If we were being kind, we’d say that this year’s Grammy Award performances were mature. If we were keeping it real, we would say that it was like an AARP convention. From the opening with AC/DC to Tony Bennett and Tom Jones performing (heck, even Madonna), let’s just say that the “60 Minutes” audience that led into the awards show was in their zone watching Sunday night. Youth was a rarity, and many standards were covered.
Sam Smith racked up big, and we can’t say we were mad (Iggy Azalea went home with goose eggs — that she could nicely nestle in that donkey braid nest she had on top of her head). Pharrell did an interesting rehash of “Happy” looking like a little organ grinder monkey (but we were so happy that “Happy” won for Pop Song Of The Year). Apparently he did some quick subliminal nod to #BlackLivesMatter but we blinked and missed it. Annie Lennox did Nina Simone justice with her cover of “I Put A Spell On You,” as she performed with Hozier, but speaking of justice, there was not a lot of overt political speak last night save for a few.
There was a lot of thanking God (which is fine), and to wit, there were four choirs. Or was it five or six? We stopped counting.
And speaking of choirs — let’s just get to it. Beyoncé singing Mahalia Jackson’s “Take My Hand Precious Lord.” Eh.
Word is that Beyoncé approached John Legend and Common after it was announced they were going to perform “Glory” from the “Selma” soundtrack. People weren’t exactly feeling it pre-performance because singer Ledisi played Mahalia Jackson, and what — besides saying “her mother singing it to her at night” does Beyoncé have to do with this song?
So Ledisi had to sit in the audience while someone else performs the song she did on the album of the movie she starred in as the woman who originally put the song on the map. On the red carpet, Ledisi graciously said she was “a little disappointed.”
“But I got over that and I had to look at the positive and empower women,” she told The Associated Press on the Grammy red carpet before the show started. “We have to empower each other. It’s a great thing. And one day I’ll be on that Grammy stage. Every artist wants to be on the Grammys stage. That’s part of our career is to be there. So my time will come when it’s time.”
The worst part of that whole situation is that Bey didn’t exactly take us to chuuuch on it. We’ll just leave it at that.
There were highlights of course.
President Obama doing a PSA on domestic violence was one. However, the question begged to be asked — how many folks in THAT room were abused or abusive? We guess it was the right crowd to talk to about such a national crisis.
And then there was Prince. He was the only one who overtly mentioned that Black Lives Matter. In fact, he was very slick with his pronouncement. He couched it in music and said something like, “Albums matter. Like books, and black lives. Albums matter.”
That may have put a battery in Kanye West‘s back (who performed unmemorably not once, but twice last night —the second time with Paul McCartney and Rihanna — the first time was painful).
As Prince announced that Beck’s “Morning Phase” won Album Of The Year — over Beyonce —Kanye looked as if he was going to crash the stage, a la a Taylor Swift redux. As Beck went to the stage to receive his award, Kanye jogged up behind him in a “Imma let you finish Beck” move. Many thought Kanye was trying to be “funny,” and there was nervous laughter, but later, when Yeesuz was interviewed about it, he had this to say about Beck’s win —third person and all: (We love that he mentioned that many artists put themselves and their families “at risk” when speaking up and out)
At this point, we tired of it. What happens is, when you keep on diminishing art, and not respecting the craft, and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you’re disrespectful to inspiration. We, as musicians, have to inspire people who go to work every day, and they listen to that Beyoncé album, and they feel like it takes them to another place. Then they do this promotional event, and they’ll run the music over somebody’s speech, the artist, because they want commercial advertising. No. We not playing with them anymore. And by the way, I got my wife, my daughter, and I got my clothing line, so I’m not going to do nothing that would put my daughter at risk, but I am here to fight for creativity. That’s the reason why I didn’t say anything tonight. But you all knew what it meant when ‘Ye stepped on that stage.
AND A LIST OF THE WINNERS:
– Album of the year: “Morning Phase,” Beck.
– Song of the year: “Stay With Me,” Sam Smith.
– Record of the year: “Stay With Me,” Sam Smith.
– New artist: Sam Smith.
– Pop vocal album: “In the Lonely Hour,” Sam Smith.
– Pop solo performance: “Happy (Live),” Pharrell Williams.
– Pop duo/group performance: “Say Something,” A Great Big World and Christina Aguilera.
– Traditional pop vocal album: “Cheek to Cheek,” Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett.
– Rock album: “Morning Phase,” Beck.
– Rock performance: “Lazaretto,” Jack White.
– Rock song: “Ain’t It Fun,” Hayley Williams and Taylor York.
– Country album: “Platinum,” Miranda Lambert.
– Country solo performance: “Something in the Water,” Carrie Underwood.
– Country duo/group performance: “Gentle on My Mind,” The Band Perry.
– Country song: “I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” Glen Campbell.
– Rap album: “The Marshall Mathers LP2,” Eminem.
– Rap performance: “i,” Kendrick Lamar.
– Rap/sung collaboration: “The Monster,” Eminem and Rihanna.
– Rap song: “i,” Kendrick Lamar.
– R&B song: “Drunk in Love,” Beyonce and Jay Z.
– R&B performance: “Drunk in Love,” Beyonce and Jay Z.
– Urban contemporary album: “Girl,” Pharrell.
– R&B album: “Love, Marriage & Divorce,” Toni Braxton and Babyface.