Juno: daughter of Saturn, mother of Mars and goddess of horrible taste in music

The Junos are set to air tonight. I could not care less about this fact — the Junos have long since proved irrelevant to anyone with even a passing appreciation for music as an art — except that the disgust felt by music writers at the nominees is, well…delicious.

From Ben Rayner at the Toronto Star:

It’s Juno Awards season again, and we all know what that means: Nitpicking, kvetching, bitching, bellyaching, bemoaning and generally venting our displeasure in the direction of whomever the Canadian recording industry has singled out for celebration this year.

Still, we watch, don’t we? And while we groan and shake our heads and grumble “What a farce! How meaningless!” whenever someone hands Nickelback or Michael Bublé – or Bryan Adams’s designated representative in Canada – another one of those little glass statues, we also secretly long for F—ed Up to take home that “alternative album of the year” award because … well … because that would be freakin’ awesome. Especially if Anne Murray has to present the trophy.

And, thus, we are complicit in the whole, hated awards-ceremony process.

Robert Everett-Green of the Globe and Mail was a little less reflective:

“Thinking about this year’s Junos makes my head hurt. They’ve already elevated Nickelback above all other Canadian musicians. The rock louts from Hanna, Alta., have five nominations, more than anyone else. My first response was to close my eyes to the horror. Go ahead, Juno, give the awards to Don Cherry, for all I care.

Juno’s idiotic nomination rules give an automatic berth in key categories to acts that sell the most records, and have put Nickelback in contention for album and group of the year. To suggest this band’s receipts prove it’s the best Canada has to offer is like saying nobody in this country makes better sandwiches than Subway. Bear in mind that Neil Young’s Chrome Dreams II got no nominations at all. Neither did excellent albums by Shad, k.d. lang, the Sadies, We Are Wolves and Cadence Weapon.”

Poor Nickelback has been taking a beating in recent weeks over what is seeming more and more like canonization from the Junos — not surprising, since it’s the favor of the Canadian recording industry’s favor that decides the evening’s winners. But even the Edmonton Sun slammed them today:

“‘You don’t have a clur (sic) about music. How can you say a washed-up old man like Bob Dylan is better than Nickelback?’

I got that e-mail nearly eight years ago, and I’ve had it taped up near my desk ever since. Mainly because it’s hilarious on multiple levels — clur? But along with that, it neatly encapsulates the essential difference between music critics and Nickelback fans.

Which is, in a nutshell: We think Nickelback sucks. And they think Nickelback rules. And neither one is going to change the other’s mind.”

It’s too bad that the Junos haven’t seized on all the international critical attention on the honest-to-goodness great music coming out of Canada in recent years, instead rewarding the likes of Nickelback and all facsimilies thereof and throwing in token nominations to the likes of Fucked Up or The Stills (nominated for best new group…puzzling, as they released their first album in 2003, I think). But it’s nothing new. The Junos have always sucked; that’s why god invented the Polaris Music Prize.

Oh, and a final thought from Mr. Rayner, one which lifted me from my chair and led me to applaud:

“Great Big Sea: I live with a Newfie. I know dozens of Newfies. I lived in Glovertown for six years when my family first moved to Canada. The broad consensus, from what I gather, is: embarrassing.”

Hear hear.

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