Better show than I expected, almost every performance was solid if not spectacular. The only real duds were the Sly tribute and the Christina/Herbie.
Alicia needed to step out of the way and let Stevie sing.
This is the first time I've ever really listened to Coldplay. They sound very, um, miscellaneous.
Next up John Legend, who proves that Stevie Wonder lite is better than U2 lite.
U2 sounds perfectly fine, I suppose... damn, Mary is killing it! When did she learn to stay on key like that??
Aw damn, looks like Kanye is entering is Eddie Murphy Red Leather phase. I guess this was inevitable.
Okay we nodded politely through your new song Paul, now play some damn Beatles. Yes, there you go.
Damn BEP are annoying as hell. STFU and read the names!
Mariah's songs are below her natural range in the verses, she keeps struggling with that lower register.. and the Bone Thugs steez doesn't help matters. But when the chorus comes she knocks it out of the park. Hope she's enjoying this moment, cuz it looks like she's gonna get Color Purpled this year.
Sly. Sigh. My expectations were low, but not low enough. I figured the "tributes" would terrible, and (except for the Patrice Rushen sighting) they were. But I was hoping for nothing more than to finally see the man, who along with Stevie is the foundation of my relationship with music. To see the man, and see that he looked happy and healthy, and felt our love for him. I can't honestly say I saw that.
The whole thing made me sad. It made me cry, actually. I hope his life has a serenity we could not perceive tonight, and that one day someone gives him the tribute he deserves.
Robert Johnson never got one of these till now?
Nothing has ever tickled me more than the sight of Jay-Z exhorting Paul McCartney to "take em uptown." And then he gets his Zubin Mehta on. Well played, sir. But why did Ronald Reagan flash on the screen behind them?
Can't complain about Bruce. Bring em home, indeed.
For all the talk of the Academy getting younger and hipper, seems like pop/rock has-beens are still dominating the big awards. When Green Day won record of the year even Will.I.Am was straight up scowling in his seat, like "this is some bulls**t!"
Jamie and Ye: Brilliant. Once again I say thank god for Kanye West. On a night when every commercial break had the 11 O'clock news screeching about "more hip-hop violence!!!" it was such a relief to see Kanye offering such a different vibe, and a wholly different set of iconography. Setting his own standard for what a rapper can look like and act like.. Showing hip-hop that there are other roads to the top, outside of that thug-life/streets/trap-or-die/realness orthodoxy we've lived under for far too long. It felt as if his performance was directly in response to those news blurbs, laying it out for hip-hop's sons and daughters like "these are your choices: you can keep going down that road, or free your mind and get out here with me." I hope somebody got the message.
Also, as I just said to O-Dub, it's bugged that Kanye can make such an impression with a song that's so trite in its subject matter. Saying so much while the actual words say so little... here's hoping we'll have a long time to watch him keep growing.
Christina's got such a great voice but has never learned to use it with discipline. The visiting jazz scholars (mom and stepdad) were appalled.. "The hell is she doing? She's not even listening to Herbie at all."
The N.O. tribute was as good as you could hope, for that all-star supergroup kinda thing.
So basically, Mariah got shafted, and the less we say about the Sly thing the better. But all told, not a bad show at all. And a good night for hip-hop, with all our representatives performing well and looking like grown folks with some sense in their head. Well, except for Kanye's outfit.