Episode 241: I Don’t Think It’s Wind-Beneath-My-Wings Quality

The Overthinkers tackle the 55th Grammy Awards.

Matthew Belinkie, Peter Fenzel, and Matthew Wrather overthink the 55th Grammy Awards, speculate about the difference in overthinability between movies and movies, and take a stab at analyzing the candidates for one of the many Best Song awards given tonight.


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22 Comments on “Episode 241: I Don’t Think It’s Wind-Beneath-My-Wings Quality”

  1. cat #

    I first read about the Grammy dress code memo on Racked. Thought it was hilarious then but even better when Wrather read it out loud. I think that the fashion at the Grammy’s was noticeably more conservative. Beyonce, Rihanna, and Katy Perry were good examples of this. Each took a different approach to highlighting certain assets without violating the restrictions.


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      Katy Perry had plenty fleshy curves. I suppose they were not undercurves, so she was within the letter of the law…


      • cat #

        That was my point. Rihanna wore “sheer see-through clothing” but hopefully avoided “exposing female breast nipples”.


  2. cat #

    Hearing you list all those former winners I do get the sense that the more recent songs have been a bit more despondent and a lot of them have to do with failed/unhealthy relationships instead of uplifting, romantic themes. Where’s Lee when you need a good graph?

    And it’s totally on you that you don’t remember “Need You Now”. I still love that song.


  3. Chris #

    On the one hand, I feel the Grammy’s suffer from the fact they have so many awards to give out, and they are often convoluted, such as the fact they give out both a song of the year AND record of the year (I know there are delineations, but it is still a bit confounding on the surface). On the other hand, from what I gather the Grammy’s succeed as a televised program because they hand out only a few awards during the actual show and focus on performance. I still don’t watch them however. Also, Icola Ray’s “I Love It” should have won everything.

    This “Somebody I Used to Know” song seems to both steal a title from an Elliott Smith song AND be a poor man’s version of Human League’s “Don’t You Want Me.” Did Gotye work as a waitress (waiter) in a cocktail bar?

    Belinkie mentioned Kanye West’s rant during a Taylor Swift acceptance speech, and while he did not state this expressly, perhaps he mentioned it in correlation to the Grammy’s, but it happened at the MTV Music Awards. Also, apparently they showed a photo of Jennifer Lopez in her famed dress during the telecast, which seems odd what with their new rules.

    In terms of American Idol winners and becoming stars, Justin Guarini and Clay Aiken did not win. Carrie Underwood did, however, so there’s that.

    Lastly, Wrather you were wearing shorts recently out here in LA? It must have been a lot nicer where you are then where I am.


    • Matthew Belinkie OTI Staff #

      I had forgotten that the Kanye thing happened at the MTV awards, but the point stands: recording artists have license to behave in ways that movie stars cannot. Kanye West can be a jackass and it doesn’t hurt his career. But movie-making is much more collaborative, and nobody wants to hire a star who will derail the whole project. Outrageous behavior becomes a liability. In the music business, getting into bar fights is probably a savvy PR move.


      • cat #

        I may be wrong about this but I thought Kanye laid low for a while after that incident working on a new album in Hawaii.


    • Matthew Wrather OTI Staff #

      I was jogging, in case that makes a difference.

      I think of “Best Song” as “Best Screenplay” because (I think) it’s an award for writing—that is, an award for the underlying design. “Best Record” is like “Best Picture”, because it’s about the realization of the design. Is that accurate?


      • Chris #

        Yeah, that’s what I gather as well. I’ve also been thinking more about the difference between these awards and, say, the Oscars. I feel like the Grammy’s are expected to be more in tune with what is popular, almost like a glorified People’s Choice Awards. The Oscars are almost expected to focus more on critically acclaimed films. Sure, you get rabble rousing when a film like The Dark Knight doesn’t get a Best Picture nomination, and the Oscars have tried to engender themselves to a wider audience with their expanded Best Picture list and their young presenters from the Twilight’s of the world, but I feel like the expectations are different, and it hinders the Grammy’s in this instance.

        Also, in terms of Belinkie’s assertion about actors not being able to get away with as much in terms of public abhorrent behavior and behind the scenes difficulty, while I do agree with that assessment, I also feel it takes A LOT for that to be the case in film. I mean, the actors that once had cache that now struggle to get work because of such issues are at the Mel Gibson and Lindsay Lohan level, and they both do technically still get work. So, you know, it takes a lot to be really and truly ostracized from the world of film, as a certain director hiding out in Europe can tell you.


      • JosephFM #

        That’s correct. Also, Song of the Year goes to the songwriter; record of the year, like Best Picture, goes to the producer and performer. It gets confused mainly because the winner of both or either often either a singer-songwriter (eg Adele or Gotye), a group effort by a band, or – and this is especially true of Top 40 and rap – something written in studio in a process more like storyboarding for television than what we laypeople typically think of as “writing”.


