SOUR NOTES Kanye, Gram­mys, Tim­ber­lake, more mu­si­cal mo­ments that haven’t lived up to hype

Chicago Sun-Times (Sunday) - - MUSIC - BY MAEVE MCDERMOTT

Not ev­ery ma­jor mu­si­cal mo­ment of 2018 has hit its mark, from the no­table re­leases that weren’t as rev­e­la­tory as ex­pected. Among the big­ger misses:

The 2018 Grammy Awards

The year in mu­sic has been dis­ap­point­ing from the start, when Jan­uary’s Grammy Awards ex­tin­guished any hope that di­nosaur of a mu­sic in­sti­tu­tion had truly evolved.

The di­verse slate of Grammy nom­i­nees might have had fans think­ing the Record­ing Academy was adapt­ing to the times, ready to rec­og­nize hip-hop or Span­ish­language mu­sic with wins in the night’s three ma­jor cat­e­gories.

But that didn’t hap­pen. Bruno Mars swept the al­bum, record and song of the year cat­e­gories, snub­bing more crit­i­cally ac­claimed nom­i­nees like Ken­drick Lamar.

Even more in­sult­ing: Af­ter the show, Gram­mys pres­i­dent Neil Port­now said fe­male artists — who were nom­i­nated for few of the ma­jor, tele­vised awards — needed to work harder to gain equal foot­ing in the in­dus­try. He com­pounded that by say­ing the show didn’t have time to fea­ture a per­for­mance by Lorde, the only wo­man nom­i­nated for al­bum of the year.

Justin Tim­ber­lake’s Su­per Bowl half­time show

Tim­ber­lake’s al­bum “Man of the Woods,” re­leased the week be­fore the Su­per Bowl, hadn’t won crit­i­cal raves. And his dis­as­trous ap­pear­ance as part of Janet Jack­son’s 1994 half­time per­for­mance made the stakes that much higher for his own show. So the stakes were high.

But sound prob­lems plagued his per­for­mance. His Prince drew jeers. Most of the at­ten­tion he got was over the kid from the au­di­ence he had take a cell­phone video with him.

Kanye West’s ‘Ye’ al­bum

West’s al­bum wasn’t just sup­posed to be the re­turn of a king. It was part of a multi-al­bum roll­out from West’s G.O.O.D. Mu­sic la­bel, with re­leases from Pusha-T, Nas, Teyana Tay­lor and the much-an­tic­i­pated re­u­nion of West with his friend and col­lab­o­ra­tor Kid Cudi.

While Pusha’s “Day­tona” ar­rived on time and was praised by crit­ics, the same couldn’t be said for the other al­bums, which came out be­hind sched­ule, were panned by re­view­ers, or both.

But “Ye” was a par­tic­u­lar dis­ap­point­ment. It didn’t pro­duce any suc­cess­ful sin­gles or mean­ing­ful com­men­tary.

Maybe that’s why he sched­uled an­other al­bum re­lease for Novem­ber, with his “Yandhi” al­bum — an­other de­layed re­lease — fi­nally ex­pected to ar­rive on Black Fri­day.

Bey­oncé and Jay-Z’s ‘The Carters’ col­lab­o­ra­tion

“The Carters” — Bey­oncé and Jay-Z’s June al­bum — didn’t make the splash she has in the past.

It wasn’t in­tended to be a pow­er­house re­lease like her solo al­bums. Still, it’s strange that, de­spite largely pos­i­tive re­views and the rea­son­ably suc­cess­ful sin­gle “Ape **** ,” an event as seem­ingly big as a new Bey­oncé re­lease didn’t move the nee­dle in cul­tural con­ver­sa­tions.

Coun­try ra­dio’s con­tin­ued dis­missal of fe­male artists

It hasn’t been a great year for fans hop­ing to hear their fa­vorite women on coun­try ra­dio, with the low­est per­cent­age of fe­male artists on coun­try ra­dio since 1994.

Among the voices in Nashville re­act­ing with frus­tra­tion at the statis­tics was Maren Mor­ris, the Grammy-win­ning singer hailed as one of the genre’s bright­est new stars.

“Enough ‘women don’t want to hear other women’ or ‘women don’t test well with bal­lads’ or ‘sin­gles from new women artists aren’t re­act­ing,’ ” she tweeted, go­ing on to name per­form­ers she feels de­served more ra­dio play. “Look at RaeLynn, look at Cas­sadee Pope, look at Lind­say Ell. Women that kick [ex­ple­tive], write and play, and de­serve power ro­ta­tion.”


Kanye West’s ‘Ye’ al­bum didn’t pro­duce any suc­cess­ful sin­gles or mean­ing­ful com­men­tary.


“The Carters” — Bey­oncé and Jay-Z’s June al­bum — didn’t make the splash Bey­oncé has in the past. Justin Tim­ber­lake per­forms dur­ing half­time of this year’s Su­per Bowl on Feb. 4 in Min­ne­ap­o­lis.

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