at the end of the day, you either love to do it or you don’t. And I love it.”
  • “I think a lot of how I live my live going forward is going to be connected to how I handle press.  It’s been the only source of anxiety with this growing process. I want to do what’s best for us and be creative. This has opened my eyes to what it’s going to take to do this band the way I really dream it could be. It’s going to take changing bandmates, changing sounds, changing instruments, changing voices, growing into myself, making tough decisions, taking the time to make tough creative decisions about what songs you play on SNL or what songs you write or how you want to approach press…I haven’t been very graceful — as graceful as I could be — with all of this stuff. Because it’s so full-on. I’ve spent so many hours of my life now interviewing and talking about it and getting convinced that it’s important, what I’m saying.”
  • “I’m a romantic, I care about what it is. I care that it came from a pure place. Maybe it’s some weird, psychotic brainchild and I’m overly protective. But maybe that’s what’s inspired me about Neil Young. He just did it. He always put music first. If that’s what it’s about, then it should stay that way.”


If you missed all of the above – worry not.  Watching tweets from people watching the award ceremonies was more amusing than the show itself.  Here’s a recap of the funny and the insightful – but first, the completely clueless:














































































  . . . “Bonny Bear” gets the last word – another quote from the aformentioned Spin interview,“Paul McCartney is up there and the guy has to love what he does and he obviously has to be happy with the other parts of his life, otherwise I don’t think he’d be having half as much fun up there. If he didn’t have harmony, he wouldn’t be up there. He would have been swallowed up by all of this. I think it’s pretty clear by the look on that guy’s face that he didn’t see that room as the center of the universe last night. He’s been around long enough to be comfortable up on that stage, to know that there’s more out there. That was my favorite: a 70-year-old guy, playing guitar. It’s people doing what they were born to do.”


  1. Goddamn, thanks for this summation of Twitter reactions to Grammys. Hilarious! So many people follow award contests like they are these coronation ceremonies, be all and end all events. What matters is putting on a record like Bon Iver’s and feeling something. I feel it. Also, yes, right on about one-hit-wonder Foster.


  2. Hey indieethos, thanks for reply. Well put. I think Justin’s speech and people’s reactions to him both show how silly these shows are – like high school popularity elections or something. It’s one thing to not have heard of an artist who has won. It’s another to assume he can’t possibly be deserving because he “looks like a subsitute teacher.”

    I was trying to bring out the absurdity of all sides – both the people offended by The Beach Boys playing with Maroon 5 or surprised not everybody has heard of this person or that person – and the people who don’t even know who Sir Paul is (yet have an attitude like they know better than everybody else who really deserves the awards).
    All in good fun because afterall even Adele and Justin can agree it’s “ridiculous”…

    That’s what I was getting at with the Foster tweet too: I was trying to make fun of Chuck Klosterman’s recent essay on tYnE-YaRdS topping the Pazz and Jop as much as I was trying to mock the band. For the record I have nothing against them – just a bit surprised they’re still around. But what do I know….


    1. Your, right on, Psych. I liked the Foster the People hit like anyone else, but it reeks of catchiness sans soul. I could not hear the album all the way through without feeling nauseous, it was so redundant (and I love the drone/noise rock!). I will not argue that Adele did a fine release of an album last year. Bought it for the wife and loved that she played the hell out of it because even a snob like myself enjoyed it (we are both also huge fans of Flaming Lips hence why I am a follower of your great blog). But, man, Foster probably jumped at the Beach Boys thing as Bon Iver backed out. He is such a sell out. Foster the People came to Miami Beach to play a high-priced exclusive nightclub instead of an all ages show in a theater. Shame on them, they just shortened their lifespan a bit there too.


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