Monday, January 27, 2014

GRAMMY'S 2014: Great Expectations

My mom once told me that, if I can't say anything nice, I shouldn't say anything at all. Luckily, my mother has grown to accept my outspoken nature, because I (unfortunately) have very few compliments to pay the Recording Academy, and whoever else is responsible for last night's slumber party. Which do you want first - the good news or the bad? Okay, fine. 

The good news. LL Cool J is somewhat amusing and totally endearing again (as opposed to last year's "funeral" fiasco). He's so endearing, in fact, that he can insult Taylor Swift and provoke a high-five rather than a Kacey Musgraves stare-down. Performance-wise, John Legend reminded us all why he's no "ordinary people" during his performance of "All of Me." Hands down, the best of the night. We were also reminded why Pink is not just a Covergirl, but Superwoman. Yes - completely lame that her team couldn't come up with a new concept from last year's show (or her tours, for that matter); but no less amazing to see her sing live (and so, so well) while hanging upside down from a bed sheet. To then watch her flow effortlessly into "Just Give Me A Reason" with Nate Ruess, hitting her notes with such precision and ease, makes me wonder whether she has bionic lungs. 

Keith Urban may be "a little bit country," and Gary Clark Jr. may be "a little bit rock and roll;" but they're both insanely talented guitar players. And if your ears and eyes didn't perk up during their solo, you're, well, a little bit stupid. Carole King and Sara Bareilles were also a perfect match, with their mash-up of King's "Beautiful" and Bareilles' "Brave." 

Now for the bad news. It's become obvious that the Grammy's are trying WAY too hard to pair artists and mix genres in hopes of fabricating a "Grammy moment" or "make history." Yet, that's exactly what the Academy is accomplishing - a fabrication. It is painfully forced and contrived, robbing viewers of the organic experience one desires from a live show. The quintessential illustration of this awkwardness was Miranda Lambert and Billie Joe Armstrong's homage to Phil Everly with "When Will I Be Loved." The harmonies were fine and the song is a classic, but it just didn't work. The same can be said for Chicago and Robin Thicke (although I liked each of their performances individually) and Metallica and Lang Lang. Alternatively, I was pleased with the collaboration between Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar.

My biggest let-downs, by far, were Beyonce and Jay Z, and Lorde. Perhaps my great expectations are to blame. But what in the name of single ladies were Bey and her hub thinking by opening the show with "Drunk In Love?" Anything - I mean ANYTHING - would have been better than that, and I'm not even referring to the fact that they tried to procreate a sibling for Blue on national television. I suppose, in hindsight, it set the tone for a four-hour "What is going on?" moment. As for Lorde, meh. Epic disappointment. And while this is certainly not a fashion blog, I feel as though I'd lose credibility if I didn't at least acknowledge Katy Perry's witch costume. Did she buy it at Walgreen's? I mean, really. 

To end on a positive note, I'll say that I loved the Academy's use of amateur YouTube-esque covers to introduce nominees. I was also a huge fan of Kacey Musgraves, and it's not (entirely) because of her stank face. The most fun performance of the night was Pharell, Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder's rendition of "Get Lucky," despite its rocky start. Daft Punk's use of "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" and "Le Freak (Freak Out)" made the song even more infectious. It was the first time I saw everyone in the audience, old and young alike, get up on their feet and enjoy themselves. It even earned a peace sign from the ever-stylish Yoko Ono.