January 27, 2014

56th Grammy Awards: Winners, Losers and WTFs

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By JAMES RAINIS

The Grammys, as they have downgraded from music’s Academy Awards to music’s Golden Globes, are a pointless exercise in artist aggrandizement, arbitrary award nominations and absolutely out-of-touch voting committees. So, naturally, The Sun asked me to sum up the winners and losers. While, in real life, the only winner was Kanye West, who declined to appear at the ceremony, I will give you the winners and losers in relative terms.

WINNERS

Daft Punk: Five awards were won, their performance got the entire crowd — including a hilarious Steven Tyler and a somewhat confused-looking Yoko Ono — dancing and the helmets stayed on the entire night. 21st century pop music’s flagship electronic group may have found their biggest success by recording their least electronic album (and paying lots of lip-service to dance music forbears from Nile Rodgers to Giorgio Moroder), but nobody can deny RAM’s impressive scope or the sheer domination of “Get Lucky.” Let’s just thank Daft Punk for helping the Grammy committee wise up to dance music and for preventing total Macklemore domination.

Pharrell’s Hat: It’s truly been the Year of Pharrell: Not only did he come away with three Grammys (including Best Producer, Non-Classical), but he started a little bit of an internet sensation by showing up in the weirdest bolo-tophat-fedora combo he had in his closet. Before the ceremony even ended, the hat had inspired responses from Smokey the Bear, comparisons to the Hogwarts Sorting Hat and the creation of an @Pharrelhat Twitter account. Here’s to wannabe hip kids adopting Pharrell’s look and the mountains of derision we will pile upon them.

Lorde: Lorde won Song of the Year for “Royals,” and she was simultaneously humbled and kind of over it. She shouted out some of her competitors and influences and got out pretty quickly; instead of diving into ridiculous retweet-worthy bombast, she kept it cool. If Pure Heroine’s sparse, grooving production or her left-of-center style haven’t won you over, I am guessing that you will never get used to her winning Grammys, and that is something that will likely be happening for a long time, hopefully in the same laid back fashion as Sunday night.

Beyoncé: So the campaign for Beyoncé’s eventual domination of the 2015 Grammys has begun, and what a beginning it was: her performance of “Drunk in Love,” Bey’s ode to finding sexiness in domesticity, was pretty awesome. Until someone can get me to stop saying “surfboard” at random points in lecture, Beyoncé is the undeniable favorite to crush it at next year’s ceremony and in the world in general.

Kanye West’s Grammy-related paranoia: Pre-2014 Grammys, Kanye said: “I have never won a Grammy against a white artist.” Post-2014 Grammys Kanye West has still not won a Grammy against a white artist, and this time he lost to freaking Macklemore after recording one of the most visceral, singular hip-hop records of all time. In the words of Kurt Cobain: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you.”

Vampire Weekend: Dressed up like your cool cousin’s friends who work for a financial services startup, these guys walked in, grabbed their Best Alternative Album Award and solidified their place as indie rock’s favorite pop-friendly, career-conscious quartet. Peace, safe investment strategies and rock and roll, am I right?

Queen Latifah: Yeah, she may have taken the LL Cool J route in undoing her hip-hop cred by involving herself in some silly, family-friendly bullshit, but she used to be Outkast’s manager, dammit, and that means she gets to officiate faux gay weddings at awards shows if she wants to.

LOSERS

Kendrick Lamar: K Dot’s loss in the Best Rap Album category to Macklemore was a major, if expected, disappointment. Perhaps it’s Kendrick’s combative “Control” verse and good kid m.a.d.d city’s street-level tales of drug-pushing and violence that kept him from usurping the Grammy from rap’s resident nice guy, but come on: If Kendrick can make an Imagine Dragons song sound good, he deserves all the Grammys we can afford to give him.

Justin Timberlake: Lesson learned, JT: Talk shit about your haters in GQ, they’ll make sure you do not take home any hardware from their annual antiquated circle jerk. Sure, you will take solace in your millions of dollars, beautiful wife and amazing lifestyle, but it will always haunt you that you lost to Bruno Mars, especially after he bombs so hard at the Super Bowl this weekend we wish a nipple popped out.

Rock Music, as a genre: Led Zeppelin won a Grammy for Best Rock Album, and Paul McCartney and the dudes from Nirvana won one for Best Rock Song after dicking around for two hours in Dave Grohl’s studio. Sheesh, if this was true rock and roll the genre would be on the verge of death. But it isn’t: Queens of the Stone Age put out the taut and muscular …Like Clockwork, Arctic Monkeys put out the sexy AM and, if not for the weird splitting hairs of what is rock/alternative, Tame Impala’s Lonerism stands as one of my favorite psych records of all time. Hell, even David Bowie and Neil Young put out good, new albums. Let’s leave the one-offs and reissues out of it and try to breath some life into a genre so many hold dear.

Taylor Swift: I am sorry, Ms. Swift, but America’s collective crush on you ended right around the time we figured out that all the songs on Red were about your relationships with other pretty, famous people (Jennifer Lawrence, realize that the honeymoon phase is fleeting and enjoy it). Still, that look of absolute, crushing disappointment in response to Daft Punk winning Album of the Year instead of you? Heroin for your haters. I am optimistic, though; take your lumps and knock them out with your next one (Team Swift for life).

WTF?

Courtesy of ABC

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