February 8th, 2014

Grammy glamour

I don’t watch the Grammys; I just don’t like the way popular music is going these days.

And what I just said about the music could go double for the fashions connected with the music. However, sometimes I click on a Grammy fashion link that ends up exerting a fascination that draws me in against my better judgment. And this year’s post-Grammy party fashion photos were no exceptions.

So without further ado, I share the most noteworthy of them with you (I don’t know who these people are, and I haven’t bothered to identify them, although the website does).

For her—hairy spider on top, spider webs on the bottom:

grammys

Hot pants are back. The top half speaks for itself, or tries to:

grammys2

I sometimes dress like this next one. But when I do, at least I have the decency to not leave the house:

grammys5

Memo to this next wearer—don’t wash in hot water, use coolest dryer setting (although it’s too late now):

grammys7

I actually kind of like this woman’s outfit. I once had a silk shantung suit a little like that; a pretty color. But where’d she pick up that guy? Or rather, his ensemble? He’s a very handsome man who would look quite elegant in a suit. But he’s not wearing a suit:

grammys8

Okay lady, how did you sneak in? You are not showing nearly enough skin, despite the fact that you are wearing a dress liner rather than a dress:

grammys9

A very large beetle imprinted itself on this fabric. Note also the strategic placement of the hands (the printed hands, not her hands), a sort of feminine codpiece:

grammys3

Understated and chic, a trifle Von Rothbart in Swan Lake:

grammys6

I could go on. But I will have mercy and stop here.

33 Responses to “Grammy glamour”

  1. Mr. Frank Says:

    I once asked a historian who had an interest in popular music why the old music (Glenn Miller, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis, B.B. King The Beatles, etc) was so much better than the new stuff. He said it was because all the crap from the past just disappears. Made sense to me.

  2. OldTexan Says:

    Remember in the 1950′s and into the 60′s with the TV show Hit Parade and American Bandstand when most of the people in this country had the shared experience of knowing what the most popular top recorded songs were? Mom’s and dad’s might not have enjoyed the music too much but we all had an idea what the songs were and who was singing them.

    Now I have no idea who those people dressed ever so strange are or furthermore what they have been singing, if you could even call that music. Thanks for the anthropological review of unknown wierd customs and dress.

  3. neo-neocon Says:

    Mr. Frank:

    I have thought of that explanation regarding all the arts, including literature and painting.

    But the balance has shifted. I remember the music of the 50s and 60s very well; the most popular songs were mostly great ones that have stood the test of time. Today there are almost no good ones, IMHO.

    Of course, it might just mean I’m old and out of touch. But I think it is true, objectively speaking, that music and art and theater and dance have all actually gotten worse.

  4. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    Neo—Of course popular music’s gotten worse, and deliberately so, as but one part of the great Gramscian “long march through the culture.”

    Sinatra, Gershwin, and Cole Porter where are you?

    In terms of today’s “music,” vs. that of, say, the period from WWI to just after WWII or so, contemporary lyrics are mostly simple and primitive, very often pitched to the lowest common denominator, to the mouth breathing young people who have problems trying to read a newspaper–and the lyrics are either almost nonexistent, repetitive and inane, or just plain nasty–and as for melody—it’s pretty much, what’s that, and charts, often confined to a range of just a few notes, are quite often written so as not to strain or expose the meager talents of most of today’s singing, or should I say shouting or screeching “artistes.”

  5. waitforit Says:

    Damn you. Damn you to hell.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKCBWRU59zk

  6. rickl Says:

    Count me as another one who is unimpressed with today’s popular music.

    I hate to sound like an old fogey. In the 80s I made a real attempt to listen to punk rock and new wave, and found some that I liked. Likewise with 90s grunge. Although she’s a flaming lefty, Ani DiFranco is exceptionally talented. (Beautiful, too, despite the tattoos and weird hair. I met her once back in the 90s. Wow.)

