We Need To Talk About: The Grammys. Because they f***ing suck

In 'We Need To Talk About...', NME's Jordan Bassett vents his spleen on the topical issues that matter the most (or the least, if it happens to be a slow news day). This week – using an *extremely* laboured conceit – why the Grammys really needs to sort itself out

Ah, the Grammys, the annual celebration of American music industry, an anodyne get-together of music’s alright and tolerable.

Even for a ceremony that attempts to suck as much fun out of an entertainment industry as is humanly possible, 2019’s bash was a landmark one.

In the time-honoured manner of an arbitrary awards ceremony, let’s put the crappiest things into random categories, shall we? I know what you’re thinking: who the hell is presenting this Godforsaken imaginary awards ceremony? I tried booking a few different people, but they all got cancelled by the time I started writing, so you’ll have to do with me.

Please don’t anyone look up any tweets I posted between January 2013 and, say, July 2016. It was a difficult time.

Anyway! Without further ado: hello and welcome to the first annual We Need To Talk About The Grammy Awards Awards…

The narc-iest moment

I’m not going to bother with nominees because life’s too short and I’ve stretched this flimsy conceit far enough as it is. Drake has slagged the Grammys off in the past, telling Beats 1’s DJ Semtex that he wasn’t arsed about the two awards he won in 2017 and boycotting the shindig last year in protest at its failure to recognise rap music.

So it was surprising that he even turned up to collect Best Rap Song for ‘God’s Plan’, and even more surprising that his acceptance speech showed glimmers of making the Grammys worth watching. But of course, they ruined that too, silencing him before he’d said his piece.

Drake used the opportunity to point out that awards ceremonies, while fun, are pretty stupid, explaining, “You have already won if… you’re a hero in your hometown… you don’t need this.”

His mic was promptly cut off, fuelling speculation that the nerds that run the Grammys couldn’t take the heat, though organisers insist that they thought he’d finished talking. But here’s the problem: the Grammys is an awards show for an industry that trades on the romantic idea of rock’n’roll, which is to say: rulebreaking, speaking your mind, rebellion and dissent. If you can’t take a little light (and justified) criticism, it’s time to roll up the red carpet.

Most misunderstood moment

Mac Miller was posthumously nominated for Best Rap Album for his album ‘Swimming’; Cardi B won for ‘Invasion of Privacy’. People kicked off, not least Miller’s former partner Ariana Grande, who called the move “bullshit”. Cardi’s a legend and her debut album is completely ace, which is why it made NME’s Top 10 last year. Yes, they could have given it to Miller as a tribute, but to put it bluntly, that’s not the way awards work. That is served by the ‘In Memoriam’ segment. Which reminds us…

Most half-assed memorial

Buzzcocks’ Pete Shelley. Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison. Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul Abbott. Pegi Young. Richard Swift. Anticon co-founder Alias. None of them made the cut. I wonder if next year the Grammys will include themselves to acknowledge their own ascendence to the great awards ceremony in the sky.

Most harrowing collaboration

Red Hot Chilli Peppers teamed up with Post Malone to perform the Chilis’ track ‘Dark Necessities’, proving the Grammys’ working knowledge of the cultural zeitgeist is about as fresh as one of those cock socks that Anthony Kiedis used to wear.

Most drably competent hot

The Grammys has been criticised for not honouring talented women in that past (last year their CEO Neil Portnow made some moronic comments about how women need “to step up”), so the show was awarded with its first female host since Queen Latifah in 2005. This time around, Alicia Keys was competent and engaging – but that was about it. Is that really what you want from an awards show host? Competency? No! You want someone who’s gonna make headlines, stir things up, embarrass the famouses being fanned for the night. Alas, alas.

And finally…

Is it time for the Grammys to take a break, or seriously reassess its existence? Is it time for Liam Neeson to attend a couple of gentle media training sessions? End boring, safe, out of the touch awards ceremonies – because they’re so pointless that they might as well have a bit of fun and say something about our cultural landscape. Otherwise, what exactly is the point?