Alert. Robbery reported at the 58th Grammy awards. Suspect is tall, blonde Caucasian female with short hair. Stolen item is a small, gold trophy resembling a gramophone.
The Weeknd and Kendrick just got robbed. Alright, maybe Taylor Swift isn’t the thief I portrayed her to be. Her body of work was a fine nomination, and may have been deserving of the award on another night. However, let’s be frank. Another run-of-the-mill pop album shouldn’t have taken the Grammy for Album of the Year home, especially not one that features a chorus that stretches a one-syllable word over three out of four beats of a bar. Yes, now I’ve got ba-a-a-d blo-o-o-d. Look at what you’ve do-o-o-one. Look at it, the academy, just look.
Honestly, I’m not qualified to comment on Kendrick’s work. I’m not an experienced listener when it comes to rap, but my source, the educated body of rap listeners out there, tells me that his creativity was second to none.
I, on the other hand, advocate for Abel Tesfaye, the mad genius who pushed the boundaries of R&B, who brought us a totally unique body of work full of chart-toppers, without succumbing to our ridiculously high tolerance for formulaic easy-listening.
So what was the motivation behind this controversial decision? What does it even mean? Where do we go from here?
Pearl Jam already knew the answer, way back in 1996, a year before I was born.
I don’t know what this means. I don’t think it means anything. – Eddie Vedder, on Pearl Jam winning the 1996 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance.
It’s meaningless. The whole concept of qualifying a work of art as better than another is fundamentally flawed. Who makes the final decision? A bunch of old musicologists who are supposedly experts in their field or genre of music? There’s no one stopping me from proclaiming Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” as the best piece of music ever written. While these ‘academy experts’ are likely to agree with me, if they disagreed, it’s simply my word against theirs, against the next Joe’s around the corner. Music is subjective. There is no right answer.
Grammy or no Grammy, nothing has changed. Kendrick will still be Kendrick. Taylor Swift will still do what she wants, whether it’s slap music-streaming giants in the face or run out of syllables in songs. The Weeknd will continue producing his enigmatic, reverb-soaked tracks that immerse us in his drunken blur of an experience. Those who truly appreciate music for its creativity will continue to respect the work of an artist, and the opinions of those who enjoy it.
Hell, by this logic, I shouldn’t be writing this article in the first place. All I did in the first two paragraphs was play into the hands of the industry by nonsensically pitting artists against each other, allowing the music industry to applaud itself for its work with its cash-cows, and encourage a culture of valuing success, not creativity.
So you should probably stop reading now. The Grammys really aren’t that important.
Note to the industry: If you want to appreciate music, and it has to be in the form of an award, at least give it to the artist who brought creativity, not cash, to the table.