Monday, January 29, 2018

What did we learn from the 2018 Grammys?

The top thing we learned is that the Grammys are a hot pile of garbage that we can rely on to deliver hot trash results. I'M JUMPING RIGHT IN WITH THE YELLING, SO PUT IN THOSE EAR PLUGS BECAUSE HERE WE GOOOOO.

So things got off to a great start
We got Kendrick's literal fire opening performance:
And then Kung Fu Kenny and Rihanna took home the award for Best Rap Sung/Collaboration for "Loyalty," which gave us our first glimpse of the night of RiRi wherein I screamed for 15 straight seconds. That all-leather getup! And Kendrick acted so shy and kept saying that she deserved all the credit and anyway I love him.
I have to note here that Tony Bennett and John Legend presented them with the award, after which, John Legend moved to the side while Tony did this:
Okay and I know Tony Bennett is a living legend. But at some point, we shouldn't make living legends go onstage. And I'm not being disrespectful here, I'm just saying, the man is 91 years old and has given the music industry a lot already. Just let him sit in his front row seat with a nice whiskey cocktail.

Anyway, things were still on the up-and-up as Kendrick swept the rap categories by winning Rap Album of the Year. And gave a nice shoutout to Jay-Z, though he did misspeak, as we all know Beyonce would be president and Jay would be her VP. 
To reiterate, Kendrick SWEPT the rap categories. And so I thought there was no way the Grammys could destroy my soul like they did last year when Beyonce was not given the awards she deserved, right?

With Jay-Z AND Kendrick AND Lorde AND my boyfriend Childish Gambino all nominated for album of the year, the show had an 80% chance of pleasing me and honestly the general public. So it was like, what could possibly go wrong?

Bruno Mars swept the top 3 awards. And okay yes, he is an entertainer and yes, "24K Magic" is an entertaining album. But is it a creative masterpiece? No. Is it even a really good album? Absolutely not. Unless by "really good" you mean a collection of 80s/90s funk songs that sound like covers, then sure.

Kendrick's "DAMN." album was a full Thanksgiving/Christmas/Fourth of July feast of music. It was scientifically-proven to be a creative masterpiece. If I were still 16 on the outside and not just on the inside, I would blast this from my Honda Prelude for at least 18 months nonstop. The true mark of an amazing album.

Nonetheless, the Grammys did what they do best when presented with a delicious feast of a musical creation -  toss it down the garbage disposal, instead choosing that questionable Cup-O-Noodles (read: Bruno Mars' "24K Magic").

Bruno beating Kendrick (and Jay-Z for that matter) is like choosing a plain baked potato over some creamy, garlic mashed potatoes. Or like choosing vanilla ice cream instead of an ice cream sundae topped with real gold flakes and cash and happiness and a helicopter and a mansion. IT MAKES ZERO SENSE.

Wait, I think I can explain my emotional state better here.

A summary of my emotions regarding Bruno Mars
I present a play in three parts featuring the dramatic work of my fav, Kim K:

Me when he won Song of the Year:
As a reminder, Song of the Year recognizes songwriters. And I mean, with lyrics like "I got a condo in Manhattan / baby girl, what's hatnin" I totally get it beating a meaningful song about suicide awareness. Cool, great job Grammys.

Me when he won Record of the Year:
Okay, I was starting to get a little more riled up. This 100% should've gone to "Despacito." Aside from being the song of every girl in 2017 who yelled "THAT'S MY SONGGGG" it spent 15 weeks at Billboard's #1 spot (most of any song in the 21st century), the music video was the first to reach 3 BILLION views and is still the most viewed in YouTube history, AND it is the most streamed song of ALL-TIME, WORLDWIDE. So, while Bruno may have slipped in with that Song of the Year award, his "24K Magic" topping THE SONG OF 2017 AND THE CENTURY makes less sense than drive-thru ATMs featuring braille. 

And finally, me when he won Album of the Year:
Honestly, the show hasn't gotten Album of the Year right since Outkast won in 2004 for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below so I don't know why I'm always so hopeful. Moving on.

