This collection of 13 songs all nominated by the Grammy Awards institute just goes to show: awards ceremonies such as these are lazy attempts to annihilate the United States population's critical musical-listening abilities. Although my generalization of choice for this compilation would probably be "overproduced tripe" there are certainly some low points as well. Let's walk through the songs and examine the Grammy's rather unscrupulous motives for each selection.
Tracy Chapman, "Give Me One Reason"
In a stunning move, they put their best foot forward with this sparse acoustic melody. Don't count your eggs before their hatched, though, because Chapman's song here has quite a lack of inventiveness to it; how many times can you say "give me one reason" in one song before you put even your most mindless music listeners to sleep?
The Motive: Cheap acoustic filler, not to mention it lulls the listener into a false sense of security. If only the rest of these songs were as mediocre!
Eric Clapton, "Change The World"
What has happened to Clapton's talent for well-composed lyrics matched with really spectacular guitar solos? Has the old man let the impotency he suffers in his unmentionables (due to the smoking of one too many Thai sticks in his early youth, no doubt) creep into that cranium of his? I hate to have to tell you this, but "Change The World" is noxious pop ditty of little substance and even less style.
The Motive: Once listeners have realized that even Clapton has traded in his musical ability for the widespread acclaim of the hordes of tasteless music listeners, they'll accept that this is indeed the day the music has died.
Celine Dion, "Because You Loved Me"
I wish I could convey to my fellow reviewers how much I despise this song. Dion's success is due entirely to the musical junta that has propped her up, placed her onto the music scene. Do not be fooled; she has no song-writing talents, and most of her voice is due to the high-tech frills of a modern music studio.
The Motive: This is a clear attempt to make baby boomers forget there were people like Joni Mitchell and Janis Joplin around when they were young. Neither of these song-writers would dare have the audacity or superficiality to put a song like this out there. It's a quick-fix solution for the loss of these vocalists that has inspired the musical world to laud Celine Dion's "talent for music."
Alanis Morisette, "Ironic"
I hate Alanis Morisette. There, I said it. My younger sister could out-sing her, and I could come up with better lyrics in my sleep. How obvious can you be to point out the ironies of life while never saying anything meaningful about it? Further, Alanis has one of the worst voices ever to disgrace the music industry. It's a nagging kind of whine of a yell that convinces you that she must be a much bigger bitch in real life. Her husband deserves the kind of pity I can't afford to shell out.
The Motive: Quite likely the motive here is to destroy the listeners' once fine-tuned auditory nerves.
Smashing Pumpkins, "1979"
A mellow song about nothing more than relaxation... and drug culture. Although the Pumpkins should be applauded for their work on Mellon Collie and The Infinite Sadness (one of Pumpkins' lesser albums, though light years beyond this compilation), this is not one of their better songs on that record; it isn't quite blessed with the boldness and melodic strength of a typical Pumpkins' song.
The Motive: A paltry attempt to convince the music-listening public that this is the best the Pumpkins could do. A laughable attempt to- my advice is to blow your next paycheck on a factory sealed set of The Aeroplane Flies High, and never look back.
Garbage, "Stupid Girl"
A good song, in its way. On this track, Garbage is found condemning a girl who finds no value in the world. If you've paid attention to pop music in the last 20 years, you've probably heard songs like this a dozen times, but Garbage stylizes this version of that formula by leaving plenty of musical grit on the husk of the song.
The Motive: The Grammy institute's attempt to hustle the self-proclaimed musically rebellious into the fold.
Jewel, "Who Will Save Your Soul?"
I feel rather bad for young girls who followed Jewel's every move, bought her every cd, postered their rooms with pictures of her face... and then heard Intuition while rolling down the road in their Honda Civic one day. Probably they cried themselves to sleep, distraught that yet another one of their favorite singers had prostituted themselves in attempt to win the adulation of the masses. Of course, by that time, the young girl had turned into a college girl, and as you probably know, college is the sexualization (rather than the socialization) of the individual.
Anyways, this song here has Jewel's typical pre-0304 innocence to it; a song about making it through the day, penny by penny; though whether is has any musical virtue is debatable. It's catchy enough, but suffers from the over-produced feeling so common in 90s pop albums.
The Motive: If the song title isn't obvious enough, this song was nominated in a rather poor attempt to win the spiritually obtuse; existential Christians and the like.
No Doubt, "Spiderwebs"
I actually liked this song when it came out. Innocous as it is (a song about answering machine messages), it's actually the only song you can dance to on this album (without being ashamed of yourself, that is). Characteristic of early No Doubt, this song has a well-paced tempo that divulges into a slow kind of pop-punk serenade near the end; this is perhaps its only weakness, since the slowness gives the song an uncomfortable awkwardness- they should have ended the song with the same tempo.
The Motive: See the motive for "Stupid Girl"
The Tony Rich Project, "Nobody Knows"
If this song makes you cry, I have to tell you: I can't be your friend. Only a self-conscious bastard who thinks he is a "sensitive soul" could cry while listening to this (in fact, I'm betting one of the few people who cried while listening are the people who composed it!) Unfortunately though, that's pretty much the only purpose this song can be suited for; it has no other musical scope than that. It's actually an entirely droll, uncomfortably benign song, useless to anyone other than those mentioned above.
The Motive: Truthfully, I don't understand why the Grammy Award people would nominate R&B's attempt at emo, unless there is some big market for emo kids who like R&B that I am unaware of.
Leann Rimes, "My Baby"
Songs like these are a dime a dozen, and if I had a four-track in my basement, I'd probably spend a lot of time trying to parody them: "my baby is a tuna fish sandwhich, my baby is a cool iced tea, makes me feel like a slow cool summer." They're also intensely annoying.
The Motive: It's the only "country" song on the record, thus another attempt at showing the listener that this is good as it gets in the country category... Ryan Adams, anyone?
Toni Braxton, "Un-Break My Heart"
With all sincerity; the only people I could see loving this song are precarious co-dependents who like to roll around in a fetal positions on their hard wood floors all night. For the healthy or those who aren't insane, this song can be easily discerned as distasteful and terribly unoriginal.
The Motive: The Grammy nominators should be ashamed at foisting this upon the music-listening public. After Leann Rimes, they're probably thinking they need to return to the same sentimental drivel the rest of the album over-flows and leaks with.
Shawn Colvin, "Get Out of This House"
A stupendously awful song. There's almost nothing other than chorus; imagine the title repeated about 30 times, with a bit of extremely uninventive lyric filler, a bit of hoarse-sounding harmonica, and overdubbed guitars.
The Motive: I am telling you, there is no way in hell the Grammy people would nominate this except to destroy any remaining hope for a good song.
Gloria Efestan, "Reach"
Much like the Celine Dion track, but with a more convincing melody, and worse, more superficial lyrics. This makes yet again, for a very uncomfortable match.
The Motive: "Some days are meant to be remembered..." Agreed. Remember this one as "the day the music died."