In a music world that has become dominated by auto-tune and beats that are the supremely dopest, it was a foregone conclusion that Beyonce Knowles would win Album of the Year at the Grammys last night.
That is, if this were Kanye West’s increasingly detached reality.
It was not to be for Queen Bey. Superior songwriting and superior producing won out as Beck went home with the gilded gramophone for Album of the Year.
Beck’s album “Morning Phase” is being lauded as a return to form for popular Rock which has changed considerably since Beck released his alt-rap/rock superhit “Loser” in 1993.
“Morning Phase” fits in neatly with a recent surge of Indie influence in popular Rock, but isn’t a new venture for Beck. “Morning Phase” has been described as a spiritual successor to his 2002 album “Sea Change”.
“Morning Phase” also won Grammys for Best Rock Album and Engineering (non-classical). Every song on the album is written and produced solely by Beck. The same cannot be said for Beyonce who has more than two dozen songwriters and 16 different producers appearing on her eponymous album by my count.
The argument can be had that this type of collaborative effort has the ability to be extraordinary. Most, including myself, look down on it. Is Beyonce actually a musician or a songwriter by any stretch of the imagination? She does actually have three songwriting credits on her album that only features one other artist. Every other song is littered with names.
The Grammys, and myself, are probably more inclined to award *individual* achievement.
This is where Beyonce will lose in a landslide every time. Perhaps you’ve seen the meme featuring the amount of songwriters it took to write Justin Bieber’s “Baby” compared to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. There’s a chance that the Grammys got the same bad taste in their mouth that I got when the fact that it took 5 people to write “Baby” sank in.
Kanye can be as ignorant as he pleases by stupidly saying that “Beck needs to respect artistry.” This won’t change what happened last night. What rightly happened.
The real purveyor of musical artistry won last night. I bet Prince was happy to share the stage with Beck. I’m not sure Prince would have felt the same way when Kanye would inevitably steal the spotlight upon a Beyonce victory.
I won’t waste my time parsing through Kanye’s rant that he posted, but I will say this. Kanye and literally everyone else are in two separate realms. His idea of artistry and craft are completely run over by his dedicated use of auto-tune which hasn’t been appreciated in a long time. When I listened to his new song with legendary Beatle Paul McCartney, the first thing I noticed was that I was enjoying the song less and less after every second that auto-tune was pervading my senses.
Beck said that Kanye was a “genius”. Kanye needs to return the favor and save the last shred of dignity he has left.
Congratulations Beck. You’re a class act. A legend in Rock. A stupendous songwriter and producer. You will be lauded as a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame soon enough.