The Grammy Awards were on TV tonight
in a prime time slot on national TV shoe-horned onto obscure digital-only channel 4Music.
AC/DC kicked things off in style. In the UK, seeing a schoolboy next to an old man in a flat cap at a music industry event just brings unwelcome thoughts of certain radio 1 DJs, but in the USA it’s still acceptable. “That was amazing,” gasped Lady Gaga….
There have been a few snipes at AC/DC who were “accused” of needing to get a teleprompter to remind them of the lyrics to Rock or Bust. Leaving aside the fact that the lyrics are probably relatively easy to remember on the basis that it’s an AC/DC song, let’s just remember Malcolm Young played the last tour whilst suffering from dementia. As far as I’m concerned they have earned the right to have the lyrics painted on the stage in big letters and on their shirt sleeves if they want….
Sam Smith was a big winner on the night and, in a speech reminiscent of Adele’s, dedicated his wins to an ex-lover. “Thank you so much for breaking my heart, because you got me four Grammys” he smiled. Music industry execs had already been plotting a way to romantically bring Smith and Adele together, and then make them break up, preferably into the arms of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles and then break them up, thus perpetuating the cycle in order to inspire further big selling albums, before someone nervously had to point out that Sam was gay, so the whole scheme probably wouldn’t work.
It won’t stop them trying…
The 22-year-old singer won best newcomer, best song and best record for Stay With Me, which means, technically, Tom Petty won a quarter of a Grammy last night, after he was credited with 12.5% of the royalties of Stay With Me due to its similarity to the chorus of I Won’t Back Down.
Jessie J and Tom Jones sang “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling”. Never mind that Loving Feeling, it made all those watching lose the feeling in their legs as it seemed to drag on painfully for hours. A relived round of applause made us all appreciate Tom Cruise’s performance of the song in “Top Gun” just a tiny bit more…
Kanye West then invaded the stage, albeit it was to perform a song (you can never be sure though can you?) greatly assisted by his two friends Mr Auto and Mr Tune. He does insist on using this device as an instrument, but it just makes me think a) he can’t sing (and I’m sure he can really) and b) if only Professor Stephen Hawking was able to hack into his machine then we’d have some fun. But I suspect Hawking has more important things to worry about…
Fashion played a big part in the night’s excitement, as Madonna performed dressed as a Matador. She was surrounded by horny dancers, probably not for the first time, only these ones had silver faces. As for Madonna’s get-up, think of a slightly fitter Brian Ferry circa 1974 if you will, whilst Pharrell dressed like a bell-hop, presumably because they wear distinctive hats. Expect to see him dressed as The Swedish Chef from the Muppets at the next award show. Meanwhile Rihanna turned up looking like one of those ghosts in Pac-Man.
I greatly enjoyed Annie Lennox and Hozier with “Take Me To Church” and “I Put A Spell On You”, albeit did Lennox pretend to play a harmonica at one point, despite clearly not having one to hand? That was the least convincing Grammy mime since Milli Vanilli…
Prince came onstage dressed all in
purple orange to present an award and made a reference to the Black Lives Matter campaign: “Albums still matter. Like books and black lives” he said. He didn’t say that he tossed away one of his albums for free with copies of the Mail on Sunday a few years back, naturally. It probably wasn’t the right time to mention it.
Prince presented Beck with the award for album of the year for Morning Phase, prompting anyone under twenty five to ask “Who is Beck?” Indeed that very question actually trended on Twitter, which is slightly depressing. It’s okay, though. I had to look up who Meghan Trainor was, and I’m still not sure I’m any the wiser.
Kanye West did indeed then consider an attempt at invading the stage to indicate he was not entirely in agreement with Beck’s win, and later told E! Magazine apparently without irony that Beck should “respect artistry” and hand the prize to Beyoncé. Presumably in West’s world “respecting artistry” means “agree with everything I say”…
We were then treated, if that’s the word I am grasping for, by Sia’s bizzaro clown-dancers who were all utterly bonkers. Imagine if someone had stolen the set from Madness’ “Our House” and let Andy Pandy run around in it, dancing badly. To a bland song. Whilst someone else sings to the wall like they are in The Blair Witch Project. It rather made Lady Gaga’s meat dress look like the work of a slightly dull accountant.
But whilst the odd strange performance carried on and Kanye stole the headlines, all the talk before The Grammy awards was about Australian Iggy Azalea’s nomination for best rap album. “Who are these foreigners, appropriating black culture?” screamed Azalea’s critics.
Thank goodness, therefore that, after the Grammy voters thought long and hard about the dangers of rewarding those who appropriate black culture, the Best Rap Album Award was won by….er, Eminem.
So that’s alright then…