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Grammys fail to understand modern music — By the Way

01 Febrero 2018

I woke up slightly hungover following a highly successful opening night of Bernstein's Candide at LA Opera.

These upsets are not the fault of those who won over those more deserving.

2018 marked the 60th anniversary of the Grammy Awards, one of the biggest nights in the music industry. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post.

The Recording Academy, the group of 13,000 professionals who vote for the awards, had seemed set to change the narrative this year, with hip-hop for the first time dominating the nominations. That's also probably the last time I watched the complete telecast. Additionally, Bruno Mars was the night's big winner after cleaning up every category he was nominated for.

The album has a little something for everyone - rap features with Travis Scott in "Love Galore" or Kendrick Lamar in "Doves in the Wind" or a more pop sound with "Prom".

But rap mogul Jay-Z, who led with eight nominations, left New York's Madison Square Garden empty-handed.

Elton John and Miley Cyrus sing "Tiny Dancer" at the Grammys. "Sorry for the interruption".

Mars won album and record of the year for 24K Magic, whose title track speaks of the sight of hot women "waking up the rocket" in his pants, and song of the year for That's What I Like about making love in high style. These statistics, however, don't include women of color.

There were a total of 86 awards, but female artists only got 17 of them. Initial figures from Nielsen said that 19.8 million people watched the show, a drop of more than one quarter from last year and the lowest in a decade. Two particular standouts both involved Kendrick Lamar - his loss to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in 2014 for Best Rap Album and his loss to Taylor Swift in 2016 for Album of the Year. Solange didn't get a single nomination in any of the general categories. Mars is also one of only five R&B artists to win album of the year, preceded by Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Natalie Cole and Ray Charles. Probably. But that's what made it so great. Some of the lyrics can hit close to home as you deal with feelings of solitude or insecurity, regardless of the cause of the feelings. The classical categories are horrendously dominated by white men.

But the conversations musicians are conducting are outshining the music itself.

But Mars, whose real name is Peter Hernandez, does not lend to a simple narrative. Behind her stood a chorus of women in white, including familiar faces like Cyndi Lauper and Camila Cabello hugging Kesha afterwards for her raw, emotional performance. Is he better than SZA, or Lana Del Rey, or literally anyone with a sense of rhythm?

The Recording Academy's list of winners sends a stronger message than white roses and political red carpet musings. But I'm not holding my breath. His column, "From The Top", runs Tuesdays.

Grammys fail to understand modern music — By the Way