    Nowadays I sometimes eat lunch in a pizza place that has music playing. It all sounds alike to me. There’s usually a female vocalist who I would describe as squalling more than singing. I can’t tell one song from another.

  7. expat Says:

    What does this kind of music do to your brain? Melodic music can be restful and give you a space to think and feel. I can’t stand the new stuff.

    And don’t let me get started on the “fashion” trends.

  8. rickl Says:

    There are some contemporary songwriters and musicians who can still bring it. Case in point: Al Stewart. Here he is from 2005:

    Somewhere in England 1915

    2005? That was almost a decade ago. Yikes.

  9. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    I too have, for decades, struggled with the ‘gag me with a spoon’ popular fashion ‘taste’ embraced by younger generations.

    Of the pictures shown, I too judge that only the picture of the couple where the woman wearing a suit reminiscent of neo’s “silk shantung” displays any sense of the ‘classic’ whatsoever. Though she too, cheapens her fashion by wearing no upper undergarment for by doing so, she sends the message that she is potentially, visually available for all.

    But the young man, whose attire prompted neo to comment that, “don’t wash in hot water, use coolest dryer setting” provoked in me a perhaps important insight into the social motivations of these artistic wannabes…

    This isn’t, as I had previously assumed, a case of the younger generations simply having no sense of classic proportion and design.

    This is a case of the younger generations of the West rejecting classic proportion and design, which is a symptom of having, on a deeper level, rejected Western Civilization itself.

    The young man isn’t displaying his lack of taste, he’s exhibiting his contempt for classic Western notions of what is tasteful. He and his generation are rejecting their cultural roots.

    This is undeniable visual evidence of the cultural artistic elite’s having rejected ALL that springs from the concept of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’. This is what the left’s cultural indoctrination has wrought.

    These are the cultural leaders of the younger generations and the unspoken visual messages they convey… resonate like rippling waves through a pond.

    No civilization can long survive, whose cultural elite have embraced its own suicidal path.

  10. Charles Says:

    The dress code with many celebrities today seems to be “do anything to stand out and be noticed.”

    Note that I didn’t say stand out and be noticed in a good way.

    P.S. The woman in the white “dress liner” isn’t actually that bad if only it weren’t white, another color and that dress would be rather nice, in my opinion. I do see that there is some texture to the material, so maybe in person it doesn’t look so undergarmentish.

  11. MissJean Says:

    What Geoffrey Britain said. But my cousin says that a German designer in the ’80s had a “heroin” fashion look, so maybe it’s just a cycle of ugly?

    I especially find it sad when you compare/contrast with the Latin Grammy awards. The worst-dressed were Natalie Cole and Charro (and, in my opinion, Judy Reyes looked dumpy by showing too much cleavage). Roselyn Sanchez wore a strapless gown (not backless/buttless). There was one star – I think it was Genesis Rodriguez – who wore a dress with cut-outs, which seems to be a trend now, but they were at the sides near her waist, not showing anything much.

    I think that the too-tight and slightly bright jacket is a “thing,” too. One fellow wore one, but it wasn’t as severe as that boy you have posted. Also, Ricky Martin wore an all-black tuxedo and he look muuuy elegante. :)

  12. Oldfyer Says:

    Is a dress liner like a slip?

    I don’t even try to listen to music any more. Fortunately, KUSC in SoCal still plays “classical”; although like many of the PBS stations they seem to fall into a rut some times. When I say classical, I differentiate from what the current DJ’s call “classics”.

    Of course for folks of a certain age who poke fun, or speak with disdain, about today’s music I could remind you of the WWII era classic that went: “Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy. A kid’ll eat ivy too, wouldn’t you?” Or as it sounded:
    “Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey
    A kiddley divey too, wooden shoe?”

  13. MissJean Says:

    Oldflyer, my mother used to sing that to me when she gave me a bath. I think her mother sang it to her. :)

  14. IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" Says:

    But the balance has shifted. I remember the music of the 50s and 60s very well; the most popular songs were mostly great ones that have stood the test of time. Today there are almost no good ones, IMHO.

