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!
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.)