One of the best things about the Grammys, which aired live on Sunday night, was that it reminded me just how much I love music. Music that is adored by millions across the globe. Maybe I have a soft spot for musicians, I worked in Radio most of my life. But they do transcend all the conventional borders we often surround ourselves with. For a few short hours, the World was enjoying the music, minus a few minor interruptions. Thankfully whether intended or not the political statements of the night came across as more comedic relief than anything else.
Beyonce gave a performance I won’t soon forget, however between the dance that included a a very pregnant Beyonce sitting in a chair that mechanically tipped back. I nearly had a panic attack. Somewhere in the hallucinogenic themed light show, she lost me. Well not so much lost as I began questioning what was in my own drink, that I had made. It was something. It was Bey times a thousand. All the self created iconic imagery that has made her famous combined with drama, choreographed adoration and quite frankly a bunch of other things that I’m certain I missed. It was a lot even for Bey. When it ended I thought it would be impossible to top that performance, I was wrong.
It as Adele’s show last night, she opened it and she closed it with a clean sweep of all the major award categories. Beyonce for all her work on Lemonade wasn’t able to win over the heart of the voters, in a tough year. Adele was stellar in all of her performances, but it was during her tribute to George Michael that we saw her heart is a big as her talent. As she struggled through “Fast Life” a lesser known song by the artist, that captures some dark, almost tormented thoughts. Adele now famously restarted after some sound difficulty, something she’d dealt with the year before. While the tribute was not what I’d hoped to see, Adele delivered a heartfelt performance that made me miss George Michael even more.
Bruno Mars stole the show in his Prince tribute. The consummate entertainer blew everyone away with his rendition of “Let’s Go Crazy”. You couldn’t help but dance, even if you were just sitting on your couch at home. Bruno Mars performed earlier in the evening as well, again bring a smile and a bounce to all who were watching. The competition for best in show last night was tough, they all brought their own style to the stage.
The biggest disappointment was probably the collaboration between Lady Gaga and Metallica. Disappointment may not be the right word, as I had pretty low expectations. The smash up didn’t work and it may have been due to some sound issues, but to be honest it was doomed from conception. Laverne Cox forgot to say “Metallica” when introducing them, James Hetfield’s microphone wasn’t on, the sound techs apparently fell asleep, it was as they say a “hot mess”. The Bee Gee’s tribute was saved by Little Big Town, the “abba of country” a friend commented.
There were a few political “statements” as I mentioned, early on Joy Villa showed up in her “Make America Great Dress“, with Trump’s name encircling the bottom. Katy Perry wore an arm band that said “Resistance” as she performed her new single, in an outfit that appeared to be inspired by a Anne Rice novel. It was more bizarre than anything.
A Tribe Called Quest was one of the best surprises of the night, Busta Rhymes joined them onstage with a political rant then chanted, “President Agent Orange”. I can neither confirm nor deny whether I was chanting along at home, but I will say this, social justice is part of their brand. In many ways it’s part of the hip hop and rock brand too. And I’m okay with that. A little rebellion is good for the soul.
The difference between what Busta Rhymes did and what Meryl Streep does, was it felt appropriate. It wasn’t part of an acceptance speech, it was part of the performance, and the performance was great. So it worked, if you know A Tribe Called Quest, expectations of a controversial statement was kind of a given, it’s part of their charm if you will. Again, it didn’t feel like a lecture, it felt like fun. Which brings me to Chance the Rapper.
This young man is only 23 years old, he just won a handful of Grammys and he did so without being signed to a label. He was the first artist ever to win a Grammy for a 100% streaming album. One .99 cent download at a time, he built his following. He introduced America to his unique style of Christian Rap music. It was glorious. Chance should be an inspiration to all of us. He’s the American dream, and he’s worked his tail off to get there, all the while staying true to himself, his music and his beliefs. He claimed his Grammy in the name of the Lord, a truly touching moment.
Twenty One Pilots gave a nod to hard work and a dream in their underwear during their acceptance speech for Best New Artist. It was an odd tribute to the American way, but they said it best, “Anyone from anywhere, can do anything.” Amen.
Sure if you were looking to be irritated by a comment or a gesture, you could’ve been I”m sure. But is that anyway to go through life? Just a cocked hammer looking for a nail? I mean people are literally losing their minds over this election, maybe it’s time we chill out for awhile. Being “woke af” is overrated, anyway.
On the whole, the Grammys was just what I wanted it to be, a few hours of escapism. I laughed, I almost cried and I danced. There is nothing more American than that.