Tributes and Tribulations: The Grammy’s Review

What appeared to be an attempt at a more diverse show for the Grammy’s ended up falling a little flat (pun intended). This is not to say what was shown didn’t symbolize a step in the right direction for more culture represented onstage. From Kendrick Lamar’s heart-pounding performance of “The Blacker The Berry” and “Alright,” to Pitbull’s finale performance of “Taxi,” there was an array of faces, old and new, to be seen at the 58th annual awards show.

LL Cool J hosted the Grammy’s for the fifth time, reminding us “With all of the things that divide us, music unites us.” And then with that positive note, Taylor Swift took the stage to start off the night with her atrocity of a song, “Out of the Woods,” giving us false hope that we were in the clear from all things Swift for the rest of the night.

Out of the 83 awards given out at the Grammy’s, the first category to receive the coveted statue was Best Rap Album, given to hip-hop powerhouse Kendrick Lamar. There has been speculation over whether hip-hop is dead, but Lamar did not hesitate in saying, “We [hip-hop] will live forever. Believe that, a’ight?” With seven nominations and three wins, there is no denying he’s the one to beat in the rap industry.

Although I do applaud the Recording Academy for giving Lamar so many awards, I’m always disappointed in how most of the awards get left out of the limelight of the live telecast. If you’ve worked this hard and gotten to the point in your career when you’ve won the biggest award in the music industry, why not celebrate with everyone? You go, Best Classical Compendium!

Many tributes were performed during the awards ceremony, the most anticipated being
Lady Gaga’s artistic interpretation of the late and great David Bowie. Through a partnership with Intel technologies, Gaga was able to mimic the art that music legend Bowie created, from the iconic thunderbolt from “Space Oddity” to an animatronic keyboard that ebbed and swayed throughout the daring performance. With so many hits to choose from, it seemed Gaga herself received some blows. Her recent tattoo of the “Space Oddity” itself is enough of a dedication, but thanks for trying Gaga.

A big first was featured during the Grammy’s, gracing our screens with a live stream from Broadway of the smash hit “Hamilton.” Viewers were able to watch the opening number and witness history being made as Lin-Manuel Miranda’s creation proceeded to win a Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. And who could forget Miranda’s acceptance speech rap? The Puerto Rican flag flew high for the man who’s taking over Broadway and bringing people of all colors and creeds to the stage.

However, if we continue to stick to praising tracks from the annoying Taylor Swifts of the industry and pitchy likes of The Weeknd, how can we create an open playing field for a diversity of artists?

All in all, performances were pitchy, tributes were great, and technical issues seemed to play a key part throughout the night’s proceedings. The Grammy’s two-hour time slot is certainly a hindrance, but it’s baby steps toward a brighter future for music, no matter how clumsy the steps may be.