    Of course, it might just mean I’m old and out of touch. But I think it is true, objectively speaking, that music and art and theater and dance have all actually gotten worse.

    It does. I see this comment on YouTube all the time. My canned response starts with:

    “Aristotle said the same thing about the music of Plato’s generation…”
    :-D

    When you are young, you seek out new music, and your friends are also seeking out new music. You have, thereby, any number of avenues wherein good new music can come to your attention.

    As you get older, you get preoccupied with the more important matters of adult life, and your friends do the same… and often the friends get preoccupied (as do you) with raising kids, etc.

    This is part of the reason why most parents are “uncool” — it takes work to stay “cool” (which requires being aware of changing trends, more than anything else), and for most parents, that’s just not high on the list.

    So you stop encountering good, new music. And so the only things you hear is the Lowest Common Denominator pop DRECK… and think “Boy, this newer music sucks”.

    You forget all that same garbage that you heard during the “XX”s, and only remember the good stuff.

    You remember The Beatles, but forget “Jean” by Oliver — a sweet, sappy pop concoction (God, I couldn’t even stand to listen to the whole thing), not unlike the equally vapid (though more tolerable) “Sugar Sugar”, by The Archies, a (yes) Saturday morning cartoon band.

    ============

    P.S., Mairzy Doats, at least as a pop song (don’t know if it had a history before that, like, say, “House Of The Rising Sun) dates from the 40s. My own mother (b. 1938) loved it.

  15. neo-neocon Says:

    IGotBupkis:

    No, my point was something quite different. I wrote that, in the early years of rock and roll (mid-50s through 60s) “the most popular songs were mostly great ones that have stood the test of time.” What I meant by that is that, for example, if you take the top ten songs, week by week, back in the late 50s to maybe the early 70s or even beyond, and compare then to the top ten songs of the last several years, of course you get some awful stuff and some good stuff in each group. But on average you will find a significantly higher percentage of good stuff in those earlier years, and a significantly higher percentage of dreck in recent years.

  16. Wolla Dalbo Says:

    To continue my rant above—even those contemporary singers who do have pipes usually buy into today’s corrupt pop culture, and waste their talent by singing today’s crap songs.

    So Beyoncé, for instance, who does have a very good singing voice and range ends up singing things like “Put A Ring On It” and shaking her booty, or Kelly Clarkson, another very good singer with great power and range, ends up singing the pop drivel that I guess her managers think will sell. But, today’s talented singers can sometimes sing good stuff too, check out Sheryl Crow singing the classic “Begin the Beguine” on the soundtrack from the Cole Porter biopic “De-Lovely.”

    Then, there are the “stars” who star in way over-produced, frantic production numbers—music or a bass line often so loud you can barely think, fantastic costumes, dancers bumping and grinding, tumbling, whirling and gyrating all over the place, lasers flashing, pillars of fire and confetti shooting up toward the roof—all in an effort, I’m convinced, to make it hard for you to notice just how little talent the singer really has.

  17. OldTexan Says:

    Neo, I agree with you completely and the hit tunes from the 50 and 60 had a lot of great movie and Broadway Show songs along with some of the wonderful voices like Nat ‘King’ Cole with his biggest hit ‘Mona Lisa’. There was also Bill Haley and the Comets with ‘Rock Around the Clock’ and his big one ‘Shake, Rattle and Roll’ and then in 1956 Elvis hit big with his songs but he shared top spots with all of the songs from “My Fair Lady”. In 1957 Pat Boone was at the top sharing with the songs from “West Side Story” and on and on for the next ten years or so.

    There were memorable songs from that era that my kids who were born decades later still like. They would steal tapes and later CD’s from me of those old and good songs and yes the songs of our youth do stick with us. Do you think 40 years from now they will be going on TV selling collections of the best Rap songs of the 1990′s or 2010′s.

