My wrap-up of the 2018 Grammys [SPOILER: I didn’t like it]

First, though, what I did like.

Kesha’s powerful performance. Janelle Monae’s speech. Kendrick Lamar’s opening song. U2’s appearance on a barge in front of the Statue of Liberty. Alessia Cara’s classy acceptance speech. Some of James Corden’s bits made me laugh. It was nice to see Chris Cornell’s family on the red carpet.

That’s a pretty solid list of wins. My issues are with the awards presentations.

  1. Outside of U2’s performance, there was zero representation of rock on the broadcast. All of those awards were given away before the show started. WTF?
  2. Looking at those winners, it was interesting to see that A Deeper Understanding from The War on Drugs was named Best Rock Album. It’s definitely a good record, but over Metallica’s Hardwired…To Self-Destruct? Or Villains from Queens of the Stone Age?
  3. The Grammy for Best Rock Song went to Leonard Cohen for “You Want It Darker?” Again, WTF? This is almost as dumb as when the Grammy for Hard Rock/Metal Performance went to Jethro Tull in 1989. We’re still laughing about that one.
  4. Although I’m happy for Portugal. The Man for winning Pop duo/group performance for their mega-hit, “Feel It Still,” I’m baffled at how the Grammys chose them over Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito.” I repeat: WTF?
  5. Lorde was treated despicably by not being offered a solo performance slot. At least she got some measure of revenge.
  6. Jay-Z’s 4:44 is his best album in years. Yet he was shut out? WTF?
  7. Yes, Kendrick Lamar picked up some hardware, but why did Bruno Mars end up winning six for material from 24K Magic, which is a pretty generic album? The evening was built around hip-hop (and given the genre’s place in American culture, that was 100% correct) yet it ended up being disrespected by the Grammys by not being honoured with awards.

Then again, the Grammys aren’t really about who gets the awards. They’re just window dressing for the TV show and don’t do anyone any good when it comes to selling albums or concert tickets. What you want is a performance slot on the broadcast. That’s where the gold is.

Kesha woke up this morning with a brand new shot at a career after being sidelined for years with those awful allegations involving Dr. Luke. Kendrick Lamar again solidified himself as one of the most important figures in hip-hop. Even U2 was so U2 it almost hurt.

There’s always so much hype leading up to the Grammys and yet we’re always disappointed and let down. You’d think we’d have learned something by now, right?

BONUS FUN FACT: It took 25 songwriters to compose the five songs up for Best Song. That tells you so much about how music is made today.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

3 thoughts on “My wrap-up of the 2018 Grammys [SPOILER: I didn’t like it]

  • January 29, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    I think Kendrick Lamarr’s album is one of the most unlistenable pieces of crap I have ever heard in my entire life.

  • January 30, 2018 at 1:32 pm

    25 song writers for top 5 songs nominated? Wtf. It’ll never happen but I’d love to see rules change so that they couldn’t be nominated unless the artists wrote the songs themselves. Songs written by the artist, singer, or band members. It’s basically now just a production line to pump out “hits”. I know Elvis didn’t write his own songs either, so this isn’t anything new…but 8-9 writers! Respect to people like Beck who do it all themselves.


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