The 53rd Grammy Awards, broadcast last Sunday on CBS, featured more than the best and brightest musical artists of our time. Today’s performers mean to do more than entertain. Sounds like they want to teach.
More and more musicians seem to be tapping into our present zeitgeist. Music and lyrics now heard across all musical platforms transcend the visceral. Pop has gone cerebral.
So da rappers have gone political on us?
Just look at this year’s Grammy winners and decide for yourself. President Obama could not have asked for a better opening act to his budget proposal this week.
Lady Antebellum, who brought both shock and awe to the Grammys this year, won big for their song, “Need You Now.” Equally showing shock and awe the president this week proposed his $3.7 trillion budget for 2012. The leadership from both political parties rained down criticism. Obama is going to need, at the very least, the help from his own Democratic Party.
President George W. Bush shocked us in 2002 by proposing a $2 trillion dollar budget. The trillion-dollar marker was first crossed back in 1967. It would not take another thirty years to add another trillion. Obama crossed into $3 trillion just six years later. Combined with historically high deficits today’s outrageous budget numbers make Lady Gaga look down right dull.
President Obama and his budget team are attempting to pass off these record deficits and debt by assuring us we were just “Born This Way.”
Strangely, the Republicans seem to be channeling Eminem. His most recent effort “Recovery” was the top selling album of 2010. The same could be said of the Republican Party. Aided by the Tea Party, Republicans have recovered their majority of the House of Representatives.
With their newfound confidence Republicans are “Not Afraid” to take a stand against the president and his “monsters.” Resurrecting memories from the Carter administration, House Speaker Boehner can be heard crying out, “Holla if you feel that you’ve been down the same road.”
The Grammy artist who seems to have touched closest to our nerves, however, is singer-songwriter Cee Lo Green. Some might remember him as vocalist of Gnarls Barkley and the smash hit “Crazy.” We were singing that song just as the unknown Barack Obama was deciding to run for president four years ago.
Today Cee Lo Green is singing a different tune.
He is no longer crazy. He is angry. The new normal is unacceptable.
His monster hit can be song in many different ways. Even Gwyneth Paltrow covered it during an episode of “Glee.” Cee Lo Green’s “Lady Killer” lyrics reflect the angst of our age.
President Obama is singing about mo’ green. You can understand if our first reaction is “Forget you.”