For this year’s Grammy Awards, the big news was the show returning to New York for its 60th anniversary. Despite the change in venue, the ceremony had plenty of the moments you come to expect from an event branded as Music’s Biggest Night. I watched for the performances and avoided trying to predict the winners. This is just my general impression of the ceremony and winners, not a full play-by-play. As the saying goes, the more things change, the more they stay the same.
The More Things Change…
-It was nice to hear artists be outspoken about topics that held significance to them. We finally heard country artists address gun violence in the wake of the Las Vegas shooting and a chorus of female artists dressed in white surrounded Kesha for her performance of “Praying”.
– Considering the show opened with Kendrick and Jay-Z was the most nominated artist this year, it felt necessary to make sure their awards were presented on the telecast. It’s about recognizing the trends (and $$$) rap music has brought to the industry and popular culture.
The More They Stay The Same
-As mentioned earlier in this post, the 60th edition of the Grammys showed artists using the stage to promote equality and representation. However, the Recording Academy had other ideas. 5 nominations for SZA? 0 for 5 but she performed. 8 nominations for Jay-Z’s 4:44 to lead the field? Hov, you get a Salute to Industry Icons thing for your philanthropy but on the big night, nah you go 0 for 8. I don’t know what each voting member uses for criteria but we’ve seen this story play out too often: Artists of color catching the improbable 0-fer for a body of work revered by fans and critics. It’s like the nominations are supposed to be acceptable as awards in their own right. Oh, and you don’t wanna see how female solo artists fared in general.
-Best New Artist? Alessia Cara, whose debut Know-It-All would have been eligible for Grammy consideration last year. I own that album and was once again confused about what constitutes “new” in the BNA category.
-The Target commercial/Grammy collaboration returns. Actually I can’t hate on this one, I was bopping to that Zedd/Maren Morris/Grey joint in the lowest of keys.
So, there you have it- my Grammys 2018 pros and cons. Hopefully we see the committee continue to acknowledge a more current and diverse crop of talent. Or not. In the words of Phife Dawg, “Never let a statue tell me how nice I am”.