    • JosephFM #

      Sonically though, Gotye sounds less like either iteration of the Human League than like Peter Gabriel? Also, the emotional tone is totally different. “Don’t You Want Me” is pleading and the woman claims to “still love” him but be leaving anyway to be independent; in “Somebody I Used To Know” the relationship has long since ended and he’s being a whiny stalker to someone who has good reasons to loathe him.


  4. JosephFM #

    Okay, having listened to the podcast:

    “We Are Young” is a pretty weird song in that the verses don’t really seem to fit all that well with the chorus. The verses are about meeting an old lover at a bar who’s with someone the singer percieves as emptily attractive and making an offer to take her home if she ends up leaving by herself – which then immediately transitions into the “set the world on fire” chorus. Mid-sentence, actually. It’s kind of jarring. (These points were all made by Todd In The Shadows months ago, but there we are.) It’s like Nate Ruess’s motivation in the chorus is to exhort himself and the friend/ex to have a good time no matter what happens because they’re young and shouldn’t dwell on bad feelings like, say, Gotye does in “Somebody I Used To Know”.

    Also think this was the first year I can remember that all five “best new artists” were ALL on NPR’s 25 top albums podcast. I might be wrong though.


    • An Inside Joke #

      I would echo the sentiment of the podcasters, that “We Are Young” is meant to be ironic. I think it helps to refer to the music video, which consists of a bar brawl breaking out and quickly becoming very violent. I remember one scene that shows a woman biting a chunk out of a man’s face (I believe this video was released shortly before the real-world bath-salts face-eating incident.)

      I interpret the meaning of the chorus to mean “We’re young and stupid. This is the time of our life where we can do something truly reckless and dangerous that we’ll probably end up regretting (set the world on fire) and get away with it, so let’s do it.”

      I think that fits a bit with your interpretation, JosephFM, in the sense that hooking up with an ex is something you would usually regret and probably regard as foolish, but when you’re in your 20’s, it’s the sort of thing you might do anyway, even when you’re fully cognizant of how bad of an idea it is.


  5. Rambler #

    Oh man..
    Discussing “Who’s identity would you steal?” and Music in the same cast and no one remembers Banditos by the Refreshments! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-CBccRlXBU

    Well give your ID card to the border guard
    Yeah, your alias says you’re Captain Jean-Luc Picard
    Of the United Federation of Planets
    ‘Cause he won’t speak English anyway

    I’m willing to accept that I’m an extremely niche market, but I insist that The Refreshments are one of the most underrated bands of the 90’s.


  6. andre the chemist #

    Maybe I’m not Overthinking It(tm) enough, but the differing fashion/behavioral cultures of the Grammys and other top-flight awards show is easily explained by two factors:

    1) The Grammys are more focused on the performers than, for example, the Oscars. For the Oscars (not even counting the Kate-Beckinsale-hotel-ballroom awards) a lot of people we’ve never heard of will get up and accept awards. Only the acting and many of the directing nominees (and the odd producer or writer) are recognizable by the public. Most of the nominees don’t need an outrageous public persona to fuel their career. The costume designer or sound editing team for a movie isn’t looking to end up on Extra or in People Mag or whatever.

    2) The nominees (of the televised awards in particular for the Grammys) skew much much younger, in part because the awards are more focused on the performers. Even if we’re talking about 20s versus 30s for the typical age, the mindset of the bulk of the attendees at the Grammys is going to be drastically different than at a show like the Emmys (or even the Golden Globes).

    Go to a high school prom or homecoming dance (WARNING: unless you work at the school or have a child at the school DO NOT go to a high school prom or homecoming dance for any reason!!!) and compare the fashion and decorum with that of your average college formal party and then compare both with an office party. Yes the latter two can get wild, but the first will reliably have more extreme fashion choices and more groping/making out on the dance floor. And the high school dance is where you’ll most likely find the rules of dress delineated as you did at the Grammys.


  7. stephen #

    As terrible as the Grammys are, it looks like they at least taught someone in the White House what “dubstep” means



  8. andre the chemist #

    Also, in regards to other Hook-inspired songs, didn’t Phil Collins do that tribute to the fallen leader of the Lost Boys?

    I think it went “Roof-roof-Rufio…” [rimshot]


  9. Jasin #

    Alright guys, your podcast had a distinct lack of Ke$ha discussion, who provides much overthinking fuel to today’s pop culture, as well as embarrassingly catchy tunes.
    At the very least a compare and contrast of Ke$ha’s “Die Young” and Fun’s “We are young” would be unnecessary.


    • Jasin #

      i meant to say “would be necessary”
      Freudian Slip? or does autocorrect hate Ke$ha?


  10. Gab #

    Misleading songs: I feel like I’ve brought this up before. “Bye Bye Love” is a great example, and a band I think does this in most of their songs is Tegan and Sara.


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