So the Juno Award nominations came out today and wow am I ever oblivious about the state of the Canadian music industry.
It's not just the sheer volume of crap music like Celine Dion, Nickelback and Hedley that's nominated. It's the sheer volume of acts I've never heard of before in my life that's flooring me. I'm used to this level of obliviousness when looking at the nominees for the East Coast Music Awards, but for the Junos? I look at the Fan Choice Award - which means you should be dealing with a massively popular act, right? - and there's a group called The Lost Fingers. Never heard of them. Album of the year has The Lost Fingers and Sylvian Cossette. Nope.
Artist of the year has City and Colour and Serena Ryder. No clue. New artist of the year is a clean sweep as I've never heard any of those acts.
Now, I'm used to a certain level of obliviousness these day as to what is popular in music. I don't listen to radio stations. I download albums that look like they might be interesting to me after I read enough reviews so that I feel like I've got a handle on what the album is like and then I'll give it a whirl.
But going through the list was baffling because I was sure I listened to some good Canadian music in 2008. Didn't Hawksley Workman have a really good album out? Matt May and El Torpedo produced a rock masterpiece. Ron Sexsmith and Kathleen Edwards had good records out. Not career highlights, but still solid stuff. Am I losing my shit?
But nope, I'm not losing my shit. There they are - in Adult Alternative Album of the Year or Rock Album of the Year. Wedged between the announcements for Country Recording for the Year and Vocal Jazz Album of the Year. They've been tossed into the Juno ghetto of "Music we have categories for, but likely won't announce during the TV broadcast."
I would ordinarily view this as one of I'm certain many to come "Oh my God, I am getting old moments" except Celine Dion is nominated. Odd thing about Dion, I've never met anyone who admits to liking her music. And yet she sells millions and keeps getting Juno nods. So there must be an underground for it somewhere. Celine Dion, the crystal meth of Canadian music. Oddly, they both can have a similar impact on your teeth. Little known fact.
I guess there's two ways to look at the Junos. The first is that I'm apparently completely out of touch with what is popular in Canadian music these days, make my peace with it and continue to live a happy life listening to stuff I actually like as opposed to what the music industry is trying to force down my throat. Or I could go and sample some of the nominees that I haven't heard of before. I might find something I like. Which is always fun.
However, given the volume of known crap there (Nickelback, Hedley, Dion) it's a process that I will explore very carefully.
The Last Five
1. There's an arc - Hey Rosetta!
2. Nashville - Liz Phair
3. Rich kid blues - The Raconteurs
4. Leather (live) - Tori Amos*
5. The piano has been drinking (not me) - Tom Waits