I ended up giving up on my liveblog halfway through, so instead, here is a generalized overview of my reactions because I'm pretty sure everyone still remembers what happened and cares what I thought. Warning: it's almost as long as a live blog but more boring.
First of all, classiest Grammys ever. Kanye West sang twice and didn't rap at all. Katy Perry sang a ballad dressed like an angel and Beyonce sang an actual gospel hymn. Lady Gaga's costume was an evening gown (a racy/sparkly one more suitable for Las Vegas, to be sure, but also Tony Bennett-approved). Ariana Grande acted twice her age, and Taylor Swift was deemeded insufficiently serious to take the stage. I mean, nobody can really rein in Madonna, but when she's the only one who escapes the moral code, you are running an impressive regime.
To put it another way: when Miranda Lambert is the second edgiest part of the night, you know you're in a different place.
That's why I hate that I got...kind of bored watching it. It was everything I've ever wanted it to be, why didn't I love it?? I feel like I want to blame the sheer number of really old songs. The older they are, the faster they have to go to keep my attention. The one Gaga sang, for example? That old-fashioned sound right there is the only style of music I dislike as much as hip-hop. It's also one of the only things in the world for which I consider "old-fashioned" to be an insult. (the other one is cars)
It also felt like there was a distinct lack of performances or nominations for female singer-songwriters aged 22-40, and those that there were did not strike any positive chords with me.
I'm really determined to applaud its classiness, though, so after thinking about it and reading a few articles to see how other people responded...
1. Rihanna/Kanye West/Silent Paul McCartney Playing Guitar, "FourFive Seconds." That was instantly catchy, and I've been playing it on loop since it aired. I would have bought it by now if I hadn't immediately run into the dilemma of there being so many less expensive cover versions by young solo female singers. Now I'm torn between "but I'm hooked on this version" and "but I might like an all-female version better AND then Rihanna and Kanye would get less money!"
Anyway, I just really liked how laid back it sounded and how stripped down it was. With good lyrics, free of cursing or other vulgarity (to the point of using "talking trash" instead of a more common s-word phrase!). On top of that, Rihanna had normal hair. Long hair. No weird colors, no shaved parts. I don't even care if it's real or a wig; wear that always. And in keeping with the classy theme, she wore a huge sparkling necklace/rings and something like 80-90% of her skin was covered, along with most of her tattoos. I was shocked to discover that even in an ill-fitting suit, she's actually pretty. I've never been able to see that before.
AND, this time Kanye sang without AutoTune and like...he can carry a tune?? What?? WHO ARE YOU? I feel like I respect you as a person! I haven't even gotten to how cute Paul was up there, but I think I've babbled long enough.
2. Common/John Legend, "Glory." I'm going to distance myself from any political aspect of it and just praise it for being a really beautiful, really moving song. On Common's part, this is the sort of rap that all rap should aspire to be, and John Legend is one of those rare people whom I can identify as having a really good voice without actually being interested in his music. (also, my heart may have softened to him since bringing "All of Me" into the world. I got really angry when it lost to "Happy," but that's neither here nor there).
The backing choir sounded beautiful and enhanced the song, and the magnificent orchestra and Legend's piano feature, didn't exactly hurt. (the choir's last echo of "glory" brought my heart into my throat, tbh)
3. Madonna, "Living for Love." I have no idea what was going on, but it was awesome. I mean, the song was irrelevant, but the bizarre experimental dance theater performance featuring some sort of tribal ceremony by stag-men fascinating 100% credit to the backup dancers here, especially the one who did a backflip off the platform. Well, and maybe 2% for the standout vocal run from the center backup singer.
4. Juanes, "Juntos." I have no idea what he was saying, but he was the most attractive person to take any of the stages and was one of the few people playing appropriately fast-paced and dance-worthy music on this show. Plus he was super smiley.
5. AC/DC medley. THAT is how you open a show. You know how I was saying that old music has to match a certain speed level to be sufficiently classic? These guys, despite looking terribly aged, had the right kind of energy.
6. Katy Perry, "By the Grace of God." I'm in too much shock from hearing her sing something slow and meaningful to tell if I like the song or not, especially since I need to decouple it from the memory of having my annual music festival interrupted by something unrelated to music, but I was mesmerized by the shadow dancer behind her. What an elegant and beautiful backdrop.
