music, pop culture

THE GRAMMYS 2017

(i tried to make the header look like a golden plaque? idk don’t judge)

I’m not a music journalist, so I can’t give you all the deep tea on the Grammys, or what each award stands for. I actually didn’t watch the awards show because I don’t have a TV and honestly I can find the performances later. Isn’t that what’s most important?

Rolling Stone released an article, “Grammys 2017: Who Will Win, Who Should Win” by writer Keith Harris, that’s really helpful in understanding the individual nuances of each category.

There are essentially only a few categories that anyone is/should be interested in. “Album of the Year,” “Song of the Year,” “Record of the Year,” and “Best New Artist.” There are other ones: “Best Solo Performance,” “Best Pop Vocal Album,” and on and on until the only person left standing is CeeLo Green because apparently he’s a robot now.

The way Rolling Stone broke it down for the first three categories is this. “Album of the Year” relates most to album sales. “Song” is about the written-ness, and “Record” relates more to performance and singing. In each of these, it was a toss-up between Beyoncé and Adele for Lemonade and 25, respectively.

Adele ended up sweeping all three, with Beyonce winning “Best Urban Contemporary Album” (before the cameras were rolling, apparently they hand out a bunch of awards because the Grammys are long enough as it is).

If we’re going by the Rolling Stone outline, then it makes sense that 25 won Best Album. It sold 3.38 million in the first week of its release; 17.4 million copies in 2015; 20 million copies sold total. That’s, like, historic. So Album of the Year; that makes sense.

And if “Song” relates more to the written, then Adele wins that too. She writes all her own stuff (probably with some help) but whatever. She wrote “Hello.” Yes, done.

But “Record of the Year” should’ve at least gone to Beyoncé. I think that’s what’s so hard about Adele and Beyoncé. I LOVE BOTH OF THEM. Not even out of some deluded idea of “fairness” because—let’s face it—these awards basically mean nothing monetarily to these two queens. They’ll still be fucking incredible, no matter what some group of voters decides (there’s an allegory in there somewhere).

And this is the part that confuses me—does the voter group take into account public perception? Because of the two, 25 and Lemonade, the latter was more—in my small, tiny, chic opinion—the more influential. It brought police brutality into the national dialogue when Beyoncé wore a Blank Panthers-inspired outfit to the Super Bowl; when she released “Formation,” the music video of which invoked Hurricane Katrina, black womanness, police brutality, and Black Lives Matter. She did that.

It seems like that should be accounted for: the amount that Beyonce contributed to, affected and influenced our country’s dialogue about race. Lemonade was powerful in its own right—as a visual album and experience, and the songs that touched on the intersection between Blackness and Womanness—but it also impacted 2016 in a major way. A way that seems not to be recognized by the Grammy voters.

Adele, in her acceptance speech, said that Beyonce should’ve won “Album of the Year,” which maybe is true and is a nice sentiment, but kind of bullshit. I LOVE ADELE, so this is not shade, but there’s underlying condescension in the notion of “You should really won this (but I won this) but you should’ve!” I don’t think, honestly, Adele meant it that way, but actions speak louder than words.

Justin Bieber, Drake and Kanye West made the action to skip the Grammys, despite being nominated in several categories, because they felt the award show did not accurately recognize the contributions and accomplishments of black artists. According to TMZ, they thought it was kind of irrelevant. And after watching Adele sweep every category against Beyonce, I have to agree.

We’re in a tough place because it’s two QUEENS against each other, but Lemonade was iconic in 2016. Not just because it was good, but because it was important. And as heart-rending and evocative and emotional and lovely as 25 was, it wasn’t important and necessary in the same way that Lemonade was. There was pain in the voice of Adele, and in the eyes of Beyonce, when Adele dedicated her award to Beyonce. Because at the end of the day, they—and all artists—recognize the value and depth of each other’s art. Now if that could just be accurately represented, that would be killer.

I just need to reiterate that I love Adele, and writing this has physically hurt me, but I have to honor my truth.

ALSO CONGRATS TO CHANCE THE RAPPER FOR “BEST NEW ARTIST” YOU COMPLETELY DESERVE IT!

