Tonight, The Recording Academy presented 81 different Grammys, recognizing artists of many genres in an evening hosted by LL Cool J. Mumford & Sons won the highly anticipated category Album of the Year for “Babel.” The Record of the Year award went to Gotye and Kimbra for “Somebody That I Used To Know,” which also earned the pair the award for Pop Duo/Group Performance.
When the nominations were announced in late December, the choices were hardly thrilling– an aspect seemingly characteristic of the Grammys. The fact that Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” earned her two nominations horrified many music fans, who spent much of the past year flipping through radio stations to avoid the regrettably catchy tune.
However, despite the almost inevitable disappointment that many music enthusiasts expect, tens of millions of people tune into the Grammys every year. This can be attributed largely to the wide variety and large number of artists that give performances.
As usual, the nominations and winners of the broadcasted categories were dominated by younger, more recent artists. However, the Recording Academy never fails to honor the legends. Ed Sheeran and Sir Elton John paired up to deliver a performance of Sheeran’s “A-Team,” which traversed both genres and eras.
A collection of world-class musicians including Sting, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Ziggy Marley and Damian Marley gave a tribute to the reggae great Bob Marley. While there were numerous uplifting performances and tear-filled acceptance speeches, this tribute was perhaps the most heartwarming moment of the show. Though the legend died over 30 years ago, the tribute is evidence that his musical influences lives on.
With mashups and covers, artists brought themselves out of their comfort zones on the historic Staples Center stage. Maroon 5 and Alicia Keys teamed up their songs and voices. However, the two high-power names in music delivered a lackluster performance. The Black Keys performed their song “Lonely Boy,” which brought them two of their three awards of the evening as a band. They shared the stage with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, adding some new flavors to the typically strictly drums-guitar-and-vocals duo. Dr. John received the award for Best Blues Album pre-broadcast for his album “Locked Down,” which was produced by the Black Keys’ very own Dan Auerbach.
Jack White performed songs from his Grammy-nominated album, “Blunderbuss.” Despite the fact that White did not win any Grammys this year, his performance reaffirmed his identity as one of the greatest rock innovators of this generation. For whatever reason, The Recording Academy thought the Black Keys were better suited to win the Best Rock Album category, but White blew them out of the water tonight.
Whether or not you agreed with the winners, tuning into the Grammys guaranteed an entertaining evening. It’s not everyday that Taylor Swift, Jack White and Sting all take the same stage.
For a list of Grammy winners, go here.