Friday, February 27, 2015

Hobbit Grammy Wrap-Up

All right, I've had time to decompress, process, and gather my thoughts. There was a week of bottomless lows, stratospheric highs, and nothing really in between. There were performances all about that bass low, that wailing guitar high, and lots of in between. I know everybody’s dying to hear The Girl’s summary of Music’s Biggest Night (and even if you aren't, here you are reading it, right?) so heeeeeere we go. 

First, let’s get that dress issue out of the way. Overconfident as I was from six months of boot camp, I waited til 48 hours before takeoff to slip into it before I packed it into the suitcase. Let’s sum up: “Slip into it” became “squeeze, squoosh, jiggle, pinch, wiggle, suck, and exhale buckets of air into it” and I still looked like three or four pigs fighting under a blanket.
"Didn't she use us in an earlier bit?"  "Yes, but it's still funny."
Yep. Fail. Big ol’ fail. Nope, didn’t fit. So the short story is after a few hours at the mall and lots of consults from lots of professionals, I was presentable enough to sidle down the red carpet hiding behind the Elf. God bless the Elf and her long legs that are tall enough to hide hobbits! I feel like BBP made a decent showing thanks to her and the Boys. Nice job, BBP Team! 

Hey! We made it to the red carpet! Sophomore Year goal=in the bag.
There are no words
There are no words

Now I’m not really a carpet kinda gal, so the rest of this post is me diving into what I consider the meat of the evening: the performances. I’ll warn you right now- if you don’t really care for a quick recap of the evening’s highlights, stop right here. I’ve been mulling over this spectacle for two weeks now, and I have strong opinions. It’s possible that I may suffer a full body snark implosion if I don’t get some of this out, so here goes, from Miranda Lambert’s top to Beyonce’s bottom:
"I'm just glad I'm getting more press than Madonna's bottom."
AC/DC: Let me just admit that when this band was in its prime, they weren't really my cup of tea. I was a little young for rebellion rock, and I thought they were probably trying to suck my soul out through my ears and send me to hell (I said I was young).  I knew only two things about them: 1. their singer screamed really high notes and 2. their song talked about Hell and if I listened to it I’d probably go there (I said I was young).  When they handed out plastic light-up devil horns at the show’s opening, I giggled a little and thought it would be pretty funny. 
Spoiler alert: The wall-o-guitar amps weren't actually plugged in.
At the last minute LL Cool J told us they’d be opening the show and I prepared myself for a world of disappointment. And I was never been so WRONG in my life. These guys ROCKED. Dudes can still bring it. Their staging, performance, and pyro were perfect. The audience was eating out of their hands and the energy and excitement in the room shot up to a level that it never fully returned to. Even though I was pretty much an AC/DC virgin, at the proper time I enthusiastically donned my devil horns with the rest of the crowd (except for Sam Smith, we saw your smug little side-eye shade buddy) and rocked. out. And it was fabulous. FABULOUS, I tell you.
Apparently Sam Smith's hair stylist texted him: "Don't you DARE mess up my masterpiece."
Right after this, Sam Smith won Best New Artist. I’m going to keep my mouth shut and opinions off on all awards. Just 'cuz I don’t wanna.

Then Ariana Grande sang something about pieces of something? I admit to not knowing the song or even really much about the artist...but wow, that chick can sing. And kudos to her for doing what every single person who is on that stage SHOULD do: finishing the performance with a completely overwhelmed moment that clearly albeit silently said “I can NOT believe I’m on this stage.” I appreciate you appreciating it, Ariana.
Humbleness.  An appreciated quality.
And then Tom Jones walked out on stage...I’m sorry, Jessie Who? Who cares, it’s Tom Jones! Let’s go on record here: He’s no Angus Young, but hey, I feel like I just saw a little bit of music history.

So Pharrell won best vocal performance for the live version of “Happy”- and pretty much everybody was happy.
Even the minions were surprised that the song debuted on their soundtrack.
Then Miranda Lambert. Ladies and gents, this was amazing. Even though I lived in Nashville, I’m not a huge country fan (let’s not delve too deeply into BBP's history and make me expand on that statement, eh?).  Actually, it’s one of my least favorite genres, so I’m not terrible familiar with her work. I have always been aware that she writes and performs some pretty fun music, so I was looking forward to it. I wasn't disappointed.  This lady rocked the entire house. An unofficial poll afterwards asked attendees if there was any song that they heard for the first time that night that they still remembered, and “Little Red Wagon” was the sole answer. 
Let's use... a big, freaking red fan.  No one will expect that.
Great performance, great hook, great memory to keep the tail of your shirt-dress down (looking at you, Madonna), and great job all around. My favorite bit of trivia about this performance was how everyone asked me “what on earth she was saying” that got censored by the TV station. I was perplexed by this question because I couldn't remember any "bad" words so I went back and watched her song.  The answer is “nothing.” The stations censored a full two seconds of her song for absolutely no reason.  She thought about saying a bad word but used her mic to censor her single offending syllable herself. I’ll call it classy. 

