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Pop Keeps Changing. And the Grammys Turn a Deaf Ear, Again.

This is a framework etched into the awards themselves: Voting patterns stay problematic, and despite the fact that the nominations in the primary classes this 12 months had been extra numerous than in earlier years, the ones awards had been nonetheless received by way of Mr. Mars, a crowd-pleasing showman, slightly than Mr. Lamar or Jay-Z, who launched albums wealthy with remark on black social and political existence. The soul singer SZA, who writes songs about the reviews of younger black ladies, was once nominated 5 occasions and likewise close out.

Lorde, the youngest artist — and the handiest girl — nominated for album of the 12 months, was once reportedly now not even introduced a efficiency slot on the telecast. “I don’t know if it was a mistake,” the longtime Grammys manufacturer Ken Ehrlich shrugged to Variety after the rite on Sunday evening. “These shows are a matter of choices. We have a box and it gets full. She had a great album. There’s no way we can really deal with everybody.”

Well, positive, however there was once plentiful time for a staid efficiency by way of Sting and Shaggy, and an absurd caricature that includes them as neatly. Bono recurred all through the evening, like a sitcom visitor celebrity with a three-episode arc.


Lorde was once the handiest album of the 12 months nominee who didn't carry out at the Grammy Awards.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

These are appearances designed for informal Grammys audience, the ones who want reassurance that they aren’t out of contact. They recognize the Grammys as a large tent, one that should accommodate the stars of the day prior to this and likewise these days. (Seemingly long gone, fortunately, are the ill-conceived genre-collision pairings of years previous: come what may, DJ Khaled, Rihanna and Bryson Tiller were given via their efficiency of “Wild Thoughts” with out Santana himself — or worse, anyone now not related to the tune — rising for an ostentatious lick.)

But this is a other downside than steadfastly denying the subsequent technology of Bonos and Stings their due.

Black artists have smelled the disingenuousness for years, and in recent years, were protesting. Frank Ocean declined to publish his most up-to-date releases for attention. Kanye West has lengthy famous that he wins in style classes, however now not in all-genre classes (one thing Kendrick Lamar can for sure relate to given his Grammys historical past; on Sunday he swept the rap classes, however another way got here up empty). Drake all however rejected his Grammy for easiest rap tune remaining 12 months as a result of he contended that the monitor, “Hotline Bling,” wasn’t actually a rap tune.

Add to those dissenters the record of necessary skill that didn’t display up this 12 months: Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift, the Weeknd, Ed Sheeran. It is obvious that the Grammys are alienating a whole technology of skill with their conservatism. This has all the time been the case, after all, however the comments mechanisms are way more environment friendly now. And lost sight of artists have many extra tactics wherein they are able to search validation.

The Grammys also are on the cusp of a shift in style relevance. Rock song has been the heritage sound on which the awards’ basis is constructed, however in handiest a decade or so, hip-hop will change into a heritage sound as neatly, if now not the heritage sound, and the Grammys are poorly provided for that sea exchange.


Jay-Z was once the maximum nominated artist at Sunday evening’s Grammy Awards. He didn't carry out or stroll away with any trophies.

Christopher Polk/Getty Images

It was once vexing to peer Jay-Z close out Sunday evening, in spite of being the maximum nominated artist. He would seem to be the rapper maximum primed to lend a hand the Grammys climate this transition, however as a substitute, he was once seated in the entrance row — joined by way of his spouse, Beyoncé, and daughter Blue Ivy — making for excellent tv whilst receiving not anything in go back.

But at some point quickly, Jay-Z will probably be the elder, and what's going to the Grammys do then? And at some point quickly after that, Kanye West will probably be the elder, and what's going to the Grammys do then? And at some point quickly after that, Frank Ocean will probably be the elder, and what's going to the Grammys do then?

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