The Grammys has always been a special night for me and I have rarely missed its broadcast. In fact, my wife and I have a standing date every year for Grammy night and have never missed one since we started dating. She started making special hors d’oeuvres and desserts for us to enjoy while watching the show, which made the evening just a little more special. We even have a crystal gramophone to commemorate our years of watching the show.
We always enjoyed the diversity of singers & genres on the show, and always looked forward to the possibility of a surprise performance. I especially looked forward to the big gospel number they would put on, usually at the end. But over the years, the broadcast has become less diverse as well as more political. I don’t watch the Grammys to have my social conscience raised, I have enough news broadcasts and pundits to watch for that. I watch the show to be entertained, to forget about the world and its troubles for a few hours and to watch and hear extreme talent.
Let’s be clear, there was some extreme talent on display last night, in particular, Bruno Mars, especially his tribute set to Little Richard. The three woman rock band Haim, in my humble opinion, sounded no better than a high school garage band. My apologies to all of you aspiring garage bands. Harry Styles surprised me with his performance of Watermelon Sugar which was upbeat and well done. Lionel Richie’s tribute to Kenny Rogers with “Lady” I thought was also well done. The surprise performance of the evening for me was Mickey Guyton. I have not heard of her before her Grammy performance but loved her vocals.
The big disappointment of the evening was Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion. I remember when performers were judged more on their vocal abilities, and not so much for their stage antics. As someone who loves vocals & lyrics that can bring a tear to your eye, the performance of “Up” & “WAP” to me was no more than overly sexualized choreography, for which Trevor Noah gave a lame excuse of how to explain the performance to your children should they be watching. And regarding Trevor, let me just say that he’s no LL Cool J, who in my opinion always did a great job hosting the Grammys.
So, as further evidence that the Grammys has lost its shine for my wife and I, for the first time ever we turned the show off before it was over and called it a night. The annual magic was gone and we knew it. And yes, I agree, they were trying to put on a show during a pandemic which made everything that much more difficult. But sadly, “music’s biggest night” has been shrinking year after year, not only in the quality of its performers, but also in its actual audience numbers. You see, for me it’s not a matter of whether the performer is a member of a minority or not, it’s not about correcting social imbalances, it’s about the ability of someone to perform, to make me feel those notes, to experience the beauty and raw emotion in their voice. Anything after that is just icing on the cake for me.
My understanding is that The Recording Academy is going thru a bit of an upheaval, both within its Executive ranks and its voting procedures, and that may not be a bad thing. The sad thing is that in their rush to correct past wrongs, they may be doing the music industry as a whole a disservice.
As an avid fan of the show I’m hoping The Recording Academy can re-capture the magic that once was, instead of leaving me feeling like Neil Diamond’s and Barbara Streisand’s “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers” anymore.
As always, thank you for reading, and stay safe, stay healthy.