Arcade Fire wins top Grammy
LOS ANGELES ó Canadaís Arcade Fire stole the thunder from Lady Antebellum, Lady Gaga and all the other ladies, gentlemen and kid performers Sunday night at the 53rd annual Grammy Awards.
The hot Montreal indie rock band won the last award of the night, album of the year, for The Suburbs. It was a surprise win, going against superstars Lady Antebellum (for Need You Now), Lady Gaga (Fame Monster), Katy Perry (Teenage Dream) and Eminem (Recovery).
After excitedly accepting the award and thanking Montreal, Arcade Fire performed a second song to close the broadcast.
Lady Antebellum won both the song of the year and record of the year Grammys for their hit single Need You Now.
Until Arcade Fireís big upset win, it wasnít a great night for Canadian nominees. Teen superstar Justin Bieber of Stratford, Ont., lost in his two nominated categories, including best new artist. Toronto rapper Drake went 0-for-4.
If anything, the motto of this yearís music awards extravaganza was: In with the new and the old stuff too.
Handed out at the Staples Center in downtown L.A., the Grammy folks seemed eager to offer something for everybody.
For the youngsters: There were OMG!asmic appearances by heartthrobs Bieber (throwing down with pint-sized Jaden Smith and mentor Usher), va-va-vooming Perry, Rihanna (getting busy with Drake, despite a reported case on bronchitis), newly minted stars Bruno Mars, Janelle Monae and B.o.B, and the ever-freaky Lady Gaga, who was carried down the red carpet in a giant egg before advising us all ìdonít be a drag, just be a queenî and whipping her crazy-long ponytail during her new second-rate Madonna knockoff Born This Way (so much for not being a drag).
For the oldsters: There were the nostalgiafests of Bob Dylan (a-wheeziní through Maggieís Farm for the gazillionth time with Mumford & Sons and the Avett Brothers), Mick Jagger (celebrating late soul giant Solomon Burke), a heavily censored Eminem and Dr. Dre (nice to see the doctor in the house), country act Lady Antebellum (honouring Teddy Pendergrass, who died last year), country queen Miranda Lambert and a gaggle of female vocalists ó including Jennifer Hudson, Martina McBride, Florence Welch and Christina Aguilera (who even remembered the words) ó opening the night with a show of R-E-S-P-E-C-T to recently ailing soul sister No. 1 Aretha Franklin.
For the hipsters: There were way-cool segments by British neo-proggers Muse (who took the rock album prize for Resistance after accessorizing their fuzzy neo-boogie Uprising with timely riot-inspired choreography) and Montrealís Arcade Fire (who bashed out the punky Month of May from The Suburbs).
For fans of puppetry and/or drugs: There was the demented Glee-meets-Muppet Show-in-space rendition of F— You (sanitized to Forget You for your protection, of course) from Cee Lo, Gwyneth Paltrow and some rockiní felt.
All that is as it should be. As an all-star concert, the Grammys usually succeeds. The pairings are unique, the presentations are top-notch, the choices are often inspired.
As an award show, however, the choices are a little more suspect. Case in point: A live iTunes recording of Trainís Hey, Soul Sister won pop performance by a duo or group over cuts by Maroon 5, Paramore, Sade and the Glee cast (OK, that last one isnít a tragedy). A live recording of Helter Skelter by Paul McCartney beat out new tunes by Eric Clapton, John Mayer, Robert Plant and Neil Young.
One pleasant surprise came when totally deserving jazz singer-bassist Esperanza Spalding snatched best new artist honours from Drake, Florence and the Machine, Mumford & Sons and Bieber.
It wasnít all inexplicable: Lady Gagaís victory in the pop vocal album category for The Fame Monster (over Bieberís My World 2.0) should have been a susprise to no one ó even if her acceptance speech did keep the censors hopping.
ìOh s—,î she blurted out, going on to thank her parents and, believe it or not, Whitney Houston. ìWhen I wrote Born This Way I imagined her singing it.î
Other big nominees didnít fare as well. While many expected the event to be the Eminem show ó he led the pack going in with 10 nominations, but it ended up being more of an ensemble production.
Lady Gaga, John Legend, Jay-Z and Jeff Beck all won a trio of trophies.
Guitar hero Beck turned in what might have been the shortest and funniest acceptance speech of the day: ìThank you. Thatís it. S— speech.î
Classic rockers did OK in general ó McCartney, The Beatles, Iron Maiden, The Doors and Them Crooked Vultures (featuring Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones) all won awards. Other multiple winners included Herbie Hancock, Lady Antebellum and Usher.
Before Arcade Fireís big win, Neil Young, Michael BublÈ and Daily Show comics Jason Jones and Samantha Bee were the only Canadians who won golden gramophones.
For the 65-year-old Young, it was his first taste of Grammy love ó sort of.
ìThis is my first Grammy for music,î said Young, accepting the rock song trophy for the number Angry World. His Archives Vol. I (1963ñ1972) won the prize last year for boxed or special limited edition package.
ìIíd like to thank my lovely wife Peggy,î said the former Winnipegger. ìSheís been with me for 33 1/3 years of marriage, keeping me rocking.î
Vancouver crooner Bubleís fourth album Crazy Love album grabbed the traditional vocal album trophy, earning him his third win in the four years in the same category. And married Canadian comics Jones and Bee shared in the spoken word prize for The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Presents Earth (The Audiobook). More than a dozen Canadians ó including Justin Bieber, Darcy James Argue, Gage Averill, Measha Brueggergosman, Alex Cuba, the Elora Festival Singers, Colin Escott, Melanie Fiona, Michael J. Fox, Marc-Andre Hamelin, Matt Haimovitz , Northern Cree and Rush documentarians Sam Dunn & Scot McFadyen ó went home emptyhanded.
Arcade Fire wins top Grammy