Last night was the 57th annual Grammy Awards, held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. And in typical Grammy tradition, the women came dressed to impressed in their biggest and most extravagant designer dresses, while the men (for the most part) came super dapper in an array of tuxedos and suits. The award show, in our opinion, was one of the most boring award shows in recent history. It’s not that the performances were dull, it’s just that seemingly every one of them was a down-tempo song. There were no big dance numbers (aside from Madonna’s electro-gospel spectacle), no huge urban/hip hop moments. Beyonce, Rihanna, Kanye West, Katy Perry, Ariana Grande, Jessie J, Ed Sheeran all performed, but the songs they chose were very…chill, to say the least.
Amazing moments did come from Pharrell’s very theatrical performance of “Happy” and Sia’s theatrical performance piece for “Chandelier”. Annie Lennox’s pairing with Hozier for “Take me To Church” and “I’ll Put a Spell On You” may have been the highlight of the night for us. Seriously, Annie Lennox fucking destroyed the stage. Beyonce, John Legend, and Common closed the show with an amazing showing of songs from the movie ‘Selma.’ Sam Smith, 22, won awards for Best New Artist, Song Of The Year, and Record Of The Year; an amazing feat for someone so young. But yet, the only moment people are talking about today happened when Beck won Album Of The Year over Beyonce’s monumental game-changer, BEYONCE.
The reason people are still talking about that moment is because as Beck shockingly walking to the mic to accept his award, Kanye West approached the mic as well, alluding to his infamous 2009 VMA moment where he snatched the mic from Taylor Swift as she accepted her Video Of The Year award, and told the crowd Beyonce deserved the award. He was 4, 5 seconds from doing the same thing at last night’s Grammy’s, and the crowd, including Beyonce and Jay Z, were half mortified, half ecstatic of Yeezy’s stanning for his friend.
After the show, Kanye and Kim Kardashian stopped by the Kardashian network, E!, to interview with Terrence J, Khloe Kardashian, and Christina Milian about the night. And it was there that Kanye said that Beck didn’t deserve the award, and that Beck should “respect artistry” and “give his award to Beyonce.” Huge, bold, drastic words from Kanye. But Kanye has always been one that is passionate about what he believes, and last night was no different, albeit him also admitting he was “drunk in love” post-show.
So was Kanye right? Yes, and no. BEYONCE, the album, was undoubtedly the biggest, most critically acclaimed album of the past Grammy year. The way Beyonce released the album shifted a paradigm within the industry, proving that great music does not need 5 months to promote in order to sell. She also released a full album at midnight on a Friday, and sold 300,000 copies by Sunday night (and 800,000 copies in total in it’s first week). She released an album full of big budget videos for every single song. She changed the game, and artists like U2 and J. Cole followed suit, showing her release strategy was genius and works for others. So, even aside from the actual music, which itself was Bey’s most critically acclaimed music, the album was definitely “the” album of the year.
But what about Beck? Beck is a 44 year old alternative rock star, who’s been releasing albums since the early 90’s. In fact, he’s been nominated for Album Of The Year twice before (in 1997 and again in 2001), but lost both times. So it should be no secret that the Grammy committee loves Beck, and that he was nominated for AOTY, and that he won AOTY. The Grammy committee isn’t composed of strictly pop culture lovers. The committee isn’t filled with people that necessarily listen to Beyonce, or Ed Sheeran, or Sam Smith, or Pharrell (the other nominees in that category). The demographic of the committee ranges across multiple generations and multiple genres. So the fact that 4 “pop culture” albums were nominated in that category is the true reason why none of those artists won.
I’m 80% positive that neither Kanye West, nor the thousands of people upset at Beyonce’s snubbing (myself included), have even listened to Beck’s Morning Phase album. So how can Kanye, or anyone else, discredit what he did on that album? How can Kanye say that Beck should respect artistry and give his award to Beyonce, when Kanye isn’t respecting Beck’s artistry? It’s cool to have an opinion and to root for your friends, especially when Beyonce did indeed have the most monumental album of the past year, if not the past decade, but Kanye is definitely in the wrong here. He has won 21 Grammy’s in his career, and has been nominated a whopping 57 times, so of course his opinion matters, but it’s not fair to discredit Beck. Maybe Ye should look a little deeper, and discredit and attack the politics behind the voting process, and who’s allowed to vote for Grammy’s, and why he’s won 21 Grammy’s, but all for rap categories (never the Big 4 categories). Beck winning Album Of The Year definitely isn’t something he, or any of us, should discredit.