Yes, I am doing this. I am talking about the Grammys. I wasn’t going to. I was meant to write about the NAMM show (aka. Musician’s Paradise — nah, that’s just what I call it), but I just had to talk about a different kind of show.
Pitchfork wrote about it as ‘The 2018 Grammys: This Shithole Again’ (bad taste in words I’d say), USA Today called it an embarrassment. The truth is everyone was expecting something bigger. And I’m not talking about sparkly performances or fancy stage and video production. I’m talking about how the diversity filled list of nominees for this year’s main awards gave us hope of a mentality change. But fell flat on that promise.
Diversity didn’t entirely make it to the finish line
Everything pointed to a hip-hop or R&B win on the main categories. Expectations for Luis Fonsi’s single ‘Despacito’ were also quite high, especially as it would have become the first non-English sung record to win one of the main awards. However, the big bets, including Kendrick Lamar and Jay-Z, took nothing, or near to nothing, home. On the positive note, Bruno Mars stole the show, winning 6 awards, among them Album of The Year.
In a ceremony anticipated by #MeToo and #TimeOut — both empowering women in the industry — women were nowhere to be found among the winners. It seems like all those condescending speeches from industry executives throughout 2017 were exactly just that — condescending. The music industry still has a long way to go when it comes to embracing equality, balance and diversity. It’s not like there weren’t great albums by female artists in 2017. Remember last week’s post? I can name a couple more that could be on the nominee list. Maybe there were fewer (I didn’t count). But isn’t exactly a sign there’s something wrong? Well, Ken Ehrlich’s (Recording Academy President) response to Sunday’s award show was ‘Women need to step it up’. Really? Class.
Commercial is king, music is what?
One last thing before I get positive again. Commercially driven results. In most cases I felt like winners were picked purely based on commercial success. Nothing else. The choices were very conservative. Showing a ridiculous fear of change. Not pushing forward-thinking artists to the limelight, choosing to ignore them instead. For example, why was Alessia Cara picked over SZA or even Khalid? I love her music, but I feel it’s not exactly Grammy material. SZA on the other hand, debuted with a brilliant album that pushed the boundaries of convention while keeping a true R&B vibe. On other categories both artists (Bon Iver wasn’t happy!) and fans went mad all over Twitter.
The conclusion about 2018 Grammys is something like what Mr. Iver says below:
Move on from this s*** show. Felt like a Democratic Party party, not R’n’Roll.