Posted by: tdennis2011 | February 23, 2016

My Thoughts on the 2016 Grammys


Last week the 58th annual Grammy Awards aired and it was…okay. Don’t get me wrong, the tributes were good and the performances (most of them anyway) were fine, but something about the production felt a bit off. It seems like the behind the scenes people were struggling to keep on schedule. At one point a producer was cut off in the middle of her acceptance speech and the Glenn Frey tribute began a few seconds too soon. Even the David Bowie tribute felt rushed.

Perhaps the most obvious flaw with this year’s Grammys was the sound quality. Poor Adele not only had to deal with vocal issues, but atrocious microphone trouble as well. Not even Taylor Swift was immune from the sound quality plague. Despite Swift’s ability to put on a decent show, I couldn’t hear a word she was saying. Could anyone?

So that’s what I thought of the overall show. What about the individual parts? For the most part they were good. There were a few letdowns. Sam Hunt and Carrie Underwood did a lifeless duet together and I’m still confused about why they booked Pitbull to close the show. Skrillex, Diplo, & Justin Bieber did okay I guess, but their songs are just too lousy for me to care about.

By far the strangest part of the show was the Lionel Ritchie tribute. Who planned this monstrosity? Why have John Legend, Demi Lovato, Luke Bryan, Meghan Trainor, and Tyrese Gibson pay tribute to Lionel Ritchie? What a strange brew that was. John Legend I understand, but why any of those other people? There were a ton of better candidates you could have gotten to do this, like Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, The Weeknd, or Pharrell Williams. Why didn’t they get anybody that made sense?

Fortunately there were good performances to counteract all the bad ones. Tori Kelly and James Bay did a fantastic job. I was surprised to see them performing at all, in the middle of the show no less. Hopefully this is a sign that the Grammys will focus more attention on the lower-teir artists. Little Big Town did a good job, too. I especially liked how they addressed the controversy over “Girl Crush” and how the song gained popularity despite the radio station boycotts. It’s unfortunate that politics has to ruin perfectly good music and it drives me nuts when people get upset because they think it’s a lesbian song.

Let’s not forget about Kendrick Lamar, who brought the house down thanks to his flawless mic skills and politically charged set. I was glad to see that he sounds just as good live as he does recorded. One of my favorite sets was from Alabama Shakes. I’m still impressed with how solid this band is and I’m glad to see them get such good exposure because of it.

Sadly there were lots of legends to pay tribute to this year. The two big ones were for Glenn Frey and David Bowie. For the Glenn Frey tribute, Eagles, Bernie Leadon, and Jackson Browne sang “Take it Easy”, the perfect song for the occasion. Despite the vocal issues, I couldn’t help but get wrapped up in the emotion. It was a good way to honor the man. The most anticipated performance of the night was Lady GaGa’s tribute to David Bowie. It was just a cooky as I thought it would be and they couldn’t have picked a more fitting artist for a David Bowie tribute.

The other tributes were very nice.  The Stevie Wonder/Pentatonix tribute to Maurice White was a highlight. It proved you don’t need musical accompaniment to give a great performance. The Michael Jackson tribute was unnecessary and came out of nowhere, but it was competently done. The Hollywood Vampires also did well in their tribute to Motorhead’s Lemmy Kilmister. It was a good mini concert and a chance to see a very interesting supergroup take the stage.

Out of all the tributes, I believe the one to B. B. King was the best. It didn’t feel forced or out of place in any way and it featured a great lineup. Kudos to Chris Stapleton, Gary Clarke Jr., and Bonnie Raitt for a fitting tribute to the king of blues.

That takes care of the entertainment portions. Now what about the awards? I’ll be looking at the big four. Best New Artist went to Meghan Trainor. I wasn’t thrilled with that. I think I understand why she was chosen, but if we’re going to be honest with ourselves, Courtney Barnett was the much better choice. Record of the Year went to “Uptown Funk”. I can’t complain. It was one of the best songs of the year. I love how Bruno just wanted to accept the Grammy and get it over with like it was inevitable. Song of the Year went to “Thinking Out Loud”. I’ll take that. I liked it enough.

Finally, the big one. Album of the Year went to 1989. I understand people might not be happy with Taylor Swift winning such a major award, but you cannot deny the impact this album has had on the charts and in pop music for the last year. 2014 and 2015 basically belonged to her. With that said, I gladly threw my support behind this decision. Apparently I was the only person on Earth who didn’t know who Swift was addressing in her acceptance speech. I never thought I would hear her say anything like that. Even when he isn’t there, Kanye West can hijack the spotlight.

Those are my thoughts about this year’s Grammys. Was it flawless? Absolutely not, but it was good enough that it kept me interested. What did you think of the show?

To see the full results, go to the official Grammys website.


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