Everything you need to know about the 2017 Grammys
Another February, another Grammys done and dusted.
The legitimacy of any award ceremony is always debatable and the Grammys is no exception. But millions of people watch them and artists want to be there and they want to win these awards. So, as long as that keeps happening, they’re going to remain relevant.
As expected, there was hours of yawn-inducing mainstream pap that looked very expensive and very soulless. But there was some good stuff in there as well.
There were heaps of great nominees for Grammys this year. But, as tends to happen, there were far fewer great winners.
Beyoncé did not win Album of the Year
Lemonade was beaten out by Adele’s 25 for the big award.
We expect perplexing (some might say just plain bad) decisions from the Grammys. They’ve been happening for years. And safe to say, the decision has proven far from popular from many on social media.
Given the power and importance of the message Beyoncé conveyed in her record, people have taken the loss harder than usual. Some suggest the loss is indicative of whitewashing of the entertainment industry.
Even Adele reckons it’s bullshit.
“I can’t possibly accept this award,” she said in her acceptance speech. “The Lemonade album was just so monumental, Beyoncé. It was so monumental and well thought-out and beautiful and soul-bearing… we appreciate that. All of us artists here adore you. You are our light.”
Adele picked up five awards, while Beyoncé left with just two – Best Urban Contemporary Album and Best Music Video (for ‘Formation’).
Besides Album of the Year, many were shocked to see her lose Best Music Film for her brilliant Lemonade feature. That award went to Ron Howard’s The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – the Touring Years.
Bowie cleaned up
David Bowie picked up five posthumous awards, with Best Rock Song, Best Alternative Music Album, Best Rock Performance, Best Recording Package and Best Engineered Album (Non Classical). A little justice for a truly brilliant record.
Funnily enough, today’s five awards takes Bowie’s grand total of Grammys up to a whopping… six. Yeah. The Grammys is weird.
Aussie Aussie Aussie
Flume won Best Dance/Electronic Album for Skin. Hear what he had to say about all that over here.
Keith Urban performed with Carrie Underwood. It went exactly as you’re picturing it in your head.
There was a tribute to the Bee Gees to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. It featured Demi Lovato, Little Big Town, Andra Day and Tori Kelly all oversinging the big hits and lots of flashes to Barry Gibb in the crowd.
The Prince tribute was fine
The Time were the right choice of band to pay tribute to Prince. Well, at least one of the right choices, there are a few who could have done him justice. They played ‘Jungle Love’ and ‘The Bird’ – two songs from the Purple Rain film – which was a meaningful way of remembering his immense impact on pop music in a general sense.
Bruno Mars did a reasonable job with his version of 'Let's Go Crazy', but it came across as a little bit too cabaret. Prince was ever the innovator and you couldn’t imagine him being completely chuffed with the puffy purple suit throwback Bruno delivered. The guy can sing and play though.
Blue Ivy won best dressed
Call it a double-standard, I don’t care. Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s daughter Blue Ivy was so easily the best dressed of the night in her pink, Prince-inspired suit.
He definitely would’ve approved of that.
The George Michael tribute was surprisingly good
For all his huge pop hits, it seems pretty strange that ‘Fastlove’ would be selected as the song to pay tribute to George Michael. But it was actually very tasteful. Adele did a sterling job – even if she did have to start the song again at one stage – and it showed the huge strength of George Michael as a writer of genuinely powerful pop music.
Daft Punk’s return was a bore
Daft Punk’s performance with The Weeknd was uninspiring to say the least. The stage design was pretty sweet – all three artists decked out in black on some crazy elevated iceberg-looking platform – but for such a hyped return performance from one of the biggest acts in music, it was kinda boring.
Beyoncé’s performance was on another level
Sometimes it’s hard not to gush.
Beyoncé’s nine-minute performance was the undeniable highlight of the show. She played ‘Love Drought’ and ‘Sandcastles’ from the nine-times nominated Lemonade, but, honestly it didn’t matter what songs she played.
As you surely know by now, Beyoncé is currently pregnant with twins and it was hard to miss the maternal theme throughout the performance.
Beyoncé’s mother, Tina Knowles, provided the introduction. It opened with a recitation of one of Warsan Shire’s verses featured on Lemonade.
"Do you remember being born? Are you thankful for the hips that cracked, the deep velvet of your mother and her mother and her mother? You look nothing like your mother; everything like your mother. You desperately want to look like her."
What happened from there was a masterclass in show-stealing. An artful, graceful, epic performance that was completely over-the-top but somehow didn’t seem tacky.
It’s still a couple of months until she headlines Coachella; it will be very interesting to see what she pulls out of the bag there.
Sturgill Simpson & the Dap Kings were sublime
Dwight Yoakam paid tribute to the late Sharon Jones when introducing Sturgill Simpson, who played ‘All Around You’, backed by Jones’ band The Dap Kings.
It was beautiful and sad and powerful and it showed that Sturgill Simpson is probably going to be the weirdest legitimate country star in a long time.
A Tribe Called Quest need to tour Australia
They delivered one of the year’s best albums and their Grammys performance showed that A Tribe Called Quest still have plenty to offer live, despite the passing of the legendary Phife Dawg.
The headlines are focusing on Busta Rhymes’ comments about the US president, but hopefully that doesn’t completely overshadow how much fun that show looked and how badly we wanted to be there. Australian promoters, get your cheque books ready. We can’t miss out on this tour.
Metallica and Lady Gaga’s collaboration was a train wreck
I wish I could say it was totally their fault, but James Hetfield’s dud microphone totally killed any chance of this weird collaboration working out. Still, Gaga didn’t sound great out the front of the metal titans and those people dancing onstage looked nothing short of ludicrous.
In the studio, they might make something work. But today, they never got close.
We can't wait to see what next year's Grammys brings. No doubt there'll be some controversy.