The 54th Annual Grammy Awards are undoubtedly going to be remembered as an emotionally charged moment in our cultural history. Combine the bitter “F U”s of scorned exes (from Katy Perry) with the bitter “F U”s of the rest of the world (to Chris Brown), the raging exorcisms (of Nicki Minaj — er, we mean Roman) and, of course, the endlessly bittersweet farewells we had to say to some of the most influential voices and innovators in modern music, and you’ve got a veritable whirlwind of feelings. We felt them all with you, but in the meanwhile, we were keeping track of the mere handful of wins that were awarded throughout the three-and-a-half-hour ceremony.
As predicted, the heart-meltingly adorable Adele totally obliterated the competition in almost every category. Her album took home seven awards: Album of the Year (21), Record of the Year (“Rolling in the Deep”), Song of the Year (“Rolling in the Deep,” with Paul Epworth), Best Pop Solo Performance (“Someone Like You”), Best Pop Vocal Album (21), Best Short Form Music Video (“Rolling in the Deep,” with video director Sam Brown), and Producer of the Year (Paul Epworth, who produced “Rolling in the Deep” and “I’ll Be Waiting” — he won over fellow Adele producer Ryan Tedder, “Rumour Has It,” so Adele had that one on lock).
Meanwhile, the members of the Academy must have also been determined to prove to the consumer public that rock is not, in fact, dead: the Foo Fighters scored five honors, for Best Rock Album (Wasting Light), Best Rock Song (“Walk”), Best Rock Performance (“Walk”) and Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance (“White Limo”), and Best Long Form Music Video (“Foo Fighters: Back and Forth”). In other Dave Grohl Grammys news, the ex-Nirvana man did the following: wore a sick-nasty Slayer tee, attempted to sing along with whatever key Deadmau5 was playing in, gave up and just danced to Deadmau5, and had a shred-off with Macca himself in the finale (in the transition between “Carry That Weight” and “The End”).
Our own SPIN cover craftsman Bon Iver nabbed two impressive wins for a guy who’s only in it “for the inherent reward of making songs”: Justin Vernon’s distinctive sound brought home accolades for Best Alternative Music Album over old hands like Radiohead and My Morning Jacket (and Foster the People — whew!), and Best New Artist, over — in what we’re going to go ahead and call an upset — newly damned Nicki Minaj and fellow newbie (and three-time award-winner) Skrillex.
Taylor Swift got fewer wins than she’s usually shocked to receive, bringing home just two, for Best Country Solo Performance and Best Country Song — not for Best Country Album, which went to last year’s country darling, Lady Antebellum. Kanye West was doing heaven-knows-what instead of picking up and thanking everyone for his four awards, for Best Rap Performance (“Otis,” with Jay-Z), Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (“All of the Lights”), Best Rap Performance (“All of the Lights”), and Best Rap Album (My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy). Hov took home just the one, for Best Rap Performance, with ‘Ye, while his other half Beyoncé took home none. We’d say “sad face,” but we’re pretty sure they’ve got plenty of other things to celebrate at the moment.
Some questions we asked during the awards element of the evening: Our cover boy Skrillex nabbed three awards tonight, but he never made it to the main Grammy stage. Was it because his hair looked so rebelliously unwashed? And why wasn’t he asked to perform alongside David Guetta and Deadmau5?
And how do you think Gaga, who received a whopping zero awards after taking home two last year, is feeling right now? We’re betting a bit more fuming than her fellow losers: Radiohead, the Black Keys, Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, the Decemberists, and our favorite under-underdogs, Memory Tapes.
Two unfortunate Academy oversights: firstly, the snubbing of metal bands like Mastodon and Megadeth by virtue of their being grouped with radio-rock-pros (not that we blame them) the Foo Fighters. Secondly, and more importantly, the outrageously inappropriate performance time and award given to Chris Brown. Nothing like life’s timing to show us the err of our ways, eh, NARAS?
And finally, couldn’t we have given an impromptu award to Jennifer Hudson for Most Moving Last-Minute Tribute Performance (to Whitney Houston with an edited version of “I Will Always Love You”)? In case you want to relive the laughs (or the tears), read a transcript of our live-blogging the evening.
• Award Tour: 21 Times the Grammys Saluted the Underground
• Grammys ’12 FAQ: Everything You Need to Know About Music’s Biggest Night
• Everything You Need To Know About the 54th Grammy Awards Nominations
• Grammys ’12: Who Should Win the Major Categories
• Grammys ’12: Who Should Win the Categories You Actually Care About
• Whitney Houston’s Four-Decade History at the Grammy Awards