Pop-Ed: The 2014 Grammy Awards

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I have stated in previous articles that I am not a big fan of award shows and the Grammys in particular, or any award/honor devoted to music usually sticks in my craw. While many great artists have been nominated or won over the years the lack of diversity through the decades has always been a problem and recently it has become all about an excessive amount of performances. Ultimately all great artists don’t need an award to maintain staying power or a legacy in years to come.

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This year was another drawn out night of too many performances and very few awards that didn’t need to span an almost 4 hour telecast. I went in truly not caring as much about the ceremony but left actually satisfied with not only some of the winners but a good chunk of the performances with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Madonna coming out the best of the night for performing “Same Love” with 33 couples marrying in the arena. Other noted performances included Paul McCartney featuring Ringo Starr blasting through a rendition of “Queenie Eye,” Kendrick Lamarr and Imagine Dragons surprising us all with an explosively vibrant performance, and personal favorite Sara Bareilles performing alongside her idol Carole King. It’s a shame the tribute to the Highwaymen ending up being such a confusing mess but I give Blake Shelton credit for trying to hold together a rather shaky performance.

Biggest complaint though? CBS what the hell were you doing cutting off Nine Inch Nails, Queens of the Stone Age and Lindsay Buckingham?! Quite possibly one of the best closers that the show has seen with some of the best rock performers in modern times and you cut in with sponsors and then the credits? Shame on y’all but hey I shouldn’t be too surprised considering the show’s track record. I could go on and on about what I liked and disliked but let’s cut to the chase and discuss the winners of the night.

Album of the Year/Record of the Year/Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Winners: Daft Punk- Random Access Memories/ “Get Lucky”

It’s much easier to lump multiple winners of the night together and why not when you have this famous DJ duo storming the Grammys and winning for one hell of a record. Beyond rooting for dark horse Bareille’s to pull a fast one and pick up Album of the Year, there weren’t many artists in each of the above three categories that I saw pulling out wins here so the most expected win was ultimately what happened. What was great about Daft Punk pulling out these wins is what it did for the people involved especially Nile Rodgers and Paul Williams; two legends in their own right who deserve the credibility that sometimes gets missed with them and also a great example of two generations of artists bridging the gaps of the past and present.

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Song of the Year/ Best Pop Solo Performance- Winner: Lorde- “Royals”
Wow. Who would have thought this song would take off the way it did let alone win two awards last night. This was more than deserved as “Royals” was one of the most original and celebrated tracks to come out in the past few years. While I was pulling for “Same Love” to take home Song of the Year, especially after that beautiful performance that took place after the award was given out, I have no problem with originality and talented new blood taking home this prize. Same goes for Best Pop Solo Performance where I was crossing my fingers for Sara Bareilles taking home the award for “Brave.” Hey, can’t win them all.

Best Country Album – Winner: Kacey Musgraves- Same Trailer Different Park
I have to say more than any award during the broadcast this was the one I was happiest with. Those who read my year end piece on music in 2013 knows this young country starlet made my Top Songs of 2013 list with her endearing number “Follow Your Arrow.” After performing said song her genuine look of surprise when she won for this fantastic country record made me very giddy and showed another example of great young talent getting what they deserve.

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Best Pop Vocal Album- Winner: Bruno Mars- Unorthodox Jukebox
This was a rather stale category comprised of either albums that annoyed me or ones that left me unimpressed. To his credit, Mars did release a decent record here filled with some of his best songs to date so this was perfectly fine but it was still a rather limp list of nominees this year.

Best Rap/Sung Collaboration- Winner: Jay Z featuring Justin Timberlake- Holy Grail
Personally this one was a wash and should have went to Kendrick Lamar because of all songs to win the academy chose the only decent track off of Jay Z’s recent effort.

Best Rock Song- Winner: “Cut Me Some Slack”- Paul McCartney, Krist Novoselic, Dave Grohl, and Pat Smear
I have long standing issues with any of the rock categories the Grammy has to offer. Of the four categories devoted to this genre this was the only one that made the broadcast and was the least diverse. What I would have given to see Best Alternative record on the broadcast to see Vampire Weekend pick up that award. Thankfully I didn’t have to witness Led Zeppelin win Best Rock album for a LIVE ALBUM! That being said I liked seeing McCartney and company winning the award although Gary Clark, Jr. would have been a more desired win in my eye as he is a very talented individual who deserves more recognition. Side note his performance with Keith Urban earlier in the evening is probably going to go unnoticed but it was damn good.

Best New Artist- Winner: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
First award of the night was also tough to guess an outcome. A very diverse bunch indeed but Ed Sheeran shouldn’t have been listed as Best New Artist considering he was nominated for an award last year. In the end one of the biggest stories of the year took home Best New Artist. Sadly, it would be their only award of the night.

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