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59th Annual Grammys was about much more than music

Abbi Seul

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On Feb. 12, 2017, the annual Grammy awards show took place and sparked a myriad of conversation and debate. The Host, James Corden, brought grins and humor while narrating the show. Corden entertained the audience with a live recreation of his famous “Carpool Karaoke” shows, involving Jennifer Lopez, John Legend and Neil Diamond, to name a few. Corden even involved the audience by having them participate in singing “Sweet Caroline” — it was a crowd favorite. The 59th Annual Grammy Award Show was full of performances, tributes, politics, tomfoolery and debate. There were notable performances by Beyoncé, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Bruno Mars and many others. The night was one for the books, and the buzz has yet to dissipate.

As is customary for the Grammys, many artists attempted their very best live performances in front of the crowd. Some of these performances include Adele, Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Bruno Mars. Adele performed her hit song “Hello” to kick off the show. She was slightly criticized for not spicing up the hit song, although her performance was indeed still superb. She later performed “Fastlove,” a tribute to George Michael, in which she had a false start. She literally stopped the show, restarting and saying that she had to do the song right if she was going to do it at all. The tribute was an emotional moment for the singer, bringing genuine emotion to the stage. The tribute that made the biggest splash, however, was the tribute to Prince. The Time performed “Jungle Love,” a classic from their era of music, but the real excitement occurred when Bruno Mars imitated Prince in dress and vocals while covering his song “Let’s Go Crazy.” The crowd was definitely on their feet for this one, ending with an epic guitar solo that left the audience speechless. Another notable performance of the night was Ed Sheeran with his new song “Shape of You.” He brought his signature style, an acoustic guitar and a loop-pedal. “Shape of You” took on a whole new life and brought even more attention to his new release and upcoming album. Arguably the most influential performance, however, was Beyoncé’s rendition of her songs “Love Drought” and “Sandcastle.” Despite being pregnant with twins, Beyoncé put on a transcendent performance full of meaning and wonder.

The buzz surrounding Beyoncé was not about her performance, despite its excellence. The big fuss was regarding her loss to Adele for Album of the Year. Many felt that Beyoncé deserved the award; even Adele herself said so during her acceptance speech. She said that she felt she couldn’t accept the award because Beyoncé was the “artist of (her) life.” Much debate was sparked over whether or not Adele won the award because of her race. Regardless of the reason, both artists produced revolutionary albums that the world is not soon to forget.

A notable award from the 59th Annual Grammys was Chance the Rapper with Best New Artist. His first time at the Grammys was certainly noteworthy, with his stellar performance and his other two award wins of Best Rap Album and Best Rap Performance. He made history by being the first ever streaming-only artist to win a Grammy. Twenty-One Pilots also won their first ever Grammy, with an acceptance that was quite unusual. The duo agreed before they were famous that if they ever won a Grammy, they would accept it without pants. True to their agreement, Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dun lost their pants on the journey to the stage. Other notable wins include David Bowie’s four posthumous awards, Greg Kurstin’s four awards and Tom Elmhirst’s three.

Another topic of discussion surrounding the Grammys was the political dissent expressed by many of the artists throughout the night. James Corden, the host, started early by saying, “Live it all up because this is the best and with President Trump, we don’t know what comes next.”

Beyoncé alluded to political unrest in her acceptance speech for Best Urban Contemporary Album, stressing the importance of voicing your pain, darkness, struggles, history and confrontingour issues. Her speech hit home with many, although never making anydirect references to thepresident himself. Katy Perry also indirectlyreferenced the presidentduring her performance,through her song “Chained to the Rhythm” and herarmband saying “Resist.”By far the largest political statement, was made by A Tribe Called Quest. During their performance,dancers busted through a fake wall and the stage was flooded with women wearing Islamic clothing. Rapper Busta Rhymes went on to say, “I just want to thank the President Agent Orangefor perpetuating throughout the United States … for your unsuccessfulattempt of the Muslimban.” This performance sparked much controversyand definitely left a memorable impression.

A night full of wonder, strife, excitement and emotion took place at the 59th Annual Grammy Awards. Winners and nominees of various musical backgrounds cametogether to celebrate the achievement and impactof music. They gave the world some excitement and discussion for time to come and built a platform for even more excitement for future musical talent.

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The independent student newspaper of Western Illinois University. Serving Macomb since 1905.
59th Annual Grammys was about much more than music