In last weekâ€™s Grammy, A&E Editor Mason Walker lamented that â€œBeyonce was a little jipped,â€ and that Beck won the Album of the Year category for an LP that was an â€œechoâ€ of his better work.
Here, Rachel fires back, defending Beck against all who diss his Grammy winâ€”and his career.
Beyonce, Imma let you finish, butâ€¦
After the Grammys last week, the Internet basically exploded when Beck won Album of the Year instead of Beyonce. My first reaction to that explosion was incredulous. Seriously? Get over it.
Beyonce is great. I think she is an incredible woman, as Iâ€™m sure many of you doâ€”although I wonâ€™t claim to worship at the throne of Queen Bey. And I absolutely agree that she is an amazing performer.
But thatâ€™s just it: Beyonce is a performer. She is not a musician. That title is taken by Beck, and his incredible talent deserved to be recognized two decades ago.
â€œMorning Phase,â€ for which he won Album of the Year, is only the latestâ€”and perhaps not even the greatestâ€”work of art in Beckâ€™s repertoire, which began in the mid-90s with â€œMellow Gold.â€ Itâ€™s time his artistry gained recognition.
I suppose some of you may be wondering who this Beck dude is. Well, he generally defies genre labels, so letâ€™s call him an alternative rocker who incorporates elements of blues, rap, funk, folk and, quite honestly, almost anything else.
His sophomore effort, â€œOdelay,â€ truly put him on the map, earning several Grammy nominations and a couple of wins (but not, of course, Album of the Year). For years, Beck has maintained steady success while floating slightly under the popular radar. No longer.
So what makes Beck such a great musician? For one thing, he has incredibly diverse talents. His instrumental skills extend beyond standard guitar-and-vocals abilities; Iâ€™m sure many of you have seen the viral graphic comparing Beckâ€™s 16 instruments on â€œMorning Phaseâ€ to the number of contributors on Beyonceâ€™s â€œBeyonce.â€
Obviously, I canâ€™t confirm the truth of that claim, but Beck has constantly proven his instrumental scope for the past 20 years. Just compare the rawness of â€œOdelayâ€ to the psychedelic introspection of â€œSea Changeâ€ or the tight-knit delivery of â€œModern Guilt.â€ Endless variety.
In addition to his impressive instrumental diversity, Beck is also a brilliant songwriter. His lyrics provide endless explorations of language, frequently verging on the metaphorical with songs like â€œWallsâ€ (â€œModern Guiltâ€) and â€œBlackbird Chainâ€ (â€œMorning Phaseâ€).
I mean, I pride myself on digging into the meaning behind the lyrics, but Beckâ€™s songs are often so complex and deep that Iâ€™m completely lostâ€”and itâ€™s a great feeling.
From the crunchy guitars, eccentric sounds and deadpan vocals of â€œOdelayâ€ to the intricate melodies and complex, delicate lyrics of â€œMorning Phase,â€ Beckâ€™s music never fails to offer something new.
Iâ€™d rather be constantly startled by the music in Beckâ€™s body of work than grow comfortable with Beyonceâ€™s reliably good yet unsurprising albums. Yeah, I said that. These two artistsâ€™s talents lie in different areas; Beckâ€™s just happened to land him Album of the Year.
Maybe Beck finally won his Grammy because the music industry realized what was missing during the long years between his albums. Maybe it took a bit of a disappearance for usâ€”and the Grammy votersâ€”to value his music.
Or maybeâ€”dare I hope?â€”the industry hasnâ€™t lost sight of what matters amid the flashy showmanship of todayâ€™s performance-oriented music. Devotion to the music alone is, to quote Beck himself, â€œWhere itâ€™s at.â€