SZA was the most nominated woman at this year's show. And how many did she go home with? ZERO. That's right, Baha Men have more Grammys than SZA. I am screaming. Her "Ctrl" album was by far one of the best albums of the year says NPR, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, Complex and most importantly me. Her voice is flawlessly soulful and her R&B swag is reminiscent of Aaliyah and not that looks should be a priority, but she is ridiculously beautiful. AAAND she brought her mom and grandma to the show!
And even though the show rendered the awards for Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song moot because they gave them to Bruno instead of her, she still blessed us with a performance of "Broken Clocks":
She lost Best Urban Contemporary Album to my ex-husband, The Weeknd, and Best Rap Sung/Collaboration to Kendrick and Rihanna - two losses I can accept. But her huge loss of the night, which I was all but sure she would win, was to Alessia Cara, which we can dive into right now.

Best "new" artist?
I love Alessia Cara. I saw her live when her album came 2015. My issue here is her winning a category that insinuates newness. The Grammys themselves define the nominees in this category as "new artists who release, in the eligibility year, their first recording that establishes their public identity."

Right, so Alessia Cara released her "Know-It-All" album in late 2015 and it had some bops on it including "Here" and "Scars to Your Beautiful" and the album was well-received by critics and went platinum, selling over a million units in the US. To summarize: She is well-known and that album was, and still is, indicative of her sound and she should've been nominated for Best New Artist last year, not this year. It'd be like if I baked some dank ass cookies 2 years ago and saved them until this year to be like "Yo, try these cookies they're dank" but you know they're old and you saw me making them 2 years ago.

And nothing against her because she didn't submit herself for the award and she has no sayso in winning and I won't give her this BFF bracelet back. I'm just saying that technically she wasn't a new artist and OKAY I JUST WANT TO YELL THAT SZA DESERVED IT.

But as we know, the Grammys are pretty great at fucking up Best New Artist, as they gave it to Maroon 5 over Kanye in 2005, to Fun over Frank Ocean in 2013 and to Macklemore over Kendrick in 2014. We never learn.

Kesha performed "Praying," which is inspired by her ongoing legal battle with disgusting, sexual predator Dr. Luke, with backup from Camila Cabello, Bebe Rexha, Cyndi Lauper, Andra Day, Julia Michaels and the Resistance Revival Chorus. It was raw and emotional and spoke volumes more to #TimesUp and #MeToo than anything else the entire evening. And it was only amplified more by Janelle Monae's speech leading into the performance (which you can read all of here).
And I was so sad Kesha didn't take home Best Pop Song. Y'all. The category featured FOUR women and ONE man. I know what you're thinking, there was once again an 80% chance that the show could please us, SO ANYWAY OF COURSE THEY WENT WITH THE WHITEST DUDE. Which, in Ed Sheeran's defense, "Shape of You" is a creepy yet catchy ass song. 

Sometimes a single harmony is better than five
While this doesn't change the fact that I will walk down the aisle to "Work From Home," it has to be said: Leaving Fifth Harmony was the best thing Camila Cabello could've done for her career. While they're still doing shows at rodeos and county fairs and probably in front of CVS, homegirl's album debuted at #1, she destroyed a shit ton of records with "Havana," she's a spokeswoman for Skechers, Guess and L'Oreal and everyone from Barry O to Elton John loves her. And okay for the past couple of red carpets, she seemed to be like a baby deer finding her footing as she chose some teen prom/cotillion outfits that were...questionable. But this is a look! And it's really making me consider bangs again. 

Also, if you haven't listened to her debut album, please do so immediately. It's very singer-songwriter'y and "She Loves Control" is a banger. 

After performing alongside Kesha, before introducing U2, she spoke of her own personal experiences, including the fact that both of her parents are immigrants and came to America with nothing. She was so eloquent and anyway I'll let Lorde's reaction speak for all of us:
Which, speaking of Lorde...

