The Award for Mediocrity, Again

Yearning for civil unrest from any '99 Grammy nominee

Sheryl Crow in 1999 seems demythologized of her dirt-street sexuality and beat Rickie Lee Jones brooding. Crow's now apparently relegated to that drab and sinless pasture where the Mellencamps and Pettys graze. Crow's 1999 Grammy nod is for best female rock vocal, for the 13-year-old Guns n' Roses white trash elegy "Sweet Child o' Mine." And that is a B-side at best. But she is Sheryl Crow, the female template of '90s Grammy Awards.

To best illustrate how utterly inert the Grammys are, Toto gets a nom in new classic rock category. And Black Sabbath appears in the best metal performance category alongside Lemmy and Motörhead (for its cover of Metallica's "Enter Sandman").

Buckcherry and Metallica see nods with Limp Bizkit, Korn and Kid Rock in best hard rock performance.

Grammy-ubiquitous Sting is here again (up in two categories -- go home, already). Springsteen (for a 20-year-old song). There's Donna Summer, Cher and Emmylou Harris, too. The latter corps makes Madonna (tabbed for "Beautiful Stranger") seem young. Token "juvies" are Sarah McLachlan ("I Will Remember You") and Alanis Morissette ("Thank U").

Some call it a comeback, but NARAS must love Santana (10 nominations) for nearly topping the five million mark with Supernatural. NARAS smells commercialism and diversity.

Latin music -- the type penned by Yank Desmond Child ("Livin' la Vida Loca"), who also wrote KISS, Aerosmith and Bon Jovi hits, or by German-born Italian-Ugandan Lou Bega -- makes me want to pull a header straight into the nearest wall at 60 mph.

At least a worthy nomination reared in Tom Waits' Mule Variations, even if it is in the category for best contemporary folk album.

Contact Brian Smith at his online address: brian.smith@newtimes.com

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