-They provided the audience with devil horns to wear for "Highway To Hell." That is how you delight!
-Beck winning album of the year, to which I shrieked with delight to see him topple so many actively distasteful nominees out of NOWHERE. I don't even know what his album sounds like, I've just heard it's folk music and he seems like a really quiet and pleasant guy, but more attractive than Ed Sheeran, who was his only worthy competition. It was even worth Tumblr exploding the next day and deciding Beyonce losing to straight white man = OBVIOUS RACISM, FAULT OF PATRIARCHY. How could white man be more enjoyable than Beyonce?? Not logic!
-Taylor Swfit not winning anything. "Shake It Off" is as bad as pop music gets before it turns to trash. Being shamelessly dumb and ridiculous is almost as big an offense as trashiness in my eyes, and I have lost all interest in supporting her career as a result. (The worst part is that I was so excited before it was released, thinking I was going to get Lea Michele-quality pop, but in retrospect I realize that's what she did with her last two albums. There was nothing good to come of her consciously changing genres.)
-Taylor's grammy date was a redhead named Abigail, and I don't know if the best part is that it's really her from the song, or the fact that she still looks like a teenager. I mean, Taylor looks younger than her age too -- like a teenager in a TV show -- but Abigail looks like she would have trouble getting a cashier to sell her a lottery ticket, even when dressed up and wearing makeup. It's so great to see people like that.
-The color of Ariana Grande's dress. It was so beautiful, and the cut was so close to being genuinely elegant. If only it had had a smaller keyhole/peekabo cutout in the front instead of underboob-baring and missing a random slice on the lower left side. Pretty sure her dress was the third-edgiest thing about this show.
-Taylor Swift's pink shoes against her turqoise dress. I know the intended effect was contrast, but it just clashed like an eyesore.
-"Chandelier." Can someone explain this song to me? Like, the internet is obsessed with it and I can't figure out why. (or are they only obsessed with the cover on Selfie?) I didn't understand a single lyric, the music didn't make an impression on me, the weirdness of the performance made me actively angry*, and looking at the lyrics now, it sounds like something Miley Cyrus would sing, so it's not even good content. It's like a less repentant version of Pink's "Sober." (side note: I just looked up the lyrics to Wrecking Ball, and it's like...mostly respectable? Was there a processing error that caused their songs to be switched?)
* = I think the reason its weirdness bothered me where Madonna's did not was that it seemed pretentious, like an ~artist's~ vision of symbolic symbolism, whereas Madonna is just like "I'm going to be as ostentatious and arguably Satanic as possible. WHO GON' STOP ME." Also, I dislike slow contemporary dancing where people writhe and flail their limbs a lot to be ~MORE DRAMATIC~.
-The domestic violence PSA. Tumblr, I told you I was taking a break to watch a concert; don't follow me everywhere.
-"Happy." The first half was awesome -- like having a vision of a futuristic society where this song is such an ancient classic its origins are forgotten, and it is now played with great solemnity at high ceremonies. I might have liked it had it stayed that way. But then it broke into its familiar rage-inducing sound and ruined it. (Seriously, I've never seen a more ironically-titled song, as my brain instantly boils with fury whenever I hear so much as a snatch of it. PLEASE remix this to keep the slower tempo, dramatic low-octave piano, strings, maybe some timpani and the gospel choir; leave out all the rest.)
Further Anger Management Issues
-"Stay With Me" is AWFUL. It is hellishly boring torture and the first note of recognition now triggers my rage in the manner of "Happy." I have hated it as long as it's existed, and I didn't even look up the lyrics until tonight, whereupon I found out it's perfectly unsympathetic, too. I hate it so much I'm not even trying to imagine Blaine Anderson singing it. Also, Sam Smith's face is a bland square of punchable dough. There, I said it. He deserves to dwell in luckless mediocrity.
-Album of the Year not being the closing award for like the first time ever, apparently because Beck was not a charistmatic enough winner and/or because Sam Smith is just so darling and wonderful he needs even more ceremony. Bite me. I hope his heart is broken more times than he is eligible to win Grammys.
(I've been holding the gist of this rant in for months. Thank you for letting me vent.)
Anything I did not mention above was probably something that bored me.