The 57th annual Grammy awards slogged on drearily to become a rather disappointingly somber affair. Power ballads, political undertones and a message from Obama left a rather sobering atmosphere to this usually raucous night of entertainment. Of course there were still outrageous outfits and a Kanye moment, but all in all the night was simply dull.
Over the years Grammys have been given to undeserving artists, and resultantly lost its accolade as a reputable awards ceremony. The public gave a nonchalant yawn year after year, tittering quietly after the occasional minor scandal and then returning to not giving a flying focaccia about the whole thing. But this year, the album of the year actually went to an extraordinarily gifted musician- Beck. And to the despair of music aficionados everywhere, the Beyhive Taylor Swiftonite teens of today didn’t have a clue who he was. *Sigh*
The big winner of the night was British soul singer Sam Smith who took home four awards including Song of the Year, Record of the Year, Best New Artist and Best Pop Vocal Album. Polite Smith was overwhelmed by the win, making the understatement of the year “I’m having a really, really, really good night”.
But the biggest reaction came when Beck won Album of the Year for Morning Phase. We really, really, really weren’t expecting that, and apparently neither was he.
In actuality this is exactly the type of artist who wholly deserves such an award. Not only did he write, produce and arrange all thirteen songs on the album, he also plays sixteen instruments. Many members of the ‘Beyhive’ were cut when their queen supreme wasn’t awarded: the woman who plays zero instruments and needed a grand total of twenty-two songwriters, producers and composers on her last album. What was that complaint about true artistry Kanye?
Iggy Azalea saved us all a lot of time trawling through twitter rants after she lost out to Eminem for Best Rap Album. No controversial outcries have ensued just yet, and though the Australian rapper may be glum about her loss, at least she missed out on a whole lot of haters going to town on her white, twerking ass.
Our two favourite Jacks: White and Black, won for their Rock and Metal performances, Pharell swiped Best Pop Solo Performance and power couple Bey and Jay won Best R&B Performance and Best R&B song. No need to mourn for B, she’s still got it.
Kendrick Lamar actually won this year, after much incorrect speculation that he would win in 2014. His catchy, upbeat song “i” won two Grammys: Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song. Sadly Lamar didn’t even attend the ceremony to collect his awards.
Click here for the complete list of nominees and winners.
2015 was a year for big names with a plethora of duets merging genres and generations. From Classical’s Lang Lang to Jazz’s Tony Bennet and even Electric Light Orchestra making an appearance. Yet somehow despite wrangling together an impressive collection of musical heroes, there was still something lacking and those four hours of performances, speeches and dancing left us slightly disappointed. Here’s our run down of the highlights of the night:
To any AC/DC fan out there, this performance would have been painful to watch. Not only did the band open the entire show with an entirely unheard of new song- rooie error guys- they proceeded to feebly screetch their way through a sloppy rendition of highway to hell. Luckily for the band the young assemblage weren’t exactly the type to notice and rocked away regardless.
Jessie J & Tom Jones
This union of British powerhouse singers gave a heartfelt rendition of You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling in dedication to Trustee Award honorees Barry Mann and Cyntha Weil and to “honour on of the most successful songwriting teams ever, and one of the more successful marriage too”. I’m not sure about lovin’ feelings but they certainly lost our interest, as the overly dramatic vocal ensemble was predictable and bland.
Katy definitely had lost her lovin’ feeling for her ex-husband Russel Brand which she decided to showcase in her divorce balled By the Grace of God. This soppy and solipsistic rendition put a downer on the supposedly celebratory evening. The singer famous for having “kissed a girl and liked it” disappointingly took herself far too seriously in this performance.
And it seemed as though the ballads just wouldn’t stop coming. Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine sang a boring and lifeless version of Sia’s “My Heart is Open”, squeaky Disney star Ariana Grande gave a demure performance of “Just a Little Bit of Your Heart” and Sam Smith sang a sincere “Stay with Me” accompanied by Mary J Blige.
Sia, of course, emotionally sang her famed Chandelier in her customary fashion of facing away from the audience. Thankfully this ballad brought an entertaining note to the show with Kristen Wiig and Sia’s mini-me Maddie Ziegler prancing around in a hilarious interpretive dance.
