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Nothing but the truth!

February 14, 2011 (San Diego)--Though I have personal interest in music and songwriting, every year I watch the Grammy Awards with dread. Like the academy Awards, it's an exercise in mutual admiration, driven by who has the best publicist.


This year was no different. Lady GaGa looked like an alien. with her pointy eyebrows and wedgy shoulder pads. She can dance, but what I saw from her act was spectacle, not music.


I don't like musicians who set off pyrotechnics. Smoke machines, suits that light up, and strobe lights do not music make. The entire three hours was full of profanity, mindless rap, a non-melodious cacophony. There were singing muppets doing a song which I think was "F*** You!" Somehow the singers were trying to morph the words into something the kids could listen too. It was pathetic.


I thought Dylan might rescue the show, alas, though Bobby could never sing well, his voice has disintegrated into a croaky rasp so inaudible that I could not understand a single word. Dylan sang "Maggie's Farm", the song that got him booed off the Newport Folk Festival stage back in the 1960's. Sadly, there was little noticeable improvement.


About the only group I liked was Lady Antebellum, who sang with real harmony and words I could understand. Somehow, they won the song of the year, beating out "F*** You!"!


Though one of the primary goals of the teen-aged years is to listen to music designed to drive their parents mad, I was not much given to optimism about the future of American music.


If atonality, profanity, and disrespect are the primary themes of modern music, it's no wonder record sales are down.


Woody Guthrie said it best when he said: “I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that.”


Will Power is a retired history teacher, creative writing instructor, and musician. The opinions expressed are those of the columnist and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.

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