Much like the metal category, hard rock is something that the NARAS doesn’t understand to any degree. Yes, it can sometimes -* sometimes* – pick the ‘right’ bands but its choices for songs is bizarre.
AC/DC, “WAR MACHINE”
Alice in Chains, “Check My Brain”
Linkin Park, “What I’ve Done”
Metallica, “The Unforgiven III”
Nickelback, “Burn it to the Ground”
OK, first off: Nickelback?! Not only is that a terrible choice for a band nominee, it’s not even the best song from Dark Horse – though, of course, that isn’t saying a whole lot. The band’s sole purpose for existence is one attempt after another to make the mindless masses they call fans rock out with no particular direction or reason. Nominating Nickelback for Best Hard Rock Performance is like nominating the United States military’s use of napalm for Best Aim. Moving on.
Metallica’s “The Unforgiven III” is from a thrash metal album and yet is nominited for ‘hard rock.’ Also, the song was never released as a single and and Death Magnetic came out in September 2008, which would have fallen under last year’s Grammys. Whatever. Ignoring these absurdities, “Unforgiven” is a fucking terrible track off of a decent-at-best album. If they’re gonna stick with an outdated album, the least the NARAS could do is choose a track worth hearing from Death Magnetic – like “All Nightmare Long” or “My Apocalypse” (I know the song already won a Grammy last year for Best Metal Performance, but still…).
AC/DC shouldn’t be on this list at all. Yes, they’re a hard rock band but Black Ice was just a retread of everything they’ve done before – and done better. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what song you chose from it because they’re all sub-par. Next.
As for Linkin Park’s “What I’ve Done,” that’s an April 2007 single which should have been in 2008’s Grammys. It’s two years late! I don’t care if the Academy chose a live version from the band’s 2009 live album Road to Revolution which, to them, qualifies it for this year. It’s still a 2007 single. Maybe the NARAS confused “What I’ve Done” (which was used in “Transformers”) with 2009’s “New Divide” (used in “Transformers 2”). I get it, they’re both used in a Michael Bay movie and are, essentially, the same song in terms of structure: mainstream rock milquetoast minutiae.
Finally, there’s the supposedly reunited ‘Alice in Chains,’ something the Academy shoulda stayed as far away from as possible. I imagine Jerry Cantrell got the band back together because he was spending his Dirt royalties faster than they were coming in. “Check My Brain” is excruciatingly dull in its execution. It’s painfully obvious that William DuVall just goes through the motions, more so than any hooker on the planet. He doesn’t even sound like he gives a shit when he sings “California’s all right/ Somebody check my brain.” I don’t either, so I’m glad we’re in agreement.