HITS Daily Double
Trakin: Well, I told you back then Lil Wayne would be in the mix...
Beer: And I told you then and again now that I disagree strongly.


Opinions Are Like Assholes and These Two Losers Have Both
Trakin: The initial spin out there is that these Grammy nominations are hipper and more clued-in than ever before, and I can't say I disagree.
Beer: What I hear is that they make little sense in many cases and they are hypocritical in others.
Trakin: I see a lot of our pre-nom favorites represented. What’s the beef?
Beer: I understand the difficulty in making these decisions. I just don't think they made enough of the right ones. They bounce back and forth from one criterion to another. Are they choosing art over commerce, commerce over art or making each case when convenient?
Trakin: It's always been a combination of the two... an uneasy one, at best.
Beer: I strongly disagree with choosing Lil Wayne as a Best Album work of art. But, if the argument in this case is commerce, then where are the other big sellers?
Trakin: Have you read the reviews on Lil Wayne? He's one of the most critically respected hip-hop artists out there... among white and black writers. He’s not just there because he’s the year's biggest seller, no matter what you might think of his music.
Beer: Lil Wayne's commercial appeal is unquestioned, yet he is not the "artiste" that Kanye, Jay-Z, etc are by any means.
Trakin: Well, I told you back then Lil Wayne would be in the mix...
Beer: And I told you then and again now that I disagree strongly.
Trakin: Dude... You have the wrong impression of Lil Wayne. He's not just a Dirty South bling-bling rapper... He has stuff on his mind. He's actually, right now at least, in the critical community, probably more respected than Jay-Z, if not Kanye, who is the master.
Beer: Where, I ask you, is Alicia Keys in the Album category? And, if commerce is a criteria, then where is The Eagles’ album? Last year’s Country Song of the Year and this year, a four-time nominee?
Trakin: I truly believe Alicia Keys and Carrie Underwood, for that matter, suffered from the Oscar syndrome of coming out too early in the process. They both got overlooked. There wasn't enough late heat. And, I think the Eagles album being available only at Wal-Mart hurt it to a degree. There's a reason for each oversight, if you just look at it.
Beer: Forget late heat or early heat, the super-delegate committee is supposed to be there to dispel these problems and do the right thing. They missed out last year on Bruce Springsteen's genius album, and this year, they missed out on Alicia Keys for Best Album, Leona Lewis for Best New Artist, Vampire Weekend for best Alt Album.... C'mon guys wake the fuck up.
Trakin: It's the nature of the horse race that some of your favorites are going to be eliminated... That's why they make chocolate and vanilla, as you always like to say. Let’s analyze the individual categories. Album of the Year seems the easiest to handicap.
Beer: As long as you don't make another argument for Mr. Wayne.
Trakin: Racist… Just kidding. I take it you have no issues with the other candidates: Coldplay, Ne-Yo, Radiohead, Plant/Krauss are all pretty strong, IMHO. You can't really argue.
Beer: I think that Coldplay and Plant/Krauss are the main players here. Ne-Yo is a sensational talent, but will not win. Radiohead's album is not nearly their best and does not belong in this category.
Trakin: Well, I see Coldplay and Radiohead siphoning off votes from one another, as do Ne-Yo and Lil' Wayne, leaving Plant/Krauss as the obvious choice, especially with the strong country contingent backing this entry. It’s this year’s O Brother country-rock crossover coalition.
Beer: Unless a Coldplay sweep is afoot, and this kind of momentum, similarly to an Oscar sweep, builds over time, as we get closer to the ceremony. At least we agree it's between these two, yes?
Trakin: I like Plant/Krauss for Album, Coldplay for Record and Song. Unless people burn out on them, which is possible. I mean, think of it, Beer. A song that got its main exposure on an iTunes ad...
Beer: Oh, horseshit. It was a #1 Alt and Hot AC track and a Top 10 pop hit… and commercial exposure is now a bad thing?
Trakin: Not at all... I happen to love Coldplay... For Record of the Year, do you like the M.I.A. "Paper Planes" nomination?
Beer: Great artist, great record, and her work in Slumdog Millionaire will also bring her an Academy Award nom. But where the hell is Duffy's “Mercy” in this? Whose head was up whose ass on that one?
Trakin: Agree with you there. It would appear "Chasing Pavements" got the Duffy slot.
Beer: Adele and Duffy BOTH deserved a slot.
Trakin: So you like Coldplay in this category?
Beer: Yes in both Record and Song.
Trakin: I'm leaning that way, too. I'm wondering if Plant/Krauss have a shot in Record for "Please Read the Letter." And "Bleeding Love"? Just happy to be there?
Beer: “Bleeding Love” is a great song, as should they all be in these categories.
Trakin: On to Best New Artist, then, which is always a crapshoot, particularly this year, with two very deserving candidates in Adele and Duffy. The question is, do they cancel each other out?
Beer: Please tell me which category, art or commerce, Jonas Bros. fit into... How come NSYNC never appeared in this category?
Trakin: Or Justin Timberlake, for that matter. You gotta check out the press on Jonas... They got a four-star review in Rolling Stone.
Beer: Oh, please.
Trakin: And, as I told you last time, they've been very active at Recording Academy events, like that City of Hope fund-raiser they did earlier this year.
Beer: They are a teen pop phenomenon, with worse songs than their predecessors.
Trakin: You cannot stop them, you can only hope to contain them. Better get used to it... They are savvy self-promoters and will be around for awhile. Don’t underestimate them.
Beer: I do not, they are enormous... but Best New Artist on their third album? Oh, please…
Trakin: Well, regardless of whether they deserve to be in this category... Do you think Adele and Duffy cancel each other out?
Beer: I think they should both win, and Jazmine Sullivan is a major, major talent.
Trakin: Very diplomatic.... but who will win?
Beer: Duffy.
Trakin: I’m smelling a possible Lady Antebellum upset. Do either Duffy or Adele inherit the Amy Winehouse effect is the question?
Beer: Duffy should also be a contender to win in the three major categories even though she wasn't nominated.
Trakin: Not choosing "Mercy" in those categories is a real omission. I'd agree with you there.
Beer: No shit. Maybe you should learn who Alicia Keys is also.
Trakin: I've heard of her... I don't hear you defending Mariah Carey's oh-fer, though. Anyway, I do have a prediction for a star-making performance on this year's show.
Beer: Let's hear it then.
Trakin: Adele "Chasing Pavements." She deserves to be huge, which she is, and I'm not talking about her figure.
Beer: Adele is a major, major talent and this stage should be another step.... if Kenny Ehrlich gives her the right moment. I have a final prediction as well.
Trakin: Shoot...
Beer: My sleeper for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album, which I recently had a chance to spend some time with, is Natalie Cole’s three-time-nominated Still Unforgettable collection… It is beyond brilliant. Natalie has had a tough year health-wise, so I hope they are smart enough to put her on the stage and let her shine.
Trakin: Yeah, she did sweep when Unforgettable first came out. She's always been a Grammy favorite.
Beer: This album is a must-listen. When you're done with your Dirty South rap, I suggest you check it out.
Trakin: And, oh yeah, don’t forget the evening’s one lock. Jimmy Sturr for Best Polka Album.
Beer: And as an aside to Mr. Portnow, we criticize because we love.
Trakin: How could we not? Don't hate the playa, hate the game.