Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Grammy Fashion Throwdown: Beating Up The Beat

I have a confession to make. For someone who claims to be a rabid pop culture enthusiast, I am still one wedge short of a Trivial Pursuit victory pie (well, actually, that’s a terrible analogy—I am at least four wedges short if you count History, Geography, Sports and Leisure, and Science and Nature. Usually I just yell out things like “General Grant!” or “China!” or “Hemophiliac!” as if I have Noun Tourette’s until people get distracted and go to get more beer so that I can focus on trying to cheat by reading the back of the card.)


What I’m trying to say is that there’s one aspect of pop culture in which I am really not well versed at all and that is music. It’s not that I don’t like music—I do.  I just sort of stopped paying attention to it after 1998.

(I’m about to give you a little bit of history about myself, but feel free to scroll down to the part where I make fun of Grammy outfits. I won’t be offended. I’ll even distract myself so I don’t see you do it. UNA! LOOK—IT’S CLIVE OWEN DANCING IN A CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! OMG, CLIVE YOU ARE SUCH A SCAMP. PUT YOUR PANTS BACK ON!)

Where was I? Oh, right. So I am not hip when it comes to music. I'm not even hip enough to stop using the word hip—it's that bad. I don’t know any indie bands and I barely know the new pop stars. I have always had a predisposition towards music that came before my time. My parents listened to a lot of jazz and classical music (as well as some Joni Mitchell, Rolling Stones, and other 60s and 70s stuff) when I was growing up, and that shaped my tastes to some extent. I remember clearly the first two cassette tapes I purchased for myself: The Beatles 1962-1966 compilation and the greatest hits of KC and the Sunshine Band. This, I might add, was in 1990, a time in which a normal, well-adjusted young girl might have been shopping for Whitney Houston and Madonna.

I did eventually get into a Madonna phase (It’s practically a rite of passage for women, right up there with getting your period and deciding that you are, in your heart of hearts, really a Carrie) but I quickly ruined any credibility I might have been gaining among my friends when I went and fell in love with showtunes. Then, somehow, in 1992/3 I had a musical awakening that seemed to coincide with puberty and which made me get really into Mary J. Blige’s What’s the 411, Arrested Development’s 3 Years, 5 Months & 2 Days in the Life Of..., A Tribe Called Quest’s The Low End Theory and a lot of more embarrassing stuff like House of Pain, SWV, Tony! Toni! Toné!, and—as I have chronicled previously on this blog—the sweet, sweet nothings of one-hit wonder Lidell Townsell. That little portal of real-time music awareness snapped shut by 1995, leaving me to regard early 90s hip-hop as “contemporary” until... well, pretty much now. Has it been 20 years already? Fuck, I’m old! Doesn't anyone do the Roger Rabbit anymore? 

So, that was a very long-winded way of saying that I was looking through the Grammy’s red carpet photos and didn’t recognize at least half of the people. If you haven’t allegedly slept with Justin Timberlake or been on some Internet top-ten list of Best Celebrity Camel Toe 2009 (yes, that really exists), then I probably have no idea who you are. Luckily, that doesn’t stop me from judging your outfit!

OK, let's do this. Since I went and raised the bar for myself with a ridiculous Golden Globes poem, I guess it's only fitting to do some theme for this. In keeping with my trip down memory lane, I'll attempt to mock these outfits using lyrics from early 90s-era rap and hip-hop songs. BUST IT!

Alright, stop whatcha doin'
'cause I'm about to ruin
the image and the style that you're used to.
I look funny
but yo I'm makin' money see
so yo world I hope you're ready for me.
—The Humpty Dance, Digital Underground, 1990

This would continue, in the vein of Humpty Hump, "Now gather 'round, cause I'm the new girl on the block and my hair is the color of Country Crock. I'll use up all the Glad cling wrap you have on your shelf, so just let me introduce myself..."

She's dressed in yellow, she says "Hello,
Come sit next to me you fine fellow."
—Bust A Move, Young MC, 1989

This, apparently, is Ke$ha. She sings a hit single called "TiK ToK." I can only assume she also likes shopping at dELiA*s and watching Arli$$. She is the biological product of a very kinky three-way between Ellen Barkin, Blake Lively, and, obviously, a dollar sign.

So I took her to my crib, and everything went well as planned
But when she got undressed, it was a big old mess—Sheena was a man!
—Funky Cold Medina, Ton Loc, 1989
I am so mean. I'm sorry Kathy; you just look so much like Carrot Top. I can't look directly at you!
And wow how now wow how now Brown cow.
—Scenario, A Tribe Called Quest, 1991

Sheryl Crow knows this (what?) and Sheryl Crow knows that (what?)
But Sheryl Crow don't know jack, cause she's wearing a sack (why?)

(Ooh white lines) Vision dreams of passion
(Blowin’ through my mind) and all the while I think of you
(High price) a very strange reaction
(For us to unwind) the more I see, the more I do
(Something like a phenomenon) Baby!
(Tellin your body to come along) But white lines blow away.
—White Lines (Don't Do It), Grandmaster Flash, 1983
Unfortunately, this white line shows no signs of blowing away.

She's just like you and me
But she's homeless, she's homeless
As she stands there singing for money...
—Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless), Crystal Waters, 1991

Don't worry, guys: This is apparently a Russian pop star named Nadeea and not, as I feared, a new addition to Rainbow Brite's Color Kids named High Ho Silver.

