Real music, new sound

The Grammy awards are often looked upon as the most prestigious music award. (credit: Molly Swartz | Art Staff) The Grammy awards are often looked upon as the most prestigious music award. (credit: Molly Swartz | Art Staff)

The 52nd annual Grammy awards took place on Jan. 31 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This year, like every other, topped the one before it. Artists such as Beyonce and Taylor Swift led the night in winning awards. Swift took home four awards, including Album of the Year for her hit record Fearless, officially becoming the youngest musician to win the title. Her other wins included Best Country Album, Best Country Song, and Best Female Country Vocal Performance, all without any interruptions from Kanye West.

Needless to say, the night’s big winner was none other than Beyonce Knowles. The R&B singer took home six Grammys, the most ever for a female artist in one Grammy night. She won Song of the Year and Best R&B Song for her hit “Single Ladies” and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Halo.” Kings of Leon nabbed three different awards for their popular song “Use Somebody,” and Knowles’ hubby Jay-Z left the building with three more Grammys to put on his mantle. The Black Eyed Peas won three Grammys, including Best Pop Vocal Album for The E.N.D.

Aside from distributing awards, many celebrities were also there to perform. The show opened with one of 2009’s most recognized and unique artists, Lady Gaga. Every time the camera is on her, we see her in a more outrageous outfit than before and dancing in an even more far-fetched style, and yet we continue to go back for more. She performed a duet with Elton John before claiming two awards of her own, Best Dance Album for The Fame and Best Electronica/Dance Song for “Poker Face.” After delivering a memorable performance of “21 Guns” with the American Idiot musical cast, Green Day won the Best Rock Album award for 21st Century Breakdown. Knowles soon took to the stage and she, along with a SWAT team of dancers, took the night with her performance of “If I Were a Boy” and covering Alanis Morissette’s hit “You Oughta Know.” Audiences raved when Pink dangled from the ceiling with her acrobatic performance of “Glitter in the Air.” Finally, in a creative collaboration, Lil Wayne, Eminem, Drake, and Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker performed “Drop the World” and “Forever,” and because the performers refused to use the edited versions of the two songs, the network profanity censors had to work extra hard on this performance.

One voice that is still heard in the hearts of many is one that is no longer with us. Where would we be in music without the musical contributions of Michael Jackson? Stunning the world even after his passing, Jackson continued to warm the hearts of many through the voices of Celine Dion, Smokey Robinson, Jennifer Hudson, Usher, and Carrie Underwood as they sang along to his “Earth Song” in a 3-D tribute to the King of Pop. Jackson’s children Prince and Paris were in attendance to accept their father’s Lifetime Achievement Award, and 12-year-old Prince left the crowd with these words: “Through all his songs, his message was simple: love.”

While the Grammys drew viewers to the television screen, it also sent fans to music stores. According to a Billboard report, the Grammys drove a 3.3 percent increase in album sales in comparison to the previous week. With the variety of artists and the many different genres of music represented, who knows what next year has in store?