Still dazed from Beck’s surprise win for the 57th Grammys album of the year? Yeah, that’s not going away soon.
However, the low-key “Morning Phase” did suit a Grammy broadcast that was oddly somber and downbeat. Even Pharrell’s smile-inducing “Happy” started in a minor key and featured dancers dressed in black hoodies, seemingly a reference to the death of Trayvon Martin, and choreography that featured the “Hands up, don’t shoot” stances of many marching in Ferguson, Mo.
Here’s a look at more surprises from the 57th Grammy Awards:
‘BEYONCE’ BEAT. Grammy voters didn’t give Beyonce’s surprise album “Beyonce,” a hit with critics and fans alike, any awards beside best surround sound album. Though the album shook up the music industry, it was beat by Pharrell’s “Girl” in the best urban contemporary album category and by Beck for album of the year. Maybe the industry doesn’t like being shaken up?
KANYE WEST IS FUNNY. Who knew?! His fake move to storm the stage after Beck won album of the year over Beyonce was the funniest moment of the night. It was maybe the only funny moment of the night. It showed how much ‘Ye has changed since the infamous moment he interrupted Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech onstage at the MTV Video Music Awards to voice his displeasure over Bey’s “Single Ladies” being overlooked. Imma let you finish, Beck.
AC/DC’S OPENING JOLT. It seemed weird that the Grammys would give the 8 p.m. opening slot -- aka “The Time When the Kids are Still Watching” -- to the veteran rockers’ medley of “Rock or Bust” and “Highway to Hell.” But really there was no other choice than to go with the band formed in 1973. A lot of the younger pop artists -- Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran -- were promoting ballads. And both of the big spectacle numbers, from Madonna and Pharrell, were too high-concept for the opening. Devil horns, it is!
MADONNA’S MAJOR MOVES. Not only did she deliver a blockbuster performance of “Living for Love” that easily trumped anything staged by Katy Perry at the Super Bowl, but she also erased any talk of Grammy bounces by releasing three new songs from the forthcoming “Rebel Heart” album. Those songs all sit atop the iTunes singles chart Monday morning, beating out any Grammy-inspired purchases people might have made today. (Even odder, AWOLNATION’s terrible cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire,” from the “Fifty Shades of Grey” soundtrack, is currently No. 4.)
PRINCE GETS POLITICAL. The Purple One doesn’t speak much, generally. For him to state a position on a politically charged issue is rarer still. His introduction to the album of the year award was stunning, as he said, “Albums, like books and black lives, still matter.”
‘X’ MARKS THE TOP SPOT. Ed Sheeran’s Album of the Year nominee “X” (pronounced “multiply,” BTW) Grammy-bounced its way to No. 1 on iTunes’ album chart thanks to his supergroup performance of the lovely “Thinking Out Loud.” And according to Shazam, his performance of “Mr. Blue Sky” with Electric Light Orchestra was the most Shazamed moment of the night.
THE GRAMMYS TAKE ON DOMESTIC ABUSE. President Barack Obama’s message to promote his “It’s on Us” campaign against domestic violence and the powerful speech of abuse survivor Brooke Axtell would probably have had more impact if Chris Brown wasn’t in the audience nominated three times. Brown was convicted of assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009 on the eve of their Grammy performances. Talk about mixed messages.
ANNIE LENNOX OUTDOES HERSELF. It’s no surprise that Annie Lennox was great as she performed “Take Me to Church” and “I Put a Spell on You” with Hozier. However, the way she delivered both songs with such power and grace that it seemed like she had found an even higher level of performance from her Eurythmics days.
RIHANNA CAN SING! Sure, we knew RiRi could sing, but the way she tackled “FourFiveSeconds” with Kanye West and Paul McCartney with no grand production was a refreshing change of pace and a great sign for her upcoming album.