Newcomer Hozier dueted with legendary Annie Lennox to perform his breakout hit Take me to the Church, after which Lennox showed the ecstatic crowd what effortless true talent looks like with a rendition of I Put a Spell on You.
Pharrell Williams, Hanz Zimmer and Lang Lang
Flanked by two musical masters, Pharrell performed the infectiously popular Happy in a melancholic minor-key rendition. Sporting a bellhop-style costume, the singer controversially worked a Hands Up, Don’t Shoot gesture into the choreography.
Auto-tuned and devoid of emotion: Kanye sang his latest release Only One. Then back for round two, because, well because it’s Kanye, if he can’t rule the world just yet, he’ll settle for dominating the Grammys. After all, he made it ‘his thing’ back when he humiliated Taylor Swift in the name of his BFF and actual ruler of the world, Beyonce.
This time he teamed up with that up and coming grandpa dude who awkwardly dances like your fusty old math teacher… Paul Mc Something or other from this British band you may have heard of, the Beatles? Nope? Well don’t worry because your favourite bad ass bad gal RiRi was on hand to reassure fans that Ye wasn’t just charitably selecting pensioners to appear on stage with him. She’s so badass in fact, she managed to grimace and crotch-grab her way through the gentle folky melody of FourFiveSeconds.
Her Royal Highness of aged pop actually managed to uplift the evening’s events with an impressive matador themed performance complete with a gospel choir and horned male dancers clad in black leather.
In an angelic glittering gown of white, Beyonce soulfully serenaded the audience with the hymn Precious Lord, Take My Hand. If you weren’t already drifting to sleep from the distinctively somber tone of the night so far, Beyonce’s act may have been the final lullaby to set you snoring.
John Legend and Common
Still awake? Their performance of Glory from the Oscar-winning Selma came with a full orchestra of strings, African-American choir and scenes from the film projected behind. This one was sure to send you off to bed with a heartwarming reassurance that those four hours you just spent gaping at ballad after ballad were so totally worth it because the Grammys are taking themselves seriously this year. You were hoping for slightly more madness? So were we.
Here’s the lowdown on the bizarre and unexpected moments of the night:
Kooky as ever, Madonna shocked the red carpet when she decided to pull up her already rather scant attire, to reveal her fish-netted bum. As if her bulging, middle aged boobs attempting to clamber their way out of her matador ensemble weren’t enough to make you look away already.
Luckily for our eyes, Miley Cyrus uncharacteristically did not follow suit with Madonna and kept her tongue and her crotch to herself for once. No marijuana was smoked and her pupil dilation seemed to be normal. Perhaps Miley is looking to reform her image? Nahhhh, she still managed to cause a stir despite her conservative facade, introducing Madonna to the stage as ‘our bitch Maddona’.
Even if you aren’t a fan of Taylor Swift, you’ve down right refused to let those hips of yours sway unconsciously to Shake it Off and have no clue about her being bffs with the whole Jay/Bey/Ye/K clan and everyone else on the goddamn planet, you must know about the ridiculous shapes she likes throw to just about every song at every show ever. Well Pharrell hadn’t. And his side-eye reaction was priceless.
President Obama made a surprise guest appearance in the form of a PSA about the White House’s sexual violence awareness campaign. Stating that roughly one in five American women is sexually assaulted or raped, he implored musicians to utilise their influential power to change our attitudes towards the issue. A sobering message that was quickly criticised on social media, due to the fact that the Grammys were in fact applauding convicted abusers R.Kelly and Chris Brown, who were both nominated.
Prince stylishly strutted on stage to announce the winner of Album of the Year and poignantly introduced the award with “Like books and black lives, albums still matter”. Enough said.
Kanye did a Kanye. Sort of.
To the discomfort of our curling toes Kanye had a ‘Ye’ moment. Poor flustered Beck’s celebration was interrupted by Kanye once again stage crashing. Beyonce exclaimed worriedly, Jay Z shook his head aghast, Beck stepped away dumbfounded: everyone held their breath… and then… nothing. Kanye simply smirked and walked off. Who knew he was actually capable of other emotions? This ‘hilarious’ stunt turned sour when afterwards Kanye rudely commented “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyonce. and at this point, we tired of it”. Cue a thousand eye roll emoticons flooding social media.