Hot to trot, make any man's eyes pop
She use what she got to get whatever she don't got
Fellas drool like fools, but then again they're only human
The chick was a hit because her body was boomin'
Gold, pearls, rubies, crazy diamonds
Nothin' she ever wore was ever common
—Let's Talk About Sex, Salt N' Pepa, 1991

I mean, damn. I don't even like that dress, but damn.

To the beanpole dames in the magazines:
You ain't it, Miss Thing
—Baby Got Back, Sir Mix-a-Lot, 1992

I'm just so meh about Taylor Swift in general, and then she has to go and wear this weird lumpen sparkly sealskin? I don't want to get lynched here, but doesn't country music have it's own awards show? Or does she legitimately count as pop?

Now there she goes again, the dopest Ethiopian
And now the world around me be gets movin in slow motion
—Passin' Me By, Pharcyde, 1993

Wait, what? Snooki's not black? Is she at least Indian? Oh my God, that's not right.

Something grabs a hold of me tightly
Flow like a harpoon daily and nightly
Will it ever stop?
Yo! I don't know
—Ice Ice Baby, Vanilla Ice, 1990

The "something" in question is apparently the SCALP OF SANTA. And the Harpoon flowing daily and nightly is obviously beer, because you'd have to be drunk to put this on. I mean, really. She is wearing Santa as chest hair.

Never trust a big butt and smile 
—Poison, Bel Biv Devoe, 1990

Hahahahaha. Sorry, I don't know why that cracks me up, it just does. Because she's so fat. So, so fat.

OK, y'all, that's all I have in me today. I know I left some people out, but it's surprising how few rap songs mention see-through tunics (ahem, Britney).



  1. dear lord! those are some of the WORSE outfits i've ever seen. what is it with musicians and their poor grammar and terrible fashion sense. huh? HUH? TELL ME!

  2. This is hilarious. Thank you for making me laugh out loud!

  3. I kept thinking of clever and witty comments to leave for you but my mind kept wandering back to Clive Owen sans pants in a chocolate fountain.... ;P

    Love your humour! Can't wait to read more.

  4. My favorte part of this was seeing: "Never trust a big butt and smile,—Poison, Bel Biv Devoe, 1990" next to Nicole Kidman. Too good. Thanks for the laugh!

  5. Hilarious! and I'm pretty sure Snooki's at least part Oompa Loompa.

  6. Agreed about knowing who half these idiots are...I stopped paying attention to new musicians when Nirvana made it cool for the jocks in high school to listen to the same music as me.

  7. Anonymous8:14 PM

    In Lady GaGa's defence, I think she was going for "ridiculous". Which is a problem in and of itself, I suppose.
    Thank you for the amazing post. Truly creative. Made me LOL, that's for sure :)

  8. Can't stop laughing over Santa's Scalp...bwa ha ha!

    Yeah, I'm with you; I don't know most singers these days...

  9. http://misskitty-randommeows.blogspot.com/

    I LOVED the quotes you addressed to each photo :) PRICELESS!! Thanks for the laughs :)

  10. Huh? What? Oh, I'm sorry, I'm still perusing the Top Ten Celebrity Camel Toe of 2009...and I thank you, SC.

  11. New reader alert! Love this. Love me some good old fashioned celebrity-mocking. Love your blog name.

  12. Fantastic! So funny!

  13. i always appreciate an early 90s throwback.

  14. I'm not sure there was a single redeeming outfit/dress at that entire awards mess. It would take the whole week to mock them all.

  15. You made me cry...again. And I didn't even watch the Grammy's.

  16. I'm one of your new fans, and while I'm not lesbian ( not that there is anything wrong with that ) I think I love you. lol

    By the way your musical tastes may have been slightly tragic, but at least you didn't go out and BUY the Milli Vanilla casette then wear it out from playing it so often.

  17. lol that was so funny :D
    hoping to read more.......

  18. I missed the Grammy's but I think I like your version better, much better, especially the "Santa Scalp." Saran wrap wasn't too shabby, either. Found you as a blog of note and this was the best darn laugh!! Thanks!

  19. After a full blown flash back to my youth, I was in hysterics. You are just way too funny. Love to start my day this way. Of course some of these songs will be stuck in my head all day! LMAO

  20. I.LOVE.IT

    Thank you for the refresing commentary!

  21. I'm sure there MUST have been some candidates for that old classic 'Too much booty in the pants' ?

  22. Hahahaha! Glad I decided to stay at my desk for lunch today. Good stuff, though I almost spit my caramel pie a my computer screen! And HOLY CRAP, Digital Underground?? Memories and I now have my friday dance song link for the FB page! Thanks again!

  23. You are so hilarious. My favorite line was about Santa's scalp. I laughed out loud and woke up my infant who had JUST gone to sleep, and I wasn't even upset. Thanks for the laughs!

  24. You are a beautifully wonderful human being and my new hero. <3!!!

  25. Oh, you GUYS. I had no idea I could win you over so easily with The Humpty Dance!

    You are all totally awesome.

    By the way, I feel bad not responding to each individual comment, and will try to do more of that in the coming weeks.

  26. I can't believe they actually let someone from Jersey Shore on the red carpet. There goes the Grammy's street cred!

  27. My first CD was Keith Sweat. I don't think ANYthing can top that. "You know, you know you want my love, girl, you got me twisted over you." Mortifying.

    Your comment on Rihanna's dress made me spit out my wine. Thanks for that.

  28. Una, you're such a f*cking genius.


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