So I Finally Slightly Pay Attention To Modern Music And This Is How Y’all Repay Me // Thoughts On The Grammys
Yeah guys, I get it, 24K Magic is a great dance song and every time it comes on, you know everyone is going to get turnt. No disrespect to Bruno Mars, but really?For those of you not lame enough to pay attention to outdated award shows, on Sunday night Bruno Mars won the Grammy for Album of the Year against stiff competition. Smart money was on Kendrick Lamar who, at this point, is owed several more accolades. DAMN was one of the best albums of 2017, and after his shameful snub to Faux-Country-Ivanka in 2015, we all thought this year would be the year.
But no, 24K Magic was a solid album. I mean, I preferred it when it was released in the 80’s and called Off The Wall, but no it’s cool. It’s totally fine. It’s fine.
A quick run-down of the other nominees for Album Of The Year:
“Awaken, My Love!” is without a doubt Childish Gambino’s best work; this includes all work done under the banner Childish Gambino and Donald Glover. It’s a smooth, sexy retro album which displays raw talent, fabulous production and some of the best male falsetto heard this side of the 70’s.
At Boshemia, we’ve already sung our praises for Melodrama by Lorde. It’s vulnerable, it’s raw, it’s shamelessly female, it’s a slick examination of young heartbreak in the modern age.
4:44 isn’t my favourite of this years nominee’s, and it’s no Lemonade, but dang has Jay-Z still got it! Jay-Z broaches a wide array of topics including infidelity, his family and their media perceptions, and of course, what it means to be black in America. It’s a mature introspective album that features one of the best songs of the year on it.
And of course, DAMN. I mean, damn. Yes, we all know it’s not as good as To Pimp A Butterfly, but still! Kendrick’s lyrics are tight as ever, his flow is ever dynamic, and the message is as powerful as ever. He’s on the top of his game and he knows it; it’s virtuosity, powerful; it’s vital. At this point, Kendrick is trusting his audience to follow along and appreciate his art.
24K Magic had some cool dance songs on it I guess. Yeah, it was fun. It’s fine. This is fine. It’s safe. It’s fun. It’s not too complicated for the old, old members of the Academy to get.
Let’s flashback to 1966; mini skirts were booming, thousands were getting high, and the concept of proper artful rock albums was coming to fruition. The hot released of the year included Blonde On Blonde by Bob Dylan, Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys, Otis Redding’s Dictionary Of Soul, and Revolver by The Beatles. Album of the year went to some Frank Sinatra album that I literally cannot even remember the name of. I looked it up like thirty seconds ago and it’s gone. There’s no point in checking, it honestly does not matter. The Grammy’s have always awarded safe mediocrity over powerful and game-changing pieces of art. This has happened before. It will happen again.
And I’m not actively saying it’s a race thing; Bruno Mars is a PoC after all. But Childish Gambino, Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar all released actively black albums. Bruno Mars did not.
It’s Not Just Black People
Turns out the Grammy’s hate women too! In the 28 “popular music” categories, the only female winner was Alessia Cara for Best New Artist. Her album came out in 2015. It’s fine.
While we’re on Best New Artist, how the fuck did that one not go to SZA. Yeah, the Moana song was cute Alessia Cara, but have you heard the SZA album. Guys. Have you! It’s a sonically beautiful masterpiece that was actually released in 2017. Turns out in a system that hates black people and women, black women suffer the most. Who knew.
Other major snubs included Ed Sheeran beating Lady Gaga and Kesha for Best Solo Pop Performance. I mean. Have we, as a society, not gotten over the song Shape Of You. Have we not realised that Ed Sheeran singing about sex is objectively disgusting and that every time that song plays we all need to Purrell our ears? Nope, guess we’re still deluding ourselves. Meanwhile, Kesha gives the performance of the night singing a beautiful, haunting, powerful song about her literal abuser, that’s become an anthem for the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
But nah, let’s reward Shape Of You.
Come on guys, do better.
Progression is Baby Steps Apparently
All this ties into a larger trend of award shows getting so close to actually being progressive. Bodies like The Grammy’s and The Oscars and The Golden Globes love to acknowledge progressive art that speaks to the culture and society as a whole, but it only awards the safe boring stuff that old white people love. A prime example of this is the 2004 Oscars; Brokeback Mountain was one of the first mainstream straight up gay movies. Crash was a movie about racism that made white people feel good. We all know how it ended, don’t we?
We’ll see how this year’s Oscar’s turn out; Get Out is a terrifying, relevant movie about “post-racial” America and how it affects black people. Lady Bird is a beautiful, shamelessly female movie about a mother-daughter relationship, and growing up female. Call Me By Your Name is an arthouse queer love story that’s equal parts tender and ethereal. Three Billboards, however, is the frontrunner, and it’s already come into hot water for it’s messy racial politics.
See y’all at the Oscars. I’ll bring the alcohol and the progressive outrage.