I watched most of the Grammy Awards last night. I say “most” because Better Call Saul came on at 10pm my time, and I switched over to watch. I have priorities.
Unlike most every other music blog out there this morning, I’m not going to rehash the whole show. I’m just going to proclaim Annie Lennox is a rockstar. Everyone can go home, Annie Lennox won.
AC/DC = Kick ass opening
Talk about starting off the Grammy Awards with some power! They properly woke up the crowd, and despite using a well-placed teleprompter for lyrics (I know of a band or two who could use one from time to time), one might have never guessed that AC/DC weren’t a band still in their 20’s. The devil horns were a nice touch, too.
Madonna = Really?
From there, the evening took a turn when Madonna took the stage. Like many, I grew up with Madonna. She exploded onto the scene when I was in middle school, and I watched as most of my friends began wearing mesh gloves and “shirts” over tank tops, bows and headbands, pumps and lace socks…pretty much taking their looks straight from her “Borderline” video. She was a big deal, and even if you told your friends you didn’t love her, you were secretly humming her songs as you absentmindedly teased and ratted your bangs in the morning. As a teen, I loved that she didn’t seem to give a shit what people thought, even though there was no way in hell I’d have done her type grandstanding that she did in order to gain attention. The trouble is, of course, that I’m now in my mid-40’s. I’ve grown up. Madonna has not.
Believe me, I get her schtick. She wants everyone to know that she still doesn’t give a shit. That she is all “woman-power” and “bad-ass”. Not horrible messages to send at all. My problem is that she is trying too damn hard to be that way, and instead of really BEING a bad-ass, she looks like a 56 year old woman trying to remind the world that dammit – she’s relevant! I watched as she attempted to keep up with the virile young male dancers she had on stage, assisting her every time she got up off the floor. I listened as she really got breathless 2/3 of the way through her performance, and I saw that while yes, she’s still fit for being 56, there was something still way off in the way she looked on stage. At first, I couldn’t quite figure it out – but then I realized she was TRYING too hard. It didn’t come with ease to be up there. Instead, she was pushing an agenda that she really didn’t even need to push. Then there was the moment near the end of her performance where she seemed to call back to the days of “Like a Virgin”, as she sat on the stage, spread her legs, and ran her hand from her crotch up to her chest and then rolled and writhed a bit before once again being helped up by her dancers. Instead of being sexy, it looked ridiculous. What happened to being innovative and owning the stage rather than it owning you?
Once upon a time I read an article somewhere that sums this up perfectly: a real rockstar doesn’t have to TRY to be a rockstar. It is just exuded, naturally. Nothing about Madonna’s performance last night said any of that, and it’s a shame. Madonna has all of the talent than the very best female vocalists before her have had and then some, but instead of relying on the sole fact that dammit – she’s MADONNA – she has let that name consume her. Instead of forcing the name to live up to exactly whom she is right this second, she is trying to live up to the name Madonna. Pathetic and sad. On the other hand, I’d advise her to take a good, hard long look at Annie Lennox, who performed with Hozier. Annie Lennox IS a bad-ass, and she sure as hell didn’t have to grind against her dancers or rely on sloppy sex in order to prove herself worthy.
Annie Lennox = rock star
Annie Lennox is the woman that any woman wishes they were. She’s strong, self-assured, and she kicked ass and took names last night. Annie Lennox is 60 years old and she owned Staples Center last night. If you weren’t moved, you’d better have someone check your vitals because I think you might be dead.
Annie Lennox IS a rockstar, and she’s earned it.