The Grammys. A great place for musicians to come together and celebrate their craft. It is the single biggest stage for music in any given year. One of the coolest things that the Grammys do is create inspiring musical performances every year. While personally I was upset with the fact that some of my favorite people in the industry, Trent Razner, Dave Grohl, and Joshua Homme, were cut off in favor of ads and product placements at the end of the show, one of the performances everyone was talking about involved a pairing of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and P!nk performing Same Love. While this performance took place, 33 couples of varying sexualities exchanged vows and rings. A site that I never would’ve thought to see, this merged two very different ideologies into one: music and marriage. Through code switching, music was able to transform the symbolic reality created in marriage into reality.
Simultaneously, Macklemore was challenging the ideology that gays and lesbians are not permitted to marry because of the Bible through the song, which is entitled Same Love. The song itself is an intervention. In the song, Macklemore initially talks about his own childhood when he thought he was gay. Then he analyzes how numb society is to naming gays, as well as the stereotypes surrounding the gays. He criticizes our symbolic categorization when we call someone gay in a YouTube comment or a faggot behind the keys of a message board. All in the first verse. In the second verse, he calls for a unity among the masses to accept gays, calling all love the same love. In the performance, it was after this verse that the 33 couples in the audience exchanged vows and rings. What resulted was an extremely powerful symbolic act uniting all sexualities.
Another unlikely pairing at the Grammys was the rapper Kendrick Lamar with rock stars Imagine Dragons. This was undoubtedly the most financially successful of the Grammys performances, as Lamar and Imagine Dragons remixed the popular Imagine Dragons song, Radioactive, and later released the song on iTunes so that it is available for purchase. The unlikely duo showed up again a week later on Saturday Night Live and stirred more debate surrounding whether or not Lamar would start to tour with Imagine Dragons. The answer is still unknown. However this too was a social intervention, as two completely different genres of music came together for a beautiful musical moment. Rap and indie rock have never gotten along. The styles are so different that when this song was released, it was an anomaly within the music industry. For me personally, it created a strong deviance of what my expectations were for indie music. After all how can a rapper find an appropriate moment to throw down in rock? Well Lamar found a way by creating a breakdown section in the bridge of Radioactive. What resulted has swept up the music scene and left many, including myself, clamoring for more collaboration. Hopefully in time we’ll see more from Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar.
Imagine Dragons and Kendrick Lamar on SNL