Thursday, December 11, 2008

Black Rock - Urban/Alternative Grammy?


OK, I'm so deep in some other alternative space I didn't even know there WAS a category called Urban/Alternative. But then again I stopped watching the Grammys moons ago, and have been mostly listening to out-of-print Latin, Funk, and some Hip Hop vinyl for the past few weeks.

Thankfully Mr. Fields over at Bold As Love has my back, and yours too if you want to see/hear offerings from the nominees in this category, who are listed at left. I guess this means Kenna has accomplished his goal of making himself more memorable in the public's imagination (hence the Make Sure They See My Face, album title).

I have to agree with Bold As Love on this one. Janelle Monae owns this category, and should take home the statue since there's no real competition aside from Kenna. Michele and Wayna have great voices, but the arrangement on Chrisette Michele's cut isn't particularly alternative--and the subject matter: been done, to death. I found a version of Wayna performing Minnie Riperton's "Loving You" live, with hip hop breaks and polyrhythms, as well as some new lyrics, but not the one featuring Kokayi (and yes, Ethiopian vocalist Wayna can hit the all the high notes). It basically feels like the Grammy's and music industry are just catching up with actual music-heads, but years late. I mean if Georgia Anne Muldrew were nominated, that'd be some serious competition. But this Kenna cut just can't compare to what Monae is reaching for: something simultaneously retro and futuristic in a way that isn't wholly easily categorizable as either.

Check out Bold As Love for the rest of the nominee's clips as well as the traditional holiday season Gap ads, this year featuring: Janelle Monae (prominently), The Dixie Chicks, Trey Songz, Flo Rida, Jon Heder, Sandra Bernhard, Weed's Romany Malco, Freddie Rodriguez (Nothing Like the Holidays, "Ugly Betty," "Six Feet Under") Selma Blair, and that guy from "The Office" whose name I forget.

Wayna singing Minnie Riperton's "Lovin You" live at the Cadavez in Washington, D.C.

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