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Kanye Should Have Taken the Mic From Beck at the Grammys

Kanye Should Have Taken the Mic From Beck at the Grammys - Atlantic Mobile

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After the ceremony, though, West made it clear that he actually cares a lot. “The Grammys, if they want real artists to come back, they need to stop playing with us,” West told E! News. “... Beck needs to respect artistry, and he should have given his award to Beyoncé. And at this point, we tired of it because what happens is, when you keep on diminishing art, and not respecting the craft, and smacking people in the face after they deliver monumental feats of music, you're disrespectful to inspiration.”

Setting aside the unlikely notion of one artist giving his award to another one (though, interestingly, Sam Smith had said he'd do just that if he beat Beyoncé), the most fascinating thing about West’s statement is the use of the word “respect.” Because the Grammys are, in fact, obsessed with respect—a certain kind of respect, at least. It’s the respect one pays at a funeral: solemn, formal, a performance of sacred awe. It’s also the respect that one affords an athlete, or a child prodigy: amazed at raw technical talent, rather than at, yes, “inspiration.”

Unfortunately for viewers, in the Grammy universe, the quickest way to shore up one’s respectability is to perform a ballad. And so in addition to hushed sets from modern hymn singers like Hozier and Smith (who won four awards), artists known for upbeat radio hits enlisted string sections and elder crooners (Tom Jones, Tony Bennett, Paul McCartney) to show that they could slowly emote as well as anyone. It’s occasionally refreshing to see an act like Rihanna sing for a dinner party rather than a dance floor; at the point when you have Ariana Grande, Maroon 5, Gwen Stefani, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Jessie J, and even West attempting the same thing, though, you begin to suspect that there’s a gas leak in the building.

The evening's snooziness did make Beck’s upset fitting, at least. For his 12th album, Morning Phase, he ditched the strange wit, hip-hop flourishes, and sonic adventuring that made him famous in favor of a series of achingly pretty acoustic songs. It's a nice record, but as the journalist Chris Molanphy pointed out on Twitter, it probably won Album of the Year in large part because it was the only rock album nominated.

Heh heh. Good points. 

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