The Grammys: Musical, Masterful and Unsurprisingly Mid


courtesy of AP Newsroom

Beyonce appears in the audience at the 65th annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Los Angeles.

Natalie Becker, Opinion editor

As someone planning to study music in college, I thought I would have a deeper appreciation for artists and their Grammy wins. 

I thought to myself, “Their music must be amazing if it got a nomination.” Oh, how I was wrong.

In the 2023 Grammys, the audience saw shocking wins, crazy losses and terrible jokes spread throughout the show. 

Trevor Noah, the host of the Grammys for the third year consecutively, made some meta jokes, digging at recent events like the Chinese spy balloon. While that is a good topic for a comedy sketch, this is a music awards show he’s hosting; it’s irrelevant for the show.

What was relevant was the fact that Beyoncé became the world record holder for the most Grammy wins. It’s monumental because she is a woman of color and her latest album, Renaissance, highlights black queer culture.

Beyoncé was nominated for the most Grammys this year and won four of her categories. She deserved one more: Album of the Year over Harry Styles.

Although Styles’ album Harry’s House is certainly an exceptional album, there is nothing life-changing about it. It’s a basic bedroom pop album.

In the first few seconds of Renaissance, you feel the emotion and drive Beyoncé put into the album. In the first few seconds of Harry’s House, you hear something like a carbon-copy of every other generic pop song.

Traits of generic pop songs include boring lyrics, upbeat tempo and generally poor autotune usage. Almost all of the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance nominees were examples of generic pop songs.

Except for one: “Unholy” by Sam Smith and Kim Petras.

People have a gripe with this song, but is it justified to hate it for it being overplayed? I didn’t listen to the song during its peak on TikTok. I thought the layered chorus was well done and the beat drew me in. Smith also delivers a great vocal performance. “Unholy” scratches my brain in the best way possible.

My biggest issue with the 2023 Grammys was the Song of the Year choice. I’m sure Bonnie Raitt is a talented singer-songwriter, but I never heard this song until it won.

I wasn’t alone. Mere seconds after the award was announced, Twitter users posted that they never knew who Raitt was or what her song was. Twitter users were also creative with their memes of Raitt’s expression after she won.

The song has nothing special about it. It’s a basic country song that went against some of the most popular songs of 2022 and won. That is a great accomplishment, but when I’ve never heard of it until the Grammys sets off alarms in my head.

I think Steve Lacy should’ve won Song of the Year with “Bad Habit.” Not only does the song give you an indie, R&B vibe with the composition, but the lyrics themselves are relatable.

Awards shows, in general, have become an excuse for artists to dress extravagantly and win awards they may or may not have deserved. It does ultimately come down to the audience’s preferences with the artists’ songs.

I only hope artists realize that music with artistic intention sounds better than carbon-copies.