When you get to where you’re going, Taylor Nation.
It’s easy to think that the Blonde With The Sparkly 1989 Microphone just used her acceptance speech to deliver a comeback to a recent slight, but dig deeper. Taylor did much more than that and made it a reference to more than herself. She does that often. As Scott Borchetta once tried to define it, she can be the “great communicator.” That needs more spark, but he’s on the right path.
Basically, the Sparkly Dressed turned a reference to her diss into a lesson. A lesson against people who believe it’s ok to tell a career woman -any career- that she owes them her success. In life, we’re all striving to get somewhere. We all have our goals and reaching a milestone is not something you do alone. You get help from every little thing.
You can even say that a detractor that early on put you down or slighted you became a challenge to keep going.
However, that’s fucking light years away to be considered supportive. Overcoming a small hurdle might have prepared you to face a bigger obstacle, but the pebble in your shoe did not get you up the hill. It’s your determination that got you there. It would be the recourse of a hypocrite to think that because you cause someone strife you owe them the success that came afterwards. The credit goes to the people that supported you in a lesser degree. It goes to you for hanging in there and making it all the way to that milestone.
Unfortunately, this is even harder for women and it’s because of men more often than not. That made Taylor’s speech a hundred times better because it wasn’t really about the rapper whose name I often forget, but about men that trip all over their ego. Which is a shame, because even people with egos can be talented. They are bound to become their own greatest enemy. They didn’t learn the lesson the first time around, so now they have to learn it all over again. Taylor didn’t diss anybody but people who try to take credit for your work.
And finally, shifting gears, I wanted to address what the GRAMMY win means, and what it doesn’t.
It’s an award voted on by peers in the music industry. However, I truly believe the selection of your work (a nomination) is already a distinction. Specially when it goes beyond a genre nomination and into a “Best of the Year”. I am glad though, that there isn’t an Artist of the Year. It’s about the performance or the body of work, but not the person itself. That also means, it isn’t about the meaning – it’s literally about the music.
I think 1989, To Pimp A Butterfly, Sound and Color, Traveller and Beauty Behind The Madness were all winners in the Album of the Year category. It was anybody’s game, albeit 1989 and To Pimp A Butterfly felt (in my opinion) like they could earn some distinction. And that’s all it comes down to, a popularity contest – not one done by the general public, but by the Recording Academy. It comes down to them liking what they like.
We’re all biased here. You can tell me that Kendrick Lamar’s music sounds better to you that Taylor Swift’s craft, and should’ve won. You would be on your right, since they were both nominated. For that reason, Alabama Shakes had also a hell of a night and could’ve taken it with Sound and Color. But when it comes down to the meaning behind the music, then we’re no longer talking the GRAMMYs. Each artist puts all their effort to create music. Their motivations and their feelings behind the work might be differently invested. Significance however, is not weighted at the GRAMMYs. It’s all about the music. That means in the end listeners, and GRAMMY voters can’t help but be those, like what they hear. Choosing one doesn’t make the rest of the nominees’ works any lesser.
Thanks for reading if you got this far. I’ll add some ninjas next time 😉