Grammys in Review

Grammys in Review

The Grammy’s celebrate all parts of music; the artists, the producers, the writers, the engineers, everyone. Handing out awards in 82 different categories, the Grammys recognize all aspects of music and acknowledge how each individual job and genre is key to keeping music alive and entertaining.

Before we get into the meat of the night, several things must be pointed out about the 56th Grammys.

First of all, Pharrel Willams’s cowboy-type hat cannot be ignored. It was absurd, huge, and hilarious. Second, there were some interesting award recipients. Steve Martin won a Grammy for American Roots Song off his new album for which he wrote all of the music. And rock icons Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl won Best Rock Song for a song they wrote in two hours. Something about how these two living legends just casually get together to record songs is heart-warming and really, really awesome.

The majority of the evening was taken up by various performances. The Grammys are notorious for creating performance duets with…interesting combinations. One of the most memorable duos came from 2001 when Elton John played along with Eminem on Em’s song Stan. Most of the performances from the most recent Grammys left lasting impressions; some good, and other not so good. Let’s go from bad to good:

Katy Perry’s performance of Dark Horse – Bad: The term “dark horse” represents a longshot; someone who is not expected to succeed in fact does in the end. Perry manifested the meaning, literally portraying a dark-colored horse. Her whole performance could be described as “dark” from the creepily dressed back up dancers to the fire that surrounded her at the end. It was very strange and a little overwhelming; sometimes simpler (and not as uncomfortably pagan and ritualistic) is better.

Chicago and Robin Thicke’s performance of a medley of Chicago songs into Blurred Lines – Good: One thing is for sure: Thicke can really sing, especially over the groovy horn section of the famous big band, Chicago. Although not very exciting, this performance was orally pleasing and showed true musicianship.

Beyonce and Jay-Z’s performance of Drunk in Love- Very Good: The first single off of her unexpected album, Drunk in Love is a sultry slow jam that may not have been fit for opening the Grammys, but was fantastic nonetheless.The best aspect of the performance was the props: a single chair. All Beyonce needed was her sweet vocals and a piece of furniture to put on an incredible performance. Katy Perry, take notes.

Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar’s performance of Radioactive and m.a.a.d. city- Incredible: This was, by far, the best performance of the evening. The combination of passion that the up and coming alternative rock group and the up and coming rapper each pour into their music shined through in this medley. The lights, the drums, the overwhelmingly impassioned artists made this one of the most epic, memorable moments of Grammy history. The verse that Lamar wrote for the Radioactive mix was incredible; the remix was number three on the top selling singles on iTunes the Monday after the Grammys. These two should consider a tour together if they can make this type of magic on every single song. Just incredible.

Of course, the Grammys are not only about the performances. The awards aspect of the night was relatively boring mainly because no “dark horses” emerged victorious. The French techno duo Daft Punk took home many awards including the Album of the Year for Random Access Memories and the Record of the Year for the groove Get Lucky. Lorde won big for Song of the Year for Royals (say what you want, but it’s a fantastic song) and Solo Pop Performance for the same song.
The new Seattle-based duo Macklemore and Ryan Lewis walked out of the Grammys with four awards, including New Artist and Rap Album. Some bitter feelings about Macklemore’s winnings were evident after his win in the Rap Album category. He was up against four other amazing artists: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar. Their respective albums were outstanding, especially Lamar’s, and this has brought many to question Macklemore’s win. I believe Macklemore did have the best rap album of 2013; he pushed the genre into new territory. He rapped about the absurdity of the music industry, gay marriage, and American consumerism. Macklemore was able to speak his mind effectively about topics other than success and overcoming a difficult childhood through the medium of Ryan Lewis’s extraordinary music.
Many artists won and lost where they deserved it. However, there was one artist who was snubbed that seemed to not even cross anybody’s mind: Bruno Mars. This 5’ 5” stack of dynamite pop monster released one of the greatest albums in the past couple of years, and was only given one award. Unorthodox Jukebox was an album fit for a king; every song was beautifully crafted and had something different to offer. This uncovered jem was for some reason overlooked by many and did not receive the proper acknowledgments it deserved. Mars must be used to getting rebuffed by the Grammys since he has only won twice but has received eighteen nominations. Keep chuggin’ Bruno, the Grammys will realize their mistakes soon.
The Grammys have accomplished the heavy task of recognizing all facets of the music industry once again. It has also raised the standards of its performances and of the artists who were nominated. The next year in music will be one to look forward to with open ears. Stay tuned.