Sunday, 2024 On February 4, in Los Angeles, host Trevor Noah presented Taylor Swift with the award for best pop vocal album “Midnights”. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
It's Taylor Swift's world, and she's just letting us live in it.
After weeks of endless attention on her soccer star boyfriend and a cryptic right-wing campaign against her, the Grammys put the spotlight back on her art. On Sunday, “Midnights” earned Swift her fourth career Grammy for album of the year. No one can match this feat.
That breaks a tie with Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon and Stevie Wonder, who each won the honor three times.
“For me, the prize is work,” she said. “All I want to do is keep doing it.”
And she will (more on that later). Swift was the latest example of an action-packed show where women took home the top award and delivered most of the most memorable performances. Miley Cyrus powerfully belted out “Flowers,” which won record of the year. Billie Eilish's ballad from “Barbie,” “What Am I Made For?” was her and co-writer Finneas O'Connell's song of the year. Singer-songwriter Victoria Monét is Best New Artist.
The fortune was so great that rock supergroup Boygenius, featuring Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus, won three Grammy Awards and didn't even make it to the CBS show.
The best solo pop vocal performance at the TV show's inaugural awards, with all five female nominees, was a strong hint of what's to come.
Recluse Tracy Chapman's spine-tingling duet with country singer Luke Combs after last summer's smash hit “Fast Car” was on her spine. In a pre-recorded segment, Combs eloquently described what the song meant to him growing up. A visibly excited Chapman's eyes lit up as the crowd roared as she played the unforgettable guitar riff from 1988. songs. She stayed on the back burner as Combs introduced the song to a new generation and chose a wise place to make a reappearance.
Not to criticize more elaborately staged affairs, but Cyrus' rendition of “Flowers” had a certain power. It was basically just her and the song. There was no doubt that she could pull it off, and she even included a few blurbs: “I just won my first Grammy!” » His acceptance speeches were full of personality. “I don't think I forgot anything,” she said after the requisite list of thanks, “but I might have forgotten some underwear.”
Accepting Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z proved he has a long memory. He recalled a time when rap artists openly didn't get enough attention from the Grammys to match music sales, even boycotting shows — even though “they were going to the hotel to watch the Grammys,” he said. “It wasn't a big boycott.” Jay-Z believes it's unfair that his wife Beyoncé has never won Album of the Year despite an incredible 32 Grammy Awards. “When I'm nervous,” he said, “I tell the truth.” »
Joni Mitchell's return to the stage won her a Grammy, and her performance on Sunday was another emotional moment. Surrounded by friends like Brandi Carlile, Mitchell, 80, sat in a throne-like chair and tapped his cane while singing “Both Sides Now.” Her voice, which she had to recover from a brain aneurysm, brought a richness and perspective to the song that was only hinted at in the original. Like Chapman, she was visibly moved by the audience's reception, letting out a laugh as she finished.
Let's face it, these “in memoriam” tributes to people who died in the past year usually signal that it's time for a bathroom break. This is not the case here. Stevie Wonder paid tribute to Tony Bennett with a chilling “duet” with a filmed Bennett covering Wonder's “For Once in My Life,” then sang Bennett's “The Best is Yet to Come.” Annie Lennox sang Nothing Compares 2 U with two of the late songwriter Prince's female accompanists as she saluted Sinead O'Connor. And Fantasia Barrino shook the walls with “Proud Mary” in tribute to Tina Turner.
The Grammys definitely wanted Billy Joel to perform his first new song in 30 years, Turn the Lights Back On, to be a big show. But the previous three hours of the Grammys were hard to beat.
For viewers, stardom sometimes seems to come suddenly, but Monét and SZA were charming reminders of the hard work and dreams that lead to success. After disarmingly thanking “tonight's champagne purveyors,” Monét described the 15-year journey that led her to the Best New Artist award. “My roots have been growing underground for so long – and I feel like I'm sprouting today,” she said. There was a brief pause before SZA accepted the award for Best R&B Song as she exchanged backstage. But she was stunned when she remembered the trophy Lizzo had given her ten years ago when they were playing small club shows. She hurried off the stage as tears flowed. “I'm not an attractive screamer,” she said.
Yes, we understand that artists are always looking to promote their work. But when Swift took the time to accept the award, announcing that her new album would be released in April and saying she'd share the cover art on social media, it felt…cheap. As if she is twisting the event to her own ends, with news that she knows will overshadow most of what is happening. Teleported from a Las Vegas residency, U2 felt like they were promoting the arena rather than their work, lost in the dazzle. Two unforgettable moments for two great stars.
Congratulations to Trevor Noah for hosting. His enthusiasm for the music business may be puppyish, but it transcends the insults of comics and ironists. Starting the show from the floor of the arena, walking around the stars, Noah created the spirit of the people there and at home. He also delivered some good lines, such as when he noted that Universal Music was removing their artists from TikTok. “How dare you rip off all the artists,” he said. “Shame on you. This is Spotify's job. Because Swift arrived late, he said, “the economy around these tables was getting better” when she entered the room. Lionel Richie becomes Lionel Rich.
Unlike her look that torpedoed Jo Koy at the Golden Globes, Swift liked Noah.
“Coffee maven. Bacon nerd. Infuriatingly humble beer expert. Explorer. Tv guru. General alcohol specialist. Gamer. Proud problem solver.”