    Our culture has become fragmented by media and marketing. Maybe a lot of it is our age but when I saw a little bit of the Freak Show during the Super Bowl half time, where it appeared to be a parade of convicts making noise, I continued to record the game but I changed channels and caught up with the game later.

    Even some of the Heavy Metal stuff my kids liked in the 1980′s had more appeal and the goofy perfumers were kind of over the top and fun to keep up with and the older hard rock guys were hanging in during that time too.

    Even that cute little Michael Jackson kid was fun to watch until he went nuts and changed himself into a skinny, creepy, little white creature on his way to the bottom and a sorry sad death.

    Now I have no idea at all who these people are and when I read about a performer getting shot or or put in jail for drugs I have don’t recognize their names and I don’t really care, not at all.

  18. London Trader Says:

    Neo, I very rarely disagree with anything you post but on this occasion I have to agree with IGotBupkis. The opinion of you and all other commenters here is prevalent on most sites I visit, but it always makes me think of my parents comments on the music of my youth (and my grandparents to my parents).

    I still find plenty of new music that I like – even rap. I write this as a 50 something with kids in their 20′s.

  19. Don Carlos Says:

    Odd that no one comments on the ad backdrops, which are now apparently commonplace in the pop music and movie scene per Neo’s post, but also in pro sports (watch any post-game press conf).
    The backdrops uglify whatever is before them. But, anything for attention.

    London Trader’s comment is testament to the accuracy of his/her parents y grandparents. Some of us will always find something to like in the bottom of the barrel.

  20. MissJean Says:

    I didn’t mention the music itself because I live in a border town, so the most interesting radio stations are those with a mix of Canadian/American “alternative” music like Royal Hoax and The Fray, and the Christian music stations which have great musicians like The Newsboys and Mandisa (who won a Grammy but didn’t go because she knew what the scene would be like). I get my Spanish fix on Pandora or while riding in the car with someone who has Sirius FM.

    I must say that the teenagers get their music from everywhere. They rip a lot of it from YouTube videos, and they download a lot of free iTunes “freebies.” I’m often surprised by their eclectic tastes: last year the neighborhood kids showed me a video featuring the Carmina Burana and the boys were excited to go to see Lynnard Skynnard at one of the outdoor venues.

    If you want a palate cleanser, you should take a listen to Peter Hollins, a young singer who strips pop songs and soundtracks into acapella and then builds layers of his own tracks. He is quite popular owing to his version of the Skyrim video game theme and his videos on YouTube.

    Also, I liked Bruno Mars’ halftime performance. Can’t stand Miley Cyrus’ voice because it’s so thin and blah.

  21. Ray Says:

    When I was in college (1960s) I worked as a technician at a radio station that played the top 40. I had to listen to the top 40 on the monitor speaker for 8 hours a day. I grew to loathe popular music. I still don’t like it.

  22. waitforit Says:

    More codpiece.

  23. waitforit Says:

    Grammy glamour equals Obama logic.

    Ugly = lazy.

  24. Richard Aubrey Says:

    One blog runs cheesecake promotion pieces of “starlets” hardly anybody ever heard of.
    I expect half of them could have made Homecoming Court at a good-sized high school. But by not gaining weight, and with good makeup, and the implication that This Person is Something…. and a skimpy outfit, they think they might get a walk on in “CSI-Albuquerque”
    So the fashion for Grammy or Oscar or whatever has to be really strange because that’s all they have going for them. They have to stand out, to make a statement. Their talent and their writers don’t cut it. Their producers could make an ostrich look, at least, interesting.
    Well, there’s Pandora. And youtube has some lengthy albums which will go an hour and a half, sometimes.
    I was born in 1945. I got the pop music of the late Fifties and thereafter. In the mid-Nineties, returning from a fraternity reunion of the classes roughly 63-69, I found a station playing exactly the right songs. Not sure I thought they were good, but they took me back and, for that night, that was great.

