Takeaways from the 2023 Grammy Awards: Beyonce, Bad Bunny, Bonnie Raitt, Dave Chapelle, Harry Styles, more

grammys

I could bore you all day about my personal taste as to who should have won what at last night’s 2023 Grammy Awards (there were better albums on that list than Harry’s House, how does Bjork keep missing out on Best Alternative Album, really only one Bad Bunny award). This instead is PW’s critique of the annual “Music’s Biggest Night” proceedings and, too, on some of what I’ve already heard on the socials since last night.

Trevor Noah

trevor noah

Is it me, or was nothing that the one-time Daily Show host joked about funny? I went back and rewatched the whole thing, and honestly, not one bit or punchline landed. Maybe his Chinese spy balloon bit, who can tell. You know how I know that Trevor Noh wasn’t funny? No one in the audience who felt the wrath of his dumb ribbing thought it was funny. Harry Styles and Adele feigned faux chuckles and smiles (watch it on slow mo and tell me I’m wrong). Even Ben Affleck who looked as if he was in pain the whole evening hanging with J-Lo seemed to grimace even-more-so when Noah was near.

Bring back LL Cool J or even Jerrod Carmichael who lit up the Golden Globes last month.

Dave Chappelle

Everybody complains that controversial comedians Dave Chappelle and Louis CK keep getting nominated by the Grammy voting membership on an annual basis, and, switching back-and-forth, year-after-year, winning said Awards.  Rather than lambaste the stand-up comics on this one, perhaps the Grammy voting membership should concerns itself with transphobia and misogyny in its ranks.

Bonnie Raitt

I’ll tell you why people’s teardowns and claims of being out-of-touch when it comes to Bonnie Raitt’s victory for writing the Song of the Year for “Just Like That” bugs me. Not because I’m such a fan of the tune itself, which is cool, which she wrote on her own, and became the first woman over 50 to win Song of the Year in Grammy history.  It seems to me as if this particular award’s critics are calling Raitt’s win tone def, and not in step with the current culture – another show of Grammy irrelevance. And while I won’t debate most Grammy irrelevance, my question is this: why can’t a 73-year-old woman win the award for an emotionally depth diving song? Isn’t that agist to think otherwise? Should only children win the award? Isn’t being inclusive INCLUSIVE OF ALL? So yay Bonnie Raitt on this one.

That said…….

Bad Bunny

How did the most streamed, first non-English language album to ever be nominated for Album of the Year – the album set to truly bust barriers for Latinos and other non-English speaking artists –  Un Verano Sin Ti NOT get the top prize? How did Bad Bunny only win Best Música Urbana Album for his efforts? Luckily, anyone not-ye converted the Bunny’s Bad-ness got a real dose of the weird energy he conveys on his 2022 album during his wild Grammy opening performance.

Beyonce.

beyonce

2023 was supposed to be the year that Beyoncé finally got her dues in order to get an Album of the Year award. (Look on top, and see that Bjork too got ripped off, Again. It happens). Instead, Renaissance was limited to wins in the Best R&B and Best Dance/Electronic categories. Still, Bey got her flowers by way of the most ever Grammys for one artist in history last night, so it’s hard to cry, even if I do believe that either hers or Bad Bunny’s album should have gotten the top nod, and not Harry Styles

Which also reminds me….

Harry Styles

harry styles

Was it me or did Styles sleepwalk through a live performance of a song (“As It Was”) I still have problems believing is all together that great in the first place? OK, he tours relentlessly and goes back and forth between music and film, so having a rasp in his voice and some sleep in his eyes… yeah, it’s excuse-able? That said, Styles should not have let the only electricity to come from his sparkly, spangly jumpsuit. Just saying. Then again, Steve Lacy’s performance was so lazy and tired – no joke – I nodded off for a second. Few people have followed Lacy as I have since his time with The Internet, but last night, he was….. borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring.

What wasn’t boring

kim petras and sam smith

The Sam Smith-Kim Petras bathed-in-red-light performance of “Unholy” was as fresh and dynamic as Petra’s speech – for Best Duo Performance Grammy win – stating her trans truth and proving that she is a force to be reckoned with in electronic pop. The Hip Hop 50th anniversary on-stage party was pretty sensational – especially Ice-T, Rakim and Public Enemy  – save for the fact that… where the hell was Snoop Dogg and Eminem? And why couldn’t Jay-Z take a part in the anniversary celebration, since Hova is so much a part of tht history (and you know he taped that last performance with DJ Khaled for “God Did.” Brandi Carlile’s win for Best Rock Song then her rip-snorting feedback-ing performance of “Broken Horses” – dag. And Lizzo, who I know I have called ubiquitous in her everything-everywhere presence, a joyful presence that was much appreciated last night during her Grammy wins and her live medley.

What? No Best New Artist nominees performing live?

Sans jazz diva Samara Joy coming on stage to accept the Best New Artist of the Year Grammy (great choice), it is shocking that no one from that category was given any live air time. If everyone is debating relevance and inclusion and newness within the Grammy ranks, where was a live show of Omar Apollo or Anitta OR JOY?

Is it me?

Did Madonna and Shania Twain seem to be garbed by the same stylist, just using different tones and color palates? Is Adele’s overwrought Cockney thing tiresome now? Were those fan-fave moments claiming rights to Best Album of the Year artist weird (even though the Style-fan grandmother handing Harry the Grammy was cute). And should Ben Affleck sit out the next Grammys if he’s going to look so mean about being there in the first place?

    • A.D. Amarosi's Headshot

      A.D. Amorosi is an award-winning journalist who, along with working for the Philadelphia Weekly, writes regularly for Variety, Jazz Times, Flood and Wax Poetics, and hosts and co-produces his own SoundCloud-charting radio show, Theater in the Round for Pacifica National Public Radio station WPPM 106.5 FM and WPPM.org.

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