Sunday, January 26, 2014

Liveblogging the 2014 Grammys

7:17 Smart move by Lorde to put a different spin on a song that people have a hundred times over by now. Sparse, haunting and with plenty of room to show what she can do vocally. It also sends a message that she's interested in sticking around for a while.

7:25 Closing in on the half-hour mark and only one award has been handed out. I could think of several awards that I would rather see than a Hunter Hayes performance.

7:40 Katy Perry and Juicy J take the stage for "Dark Horse." Never been too high on the song, but the performance featured some interesting set pieces. Very witch influenced. Unfortunately I'm still not sold on the song.

7:46 The performance with Robin Thicke and Chicago is one of the few Grammy collaborations that make sense. Not only have they both dabbled in soul and funk, but the Chicago catalog is not exactly as well known among newer generations. It helps to have someone like a Robin Thicke to give them that 2010s mainstream rub. On top of that, it was actually a decent performance. Thicke sounded good singing classic cuts like "Beginnings" and "Saturday In The Park." Missed opportunity in not finding a way to segue "Street Player" and "Blurred Lines" somehow.

7:58 Nice to see Gary Clark Jr. get some screen time at the Grammys. Right now John Legend is performing, and although he is talented, I wish there was someone who had more of an impact on R&B on the stage right now. The R&B field has been troubling overall for the past several years. It hasn't reflected any new movements in the genre in forever.

8:09 I've always been a Taylor Swift supporter, but her live show has always been spotty. That performance of her at the piano for "All Too Well" was the second best I've ever seen her, following "Mean" at the Grammys two years ago. It's not saying much, but credit must be given for her improvement. Not sure if she'll ever be a force in concert, but if she keeps up, it'll be hard to be indifferent.

8:25 We've seen Pink do the whole highwire/interpretive dance thing before, but never in the same performance. The only thing new there was the durability. It really puts into perspective most of the performances  you see at other awards show. The ambition was not in the set or costumes, but with the artist and how far they could push themselves. Hard not to love Pink's old school mentality.

8:41 Ringo Starr performed because why not? No opposition here. The Jay-Z and Timberlake win for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration puts me at 13/19 with my predictions. Bit of a shame he hasn't been more of a factor in the general field categories.

8:57 I was initially skeptical about Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons performing together. They both had great years and deserve the stage to themselves, but neither are quite at superstar status yet. It turned out to be a great decision since it brought out the best in both acts and Kendrick just might have made a bigger blip on the mainstream radar.

9:00 It's a shame that Kacey Musgraves had to follow that performance. She and that song deserved so much better than that horrible piece of scheduling.

9:08 Starting to feel a bit of fatigue now. I suppose this is what happens when you have too many performances and not enough awards, which is where the real drama lies, in my opinion. I can deal with a new Paul McCartney song as long as it's as good as "Queenie Eye." Nothing special about the performance except that it was cool to see Ringo playing drums with him. Would it have been too much to ask for a few Beatles tunes while both of them are on the same stage. Seems like something they would close the show with. Bruno also wins for Best Pop Vocal Album. I still don't know why Timberlake decided to release both 20/20 Experience albums as one. He would have won this category and possibly gotten an Album of the Year nomination if only Part 1 had been submitted for consideration.

9:32 I'm pretty sure everyone at the Staples Center was dancing their ass off after "Get Lucky." Pretty clever to have the stage set up as a studio to drive home the point of how Random Access Memories was more about the recording process than anything. At this point, it feels like it has to win Record of the Year. We also got a performance with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Merle Haggard and Blake Shelton. The main takeaway from this was the joy on Blake Shelton's face. Even after all his success, he turned into a kid. This is what the Grammys should be about most of the time. The occasional leftifield collaboration like Kendrick and Imagine Dragons can yield solid results, but there should be more of a bridging between generations for genres more often. It will come off more organic and it makes more sense on TV. Good win for Kacey Musgraves in Best Country Album over Taylor Swift. As fun as Red is, a country album it is not.

9:46 Carole King and Sara Bareilles performing together. More smiles along with a good showing! Exactly what I'm talking about and what I think the show needs more of if they want to keep going the collaboration route. Lorde also deservedly wins for Song of the Year, although I predicted Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Their chances for Album of the Year are still in play. If we get a Daft Punk win Record of the Year, I think they get the win in AOTY.

10:17 Lou Reed is briefly acknowledged by Jared Leto before Metallica is introduced. I didn't expect to see a full tribute on the Grammys, but it was still nice. They only have heavy performances like this maybe once a decade, so enjoy that while you can. The inclusion of pianist Lang Lang made a bit of sense since he's a virtuuso and it was still miles better than when Foo Fighters and Chick Corea got together. Lorde took home Song of the Year while "Get Lucky" won for Record, which I think solidifies them for Album of the Year.

10:41 Macklemore & Ryan Lewis marry off thirty couples on the floor of Staples Center while performing "Same Love." Queen Latifah introduced the song while also declaring the couples, both straight and gay, that they were married, in the midst of holding back tears. I still think Jodie Foster had the best non-official coming out moment at last year's Golden Globes, but Latifah's was also memorable. Madonna was also there, but she wasn't really needed. It honestly took away from the whole moment. Daft Punk got the win for Album of the Year, which I'm fine with. I still think it's overrated, but I was happy for them since I've been fans of theirs for so long and I felt kind of bad for them that one year they lost to The Crescendolls. Besides, the Grammys have been trying to look cool for the past few years and Daft Punk was their best shot. The show closed out with Nine Inch Nails, Queens Of The Stone Age, Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham. I enjoyed this because Buckingham is still one of The greatest guitar players alive and he reminded us of his versatility. All I ask for is that these collaborations feel natural, and this one did. It seems as if a lot more thought went into the planning this year, but I'm still exhausted. The awards themselves didn't feel quite as special, which could probably be remedied by overhauling how people vote so that experts in their field have more of a percentage in voting and by just handing out more hardware on the show.

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