Surprisingly, The Suburbs by Arcade Fire won album of the year at the 53rd Grammy Awards last night. Shocked? We are, too. They beat out Lady Antebellum's Need You Now, Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster, Eminem's Recovery and Katy Perry's Teenage Dream. The Grammys seemed to get it wrong a lot last night (as always), but hearing the Arcade Fire album title stuttered by Barbra Streisand at the conclusion of the ceremony had me (and I'm sure many others) gaping in disbelief.
The band lost the Best Alternative Album category to the Black Keys' Brothers. Weird and ironic they lost that category but won Best Album of the Year? Weird and very, very cool. Of all the bands that evening, it was nice (for once) to be surprised to not see Eminem or Gaga take the trophy. Perhaps not Arcade's best album compared to 2004's Funeral or 2007's Neon Bible, but it was solid and well-regarded. I was excited to see the powers behind the Grammy Awards finally recognizing independent/alternative music instead of giving all the accolades to the most glorified country or pop bullshit.
The two performances by Arcade Fire were . . . well, interesting. It was hard to see anything through the tricked-out lights and bike riders circling the stage with cameras attached to their helmets, but at least they tried. The sound was mediocre, but hey, it was better than Bob Dylan's performance of "Maggie's Farm." The best part was seeing the band come onstage to grab their award. They all looked extremely confused, like they just accepted an award on behalf of someone else. And maybe Kris Kristofferson and Barbra Streisand will remember them and their name now. . . .