Welcome again, long-term readers, to another installment of Great Fails In Grammy History, the recurring feature wherein I take the voting academy to task for their horrible errors, gross misjudgments or outright shenanigans. This year’s ceremony proved controversial, as always; however, the biggest controversy (aside from TSwift attempting to dance and again failing at it) has more to do with the showrunners than the actual voters.
Hey, Grammys producers? Come sit down with me for a sec. Let’s have a chat.
Here’s the deal: every awards show is bloated. We all know this. No matter how well you think you’ve scheduled things, the entire production always runs overtime. You know this. You should plan for it. Hell, maybe you should underprogram for a change and have someone versatile like, oh, Neil Patrick Harris on standby to sing a farewell number. It works for the Tonys.
Regardless, there are mistakes that should never be made, and one of them is this: you do not hype the hell out of an epic, jaw-dropping prospect of a collaboration as your closing number and then run ads over half of it. No. That’s utter stupidity. That’s destroying any goodwill you built up with casual viewers who tuned in because, wow, for once, they’re letting a hard rocking band that isn’t Metallica play a freaking song.
More importantly, you do not insult a legend like Lindsey Buckingham, an iconic inspiration and Oscar winner like Trent Reznor, and Queens of the Stone Age, who just happen to have another icon, Dave Grohl, on the drums with them. That’s a bitchslap in the face of music. That’s a complete disregard for how truly amazing such a collaboration was anticipated to be — and indeed was, from what you showed of it.
Speaking of collaborations… can we talk about this fervent need to ram as many artists onto a stage as possible by mashing together artists that have no business being together, or clearly did not rehearse enough to pull off the demand? Case in point: Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons. What a mess. There was no cohesion, no smoothness of performance, nor did the two tracks really go together in any meaningful way. Perhaps that’s why Taylor couldn’t figure out how to dance to it. Case in point two: Robin Thicke and Chicago. I just… Okay, look Chicago: you do not need to jump on the coattails of a guy peddling a Grammy-nominated, date-rapey song to revive your career. Just stick to what you do right, and stay classy. Case three: ramming Madonna randomly into the spectacle of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis‘ “Same Love”. That stage was so damn crowded that between the 30+ couples getting married in the aisles and the performers on stage not even in harmony, I merely had a headache. For every time it worked out, several more failed miserably.
And then, the winners… Props, Grammy voters: I thought you’d take the easy way out again and hand the hardware to Taylor Swift. I thought that Lorde deserved the win, but wouldn’t see it. But hey, sometimes, you get it right. But then… Well, we need to talk about this “Alternative” category of yours.
Alternative is not “any music we have no idea how to classify in neat boxes”.
I shouldn’t have to explain this to you. Your profession is music. Anyone with a set of ears listening to your five nominees for Best Alternative Music Album would be baffled as to how all of these fall within a single genre. And alternative is a genre all its own, Grammys. So no, I see no sense in having people compare apples to oranges to dragonfruit to a shark steak. Why is Nine Inch Nails in the same genre as The National? Why is Neko Case rammed in alongside Tame Impala? There is no logic here and as a result, you ended up picking the weakest link of the five! (And I don’t even like The National!)
Rock is more than Rock, Metal and Alternative. If we have Rap, R&B, Roots, Urban Contemporary, etc etc. then we can have an Alternative category and another that embodies Alternative Folk, so to speak. Create another award, cough up one more statuette — fix it. Seriously.
And last: Macklemore. Oh man. You know, I’m white and not a huge fan of rap, but even I question the validity of classifying his music as rap. I question the sincerity of a “you shoulda won” text that you have to Instagram to your fans. I also question why in my hazy memory, it seems every time there’s a potential white rapper to give a Rap award to, he gets it. Allow me to sit down, link you to this amazing analysis of white privilege and its particular impact on the Rap category and how it played out this year, and let others speak.
Wow, Grammys 2014. You did a few things right (Daft Punk; Lorde; Zeppelin; Imagine Dragons) but you blew it big time. Christopher Cross will see you on the other side, Macklemore.