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Celebrity Sunday, Holidannys

CELEBRITY SUNDAY: ADELE LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY, MY BAE JOHN KRASINSKI, AND STAR WARS OPENING WEEKEND

Another week has come and gone, and we’re inching closer and closer to a collective death because eventually the universe will stop expanding. But while we’re still here, let’s hunker down on this chilly Sunday evening with a good, ole-fashioned pop culture roundup! And we’re starting with:

1). “Adele Live in New York” premiered on NBC:

The special was filmed on November 17th, but the collective weeping of a nation occurred on its premiere on Monday. The pop star, or as Jimmy Fallon introduced her “a once in a generation artist,” was amazing, as per usual. The set list included songs from all three albums. I think my favorite part about Adele doing this televised shows is the fanfare of it all. No other artist, especially one as young as she is, could inspire such fervor for a television event. She has become mythic, and that’s because she is a once in a generation artist. We have pop powerhouses like Beyoncé and Katy Perry, but no one is as revered as Adele, given how little she appears on social media and in the public eye.

All in all, I love Adele.

How Much You Should Care: 5/5 Adele Hits

2). Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them:

The trailer for the Harry Potter spinoff was released, and it’s cute, and I’ll probably watch it online illegally, and I’ll enjoy it. I’m not a huge fan of spinoffs, especially about Harry Potter. It’s like sacrilege, almost. It feels wrong to make a spinoff on such a classic part of my childhood, but I guess money talks. But yeah it looks good. Also Eddie Redmayne is on fire this year.

How Much You Should Care: 3.5/5 Lost Dragons

3). Kourtney Kardashian & Justin Bieber

If this rumor were ever proven to be true, I would quit social media forever and renounce pop culture and do “serious journalism” like my mom wants me to. Why on earth would Kourtney break up with Scott Disick, her party-hard boyfriend, and then, as a 36-year-old mother of three, date a literal fuckboi like Justin Bieber? This rumor needs to be squashed. But Justin, call me? Also Kourtney, call me?

How Much You Should Care: 2/5 Kylie Lip Kits

4). JOHN KRASINSKI ON THE COVER OF MEN’S HEALTH:

So if you’ve talked to me, ever, at all, for more than five minutes, you know that John Krasinski’s Jim Halpert was literally what awakened my sexuality. I hadn’t come out when I started watching The Office, but even then I knew that there was a reason why I hated Pam’s guts so much. Anyway John, my perfect human, posed on the cover of Men’s Health magazine, all in-shape and beautiful for his new role as a Navy Seal, I think? Idk, I couldn’t read. He struck me illiterate. But he is so ripped and beautiful and makes me feel things. I would raise his daughter. We could be such a happy family if Emily Blunt would just leave.

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How Much You Should Care: 6/5 Jim Halpert Shrugs To Camera

5). Royal Holiday Photos:

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have released a new family portrait just in time for the holidays. The whole family looks adorable, but I’m not loving that “bangs and a middle part” look on Kate. Also it’s creepy that I watched their wedding, and now their child is walking and talking. I’m getting old and the royal family is making me remember my own mortality. Creepy and rude.

How Much You Should Care: 3/5 Crown Jewels

6). A break-in at Casa Kris:

An obsessed fan broke into Kris Jenner’s palace—I mean, “house”—and managed to get face-to-face with the Kween in her office. Apparently he got past her security team by saying that he was a part of the group setting up holiday decorations. Obviously he wasn’t, and Kris could sense that he wasn’t a part of the krew and had him thrown out. Then, she had her entire security team fired for gross negligence—same, girl. Kanye West stepped in with his own security team—where were they all this time??—and put them on the clock. He, Kim, North, and baby SAINT WEST live at Kris’s house, and Kim and Saint were actually in the house while the fan was present. Spooky.

How Much You Should Care: 4/5 Kris Jenner Cookbooks

7). Lady Gaga’s “Till It Happens To You”:

Lady Gaga performed “Till It Happens To You”—her original song for the documentary Hunting Ground, which details the status of rape cases on college campuses and the women who took a stand against their collegiate establishments—at the Billboard Women in Music Awards. I kind of love Lady Gaga in this new direction of her life, and I love how she is using her celebrity and personal story to raise awareness about the disgustingly negligent attitudes that college campuses take when prosecuting on issues of rape. Brava, Gaga. Brava.

