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2013 Grammys: The Battle for Relevance

February 13, 2013 by
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Like the music industry as a whole, the Grammy Awards is an archaic symbol of the past, yet one that still holds some sort of power over people. So what is a dying institution supposed to do in this social media age? Jump on the bandwagon, of course.

Throughout the show they incorporated some cheery non-controversial tweets and social media comments, which were presumably typed out indifferently by the writers. “Please like us kids, we’re trying to speak your #language.” Repeat host LL Cool J spent his time on camera spouting pseudo-inspirational dialogue so thin that it could have been written by anaemic child slave workers. The night was essentially LL putting hash-tag in front of everything.

The clunkiest dialogue came from LL’s introduction for the Bob Marley tribute, where he talked about Marley’s “rasta man vibrations” in a pseudo Jamaican accent and name-dropped The Police, before Sting, Bruno Mars, Ziggy, Damian and, inexplicably, Rihanna joined in the orgy. It was probably the musical equivalent of Sting’s tantric sex sessions, but with more bodies involved.

In other happenings, sensitive indie popsters .fun took out the trophy for ‘Best New Artist’ (despite debuting in 2008) and ‘Song of The Year’ for their single ‘We Are Young’. We’re still trying to figure out what Janelle Monae actually did on the track to get a credit.

Among the night’s injustices, there were some deserving winners, such as the epically gifted Adele taking out Best Pop Solo Performance and Australia’s own Gotye and New Zealand’s Kimbra rightfully taking the trophy for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance for the ubiquitous duet Somebody That I Used To Know.

Also winning ‘Best Alternative Music  Album’, which makes you wonder if the Grammy people even know what ‘alternative’ means, Gotye had the chance to meet his idol in the typically eccentric Prince, who was complete with walking stick. Their acceptance speech was easily one of the best moments of the night because it was genuine.

On the R&B front, the talented Miguel took out Best R&B Song for Adorn, which he also performed with Wiz Khalifa, who wore a jacket with no shirt (classy). Meanwhile the ‘queen of the national anthem’ Beyoncé won the ridiculously-titled ‘Best Traditional R&B Performance’, which makes her sound like a gospel artist.

In a surprise, which nobody saw because it wasn’t televised, the Robert Glasper Experiment won ‘Best R&B Album’ for the stellar collaboration project Black Radio. Apparently the two Elton John ballads they aired were far more important.

Despite 18 past nominations in his career, Nas was snubbed again. As his categories’ came up Nas’ face read “I know I’m getting screwed,” while the winner of three awards, Jay-Z sat there with an entitled, smug look on his face. Although that could just be his natural expression. At least Nasir had the chance to act all thugged out as he presented Frank Ocean with his award for ‘Best Contemporary Urban Album’, another poorly named category.

Not to be outdone in the out-of-place speeches, Frankie said something about imaging the audience as “kids in tuxedos being fancy and stuff like that” to rather confused reactions. This may have been a clever slight at the whole back-patting ceremony, but it was delivered in such an uber-dry style.

A special shout-out also goes to The-Dream for wearing a snapback, hoodie and giant chains. Your complete ignorance of the black tie occasion is an inspiration to us all. Ocean returned for a rather off-key performance of the odd Forrest Gump, coming off like a bizarre piece of performance art at the high school talent show from the quirky kid that wanted to stand out.

After Drake beat out The Roots, Nas and Lupe Fiasco in the ‘Best Rap Album’ stakes, for reasons only known to the demons he sold his soul to, the night was capped off with a tribute to the late Adam ‘MCA‘ Yauch of the Beastie Boys. In typical Grammy style, performers LL Cool J and Chuck D of Public Enemy were unceremoniously cut off by advertising and credits.

Highlight of the whole ceremony: A classic musician called Kim Kashkashian (see, it looks like Kardashian) winning for her album Kurtág & Ligeti: Music For Viola.

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