In case you missed it, the 58th annual Grammy Awards took place this week – and to be honest – if you did not tune in, you truly did not miss much. But, if you are lacking in your daily dose of pop culture, CisternYard has you covered. The show may have been a snooze-fest, but there were some token moments to be aware of.
It simply would not be an award show if Taylor Swift does not make the celebrations about her someway or somehow. Traditionally, Taylor filled the night with unapologetic dance moves, overreactions and warm embraces with her fellow industry “friends.” Opening the show with her latest single, “Out of the Woods,” (not to be confused with the musical), from the very first second of the Grammys, she made sure the world remembers that she is an official pop singer – complete with sparked jumpsuits and hairography. But Taylor delivered her best performance when accepting the award for album of the year. In her speech, without naming names, she smoothly took a dig at one of her former nemesis: Kanye West. Why? In his latest masterpiece, “The Life of Pablo,” Mr. West included the following lines in the song “Famous:” “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. I made that b***h famous.” Taylor chose the Grammys as her platform to respond with, “I want to say to all the young women out there, there are going to be people along the way, who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.” She even noted that she is the first woman to win two album of the year awards. Truly, Taylor made feminists everywhere proud on Grammy night.
Not a year goes by that the Grammys does not honor the greatest and most legendary artists who once took the music industry by storm. And, in doing so, the top artists of today step up and attempt to pay tribute to these greats. For Lionel Richie, who was named MusiCares person of the year at the Grammys, Luke Bryan, Demi Lovato, Tyrese Gibson, John Legend and Meghan Trainor combined their talents to perform Richie’s greatest hits. Richie even joined the star-studded ensemble in a memorable rendition of “All Night Long.” Secondly, honoring the iconic life of the late David Bowie, one of the night’s most anticipated performances was Lady Gaga. Stitching together a medley of Bowie classics, some critics argued the performance was a bit campy, but there is no denying that with the help of 3D graphics, knock-out costumes and Lady Gaga’s fearless attitude, the pop singer made the tribute worth watching.
Adele, a vocal powerhouse who has often been compared to Amy Winehouse, Etta James and Whitney Houston, has never been criticized for a performance. But on the night of the Grammys, the singer’s runs and trills were uncharacteristically poor. Unfortunately, off-key instrumentals mixed with microphone issues flawed Adele’s performance, making her sound off-pitch and out of tune. Once the show was over, however, she took to Twitter to explain: “The piano mics fell on to the piano strings, that’s what the guitar sound was. It made it sound out of tune. Sh*t happens.” Indeed it does.
Arguably the most intense moment of the night, Kendrick Lamar wowed the crowd with a fiery rendition of “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright.” Moments before, he had lost the award for best song to Ed Sheeran, yet his performance produced more glory than a simple trophy. Challenging, honest, earnest, and more of political statement, Lamar yanked out some of the nation’s darkest history and issues and presented it on the Grammy stage. And considering that Beyonce payed homage to the Black Panther movement during the Super Bowl just a couple of weeks prior, the timing of both performances make sense. It is Black History Month, we are in the final months of Barack Obama’s presidency, and we are in the middle of a protest movement centered on Black lives. It is clear that Black artists are no longer content to keep their political views hidden.There is a new branding trend of unapologetic Black art, and we are finally entering a moment where Black artists do not necessarily have to sacrifice their careers to create and perform a meaningful statement. And despite the fact that Kendrick lost to Taylor Swift in the Album of the Year Category, everyone can attest that Kendrick certainly won the night.
What seems like the first time in history, the Grammy for best musical theater album was televised. While viewers may have been unfamiliar with the nominations, after a mind-blowing performance, viewers understood what makes the the production of “Hamilton” so special and important. The hugely successful hip-hop musical retells 18th-century politics, and with a color-blind cast, portrays American history in a way like never before. The excited response on social media to the “Hamilton” preview was more evidence of how central Hip-hop is to musical culture, even if most top award winners do not reflect that. Want to see Hamilton for yourself? The soonest seats available are dated for 2018!