How Much You Should Care: 5/5 ARTPOPs

8). Tina Fey and Amy Poehler:

Tina and Amy—queens, g0ddesses—co-hosted SNL this Saturday, and it was everything I needed and more. They parodied Bad Blood, brought back “Bronx Beat,” played Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin, and even manned the Weekend Update desk. They give me a lot of feels, and I’m currently re-watching Parks & Recreation for the billionth time, so I feel personally proud of Amy. And since 30 Rock is my all-time favorite show, I feel a similar pride for Tina. So, basically, I did this.

How Much You Should Care: 5/5 Sarah Palin’s “I Can See Russia From My House”s

9). Star Wars:

Star Wars: The Force Awakens opened with a record-breaking $238 million domestic debut, and another $279 million abroad. It’s the biggest December release of all time, so big, in fact, that even I, not a Star Wars nerd, know and care about it. I might actually go and see it. My newsfeed has been flush with Star Wars things, and I kind of dig it. Anyone wanna go see it with me? Be warned, I will be making horrifying puns about The Force.

How Much You Should Care: 5/5 Black Stormtroopers

And that’s this week! You may be wondering, “Why is it only 9 this week and not 10?” and I’ll answer with, “Why are you so obsessed with numbers? Size doesn’t matter. Content does. Creativity does. We are obsessed with high-production and mass quantity, and our consumeristic capitalism is destroying good American imagination.” Also, it’s been a slow pop culture news week, and I’ve been traveling.

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!

HAPPY HOLIDANNYS!

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Rambles

COCAINE FOR HEAD COLDS

tumblr_inline_mgjksxNh4I1rvw81kDo you ever have one of those days where your head is in a fog and you can’t seem to step above it? That’s me. I woke up with a clogged, runny nose and a cottony head. I decided to wear a cute gray, distressed sweatshirt and jeans to work because I wanted to be as close to pajamas as possible, but I put a button-down underneath the sweater to take it to workplace appropriate. No one noticed. No one cared.

The first thing I think of when I have a head cold is a story a teacher told me in high school. He had a penchant for tangents, and this particular one was about as tangential as you could get. He told us about—decades earlier—when his wife was pregnant and had a head cold, they went to this Eastern European holistic doctor. The doctor swirled a Q-tip in cocaine—I might be remembering this wrong—and swished it around the wife’s nostrils. Then, he took a metal rod, shoved it up her nostril, and cracked it against the top of her nose. I guess the mucus collects there in a head cold, and that got rid of it. I have literally no idea if this story happened, or if I’m even telling this story correctly.

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Side bar: this teacher had a hot son who went to school with us. That’s not really necessary, but I wanted you all to know.

So armed with that tertiary knowledge, I…I didn’t really change any of my habits. I didn’t snort cocaine or shove things up my nose except vast amounts of toilet paper because I’m too poor for Kleenex. And I popped a decongestant, a painkiller, and a mucus thinner in a Holy Trinity Hail Mary in order to knock this bitch out of my system.

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I’ve been ill more times in the span of three months in England then I’ve been in two years in America. I’m not saying that England is making me ill. I’m just saying England is slowly killing me by mucus overload.

*****

I bought Adele’s new album. First, I was disappointed that it wasn’t on Spotify. Second, I decided I would download it illegally. Then I decided to support my R&B pop goddess and I bought the album. Rather, I bought the album with my mom’s credit card. But still, I supported the artist. And 25 will be my theme-music for the fake television show in my head for approximately the next week. All I need is an Adele Christmas album to really make 2015 end in a win. We could call it Jingle Adeles or We Wish You Adele-y Christmas.

*****

I watched The Way We Were because I’ve been watching Sex and the City and the season two finale ends in essentially an homage to The Way We Were. And I really enjoyed it, and not just in a “I have to enjoy this because it’s a cinematic classic” way, like the way I liked Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Omg, Breakfast at Tiffany’s stans, you better not come for me. But The Way We Were was great because a) Barbra Streisand’s nails are fabulous and her acting is superb, b) Robert Redford is a total babe, and c) it doesn’t end in necessarily the contrived “boy and girl end up together happily ever after” way. It ends beautifully and more realistically, and it also allows for a female lead to not have her ending dependent on happiness with a male lead.

*****

Alright, I think I’m gonna go make tea and watch more Sex and the City. I don’t even really enjoy it that much. I don’t know why I can’t stop watching it. What’s happening? Is this Stockholm syndrome? Am I okay? Send help if I don’t Tweet within 12 hours.

 

Bai-bye-bae!

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