Music

The Best And Worst Of The 2014 Grammys

Some music was played, some memes were made, and Pharrell wore a ridiculous hat.

So. The 56th Annual Grammys happened. If you weren’t there at Staples Centre in LA, or couldn’t be bothered sitting through the three and a half hours of the broadcast, never fear. Here’s all you need to know.

#1: The Red Carpet, and LOOK AT PHARRELL’S HAT!

The red carpet was the usual farce; inane questions and shit-eating grins plastered on people who should know better.

Sure, there were some memorable moments, like, ’Wow, what the hell is Katy Perry wearing?’, ‘Wait, did Jamie Foxx just call his daughter his “seed”?’ (also, why is Jamie Fox at the Grammys?), and ‘Ugh, fucking Ed Sheeran‘.

But then Pharrell’s hat happened.

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Cyndi Lauper stands next to hat.

Having been lifted from the lot of the Yogi Bear sequel, the hat soon had its own Twitter account (16,500 followers and counting), and spawned a series of memes.

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#2: The Opening Song, And WOW BEYONCE

*wipes brow* So, Beyonce, huh?

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Damn you, you rich, awesome jerks.

#3: LL Cool J Is The Best Worst Host Ever

If there are sentences less inspiring than, “Now, ladies and gentlemen, your host, LL Cool J”, I can’t think of any. Maybe ‘That’s a piece of bread’? Or ’How much do those pants cost?’

Still, LL Cool J is the perfect host for the Grammys. For an award show that doesn’t like to rock the boat but wants to appear ‘hip’ to contemporary trends, he’s perfect. He’s safe. He hasn’t been musically relevant for 20 years, but he’s got some historical cache. And when he’s spouting his usual lines about the power of music bringing people together and celebrating, it’s hard to tell if he’s actually being that earnest, or making a deftly ironic joke.

Same goes for when he’s shouting out lyrics to a song of his that’s 24 years old, in response to his own joke about people not knowing he once made music.

In other news, he’s still wearing that hat and licking his lips all the time.

#4: Lorde Is The Greatest

Fresh from coming in at #2 in triple j’s Hottest 100, Lorde’s ‘Royals’ dominated the night. Taking home Song of the Year (the songwriting award) and Best Pop Solo Performance, she beat out Katy Perry and Bruno Mars twice, as well as heavyweights like Justin Timberlake, P!nk and Macklemore.

Her ‘Royals’ performance was tremendous, too, showing off some charmingly idiosyncratic dance moves, and freaking everyone out with her frostbite fingernail makeup. It was mintal.

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Also, her speeches were perfect. Lorde3

#5: Katy Perry Is A Witch 

Working through her Stevie Nicks phase for ‘Dark Horse’ (along with Juicy J!), Katy Perry donned a whole raft of lace and purple, added a cape and a light-up crucifix, and ended up pole dancing with a broomstick.

Wicca is weird.

#6: Metallica Played?

Yeah. They played ‘One’ with piano virtuoso Lang Lang. It was officially badass.

#7: Tay Tay Went Cray Cray

Despite loads of nominations, Taylor Swift didn’t win a single Grammy (to add to her seven)… But man, her hair was great. Tori Spelling, ’90s TV drama great.

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She contented herself with delivering a devastating rendition of ‘All Too Well’. Shit got emotional.

The best part? This.

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Somewhere, alone, Jake Gyllenhaal is crying.

#8: Kendrick Lamar Put His ‘Control’ Verse Into Action 

Even though he was stuck with Imagine Dragons — one of those belligerently terrible American ‘rock’ bands that rear their ugly heads every two years, [See also: OneRepublic, Daughtry, The Fray] — Kendrick lit fucking everything on fire.

Old mate Tay Tay was all:

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#9: That Thing P!nk Did

Hey, people moaning about her lip syncing while she was in the air doing Cirque Du Soleil shit? SHE WAS IN THE AIR DOING CIRQUE DU SOLEIL SHIT! C’MON!

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Also:

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It was a pity Nate Ruess from .fun was forced into the action, looking like a hipster Mark Wahlberg:

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#10: The Beatles Reunion Kinda Sucked

Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr teamed up to play new Macca tune ‘Queenie Eye’, and it wasn’t great. To add insult to injury, Sean Lennon WAS RIGHT THERE IN THE CROWD WITH YOKO.

Meanwhile here’s a picture of Sean with his girlfriend and his mum, finally answering that age-old question: what would John Lennon look like if he was still alive and really into Deadwood?

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#10: Jay Z Was Great

After winning Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for ‘Holy Grail feat. Justin Timberlake’, Jay Z gave a shout out to the littlest Carter-Knowles.

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Then he did this:

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#11 Everyone Got Married During Macklemore’s ‘Same Love’

In the teariest moment of the night, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis (along with Mary Lambert) took the stage with an epic cathedral backdrop to play gay rights/marriage-equality anthem ‘Same Love’. Halfway through, they were joined by Queen Latifah, who married 33 couples (gay, straight, young, old) right there in the audience.

After they were pronounced married, Lewis helpfully shuffled Queen Latifah out of the way to make room for Bishop Don Magic Madge Juan and her pimp cane.

Sure, Madonna can’t convey emotion on her face any more, but the sentiment was terrific. Nice to see the Grammys make a statement.

Also, this:

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#12: Daft Punk Won Everything

First, their live performance was utterly unreal — but with Nile Rogers, Pharrell and Stevie freakin’ Wonder, of course it did.

They played a medley of ‘Get Lucky’, ‘Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger’, ’Le Freak’ and Wonder’s ‘Another Star’, with a killer band on a set that was kitted out to look like a recording studio, and Daft Punk hidden in the control booth. Once they came into view, the set turned into a Swedish bathhouse from Tron: Legacy.

They won five awards for the night, including the big ones: Record of the Year (for ‘Get Lucky’) and Album of the Year (Random Access Memories). Here’s what Tay Tay’s face looked like when she lost that one.

Pharrell spoke eloquently for “the robots”, and tiny little Paul Williams (who sang on ‘Touch’) gave a touching speech — before Nine Inch Nails, QOTSA, Dave Grohl and Lindsey Buckingham closed out the night.

Jaymz is a New York-based writer (originally from Melbourne, and the former Editor of triple j magazine), super-yacht enthusiast, hi-tech jewel thief and Bengal tiger trainer. You can find him on twitter via @jaymzclements