2019 Grammys in Retrospect
Written by Drew McCarron on March 5, 2019
Another year, another disappointing Grammys season. The yearly awards ceremony loves to suck the life out of the music industry. It hands out accolades to the most popular acts, while seemingly ignoring the most deserving ones. To put it simply: every year it is painful to watch. This year was of course, no different.
Disaster struck before the Grammys even started, with Ariana Grande, one of the best pop acts of the year, pulling out of her performance due to discrepancies over her setlist. She even chose not to attend the ceremony that night, joining a plethora of artists who have been boycotting the ceremony for years.
Another disgrace that occurred prior to the Grammys starting was Björk being snubbed once again. The Icelandic artist has been nominated an astounding 15 times and has never received an award. Not only this but Utopia, the album that was nominated that night, was her fifth album in a row to be nominated for Best Alternative Album. The fact that this losing streak has not yet been broken, is a perfect example of the Academy’s bias towards mainstream success over actual artistry. Not only this, but the award was given to Beck, whose Colors album was one of the most glitzy and stale albums of the year. It’s doubtful the Academy will learn from their mistakes any time soon.
Yet another mistake on the Academy’s part was awarding Justice for Best Dance/Electronic Album over Sophie. Sophie has been very successful within the PC music scene and has broken onto the scene with masterful production for artists such as Charlie XCX. Her album is one of the best of the year, but it is hard not to assume that the Academy just chose the name they were most familiar with in the category.
One of the most incomprehensible actions from the night was that the Academy awarded Greta Van Fleet with an award for Best Rock Album. Rock may be a seemingly dying genre, but to award it to a group that blatantly copies old ideas and does nothing to make their music their own is painful to see. At least award it to a group that attempts to be innovative.
There were many moments from the actual show that stood out, but many were for the wrong reasons. Drake used his speech as a moment to highlight the pointlessness of awards ceremonies, stating “You have already won if… you’re a hero in your hometown… you don’t need this.” The Academy, who clearly hates to face backlash, cut Drake’s microphone and went to commercial. Instead of fixing the problems they have with their ceremony, they would rather censor those criticizing it.
Neil Portnow, the President of the Academy and the man made famous by saying “Women need to step up,” is retiring this year. This was apparently enough motivation for the Academy to put on a sleep-inducing tribute to him, that honestly felt longer than Diana Ross’ performance moments before. Not one person cares about Neil Portnow, and many still despise him because of his sexist comments the year prior. Nobody needed to sit through this cringe-worthy segment.
Kacey Musgraves walked away from the night with the award for Album of the Year. She was the obvious candidate for the academy to chose, by not being the most likely candidate, or being the most creative. Her take on a blend of country music and pop is something that the Academy, mainly comprised of older white men, goes wild for.
There were some decent moments, such as Alicia Keys’ medley on two pianos. However, moments like these are completely overshadowed by the boring and sometimes outrageous moments from the rest of the night.
Every year, it’s hard to walk away without questioning the existence of the show in the first place. The ceremony is always safe, and always out of touch. Yet every year, we still watch and get outraged over the results. Honestly, getting angry is the most fun part. Otherwise, what’s the point?