Prince Steals the 2015 Grammys With Just One Sneer
Cue the Prince Face — it was gloom night at the Grammys. Prince greeted the crowd last night with a magnificent smirk, cutting through hours of sanctimonious blather with one baby-I’m-a-star eyeroll. It summed up the whole night. After last year’s excellent Grammy bash, which was full of musical peaks — Beyoncé opening with “Drunk in Love,” Paul and Ringo jamming on “Queenie Eye,” Taylor Swift’s hair windmills in “All Too Well” — this one was a somber affair. Lots of lectures. Lots of frowns. So many dreary ballads. Beyoncé sang “Precious Lord” beautifully at the end, but admit it: wouldn’t you rather hear Bey sing about boning in the bathtub than going to church?
The music got off to a feeble start with AC/DC, who began with a new song — a surprisingly self-indulgent mistake from the normally business-savvy Angus Young. If you’re an AC/DC fan, their performance was tragic to witness, from the wheezy anthem (“In rock we trust/Rock or bust”) to the flubbed high notes in “Highway to Hell.” Also, AC/DC have a new album called Rock or Bust, yet the album cover doesn’t depict anyone’s bust. I guess you can’t count on anything these days. Consolation: It got worse when Tom Jones and Jessie J did their shriekingly, pointlessly, why-is-this-happening-ly awful “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling” — the ugliest version since Top Gun.
Introduced by Miley and Nicki as “our bitch Madonna,” the queen did a powerhouse version of “Living for Love” with a lavish bullfighters-from-Hades number. Apparently, poor Madonna still hasn’t gotten over that heartless matador from the “Take a Bow” video. She had one of the night’s best quotes on the red carpet, explaining what her performance was all about: “Bullfighting, love, romance, heartbreak.” Rihanna, Paul McCartney and Kanye debuted “FourFiveMinutes” as a Wings-like trio, with Kanye in the Denny Laine role. Rih always rules in goth rock-goddess mode — who could forget her “Shut Up and Drive” with Fall Out Boy at the 2007 VMAs?
ELO played with Ed Sheeran, which almost made up for last year’s Robin Thicke/Chicago “Thickago” debacle. ELO scored the funniest crowd-dancing shots of the night: Paul McCartney was on his feet rocking out to “Evil Woman,” until a nosy camera guy shamed Macca into sitting back down with that “busted rocking out to ELO” look we’ve all worn. Beyoncé stood up by herself, clapping along with “Mr. Blue Sky” a little forlornly, while Nicole Kidman twitched with Keith Urban. Best of all, the Haim sisters did some jazz-hands choreography in the row right behind Taylor. We all could have used more of the Haim-and-Tay-cam all night.
Smokey Robinson and Nile Rodgers presented Beyoncé with the Best R&B Song award, leading to the priceless moment when Smokey offered his arm to help Bey up the stairs. Barry Gibb gave a shout out to his late brothers in the Bee Gees, Maurice and Robin — and added, “Of course, little Andy.” Amen. Miranda Lambert brought some badly needed rock energy with “Little Red Wagon,” which sounds exactly like the Syndicate of Sound’s Nuggets classic “Little Girl” and perhaps augurs a revival of the Y2K garage-rock revival.
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