The 2022 Grammys got behind the classiest of artists … and the least | Grammy awards 2022

Tright here’s nothing the Grammys like greater than classiness. Many of the albums and songs to have received the highest prizes have been ones which are handsomely, fairly than raggedly, made; emotionally forthright however conserving themselves in test. And so it proved on the 2022 ceremony, the place robust work of nice classiness by Silk Sonic, Jon Batiste and Olivia Rodrigo secured the large prizes.

Silk Sonic’s Leave the Door Open is a really deserved winner of 4 awards, for file and music of the yr, plus R&B efficiency and R&B music (the latter shared with Jazmine Sullivan, additionally the rightful winner of R&B album). With its immaculate session musicianship and vocal harmonising, it appears to be in dialog with R&B itself, lampooning the earnest lust of the late 70s and 80s iteration of the style however not mocking it. There is a sort of sketch comedy element to the best way Anderson Paak makes certain all of the bases are coated to seal the romantic deal, proffering fillet steaks and marijuana – however with out such luxurious songwriting it might have risked coming off as a Lonely Island-type parody. These wins imply Paak’s Silk Sonic associate Bruno Mars is now a 14-time winner, and Mars is maybe the very imaginative and prescient of what the Recording Academy loves: technically sensible, in tune with historical past and alive to like and intercourse with out being threateningly erotic.

Jon Batiste is one other one that is consciously riffing on musical historical past, making a genre-spanning overview of Black American tradition with We Are, which received album of the yr (he additionally received 4 different awards). At instances I discovered this album corny, like a Disney journey round jazz and hip-hop the place it’s a must to maintain your arms very a lot contained in the automobile – however there are some affecting moments such because the finely etched reminiscences on Boy Hood, and his ambition, positivity and humanity solid a halo round even the extra generic songs.

Olivia Rodrigo’s three wins in her breakout yr included finest new artist and finest pop solo efficiency for the yr’s finest energy ballad, Drivers License. Like the aforementioned winners, she will be able to actually promote a tune, and this isn’t faint reward. There is one thing actorly about her supply – even on bedroom-trashing pop-punk songs – however she is so convincingly indignant and harm that she lifts pop into psychodrama, although nonetheless in a really family-friendly means (an F-bomb however).

You may argue that artists with messier feelings and fewer contained artistry obtained shut out, comparable to Lil Nas X, whose variously waspish and self-lacerating album Montero was nearly as good as pop music will get. Likewise Billie Eilish and her riveting portrait of corroded youth, Happier Than Ever, though maybe voters consciously heeded her cringe at fame and certainly the very public lens that the Grammys places its winners underneath. But Doja Cat, who may have been too purely vivacious for the Academy, fortunately received finest pop duo/group efficiency together with her determinedly attractive music Kiss Me More that includes SZA. In current days, she has spoken of eager to retire – right here’s hoping she will be able to discover a method to thrive by the chaos of pop, as she has the sort of joie de vivre that makes it price turning on the radio.

Joie de vivre … Doja Cat and SZA.
Joie de vivre … Doja Cat and SZA. Photograph: John Locher/Invision/AP

Foo Fighters swept the rock classes, and whereas this wasn’t a sentimental selection – voting had closed earlier than drummer Taylor Hawkins’ demise in March – it did find yourself feeling apt: Hawkins’ spirited taking part in was the very essence of the style. Another deserved winner was Baby Keem, who received the perfect rap efficiency alongside Kendrick Lamar: a boisterous 21-year-old memelord whose command of each melody and distinct metre is startling.

Of course, classiness was notably absent in different areas. Some may have been discomfited by Kanye West’s two wins in different rap classes within the wake of an unpleasant barrage in opposition to ex-wife Kim Kardashian and boyfriend Pete Davidson – the post-divorce poignancy of his Grammy-nominated album Donda soured when he introduced his anger and confusion outdoors the music and underneath the glare of social media. Ultimately, the Donda materials is underrated and his profitable songs are compelling – Jail’s fanfare of distortion is a splendidly grand assertion (and brings Jay-Z as much as 24 wins total) and Hurricane advantages from one of many Weeknd’s loveliest vocal melodies – and the voting cutoff was earlier than West’s most sustained hounding of Kardashian.

The Academy’s starker moral failure is in awarding Louis CK with finest comedy album. In 2017, CK was accused by quite a few girls of sexual harassment, and he admitted to the allegations that he had masturbated in entrance of them. His Sincerely Louis CK comedy particular could have its deserves, and there’s a ruthlessly punitive bent to our tradition which denies that individuals might be rehabilitated and higher themselves. But the Grammys carry higher that means than “this was the best comedy album this year”, whereas additionally, of their win-lose binary, stripping out any complexity. Honouring CK in the end sends the message that sexual harassers needn’t fear about their misdeeds, as a number of years later they’ll be again to the very prime of the US cultural tree. It is a nasty name in a Grammys yr that made plenty of the precise ones.

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