Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Shock and Awe: A Review of The 2016 Grammy Awards

Every year around this time, I get a little freaked out.

The world seems more worrisome, my anxieties become magnified and thoughts of digging a bunker in the backyard start to make a lot of sense.

I used to think it was a brush with the seasonal mood disorders linked to extended northeastern winters but I've been wondering lately if it might be more about the aggravating banality of “award season” than lack of sunshine. 

And, last night, the Grammys did nothing to change my mind…or my mood

For me, they started out on a very weird note. 

C'mon, show us those choppers....

Many of you are aware of my desire to punch Taylor Swift right in the face. Yet, when she pranced out like a glittering praying mantis, I felt unexpected waves of benevolence and appreciation. 

After considerable soul-searching as well as reading through the entire mental disorders section of Merck’s Manual, I deduced that the cause of this anomaly was a result of the world’s current confluence of woes and terrors. Taylor Swift – even in a cat suit and blindingly white new dental veneers, -- is preferable to ISIS.

Looks great but, in fact,
needs a sandwich.
That’s quite a compliment coming from me.

Mr. Weekend

In fact, the night was full of oddities---a new, skinnier Adele, a downright emaciated Sam Smith, Ice Cube’s son who narrowed his eyes and held up a hand covered with giant rings as if people might care what he spends his allowance on, a successful Jewish rapper (Drake), a song I thought I didn’t like (“Girl Crush”) but, literally, cannot stop singing this morning, Johnny Depp playing the guitar, a man named “Weekend” whose hair is obviously a result of  prolonged exposure to radiation and my new friend, Taylor Swift’s demented behavior when someone beat her out for a Grammy. To appear that unhinged by joy when you lose an award is clearly an attempt to channel homicidal energy away from an actual shooting or stabbing. She hugs and emotes instead of killing.

I feel you, Tay-Tay, I really do.

Hey, those are MY
I was bored and fidgety early in the night. I was also worried that I might be aging out of the ability to enjoy what was unfolding before me…or that I no longer even cared. Therefore, I was relieved to feel reassuring stirrings of wrath and/or disgust at the appearance of Ariana Grande, that pastry licking twerp named for a Starbucks menu item, Demi Lovato, wearing Emily Blunt’s eyebrows and showing lots of under-boob, Robin Thicke and his pompadour both of whom don’t seem to grasp that they are yesterday’s donuts as well as affection and concern for poor Stevie Wonder who proved yet again that whoever dresses him, hates his guts.
Come and get'em, bitch.

The performance by the Eagles made me sad. Grieving and somber, their substitution of Jackson Brown for Glen Frey made sense but Frey was the irreplaceable heart of this band. Their signature harmonies are gone forever and they looked very aware of this last night with the terminally cranky Don Henley appearing even more annoyed than ever. I hope they all invested their money wisely because it’s over, boys. Thank God for royalties.

"What is happening to me????
Adele seemed to be having her issues, too. Wearing a mother-of the groom dress right off the rack from Nordstrom's, was it awful lighting, a bad sound system or was she actually completely off-key

I’d been looking forward to her performance all evening. Who wasn’t? But, apparently aware that something was amiss, she seemed increasingly desperate as the song – a luscious number co-written by my beloved Bruno Mars – went on, raising her volume in hope of finding her groove. It was not to be found but if anyone can rest on her laurels, it is she.

I remained hopeful that there would be a memorable “Grammy moment” but my hope waned as “the tributes” began. 

No. Just no.
A messy and joyless tribute to the career of Lionel Ritchie was first, followed by Lady Gaga’s extended seizure in homage to David Bowie. Gaga clearly did not understand Bowie because her antics were more of a Pee Wee Herman skit gone horribly wrong than a tribute. But, lest we forget, Gaga is in her twenties --too young to have truly experienced Bowie and his various musical incarnations. No cram session of Bowie videos can give even the talented Lady G a feel for what and who he was.

Tribute Number Three almost saved the show for me. Bonnie Raitt, still a total bad ass at the age of 66 with that streak in her hair and that guitar slung across her skinny hips, the awesome Gary Clark Jr. and the rasp of Chris Stapleton did the late, great BB King proud with their rendition of “The Thrill is Gone.” Now that was a tribute---three talented people, singing and playing as if the music might actually matter more than wardrobe and pyrotechnics.

As for Justin Bieber, his performance was a last ditch effort, suggested by his pediatrician, to get his testicles to totally descend. He strutted and and leaped about but it is reported today that, alas, they are still in hiding.
"Not tonight, Mommy. Not tonight."
 A highlight of the evening was the live-from-stage performance of the opening number of the new Broadway musical "Hamilton." A hip hop version of the life of Alexander Hamilton, it's a fresh and entertaining take on the life of one of our founding fathers as well as a potential way to interest today's students in a fascinating chapter of history. I hope to see it one day but tickets are both sold out for decades and unaffordable. 

Sofia and Pit Bull.
The show wound down with the resurrection of Alice Cooper, the appearance of an aloof Beyonce who, I fear, is starting to believe all her press and a cheerful performance by Pit Bull, joined onstage by the magnificent Sofia Vergara. 

Sofia is, once again, getting criticized for flaunting her sexuality. These critics are people who do not have an ass like hers yet wish they did. If I had that tushie, I’d wear the gold spangled number she had on and shake it at the supermarket every day in every aisle. Twice.

I will conclude as I began…with Taylor Swift.

After winning the Grammy for album of the year, she delivered an articulate acceptance speech that I have to assume was aimed right at the empty spot in Kanye West’s chest where his heart should be. 
Acceptus Interruptus.
That lunatic has claimed, in song lyrics on a recent album, that “he made that bitch famous”, referring to his interruption of her acceptance of a Grammy in 2009. Taylor took defiant ownership of her fame last night with a withering statement meant for Kanye to which I add the suggestion that he shut up and go home to his den of fame whores…..and remember, Kanye, no one calls Taylor a bitch but me.

Stevie, if you could see this, you would not be laughing.