  25. London Trader Says:

    Don Carlos – you can take that argument all the way back, my parents view of my music, my grandparents views of parents music, my great grand parents view of my grand parents all the way back to IGotBupkis’s comment on Aristotle v Plato. Does that mean there has been no good music since then? What makes your generations (which might be the same as mine, I’m 50) the best?

  26. IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" Says:

    }}} But on average you will find a significantly higher percentage of good stuff in those earlier years, and a significantly higher percentage of dreck in recent years.

    And I’d suggest a lot of this is more changing tastes, as well as a major shift in how people get their music. The old ratings systems were working with a different population than those “equivalent/same” systems do today.

    Those who (rightfully) hate “pop” music as banal and uninteresting are no longer forced, thanks to distribution channel fracturing, to lump themselves in with the LCD crowd. So they don’t elevate anything better into the pop stream, so it suffers accordingly.

    The quality of available music is still the same — the stuff that gets high sales in the pop channel is not.

  27. IGotBupkis, "'Faeces Evenio', Mr. Holder?" Says:

    }}} when I read about a performer getting shot or or put in jail for drugs

    Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix….

    Is it better that they be known talents when they die?

    :-D

  28. neo-neocon Says:

    IGotBupkis:

    Not sure what the “LCD crowd” refers to. Lowest common denominator?

    Also not sure what you mean about the distribution system being a big part of the difference. I don’t quite get your point.

    Are you saying that if the Beatles, Stones, Buddy Holly, Everly Brothers, Supremes, Temptations, etc. etc. etc. were coming up today, they would not be part of pop music and wouldn’t get a mass audience because they’d only be appealing to more elitist connoisseurs?? I think its just that mass tastes have gotten coarser because the culture had gotten coarser and raunchier and more empty in general.

    And I think that some good music still gets made and is still very popular. Every now and then there’s someone good who becomes successful, such as for example Adele. There are others.

  29. Mr. Frank Says:

    If you like the classics, check out Rod Stewart’s American Songbook series. The arrangements are excellent.

  30. blert Says:

    The gal with the hands is remarkably salacious.

    For it depicts two women attending to the lusty cravings of a third partner, presumably a guy, but maybe it’s a popsicle.

    It’s astonishing to see such thread-craft outside of a bordello.

    Shameless.

    She puts ‘slut-walking’ towards personal promotion.

  31. Surellin Says:

    Heh, my father-in-law used to say, circa 1970, that these modern rock-n-roll hoodlums wouldn’t stand the test of time, not like Benny Goodman and Count Basie and all. And now the Stones are still performing at age 70+. I am amused. And in regard to current music versus the music of my heyday (70s-80s), my objection is that there really isn’t much difference. The current stuff is probably technically better, but can’t these lazy kids come up with anything that will outrage me? Jeez. :-)

  32. Mac Says:

    I hear a lot of non-mainstream pop/rock music and rarely even hear the mainstream stuff (this is made possible by the internet–rarely do I hear music I didn’t choose to hear.) I can testify that there is as much talent out there as ever. And the variety is mind-boggling. I think anyone who likes the great rockers of the ’60s and ’70s could find a lot to like somewhere in the contemporary music scene. But you have to look for it.

    But the older stuff still rules in two respects: 1) it was there first, so there is nothing comparable to the sheer innovation that happened back then 2) I don’t think there is much songwriting that gets quite to the level of universal and lasting appeal as, say, the work of the Beatles or Simon & Garfunkle. But item 2 may just mean that I haven’t heard happened across it. I’d put, for instance, Gillian Welch at her best up against any of the famous female singer-writers of the past. Better than almost all of them, in fact.

    When I do bump into standard commercial pop, it generally doesn’t even really register on me as music–just a sort of processed sound product, aural Cheez-Whiz.

  33. Ymarsakar Says:

    Grammys are like the Superbowl to me. Equally knowledgeable.

    Memo to this next wearer—don’t wash in hot water, use coolest dryer setting (although it’s too late now):

    Really looks like a photoshop with the wrong head size, doesn’t it.

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About Me

Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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