Critics say I mangle my melodies, render my songs unrecognizable. Oh, really? Let me tell you something. I was at a boxing match a few years ago seeing Floyd Mayweather fight a Puerto Rican guy. And the Puerto Rican national anthem, somebody sang it and it was beautiful. It was heartfelt and it was moving.
After that it was time for our national anthem. And a very popular soul-singing sister was chosen to sing. She sang every note — that exists, and some that don’t exist. Talk about mangling a melody. You take a one-syllable word and make it last for 15 minutes? She was doing vocal gymnastics like she was on a trapeze act. But to me it was not funny.
Where were the critics? Mangling lyrics? Mangling a melody? Mangling a treasured song? No, I get the blame. But I don’t really think I do that. I just think critics say I do.
-- Bob Dylan
Last night I found myself watching the Grammys on TV. I was all set to switch off when the whole Kanye West / Beck thing started. And so Laura and I kept watching.
We saw the Rihanna / Kanye /Fab Macca Wacky Thumbs Aloft song. I asked out loud why it was that RiRi looked angry as she sang (lyrics that I was unable to decipher, by the way). Laura thought perhaps it was because she was onstage with Kanye, whom she described as a "c**k".
We also witnessed the, ahem, "performance" by pop enigma Sia. Standing with her back to the audience warbling in a corner as if she was the next impending victim of the Blair Witch while the blonde-bewigged kid and dancer from her videos did an interpretive jig just made me focus on how weird her voice sounds. Don't get me wrong, she has a good singing voice, but she needs to use it instead of doing vocal acrobatics while also doing a cod-Jamaican patois that made me think "this is probably how Jerry Lewis would sing this song." Seriously, all I heard was "Hoyvin flayvin!"
We then had a bunch of people who were being serious and worthy about things like violence against women and black history. Both great causes but all I could think was "this IS an awards ceremony, right? I've been watching for nearly an hour and I have seen ONE award presented. ONE."
So after Katy "incomprehensible" Perry and John Legend and Common did their worthy thangs, we have Beyonce foisted upon us, to sing a gospel hymn. Now I am not a fan of gospel OR Beyonce, but I appreciate music and musical ability of any genre. I also understand that the hymn has a strong significance to many people. But Beyonce went ahead and did what Bob Dylan described at the top of this post. Whatever meaning the song has, whatever message it was trying to convey, was lost, as I did not understand a single flaming word of it. If that is an example of Beyoncé's "artistry", Kanye, then she is as deluded as you.
Here endeth the lesson.