Grammys 2021: A Spectacle, Yes, But Out Of Touch

Words: Thom Risely

The recording academy told the world who they think are the best in categories they decide for the 63rd time last Sunday. While the performances of invited artists were more than entertaining, The Grammys is never short of controversial snubs, surprises and mishaps. The nominations themselves served up a fresh batch of unnecessary shoe-horning and rejection. Prior to the event, The Weeknd publicly announced he would now no longer submit his music to the academy conspiring that “secret committees” control the voting ballots. 

Trevor Noah did an exceptional job hosting the first virtual Grammys. The performances themselves were fantastic too. Silk Sonic, Anderson .Paak and Bruno Mars’ new band, which threatened to break up via twitter if they weren’t added to the bill, performed their most recent single Leave The Door Open. Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B’s vivacious live version of the sexy smash hit WAP cemented its status as a modern classic. Kpop’s megastars BTS performed Dynamite with their trademark colour coordinated aesthetic atop a Seoul rooftop. HAIM once again showed why their spearheading the female fronted rock-revival with their head-banging performance of The Steps. The infinitely talented Poppy showcased her versatility with a performance of her heavy new single EAT. 

WAP performed live

The live show was less exuberant and eye-catching due to social distancing all non-performing nominees were in attendance virtually. A technical mishap gifted us with the hilariously awkward acceptance speech from New York’s indie-rock darlings The Strokes who had won their first Grammy ever in the Best Rock Album category, beating Bimm graduates Fontaines D.C.

The Strokes hilariously realising they’ve won

Taylor Swift swept up her 13th Grammy of her career in style, with Folklore taking home Album Of The Year. Freddie Gibbs and The Alchemist’ Alfredo lost Best Rap Album to a sub-par Nas release (King’s Disease). BTS’s western takeover isn’t quite complete, with their global chart-topper Dynamite missing out on Best Pop Duo/Group Performance to Lady Gaga and Ariana Grande’s club banger Rain on Me. The ‘Modern Mozart’ Jacob Collier won Best Arrangement, Instruments and Vocals for his 5th Grammy of his career with He Won’t Hold You. Canadian newcomer Kaytranada won his first two Grammys with Best Newcomer and Best Dance/Electronic Album. Best Contemporary Christian Music Album was surprisingly awarded to the enigmatic Kanye West after he tweeted a video of himself urinating on his own Grammys in November.

Kanye urinating on his Grammy last November

The Grammys is never short of controversy, this year is no exception. There are artists who deserve to win their respective categories but the talent pool was significantly weaker due to the nonsensical nominations list and their inability to decide if they should reward popularity or talent. The Grammys don’t actually matter until your favourite artist wins or loses. As a show, it was spectacular but as an institution it is boring and outdated.

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