The Grammys were perhaps the most anticipated show this award season and they did not disappoint (Well, unless you are a Beyoncé fan) but I shall get to that a little further on.
The performances were stellar and vocals were not off key all across the board, but if there is one person that deserves a worldwide standing ovation for her vocals that night it has to be Ariana Grande. She debuted her next single “Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart” backed by violinists her massive voice took center stage and brought the drama for the earnest of the song. The song was co-written with one direction front man Harry Styles.
It was a great year for Grande, she received the very much deserved respect the music industry owed her and earned herself her first two Grammy nominations.
Madonna rocked the stage and proved why she is one of the greatest entertainers of all time; performing her single “Living For Love” she showed that she still has her moves. Wearing what seemed to be an outfit previously owned by a dominatrix she performed the song in a manner that was almost identical to the music video.
Katy Perry brought the auditorium and all the viewers at home to tears with her performance, fresh off the heels of her epic super bowl half time show she switched gears and performed her emotional song “By the Grace of God”. She was introduced by President Barack Obama with a powerful message about domestic abuse. She was joined on stage by domestic abuse survivor Brooke Axtell, who performed a written-word piece about her personal experience in a violent relationship. Famous for her rainbow-bright energy and delightfully cartoonish stage antics, Katy Perry on Sunday opted for a more serious, emotional vibe and only the heartless did not relate.
Other notable mentions were performances by Hozier and legendary singer Annie Lennox, Beyonce, John Legend and Common performed their song Glory, Sam Smith and Mary J. Blige hit the stage together and of course the most anticipated performance of the night was Rihanna with Kanye West and Paul McCartney of their new song “Four Five Seconds”.
The usual entertainment came through from the crowd, the exchanges and constant pecks between Sam Smith, Rihanna and Katy Perry. And then of course lots and lots of the usual awkward dancing from Taylor Swift and adorable moments captured back stage of the night’s cutest couplings like Big Sean and Ariana Grande as well as the cute moments shared by Rihanna and Blue Ivy Carter.
Celebrities that are not part of the music industry were also in attendance; Jane Fonda, Gwyneth Paltrow, Anna Kendrick, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Wiig (who turned out to be the surprise guest in Sia’s performance), supermodel Chrissy Teigen aka Mrs. John Legend, Kim Kardashian West and Khloe Kardashian.
All was going well until Prince announced the” Album of The Year” award, shocks were felt the world over as the accolade was presented to Beck (who very few know) for his album “Morning Phase” as opposed to the Queen B herself for her work on her self-titled album “Beyoncé” an album that has been termed as maybe one of the greatest works of art (musically) of our time. Even Beck himself stated in interviews that he thought for sure Beyoncé was going to win and deserved that award more than he did.
No disrespect to Beck and whatever talent he might possess I read somewhere that he plays fourteen instruments, and while that may be good for him and all he did not deserve that award more than Beyoncé did. This was the biggest snub the academy has ever made after not honoring Diana Ross for her work.
This is a man that has been away from the limelight of music since 2008 and put out a moody, folk album that no one had heard about until his Grammy nomination not to mention it was the lowest grossing album of all the nominated albums that night (not that this should take anything away from it’s artistic and creative value) and after a few listens it does not come in any way close to what Beyoncé did. For starters this was a surprise album that she managed to keep under wraps as it was all being created that is either pure genius or her team is incredibly loyal and/or afraid of her.
The production on Beyoncé’s album has many merits: featuring a number of left-field choices – relatively unknown producer Boots, Caroline Polacheck of Chairlift – Beyoncé jeopardised her mainstream lure by appealing to a more hipster audience. In its place is a challenging body of modern pop, expanding on R&B, trap and electronic music, and featuring strange, sprawling and at times indulgent interludes.
Beyoncé’s album was a vast pool of think-piece fodder for journalists, whether it was for the positive (her focus on feminism, the sample of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s TED talk on Flawless, her frank exploration of female sexuality) or the negative (Jay Z’s perplexing reference to Ike Turner on Drunk in Love, commissioning controversial photographer Terry Richardson to direct the video for XO). Although I’ve still yet to read a piece about how Beck’s Blue Moon could be a takedown of alpha-male stereotypes in a capitalist society, the record does have all the markings of a well-made, well-conceived album, which should inspire other artists to apply the same degree of meticulous composition. Beyoncé wins this category however, as he did not, unfortunately, coin his own brand of viral language for youth culture, which is, of course, a major oversight for fans of viral language and youth culture.
When Kanye West, jokingly walked up to that staged for the first time I thought it was justified and wanted him to interrupt Beck’s speech.
The Academy owes Beyoncé a serious apology, aside from that the 57th Grammy awards were an entertaining and very well put together show.