The above clip is the 1996 hard rock Grammy acceptance speech by an apparently disaffected Eddie Vedder. In brief reflection on the meaning of winning a Grammy, Vedder quickly concludes that essentially the moment and the record of it means little or nothing-perhaps beyond pleasing one's next of kin.
The last few days have been awash with news and opinions and "told you so" editorials on Gotye's Grammy sweep. Coining such terms as "hat trick" and "unexpected star," articles have reveled in the apparent victory of a yet 'unsung' musical hero. Granted, much of said news hails from Oz, so the bias makes sense-and the fact that Wally has broken a decades-long dry-spell for Australian musos at the yearly event termed "music's biggest night."
I wholeheartedly agree that Wally's Grammy accolades were more than earned-especially the distinct parameters of the Record of the Year category, wherein the craftsmanship of a song is the focus. It's undeniable that amongst a mostly canned-pop piece cohort, "Somebody" was a diamond in the rough. I was not at all shocked by the win, more satisfied than anything else.
Just a few days after the bacanalia of Grammy night, Wally sat down with a local radio station and an audience of one-hundred and revealed that for both his hit single and his Grammy experience he felt himself little more that a "curious bystander." I would say that's perhaps quite true to the subjectively sensed roles of folks like myself. Doesn't it seen fascinating that both the maker of the art and the devotees would feel a similar sense of detachment or depersonalization? Is this just the afterglow of the shock felt by finding oneself handed an historic award by one of pop music's most eccentric and brilliant veterans?
It's a little strange for me, I have to admit. I've been gassing-on about Gotye for a year, and have made a personal task of supporting his work and integrating into his community. He was just a strange and immutable music video to me back then, now he's one of my favorite people on earth. I was proud like a mother bird watching her hatchling spring from the nest and soar...which is pretty stupid of me, really, and not entirely logical. But pride for Wally walking across a stage in my home turf and finally being seen for the humble brilliance he brings to an otherwise fluff-glutted artistic industry is what I genuinely felt...whether I deserve to or not.
I hope he sees his first Grammy awards as more than meaningless metal, as Eddie Vedder seemed to convey. I hope it holds a broader value as a concrete representation that his work is loved deeply by us "uber fans." Because it's the mass of listeners and lovers that drive the industry in the end, not just politics or privilege.
I also hope Wally goes home to some tranquility, and perhaps retains his "curious bystander" sense of this-I believe it will keep him grounded. And a grounded Gotye is the man who makes the music we love.
Paige (c.) 2013
Catch more glorious Gotye gluttony at heisthewallrus.com