Op-Ed Commentary: Why I Won’t Be Renewing My NARAS Membership

by Drew Daniels

Well folks,

I spent half a day waiting for a doctor to call back, so whilst waiting, I logged onto the Grammy member page and suffered through dozens of full album tracks from the nominated listings in the Record Of The Year, Album Of The Year, Song Of The Year, and Best New Artist categories.  I am compelled now, to shower.

This crap is so bloody awful, that the responsible morons at NARAS who simply list the nominees based on record sales figures alone,* totally heedless and regardless of a recording’s content of craft or quality, should all be fired  and replaced with people who have at least SOME musical sensibility, instead of NONE AT ALL.  The listening and musical judgment skills of those extant would be more appropriately applied shoveling spilled iron slag in an anvil foundry.

It’s far past time when sales should be the sole criterion for an award that isn’t simply labeled “Best-Selling Record Of The year,” “Best-Selling Album Of The Year,” “Best-Selling Song.” “Best-Selling New Artist,” etc.  Let’s at least be clear so the disingenuousness of crap-mongering isn’t compounded by lying about the crap’s suitability to be labeled “Best” –of anything.

One can understand the Grammy Academy’s unwillingness or refusal to consider good music as viable despite sales, because it might require they’d actually have to listen–maybe even go out to hear musical artists whose records are not located at the front of the stacks at Wal-Mart, by huge amounts of “placement promotion money.”

The present Grammy-nominated tracks and albums, and the singers who make them are the clearest example yet of what happens when over-caffeinated karaoke singers are hired by cynical promotion companies, sent to a Guitar Center store to buy ProTools, AUTOTUNE, dozens of distortion plug-ins and (the exact same) bad drum samples, and are then left to see how stupid they can get on drugs and booze.  These people are totally unqualified to dabble in either music or engineering, and thus the noise pollution formed by the confluence of misunderstood and misapplied engineering tools by totally talentless music hacks and pretenders, is mind-numbingly criminal in its emotional effect on anyone with enough music experience to whistle.

I shall not renew my NARAS membership; there is no point.  Music has been killed, dead, by cynical lawyers and MBAs, engineers and other non-musicians who’ve been empowered to put noises on shiny plastic disks and iPods, and by cynical, greedy and short-sighted software engineering and marketing firms bent on profits no matter what the terrible consequences.

I may never listen to the radio again for fear of being assaulted by:

1.  Tracks that are ALL LOUD, ALL THE TIME.
2.  The daily stampede of singers with “Mariah Carey Disease.”  (melismatically mangled melody)
3.  AUTOTUNED vocals that obscure any trace of possible craft.
4.  The words “shit” and “fuck” liberally substituted for vocabulary in everyday song lyrics.
5.  The despicable stupidity and cynicism of music marketers.
6.  The astonishing lack of originality of ALL promoted “music” acts.

If not for my wonderful recording and mastering clients, I would take up forestry tomorrow.

Mark my words, big business is evil.

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3 Responses to Op-Ed Commentary: Why I Won’t Be Renewing My NARAS Membership

  1. I agree… the whole mess really takes the heart out of “music.” It is increasingly irritating to listen to kgil way late at night to be assaulted with totallt redigitalised vocals by Tony Bennet, FranK sinatra , Ella etc etc only to reaise their vocal vibratos have been manipulated to the same degree of quiver. then realise ,with increasing IRE that the strings are vibrato-ing at the SAME speed! Outrageous! And when I bring it to the attention of a very sought after arranger and pianist in the industry, am greeted with a blank fish eyed expression and a grunt! Making me feel as if I am halucinating! [Too much Astragalus?] And then on my FB Darling drummie Emil Richards posts an old original recording he did with Sinatra and THERE it is!!! the silk-sinewy voice… As I always knew it!!! Then I knew the WHOLe industry is infected with a horrible virus … one of total disregard for the artist and ALL vibratos are quavering at the same speed and so are the instrumentals! — regardless of Who they happen to be! Even the Beatles.. I was trying to find something to sooth me through the night when I happened on a familiar tune but with something horrible wrong! The freat Martin-Beatle collaberation ruined by the redoing of the originals, and the lush orchestrations quivering at the same speed as the vocals! I can only think this dumbing down of our older pop heritage is a result of people who are HS dropouts, druggies and Part of the Evil Empire![Plus they raise the pitcc about a quarter of a tone] And a conspiracy to drive all sensitive listeners insane1 Sorry for the Tome… but Thank G– there is someone else out there who knows something is totally screwed up! And Thank you for allowing my opinion!!! suezenne Fordham Chamber Jazz LA [and no I am not a kgil sort of gal, but at 3 n the morning, that was there... and in Turkeyville,[Sunland] Classical music is not an option [not being able to get it on my radio] Thank you! suezenne fordham chamber Jazz LA

  2. Ken says:

    Drew, your reasons for dropping your NARAS membership are identical to the reasons that I have never joined, though I’ve been eligible for a few years. Aside from jazz, what a vast wasteland!

  3. Robert Rhoades says:

    Thanks for the point of view. It may help to keep me out of problems in the future. I sometimes wonder if other organizations are just in it “for the money”.

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