Beck, Sam Smith win big at Grammys
The words “Imma let you finish” are four that the illustrious Kanye West has yet to live down. At this year’s Grammy Awards on Feb. 8, West imitated his famous stage-jumping stunt from the Video Music Awards (VMAs) five years ago, eliciting a widely varying and entertaining response from the celebrity audience. As a reminder, the VMA incident in 2009 occurred when West hopped up on stage next to Taylor Swift, who had won Best Female Video for “You Belong with Me” (remember rocking out to that in high school?), grabbed her microphone, and proceeded to tell the audience “...but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of the year — one of the best videos of all time!” The video he referred to was for the hit “Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)” (also a jam). Instead of a wide-eyed Taylor Swift, this year’s Kanye-rant-victim was Beck, seasoned rock musician, who won Album of the Year for Morning Phase. Though West didn’t attempt to take away the microphone from Beck, the impulsive stage leap sent essentially the same message, not to mention the backstage comments after the awards show. West, along with much of the American public, believed that Beyoncé deserved the award for Album of the Year for her eponymous album that made such a splash after being released with no promotion last winter.
Though I stand with the American public insofar as I have a very deep and real love for Beyoncé and her music, I am frustrated by the response at this year’s Grammys. The reactions of young people in particular are annoying. Beyoncé brought home awards in multiple categories, including Best R&B Song for “Drunk in Love,” featuring her husband Jay-Z, honors that many overlook. Beck, on the other hand, has been treated by people as an undeserving nobody. Not only is this upsetting because of my everybody-should-just-love-each-other worldview, but it is also wildly untrue. Beck has been churning out critically-acclaimed material since the early 1990s. Regardless of whether or not a person is familiar with Beck’s music, it is disrespectful that so many are slamming his artistry. Do I wish Beyoncé had won Album of the Year? Yes. I’ve been trying to imitate the Queen B’s dance in the “Drunk in Love” music video all year and still can’t get it right. But I wish that the reactions, by Kanye and fans alike, had been a little more controlled. Beyoncé herself, ever-graceful, has not spoken out.
In addition to the Beyoncé and Beck issue, the Grammys contained many exciting moments. Pharrell Williams’ live performance of “Happy” was electrifying. The performance also contained a powerful Ferguson tribute, with dancers and Williams lifting up their hands in a “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture that left chills running up and down my spine. For anyone who didn’t catch the awards on TV, it is worth checking out that performance alone. Williams, replete in a bellhop costume and yellow shoes, further proved himself as a man who constantly develops his artistry and isn’t afraid to be a little whacky.
Sam Smith impressed at this year’s awards, taking home three of the four biggest awards. “Stay with Me,” everyone’s favorite crooning hit, garnered Smith the award for Best Song and Best Record of the Year. During his acceptance speech, Smith thanked the man who his Best Pop Album of the Year In the Lonely Hour was about “for breaking my heart because it got me four Grammys.” His performance of “Stay with Me” with Mary J. Blige left no questions regarding his talent.
There were some artists who unexpectedly did not win any awards during the show. The a cappella hit group Pentatonix won a Grammy for Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella for their song “Daft Punk.” However, the five-person group won no awards for their Christmas album That’s Christmas to Me, which was the best-selling Christmas album this year, as well as being certified Platinum and the highest-charting holiday album by a group since 1962.
Another artist who left the Grammys undoubtedly feeling a little gypped is Sia, who despite an awesome Grammy performance did not receive any of the awards. Sia performed facing away from the audience, her somewhat inexplicable but fascinating habit. In addition to her normal dancer Maddie Ziegler (child dancer from the celebrated reality show Dance Moms), comedian and actress Kristen Wiig also demonstrated her dancing chops during “Chandelier.” Though it was enjoyable for audiences, most were perplexed by Wiig’s involvement.
Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeran also received no awards this year, but that didn’t stop Swift in all her glamor from dancing her heart out throughout the night. As usual, the Grammys provided audiences with drama, fashionable stars, and live performances in an evening celebrating the most successful and talented musicians of today.