Here’s where Sam Smith won best pop album. Fine.
"Oh, where shall I put all these?"
Then I’m pretty sure Kanye sang something. My notes tell me so, but I can’t remember it.

Because then Madonna sang something. It was called an Illuminati Orgy by many media outlets.  I call it pretty freakin’ MADONNA and I sorta didn't care if she ripped the rest of her dress off a’la Janet and played a thumb war with one of her little four-legged minions. It was MADONNA and I GOT TO SEE HER. My eight-year-old self checked something off her bucket list and y’all can form your own opinions. IT WAS MADONNA. AND WORTH IT.
Not too shabby for 56
Beck won best rock album. Not Beyoncé. And the world apparently turned backwards for a few minutes to try to rectify this travesty of injustice, but hey, Beck still won. INTERNET: SHUT UP. IT WAS A BETTER ALBUM.

Whoops, I wasn't going to insert my own opinions about awards. That last opinion wasn't about the award but about Beyoncé,  who should probably get a refresher on Hooked on Phonics before she complains about not getting an award. Jeez. 

Oh look, and now Beyoncé won best R&B performance. You’d think this would satisfy the internet, but alas,they continue to ride their surfborts into the waters of hatred of all things good music.

So, Ed Sheeran and John Mayer appeared to save the day. They did a respectable job of turning things around but probably only because they pulled ELO out of their back pockets and the room, at least, forgave the rest of the music “lovers” for their Bey worship and enjoyed a lovely moment. This was pretty great, people.
John: "For all of the Taylor Swift songwriting fans: You're welcome."
Gwen Stefani and Adam Levine. This is one performance that I personally was just a little bummed by. I suppose it was a decent performance but I didn’t really love their vocals, and call me crazy but I sorta thought it was all fairly unnecessary. Grammy watchers love to see the great duets the Academy cooks up for this special night, and correct me if I’m wrong but don’t these two hang out on a TV set once a week or so for the whole world to see? I might be wrong. I don’t watch reality singing TV but I could have sworn I saw them push each other’s buttons on NBC. I feel like we could have watched this one any old time.
"Want to sing at the Grammys?"  "Sure, why not?"
There’s this dude named Hozier who walked out then, but he was basically just a hoser compared to Annie Lennox who came out of nowhere and absolutely put a spell on the entire room. This woman was and is amazing. Hey Academy: next year we want to see Annie and Angus sing together! That’s the only way we’ll be able to top this. She was great.

This is getting long, eh? I think I should throw down some quick one-word reactions for the next few bits:

Miranda Lambert winning best country album- sure!

Pharrell and that piano dude and Hans Zimmer and the Bellhops Tour de Feet o’ Flames- happy!

Domestic violence PSA- uhhhh…

Katy Perry- wow.

Tony Bennett and his overdressed Personal Health Aide, I mean, Lady Gaga. Underwhelming, but amazing. In reverse order, and I know I said one word summaries but I really feel like I should give each of them their own word. Because I don’t want anyone thinking I’m giving Lady G an “amazing” rating, but Tony deserves it.
"I love my job."
Usher and Stevie Wonder- ahhhhhhhh. (That’s “satisfying”, in case you wondered)

Eric Church/Brandy Clark/Dwight Yoakum- (sorry everyone) forgettable. Literally. I can’t remember anything about any of them… But, I did sorta have to pee by this time so I was a little distracted.

Rihanna, Kanye, and Paul McCartney- it’s almost like someone took a musician lottery, threw the names in a Yahtzee cup, and created this collaboration. But it worked. Really, it did. It was honestly really great.

Here’s where I really had to pee so the next bits were a blur of things that included: 

Somebody I don’t remember


Weird dancers and some white-haired chick singing in the corner.
I can't make this up, people.
Sam Smith.


Chris Martin?

Oh look, Sam Smith again.

A dude who had a lot to say and I’m sure it was important but my potty dance is starting to get funny looks.


And literally the most over-hyped, underwhelming, disappointing close to an awards show ever. And not just because I had to pee, but because it just...was. Sorry, John. Shouldn’t have hitched your wagon to Beyonce’s bum, (see above, shoulda asked Miranda if she’d make an exception for you to hop on her little red wagon. The show would have ended with a lot fewer raised eyebrows).

So, you want to know what I really thought of the whole thing? 

Loved it. 

It was great. 

No question, it was an amazing night, an amazing lineup, and it absolutely delivered. Personal preferences aside, some really talented people got together and put on a pretty fabulous show. I have been asked many times over the last two weeks what I thought “the best part” was, and I have a hands-down opinion on that one that I alluded to earlier: AC/DC wins. No one over the course of the evening was able to bring the audience back to the level that they opened the show with. Annie Lennox was a close second, but the night was for the Young. Angus Young, that is. And despite some controversy that surrounded this performance, as a musician and a music lover I’m giving this one to the old dudes. I hope the batteries in my horns hold out til next year, and I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings to try to top this show!

...And now, I think I’ll go eat a salad. Have to fit into another dress in 11 months, after all. 

The BentBeat Team
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