What you do when the Grammys don't ask you to perform

You bring a flask and get drunk, duh. While our dinosaur dancing queen was the only woman nominated for Album of the Year, the show did not ask her to perform. Or well, they did ask her to take part in the Tom Petty tribute, but wtf. Bruno, Childish Gambino and Kendrick all got solo performances of their own material (Jay-Z declined a performance because honestly sitting next to Bey is way better). Anyway, happy to report Lorde continued Rihanna's flask tradition and from what I hear, she took 32 shots at the afterparty and made out with the meat carving station guy, so she still won.

Intermission to talk about the Red Carpet

HAHA Y'ALL, THEY KEPT GIULIANA FENCED IN. I assume for the well-being of all the other humans. I could not stop laughing at this. And look, even Common was satisfied with the new arrangement. I have confirmed with reliable sources that this barrier was put in place to keep Rancic's self-tanner from dripping all over everyone's haute couture. I'm only sorry this shot doesn't give you a full picture of her dress, but to summarize, it looked like one of those weird "blankets" you find at your grandma's house that isn't really a blanket because it's just asymmetrical pieces of yarn haphazardly woven together and you aren't sure if the holes in it are on purpose or from moths.

Best dressed:

Does anyone know CPR because I've stopped breathing. The classic pantsuit + lingerie combo! A.Kenny slaying this Balmain outfit by complementing it with classic waves and most importantly, a boss ass bitch pose. This is how you pose when someone looks back at you and says "Omg, were in line?" when you know they know they just cut you in line at Target. It screams "Yes, bitch" or in this case for a red carpet, "YAAAAS BIIIIIIITCH." Also love how the top of her pants are kind of parachutey and MC Hammer'ish.

I have rewatched DJ Khaled, Bryson Tiller annd Rihanna's "Wild Thoughts" performance, both the YouTube version and the version imprinted on my brain, at least 124 times today. And while yes, DJ Khaled's stage presence felt a little like Regina George's mom trying to be cool, Rihanna made the whole situation right. Additionally, I don't think I've let you guys know this because I'm so shy and very introverted, but I've been in a serious relationship with Bryson Tiller since early 2017.

Anyway, Rihanna sounded amazing even while constantly shimmying and y'all know how much I support and take part in dancing that alternates a "ew what smells" face with an "ohhh yoooo" tongue-out expression.

I genuinely feel Rihanna is that friend who is always down to party but on the flipside would listen to you cry about a man who has done you wrong before going to throw his car off a cliff for you. True friendship.

Sorry to bring up Kim K again, but

There's no way I was the only one who thought this.

Things we needed less of:
We saw Sting 3 times which is 14 times too many for me. And sure Grammys, let's not ask Lorde to perform, but instead, let's keep bringing out U2! What a great idea! This was only complemented by fellow non-nominee Sting who performed with Shaggy (wtf, no comment) and did a sort of knock-off Carpool Karaoke skit with him and James Corden that can only be described as "not funny" and also "terrible" and also "terribly unfunny." Instead of either of them being onstage all 450 times they were, I would've preferred they wheeled out a TV, like back in the day when you had a substitute teacher, and played the "Lemonade" film. Or even a compilation of YouTube videos of Beyonce's performances. Or honestly just someone, anyone, onstage talking about Beyonce. ANYTHING WOULD'VE BEEN BETTER. 

Things we needed more of:
Cardi B looked phenomenal on the red carpet and who even knew you could have butterflies in places other than your stomach! A true research scientist, she is. She brought her sister, Hennessy Carolina, as her date and yes that's her real name and yes they looked beautiful and yes my favorite liquors are now Hennessy and Bacardi (though not mixed together except on Saturdays).

She later made her Grammys stage debut performing "Finesse" with Bruno Mars.
This was the only point of the evening when I was not annoyed with Bruno. And Chrissy and her pregnant self AND Queen Bey stood for the entire performance which is how I determine worthiness in all realms of my life. Would pregnant Chrissy and Beyonce in any state stand for this?
Okay, this was exhausting to rehash. Thanks for another garbage fire year, Grammys! I'm off to church to pray to Beysus for a better outcome next year.
And per usual, you can always find me here.

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