Too Much to Say: Grammy’s 2014

I thought my awards show review days were over. But in the process of making a comment on FB, that became a paragraph…I decided I had something to say after all.

Now, I don’t care about the awards anymore, the results are seemingly random and weird. I only care about the performances. So here we go:

Bey opened the show with Drunk in Love, and it was a great performance – with Jay performing his part (including the non bleeped “eat the cake, Anna Mae” which still creeps me out). Bey was not singing the whole thing, and the spinning stage made it hard for her to always connect with the camera, but it was good.

Next up was Lorde, two good songs in a row, but this performance wasn’t so good. I’ll chalk it up to her age and poor guidance, but it was bad. The lipping was WAY off, and her seizure-like movements were unpleasant to watch.

Hunter Hayes (sp?) sang a song about being bullied? I could barely understand his words, but I got the point that it was supposed to be inspirational. And at least he was singing. The quotes on the screen were a nice touch.

I just have to take a moment to talk about Pharrell’s hat. He wore a RCMP hat that just looked strange. It did remind me of the minions a bit…maybe that’s what he was going for.

Katy Perry was up next, with a dark performance of “Dark Horse”. The song is pretty good, the performance? Spotty at best. Katy’s dancing was full-on terrible, to the point of distraction, but the vocals and the concept were cool.

I recognize that I’m old-ish because of my continuous incredulity at the show, but I’m not so old that I know the songs Robin Thicke and Chicago sang. Keith Urban is the only cute male country artist, and that helped me watch the boring half of his performance. Then Gary Clark, Jr., some guy I’ve never heard of before, joined him and I watched a little more. The energy amped up a little more, and it turned into an ok performance.

John Legend’s personal, minimalist performance with the piano was beautiful – facial expressions and all. His voice is like butter, and I didn’t even have to know the song he sang, because it was beautiful. Classy performance.

Taylor Swift also sang a song I didn’t know. It sounded like all her other slow breakup songs. What struck me was the feathered hair. She looked an awful lot like David Bowie – especially at the end as she stared into the camera. But the dress was beautiful, and the performance was ok. She stayed in her lane and it made sense. I’m surprised that her formula continues to work.

Pink’s performance began in the air, as have her last few. It was visually stunning, if a little familiar, and her tricks are simply amazing. The fact that she sings at all while she is swinging/spinning around is amazing. And that bit she did with the dancer balancing on her is just great. This moved us straight into the duet with FUN. He was slightly off sometimes, but her voice was on point every time. She has really come a long way from her debut.

Not being a Beatles fan, I’m even less a fan of Ringo Starr. But it appeared that Yoko Ono liked it.

Ooooh, Bey’s dress. It’s SO pretty. White lace. But I can’t even describe it.OK, back to the performances:

Kendrick Lamar & Imagine Dragons – this perfomace was better than I thought it would be. I’m into this. It reminds me of the vibe from Jay and Coldplay – did that ever happen? Or did I dream that? One thing I would love? Not to have cameras pan to Taylor Swift not-really-dancing at every awards show. Kendrick and Imagine Dragons have great chemistry, though, and this is so hype. It’s like being at a concert. Everyone was feeling this.

Kasey Musgrave’s song was fun. I’d never heard it, but the lyrics held my attention after the novelty of the light-up boots wore off. I don’t hate the traditional country sound, and it worked well in this song.

Beatles reunion. I don’t know this song. But it’s ok. A little long.

What’s cute, is that when they present pop awards, they show YouTube vids of people who covered the nominated songs. That’s fun.

Now there’s a big country hoedown. Willie Nelson still sounds like himself, Kris Kristofferson doesn’t. Merle Haggard sounds old, and Blake Shelton next to him sounds SO young. The performance was good, not too long, until they started another song. The idea of the song “Mama, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” is fun, the actual song is a little tired. Some things hold up better to time than others.

Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder and Pharell, Oh My! Slow start, it seems they have poorly mic’ed Stevie – but it’s a fun song. And Pharell switched his hat for a park ranger hat. What’s the deal with Daft Punk? They just do EDM on computers, right? I don’t think I really understand them. I get the reclusive thing, I just don’t get the way they make music.

Carole King Tribute! I love her! Sara Bareilles is just ok for me. But this performance feels like a fun musical conversation, you can tell they’re both just about the music, and they’re enjoying it. I would probably pee my pants being on the stage with a legend like Carole King.I think they should’ve done another song.

Lang Lang begins his collaboration with Metallica with fanfare, and the visuals are stark blacks and whites, with red laser punches. The song gets a little weighed down by a poorly mic’ed voice, and might actually be better purely instrumental – or maybe better volume on the mic? The melody is more easily heard from the instruments. The piano, OTOH, sounds great! After a bridge, we reach into pure metal territory, and they lose me, as metal usually does. After that, for me, it’s just chaotic to the end.

Steven Tyler just sang Smokey Robinson’s “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” and the audience sang along. I love that everyone still knows that song.

Queen Latifah introduces “Same Love” by Macklemore, Mary Lambert, and “Trombone Shorty” and I can’t help thinking about the rumors about her. I can’t imagine living with that kind of personal scrutiny and rumors. I’m not a fan of Macklemore, and I don’t think the lyrics are that great, but it’s his privilege that gives him the platform, so whatever. And, Queen La officiates 33 marriages as Madonna comes out singing “Open Your Heart”. That was bizarrely touching. It was a stunt, don’t get me wrong, but those couples are actually married, now. Wow.

Lang Lang kicked off the tribute to lost musicians. Quite a lot of losses this year. Miranda Lambert and Billy Joe Armstrong sound good together. They tribute the Everly Brothers, and close the segment.

I don’t know how much I missed when my DVR stopped, but now I see Dave Grohl and friends banging around. I’m not quite whelmed. Overall, I enjoyed the show. It seems apparent to the Academy that the awards themselves are losing their relevance among all but the industry, and the fans are mostly just here for the oddball collaborations and over-the-top performances. I’m going to say Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons were the best of the night. Highest energy, best delivery, most perfect pairing. I loved Beyonce’s opening, though, and I would actually watch both again, along with John Legend’s song. Otherwise, the show was hit or miss for me. Oh well, time for bed.