Opinion

The Grammys are a celebration of industry ties, not music

The Grammy Awards are not about music but a self-congratulatory congregation, celebrating the labels that have good connections with promotional companies and radio stations. Exhibit A is Drake’s nomination for “Views,” which was the most underwhelming album released last year. So why was he nominated? Drake sold over a million copies of “Views” the first week, breaking every streaming record imaginable. This means he also lined the pockets of record executives and voting members of The Recording Academy. Solange was snubbed, not even getting a best album nomination despite releasing the best album to come out of the Knowles family last year.

Adele winning her second triple crown was both expected and droll. It’s hard not to like Adele. She’s humble and relatable, which translates to boring and safe. In what way does “25” push the envelope or give us anything close to a challenge? It’s a cookie-cutter pop album. Should we not be celebrating the artists that took risks and delivered? For example, Anohni and Mitski both dropped breathtakingly beautiful, innovative and culturally important albums last year in “Hopelessness” and “Puberty 2,” respectively. Reginald Omas Mamode IV dropped an instant classic with his self-titled album. But they never had a chance at a nomination, as they do not have the name recognition sufficient to be recognized by the aging, mostly white members of the Academy.

The Grammys are out of touch, and this was painfully evident during the crossover performance of Lady Gaga and Metallica that no one asked for. Really? That’s not even pandering, it’s an insult to the intelligence of the American public. Metallica wasn’t even announced (inarguably one of the biggest bands of all time), and James Hetfield’s mic malfunctioned, forcing him to share with Gaga.

This kind of pandering is what the Grammys were attempting to move away from this year. Despite all the hype about the rule changes that allowed independent submissions following Chance The Rapper’s media campaign, not much seems to have changed. Chance was also an odd person to lead this, as he is in no way independent. Chance is technically an unsigned artist, but Apple, one of the largest conglomerates on the planet, backs him. “Grammy winner no record deal” is the new “Platinum with no features” – nothing but a marketing ploy.

Francisco Narvaez is a junior majoring in English.

February 15, 2017

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Francisco Narvaez


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