Kendrick Set The 2016 Grammys On Fire
As an awards show, The Grammys have had to fight harder and harder to remain relevant. Just think, when was the last time you went out to buy an album? Unless you’re a beanie-wearing vinyl enthusiast or ironically own a Discman, the answer is probably hard to recall. With Spotify, Youtube Red, and the recent rise of TIDAL, it seems like streaming is one step closer to snubbing out the music industry. That said, if this is the Grammys’ death knell, then they’re going out with a Xena-esque warcry.
Kendrick Lamar Runs The Show
Beyoncé’s rallying cries from the Super Bowl were still lingering in our mind, so the Grammys had to present something really special to impress us. And, thanks to Kendrick Lamar, they did. K-Dot’s live performance was as profound as his intricate studio releases. Given the depth of provocative imagery and the use of incredible set design, we found ourselves asking, “Can his next album be on Broadway?” In the face of systemic discrimination and violence, some musicians are using their celebrity status to push Black Lives Matter into the mainstream, and we’re all about it. The louder the movement is, from disruptive protests to musical performances, the harder it becomes for critics to ignore.
Even the Grammys. Perhaps as atonement for Macklemore’s controversial win over Kendrick Lamar in 2014, the Grammys awarded the Compton native not one, not two, but three times–Best Rap Album for “To Pimp a Butterfly,” as well as Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song for “Alright.” It was a big night…although, if we’re being completely honest, he deserved the Album of the Year award, too.
Taylor Swift Gets the Last Laugh
Taylor Swift took home the Album of the Year with her collection of earworms, 1989. After Kanye West reignited their now 7 year-old beef with a misogynistic diss on his new track, “Famous,” T-Swift took the high road. “There will be people along the way who will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” she said while accepting the prestigious award. “But if you just focus on the work, you’ll look around and you’ll know that it was you and the people who love you that put you there.”
Gaga Sends Bowie Off Into Outer Space
Given Bowie‘s tragic passing last month, a Grammy tribute was inevitable. Lady Gaga took the reins, and the homage felt a bit like a high school production of Rocky Horror, with dizzying effects, gobs of makeup, and a overall sloppy production. It was tremendously odd. We’ll leave you with this tweet from Bowie’s son, film director Duncan Jones. Hint: he’s referring to the word “gaga.”
"overexcited or irrational, typically as a result of infatuation or excessive enthusiasm; mentally confused." Damn it! What IS that word!?
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) February 16, 2016
The Alabama Shakes Left Us Quaking
Aside from the odd win for Muse–“They’re still a band?”–soulful rockers The Alabama Shakes cleaned house in the rock arena–definitely a case of the cream rising to top. Hopefully their wins, combined with an atomic bomb of a performance, will catapult crooner Brittany Howard and company to even more stratospheric success.
Bieber Shed His Baby Booties
Even the fuccboi with a heart of gold, Justin Bieber, successfully capped off his strides towards maturity with an unexpectedly power punk version of his song “Where at Ü Now?” Co-collaborators Skrillex and Diplo helped on stage, with Diplo recalling his middle school timpani skills, and Skrillex channeling his inner guitar hero to propel the performance towards Warped Tour heights. Bieber and the DJ duo were rewarded with two wins for their record.
All about the Hamiltons
If you’re trying to get Hamilton tickets, it might be wise to invest in a time machine instead. The show guaranteed a few years of sold out touring with its win for Best Musical Album, as well as a raucous, showcase performance. And, ever the dramatist, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rap acceptance speech was a delight (and a clever way to beat the clock).
Adele Didn’t Do What Adele Does
Due to technical difficulties, Adele’s performance was less pop idol and more American Idol. The mic was misplaced, causing distortion, and leading to a few notable off-key notes that shook an otherwise stunning performance. No worries, though. The singer owned up to the mistakes, apologizing on Twitter before concluding that she would rationalize her woes while treating herself to some In ‘N Out. If only New Yorkers had access to such solace. If only.
Stay tuned to Milk for more awards season coverage. The Oscars are looming…
Cover image via LA Times. Gifs via Giphy. Additional images via XXL, NPR, AFROPUNK, Rolling Stone, Tumblr.