HomeMusicGrammys 2019: Predictable Business As Usual With Popularity Mattering Most

Grammys 2019: Predictable Business As Usual With Popularity Mattering Most

Last August, when the Grammy nominations were first announced, I wrote a couple of predictions and reactions to what I thought the 2019 awards would hold. I don’t consider myself a clairvoyant or particularly prescient when it comes to these events, but I think it’s pretty telling of the Recording Academy that nearly all of my predictions were correct.

First, I discussed the relevance of the new Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion at the Recording Academy – and how it would probably result in a more overtly progressive awards show and presentation. The Academy followed through with that, naming Alicia Keys as the host of the show: the first woman to do it in 14 years. I even briefly brought up how Tina Tchen, the head of said task force, used to work for Michelle Obama – so I guess I predicted the surprise appearance of the former First Lady at the show?

After last year’s Album of the Year nominees included only one woman (Lorde, who rightfully earned that spot), five out of eight of the nominees were female this year. Perhaps as some sort of response to last year’s events, country music star Kacey Musgraves, took home this year’s top prize for her stellar record Golden Hour – you go girl! Some might find it notable that Musgraves is the only non-LGBT white woman in the category, and she won, but it feels pretty deserved.

Record of the Year, Song of the Years, Best Rap Performance, and Best Music Video quite rightfully went to Childish Gambino’s “This Is America,” further affirming that making a socially and politically-charged viral video in the age of social media is pretty damn relevant when it comes to Awards Season. Lady Gaga and friends nabbed two Grammys for “Shallow” from A Star Is Born, which very well may also nab Oscars next week. Black Panther fans will be happy to know the movie’s musical contributors didn’t walk empty-handed; composer Ludwig Göransson won the Grammy for Best Score for Visual Media.

Brandi Carlile’s By The Way, I Forgive You awarded the singer-songwriter three statues, which was to be expected. Kacey Musgraves – aside from winning the top prize – took home several Grammys in the country categories – all of which were earned yet unsurprising. Best Pop Vocal Album went to Ariana Grande for Sweetener – shutting Taylor Swift out of the only category she was nominated for – despite the fact that the high-ponytailed singer created much hoopla over not performing at the ceremony. British pop star Dua Lipa won Best New Artist, which probably means we haven’t seen the last of her any time soon.

Chris Cornell posthumously won Best Rock Performance for “When Bad Does Good,” which was all well and nice; I was slightly disappointed that Arctic Monkeys’ “Four Out Of Five” lost and gloriously relieved that Greta Van Fleet’s “Highway Tune” lost. But the joke was on me; just as I imagined months ago, Greta Van Fleet took home the biggest statue, Best Rock Album, beating out Fall Out Boy, Weezer, Alice in Chains, and Ghost. St. Vincent aka Annie Clark, however, shut out Greta Van Fleet in the Best Rock Song category for “Masseduction,” which she shared with Jack Antonoff. Clark’s win feels like a big one; she was the only woman nominated in any of the rock categories and still won.

Drake took home the Grammy for Best Rap Song with “God’s Plan,” which – like most of the other big wins – had an overwhelmingly viral music video attached to it. The Recording Academy seems like they couldn’t ignore Jay Z’s now classic line “Tell the Grammys f*ck that 0 for 8 sh*t” on his and Beyonce’s track “Ape****,” so they awarded the power couple Best Urban Contemporary Album for Everything Is Love. I guess that shade worked out for them!

In terms of performances, there was a whole lot of nope fortunately cancelled out by moments of brilliance. Dolly Parton, forever a national treasure, performed alongside Kacey Musgraves (who sounded amazing), Katy Perry (who sounded terrible), and her goddaughter Miley Cyrus (who sounded great). Someone – probably Satan, but I can’t say for certain – thought Red Hot Chili Peppers and Post Malone should perform together and really that’s all I can say about that. Alicia Keys played two pianos at once just to remind everyone else how much they suck while Janelle Monae and a slew of perfectly fashionable backup dancers proved how wonderful music and beautiful artistry can move us. Essentially, the majority of performances were nothing but a great big spectacle; it was all mostly exhausting, sometimes fun, usually uninteresting.

All in all, what else is there to say about the 2019 Grammys? Extremely popular acts won all the categories you would imagine them to win, most of which felt unsurprising if only because of social media. Anyone who half pays attention to music has seen the “This Is America” music video, or heard “God’s Plan,” or has an opinion on whether Greta Van Fleet sound like Led Zeppelin, or has feelings about Lady Gaga and A Star Is Born. Almost everyone who loves Black Panther hypes its soundtrack, and everyone has read the headlines about Kacey Musgraves and Brandi Carlile “changing things” for female singer-songwriters. I don’t think Ariana Grande has spent one week out of the news for probably two years. Nothing was very surprising at this year’s Grammys, but then again – popularity contests have never been very surprising to begin with.



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