I love music. I think it is a universal language that transcends every culture. No matter what a person’s race, religion or economic status, when a good song is playing with a good beat, most will dance or sing even if it’s unintentionally.
This past Sunday, I stayed up to watch the 56th Grammy Awards. Yes, I generally go to bed at 9:30 p.m. (that’s another story), but I was really excited about hearing the legendary Stevie Wonder perform with Pharrell Williams, and with Nile Rodgers of Chic.
I was glad I had sacrificed the extra couple of hours because what I got was so worth it.
Seven-time Grammy Award-winner Taylor Swift showed why she is a seven-time winner when she performed her single, All Too Well. I think she was feeling some kind of way when she performed it, and to be honest, I felt it, too. That’s what music is supposed to do, make you feel something.
I was blown away by Pink. She did a kind of Cirque du Soleil-inspired choreographed routine to her ballad Try. It was an absolute joy to watch. I was fairly certain there was no way she was doing all that and singing live but I really didn’t care. It was beautiful.
I did see what I initially stayed up to watch, Stevie Wonder performing with Pharrell, Rodgers and Daft Punk. They began with one of the biggest songs of 2013, the mega hit by Daft Punk Get Lucky, but then they mixed it up a bit, performing Chic’s classic hit Le Freak and Stevie Wonder’s Another Star. It was a solid performance by all involved and they nailed it!
Perhaps the most lavish performance of the evening was Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, performing Same Love with Mary Lambert and Madonna while Queen Latifah officiated a mass wedding of same sex, multi-race and diverse couples. It was lavish, over the top and controversial. But then after all, it was the Grammys.
The independent Seattle Washington rap group Macklemore & Ryan Lewis not only won four of the seven Grammys they were nominated for, they surprised everyone, including myself, when they beat out hip-hop heavyweights Jay Z, Drake and Kanye West for most of the rap honors.
After the Grammys, there were a lot of people on social media crying foul, saying Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did not deserve the rap awards because they are pop and not hip hop.
Hip hop has for as long as I can remember had a reputation for being the social conscious of a generation. I think somehow that has gotten mixed up. Some of the more established rap artists now rap about money, sex and drugs. I guess since Macklemore and Ryan’s album is different, it is not hip hop enough for some. I’m not sure I care to argue the point, and certainly that’s not what I think was the most important element of this year’s Grammys.
I think the reason I so enjoyed the Grammys was because it was different. It offered old-school and new-school artists performing together, hip hop and country, rock and pop, techno and soul.
I don’t know much about classical music or new age, but I don’t have to know it to respect the artistry. It’s not a type of music that I love, I just love music. It’s universal and embracing and that is exactly what music is supposed to be.