Disclaimer: The Grammy Awards don’t make any sense.
Disclaimer on the disclaimer: No really, they don’t.
Run through the dominating filter of popularity, a handful of musicians won awards Sunday night. Who won awards? Chance the Rapper won a couple. So did Adele. Beyonce won as well. But beyond that, I’m not sure who else won awards because they won them prior to the cameras rolling. I don’t want to get too excited, but it seems like the brain trust behind the awards show might have finally realized that when it comes down to it, people want to hear musicians play. People don’t want to hear them give speeches and receive awards.
Sunday night’s show featured a lot of performances. From Adele all the way to Chance, with The Weeknd, Katy Perry, country singers and Bruno Mars (twice) in between. The end result was a show that was surprisingly entertaining, albeit a little too long. So hey, good work Grammy people.
The show however, was not overly political, which was somewhat surprising. For a hot second it seemed like it could be when Jennifer Lopez, handing out the award for Best New Artist, made reference to “these current troubling times.” But then any kind of political statements were left to sit and wait until Katy Perry, yes Katy Perry, performed a visually killer rendition of her new song “Chained to the Rhythm,” where she was joined by Skip Marley, grandson of Bob Marley. Bob Marley’s grand kids are playing music now? Damn. It’s about time we got some good news. If there’s anything the world could use more of, it’s Marleys.
Politics then chilled for a bit and were almost asleep until A Tribe Called Quest took the stage.
Joined by Best New Artist nominee Anderson .Paak, the reunited hip hop legends threw out some snippets of some classics before auxiliary member Busta Rhymes made waves by referring to our beloved President and Dear Leader as President Agent Orange.
“I just want to thank President Agent Orange for perpetuating all of the evil that you’ve been perpetuating throughout the United States,” he said. “I just want to thank President Agent Orange for your unsuccessful attempt of a Muslim Ban. When we come together, we the people, we the people, we the people…”
Cue the group, along with .Paak, crashing through a wall to perform their song “We the People.” They were joined onstage by a parade of diversity, before the performance had it’s signature moment: everyone bowing their heads and raising a fist during the late Phife Dawg’s verse. The performance ended with Q-Tip calling out a simple, but powerful call to action…Resist, resist, resist.
But hey, remember the disclaimer at the top, the one that said the Grammys don’t make any sense? Talking about Anderson .Paak is a fun time to bring this up because .Paak, nominated for Best New Artist, totally shouldn’t have been, if of course the category was literally for a new artist. But you know, it’s not. The category should be renamed Best New Artist (And By New, We Mean, The Artist That Voters Just Heard About.) .Paak has been around for a few years. The winner of the award, Chance the Rapper, is far from a “new artist.” Chance dropped his second mixtape, Acid Rap, in 2013, and hold on, let me check, yup, it’s 2017 and the year prior was 2016. Granted Chance had a baller 2016, appearing on Kanye West’s The Life of Pablo and dropping his third mixtape, Coloring Book, but it was anything but a rookie season for the rap up and comer.
The Grammys are weird like that.
Five Hot Takes About the Grammys
I can only imagine how confused a segment of the show’s viewers were when Daft Punk and the Weeknd took the stage. And no, it’s not because they didn’t recognize The Weeknd with his new haircut, but because everything made sense when Adele performed. But these robot looking fellas and a set that looked like Superman’s Fortress of Solitude? A little confusing for prime time on a Sunday night.
Lukas Graham gets to add a new verse to their song “7 Years.” Once I was 28 years old/I played the Grammys and no one remembers/Why? Cause I went before Beyonce/But at least I got a free schwag bag.
Speaking of things that were confusing…that Keith Urban song was…is that country…or was it…did I imagine that…what the hell was that?
Man, that Bruno Mars fella has really embraced a style, huh?
John Legend is obviously not a Red Sox fan.
Three Luke Warm Takes About Ed Sheeran
Hey Ed Sheeran, Keller Williams was doing that shit a decade ago!
That Ed Sheeran song is actually kind of good.
Ed Sheeran bugs me and I’m going to say it’s not because of his appearance but between you and me, it might be.
A Performance to Be Remembered for a Good Reason
It’s obviously Beyonce’s nine minute, visually-stunning and overall mesmerizing performance. Playing two songs from Lemonade, “Love Drought” and “Sandcastles,” Queen Bey was absolutely incredible. My wife and I watched the performance in the exact same position – silent, head still, one hand resting on our chin in an act of admiration. We’re watching greatness that will be talked about for generations when we watch Beyonce. We should realize how lucky we are.
A Performance to Be Remembered for a Bad Reason
Dude, rock music. If rock wasn’t hip to it’s diminished status in popular music (and that would be hard to not be hip too,) Metallica’s unfortunate performance should serve as a fitting wake up call for the genre. Performing “Moth Into Flame,” a barn burner off of their excellent new album, they were paired with Lady Gaga because apparently…well, let’s be honest, confidence in them being a draw on their own was apparently lacking. Gaga killed it of course, but come on, it’s Metallica! Let them do their own shit. And the flames? Kind of lame. Although not as lame as James Hetfield’s microphone not working. Metallica deserved better.
But Lady Gaga Though…
That lady is talented.
Meanwhile, Somewhere in Florida…
Fred Durst has to be wondering why Limp Bizkit wasn’t asked to take part in the tribute to the late George Michael. Haven’t they heard our version of “Faith,” he asks himself. Himself responds, yes, and then adds, that could be why. Fred Durst is reminded why he no longer asks himself rhetorical questions.