Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Review of the 58th Annual Grammy Awards


At the New York Times, "At the Grammys, Big Voices, Pretty Faces and Bitter Truths":

The show was also atoning for the 2014 snub of Kendrick Lamar, who lost best rap album to Macklemore and Ryan Lewis at the time. Mr. Lamar’s 2015 album “To Pimp a Butterfly” swept this year’s hip-hop categories, and he gave the show’s central performance — although “To Pimp a Butterfly” lost to Taylor Swift’s “1989” as album of the year. (Ms. Swift and Mr. Lamar also shared a Grammy this year for the video of her single that features him, “Bad Blood.”)

Mr. Lamar’s live segment drew on “The Blacker the Berry” and “Alright” from “To Pimp a Butterfly,” with Mr. Lamar sidestepping their profanities; it also mentioned Feb. 26, 2012, the date Trayvon Martin was killed. The performance was a vehement, multilevel blast against “modern day slavery” that’s bound for extensive Internet exegesis. It was staged with prisoners breaking chains and African-style drummers and dancers against a bonfire backdrop, ending with the name of Mr. Lamar’s hometown, Compton, superimposed on a silhouette of Africa.

The other flagship Grammys performance was Lady Gaga’s tribute to David Bowie. Orange-haired and seemingly changing a costume a minute, splashed with video effects, Lady Gaga raced through snippets of Mr. Bowie’s hits, mixed a vocal impression of him with her own delivery and hit her marks with dance moves that echoed some of Mr. Bowie’s. She got close to guitarist Nile Rodgers, the co-producer of “Let’s Dance,” who was prominent in the backup band...