Monday Music

Monday Music is a regular feature whose goal is to provide you with some music to get you fired up for another week of doing the yeoperson’s work of educating the citizenry. Requests welcome!

Grammy’s edition!

Yes, the Macklemore and Ryan Lewis number (with Trombone Shorty!) was the climactic moment of the show and pretty cool, but what the hell was Madonna doing out there? I guess she was pretty pioneering in a variety of ways with respect to challenging various norms and an icon in some ways, but given her recent work on Twitter, it seemed odd. Not quite as odd as the Highwaymen reuniting to celebrate Kris Kristofferson’s lifetime achievement award and then not performing a Kris Kristofferson song (I was hoping for this one or this one–it always chokes me up) or Ringo warbling through “Photograph” (with Peter Frampton) or Robin Thicke with Chicago, or Metallica and Lang Lang. “Terrible.”

Then there was the usual–Taylor Swift (with awkward-ish head banging–“Look! Her hair goes right back into place,” said my daughter), some faux-gothiness (hello Lorde and Katy Perry), Pink (disappointingly reworking her AMA performance with a little more circus this time morphing into a duet), an attempt at providing a little mix of country-pop and quality blues rock that just shows the limits of the former, in my humble, and doesn’t do much for the latter. Kasey Musgraves had a cool dress, but lame song. Carole King and Sara Bareilles were better than most with their duet. That was cool.

Which left us with three real contenders. Beyonce’s opener was pretty amazing and packed with pop culture references from TV (“Fame”) to film (“Basic Instinct”) and beyond, but I wasw a bit annoyed that they opened with it because that meant we had to answer a lot of questions for our “still-paying-close-attention” children, so they lose on that. Then there was Pharell with Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder, which as great, if only because NOBODY seemed to be having a better time than Pharell when he was watching Stevie Wonder sing his lyrics. Seemed like he couldn’t believe it. It was a great performance of a great song.

But when Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar finished, my son said, “No wonder they won! Look at all the people the got up on their feet.” And he was right. If I could have flown in to see one performance, it would have been this one:

(And after finishing this, I fell across the review on Gawker which was eerily consistent, which made me wonder if I should be proud or appalled.)

Monday Music

Tough to pick just one favorite performance from last night’s Grammy’s–The Black Keys played with urgency (and who wouldn’t with Dr. John, in full gear, and New Orleans horn royalty playing along), Rihanna’s “Stay” was haunting, Kelly Clarkson sang the lights out and so did Miguel (never heard him before last night, but he’ll be ordered up for sure!). The Bob Marley tribute was fun (the Bruno Mars-Sting combo was pretty inspired and I’d pay good money to see Rihanna and the Marley boys do a show together), Justin Timberlake was solid (and JayZ did a solid turn with him), the Lumineers had everyone shouting along, Taylor Swift didn’t have her banjo this year but put together an amusing opener, Mumford brought their banjo and lit it no fire (figuratively speaking), and Frank Ocean was powerfully original, even if the song is poorly named.

And Alicia Keys and Carrie Underwood both killed it, and the Levon Helm tribute (Mavis!) could not have been better…ok, maybe it would have been better if Aretha were involved, but otherwise, no. And then, Jack White–the suit, the androgyny, the guitar toss at the end (which always reminds me of John Hiatt‘s classic)–all of it awesome.

Even still, I think they saved the best for last. Old School is still in session.

I’ll check back later in the day and see if I can find video links to the ones that don’t have them (or you can post them in the comments). It was a pretty great year for music on the radio.

Monday Music

Oh, sure–Adele would be an easy (and worthy) choice after cleaning up on the Grammy Awards last night and blowing the windows out with her surgically repaired vocal cords, but I thought that was too obvious.

There was a lot to like, really–starting with Bonnie Raitt and Alicia Keys’ tribute to Etta James, or maybe a little Willie Nelson doing Coldplay to animation about modern farming, the Foo Fighters rocked and Dave Grohl gave the best acceptance speech of the night, and Taylor Swift did my favorite song of hers (playing the banjo!) and got a standing O. I’m sure someone liked the trainwreck that Nicki Minaj put together (though I can’t say who or why)–but even with all of that to choose from, after the opening, I was all set to open up this morning with some LL Cool J in honor of the masterful job he did with the delicate job of MC (please note, I did not call it a ‘comeback’), but that was before the performance of the night.

Jennifer Hudson was miraculous. I can’t believe she had the courage to sing that song and then to sing it like that…mercy.

South Side represents!