For a moment, visions of the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards flashed before everyone’s eyes. Kanye West, who, six years ago, infamously stole the spotlight from Taylor Swift to show his support for Beyonce, was about do it again.
After alternative rocker Beck was announced as the winner of Album of the Year at last night’s 57th Grammys, Kanye returned to the stage, only to jokingly wave his hands, laugh, and return to his seat. The audience got a kick out of it, and even Beck took it in stride.
It was all in good fun. Kanye, who’s public image took a drastic hit after that initial incident — including being called a “jackass” by our president — had clearly learned from his mistake, and in a very self-aware moment, poked some fun at his old self. Even Beyonce and Jay Z found it amusing.
Or was he joking?
Had Kanye simply never opened his mouth again for the remainder of the night, people would still be laughing along with him. Instead, they’re none too pleased.
It turns out that he seriously believed that Beyonce deserved the award, and he wanted the world to know about it. In a post-show interview with E!, he said, “I just know that the Grammys, if they want real artists to keep coming back, they need to stop playing with us. We ain’t gonna play with them no more. And Beck needs to respect artistry and he should’ve given his award to Beyonce.”
Fans of Beck have come out in full force to his defense. In a career that has spanned more than two decades, Beck has released 12 albums. He wrote, composed and produced his latest album, Morning Phase, and as one Twitter user pointed out, he played the guitar, keys, synthesizer, bass, tambourine, ukulele, charango, celeste, dulcimer, harmonica and the glockenspiel on it.
Kanye West can’t even spell half of those instruments.
Beck, meanwhile, has handled the situation flawlessly.
It’s just another incident on a long list of questionable decisions by Kanye West. There is absolutely no doubt of his artistry and talent. That’s undeniable, and any one who tries to discredit it is just wrong. I mean, there’s a reason that Paul McCartney wanted to work with him. He’s also won 21 Grammy awards.
But he continually butts his head into things that do not concern him. Beck won arguably the biggest award of his life last night, and Kanye had to grab some attention away. If he is so upset about how awards shows determine their winners, then he should start his own event. The Kanyes. Every award goes to Beyonce.
I think people are just sick of his shtick, and are especially upset that he tried to make his point by attacking Beck, who is as much of an artist as any one in the music industry today.
An unintended consequence of Kanye’s antics is that he has become a public relations wizard. By making himself look so bad, he makes his “victims” look like sympathetic heroes in comparison. Taylor Swift’s career catapulted to monumental levels of success following her rendezvous with Mr. West, and because of last night, Beck has never been more widely discussed on a mainstream level than he is right now.
Oh and for the record, Taylor and Kanye have since made up.
On a personal note, some may recall I pegged Morning Phase as the best album of 2014. What’s ironic is that, for the last six years, I have posted here my top films of the year, and to date, none of my six selections for the year end best movie has ended up winning Best Picture at the Academy Awards. And yet, in my first year picking the year’s best albums, my top selection wins Album of the Year. Go figure.
And yes, I am humble bragging.
The rest of the Grammys was without drama, with Sam Smith taking home four awards, including Record of the Year. He genuinely seems like a polite, cordial young man who is passionate about music, so I have no problem seeing him rewarded. Especially after the controversy he received from the Tom Petty copying fallout.
One pleasant surprise was seeing Kristen Wiig doing some interpretive dance with 12-year-old Maddie Zeidler during Sia’s performance of “Chandelier.” Wiig really is a multi-talented performer who doesn’t get enough love.
What nobody did see in last night’s telecast was Eminem win Best Rap Album for the Marshall Mathers LP, his 15th career Grammy, since it’s a category that’s apparently not deemed significant enough to be distributed live. I get that the Grammys are trying to become a bit more family-friendly, but isn’t that category a pretty big one?
Also, for the sixth straight year, I failed win the Grammy for Best Blogging.
I’m still petitioning the academy to instill that one.