Three years ago I came to this blog to fret about the Grammys. It was late January in 2020 and I did not know that there would soon be more pressing matters than puzzling performance choices to worry about. By March 14th 2021, the date of the next Grammy Awards Ceremony, we had spent a full year wandering through the murky anxious haze of a global pandemic, and the partial solution of vaccines were only in their infant stages of being rolled out. But in a plot twist that seemed even less likely to my pre-pandemic self than an entire NBA playoffs taking place inside a Walt Disney World bubble— the Grammys had somehow fixed themselves?Continue reading “My 2023 Grammy Wishlist”
The Ten Best Pop Culture Moments of 2021 (A Midterm Report Card) 10-6
I’ll admit that I’m a little nervous about posting this one. Not because my summary of pop culture as it has unfolded in 2021 thus far promises to be shocking or even mildly controversial– I have zero fears that I’ll get cancelled over benignly declaring that Movies Are Good. No, my trepidation can be better traced back to what happened last year.
Less than 365 days ago, a much younger Ainsley– an Ainsley with considerably less trauma-induced wisdom but significantly better posture– attempted to write up the 2020 edition of this list. It wasn’t a terrible list. I stand by my exaltations when it comes to The Last Dance, and the fourth season of Insecure, and the albums released by Fiona Apple, Phoebe Bridgers, and Waxahatchee. Was it a blatant circumvention of the rules to include the 2019 film Little Women? Probably. Do I expect that many were baffled by my esteem for Sam Hunt’s Southside, an album that peaked at 5 on the Billboard 200 and barely made an impact with its true singles? It would be more baffling if they weren’t, to be honest. But overall, at the time I thought it was a valiant-enough, comprehensive-enough effort to account for what was great about a year that gave me very little to relish in.
Four days later, Taylor Swift released folklore.Continue reading “The Ten Best Pop Culture Moments of 2021 (A Midterm Report Card) 10-6”
Broken Records: Four Ways To Fix The Grammys
In an act of what was either incredible cynicism or remarkable hubris, I started thinking about how to improve the Grammys months ago. But after watching brother and sister baby geniuses Billie Eilish and Finneas stack up trophies for their genuinely brilliant, haunting album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? I began to reconsider. Maybe the Grammys had figured themselves out, finally. Maybe they’d taken off their nostalgia goggles and at long last achieved a clearer sense of where music is going.
Then I remembered the other three (or was it ten?) hours of the ceremony.
There are few things in this world more precious to me than music, and there is no annual event more consistently disappointing to me than what is supposed to be Music’s Biggest Night. The gap between what I love about music and what the Recording Academy believes is worth showcasing about music seems to widen steadily every year, and what has resulted is a bloated, disjointed and hollow production with little to no respect for the audience it is supposed to be entertaining.Continue reading “Broken Records: Four Ways To Fix The Grammys”