By: Greg Perciavalle | The Duquesne Duke
The 56th annual GRAMMY Awards were held on Sunday. The awards show is centered around an appreciation of music and aims to give credit to the industry’s hardest working and most successful artists of the previous year.
The night consisted of many incredible and some cringe-inducing moments.
P!nk performed while suspended from the ceiling, Queen Latifah married 33 couples (a number of them same-sex) while Macklemore and Madonna powerfully performed “Same Love” and a performance featuring Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters). Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age) and Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac) was cut off before they could finish. Those are just a few.
Ultimately, many of the same artists that I expected to win awards were the ones that took them home: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis cleaned up (thrift) shop in the rap realm, (Best New Artist, Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “Thrift Shop,” Best Rap Album for The Heist); Lorde was recognized for her smash single “Royals” (Song of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance); Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams won a staggering amount of Grammy’s for “Get Lucky” (Record of the Year, Best Pop Duo/Group Performance), with Williams winning Producer of the Year for “Get Lucky” and Daft Punk winning Album of the Year and Best Dance/Electronica Album for Random Access Memories.
Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, aside from creating a great rap album that even I enjoy (a far cry from my regular listening habits), did it on their own, and were sure to remind the audience that they were record label free when accepting their first Grammy. Good for you, Mack.
The fact that 17-year-old, Lorde, won a major Grammy category and Daft Punk, artists in an extremely underappreciated genre of music, were in the spotlight. It made me proud that these artists won such major awards. I even saw real instruments in the Daft Punk performance. For that alone, they deserve every GRAMMY of the night.
As much as my inner hipster shakes his head, I’m thrilled that these artists swept so close to unanimously. “Royals,” “Thrift Shop” and “Get Lucky” are all incredibly catchy songs, some of my absolute favorites on the radio this year. “Royals,” a song chastising the gluttony of the rich, sends a great message. “Thrift Shop” criticizes rappers for being brand specific and touting image over musical quality. “Get Lucky” is the classiest song on the radio when it comes to the subject matter of good old fashioned lovin’, channeling lyrics of old school rock and roll.
Some people were appalled that Imagine Dragons won Best Rock Performance for their hit “Radioactive,” but if their regular performance is even remotely like the one they delivered on stage with Kendrick Lamar during the show, featuring enormous synchronized drum breaks, smoke machines and impeccable live energy, then they absolutely deserved it as newcomers to the rock scene.
My only real gripe – a big one, I’ll add – is the underrepresentation of much other music. Rock awards and performances, many of which were not even televised, were pushed to the end of the night. Nominee lists for rock and metal albums and performances were populated by the likes of Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Black Sabbath and The Rolling Stones. These pioneers are wildly talented but are ironically irrelevant today, save for their far reaching influence. To consider these legends in categories for performances they have been doing for 35 years is akin to simply grandfathering them into the awards, which practically makes them arbitrary. If only the same people are going to be considered, then what’s the point of giving these GRAMMYs to anyone?
While the GRAMMYs weren’t perfect, what awards show is? All in all, the 56th installment of music’s finest night was quite the spectacle.