Popular music culture left me behind (and in total ignorance) decades ago, and I have never paid any attention to the Grammys. But this year, for some reason, I decided to watch the award show, even though I had no idea who was nominated for what. And, in fact, my guess is I had never heard of 90 percent of the nominees, and couldn’t identify any of the songs or albums listed.
This also means that I cannot compare the 2014 Grammys show with any previous show. Perhaps they are all like this. Perhaps this was completely different from anything that went before. I don’t know.
I have also read a couple of reviews of the show, and particularly the review of Chris Richards (I don’t know who he or she is) in the Washington Post. Not surprisingly, critics seemed to be critical of the show. They also seem to be critical of the selection of winners, another subject I cannot have an opinion about. But what surprised me most about Richards’ review is that he hated everything that I liked, and he loved everything that I hated. Fascinating.
Let’s take an example. I got a big kick over classical pianist Lang Lang’s duet with Metallica. I thought it was imaginative and good listening. Richards, and others I have noted, thought it was awful. I wonder why.
I loved listening to Ringo (whether he can carry a tune is not important), and then to Sir Paul who sang with Ringo playing the drums. The critics thought that this was really boring, and that their selection of music was appalling. Why?
And watching Willie Nelson sing with Merle Haggard and Kris Kristoffersen was pretty special, too. And I liked seeing Carole King sing and play, and Madonna’s short piece, and Beyonce (although I must say I wasn’t impressed with Jay Z, or whatever his name is).
Now, you say, those are the old guys. What about the new guys that you don’t know anything about? I thought some of them were pretty talented, although I didn’t hear enough from most of them to really have a firm opinion. But I liked Katy Perry and Taylor Swift and Sara Bareilles. I have to admit that was neutral on Macklemore, and think that Lorde has a lot of maturing to do (two Grammys for a 17 year old who looks like an over-awkward adolescent?), and I didn’t care for Kacey Musgraves. I did enjoy these two guys dressed up like robots, but I am not sure what their music sounds like. And I didn’t pay too much attention to the rappers, but there was one act where the lighting was terrific, and I enjoyed the rap – but I have no idea who was performing.
The hosts? I thought that the major host (the guy with the hat) was a bit weird, but not offensive like Oscar hosts tend to get. In fact, I thought the entire show was much better behaved than the Oscars, which surprised me. Not any of the winners said anything inappropriate. And I liked that some of the presenters were not musicians at all, but actors, connecting music and acting as very closely related arts.
And when Queen Latifa married 33 couples? That almost destroyed the entire show for me. Just dumb, I thought.