Monday, February 14, 2011
Arcade Fire Wins Album of the Year
Well, last night, Arcade Fire won Album of the Year, beating such megastars and front runners as Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Eminem. It's one of the biggest upsets in years, though oddly, the band didn't win the category everyone though they would. They lost in the Alternative Album category to the Black Keys.
It's sort of an upset, but in truth, not really. Arcade Fire's The Suburbs was one of the best reviewed albums of the year. And though it is not a commercial success on the scale of the other nominees, it did mange to sell half a million copies, so it's far from a failure. It actually reminds me of another nominee for Album of the Year, Radiohead's Ok Computer. That album didn't win, but it had a similar critical vibe. The real groundbreaking aspect is that The Suburbs was released as an independent, not on a major label.
Anyway, I echo Arcade Fire's lead singer's response when he won, "What the hell?" But it's great. It's an amazing album. However, most of the people out there on the Interwebs are treating the win like it's some totally obscure band that somehow managed to undeservedly topple some music greats. But their previous two albums were nominated for Grammys, so that doesn't really make sense. The fact is that, whether you like Arcade Fire or have never heard of Arcade Fire or love Arcade Fire, the real question is was their album a legitimate contender based on the material alone? The answer is yes; and maybe we should be happy that the Grammy voters listened to all the nominees and voted the way they felt rather than bowing to marketing or press. Kind of cool.
Here's Arcade Fire in action: