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