Oh the brilliant BRIT Awards (says the Yankee). If the Brits taught us one thing: it’s to guard your crown jewels; meanwhile, Stateside the Grammys traded them off for glitter, while the AMAs cut off their nose to save face. Thank the Queen, Britain – in all its splendid isolation – provided a safe haven for our native island of creative misfits. With the veneer of the VMAs, the critical cred of the Grammys, and the je ne sais quais (read: accent) of Russell Brand – the BRITs are it… innit?
I speak in tangent at times, and as I’ve been good lately – I feel it’s time to release and have a catharsis: in honor of the grand catharsis for the Stateside creative class that was the BRITs: let’s do work
What I wanted the Grammys to be – the Brits were. It was inevitable: I should’ve seen it coming when Q Magazine followed me earlier this week on Twitter (apparently they were taking tabs on how many times my piggy bank emptied itself since sophomore year of high school for the sake of 15 dollar Stateside newsstand purchases).
The Brits were my “Best of 2009” – on stage in living breathing color: “The Death of The Fame’s Fear”. Lily, Lady and Hov. This was on to the next one from across the pond. As such, the show I see is from the POV of my top three.
Her rendition of “The Fear” was a brilliant concept with precisely on-point production. She – the star – rode in on a glitterbomb rocket. Her faithful subjects below embodying the social landscape: fashionista femme fatales stroller-strutting their tikes to and fro, feet donning Blahniks, fingers fiddling with Blackberries; metrosexual misters in Dior and Daisy Dukes; tres chic commandos softly landing beneath their umbrella-ella-ella-eh shields and fuchsia fatigues… all backed by a mélange of Mirrored Sun headlines: noted. However, at the core of it all was Lily, the masterful-maestra-but-makeshift-executing manifestation of her social scope. She was the weakest link in an otherwise ironclad chain. She also won Best U.K. Female Solo Artist. Thankfully, she had a speech prepared because when you “don’t expect to win,” these things usually catch you off guard and at a loss for words – never Lily.
Hov: Won – again. Performed “Empire State of Mind” – again. Luckily, Lil’ Mama doesn’t have a passport. #britwin
Shawn – aka Best International Male – seemed more at ease at the podium here than he did anywhere the past year at an American awards show. He thanked Glast08 for giving him the opportunity to extend Hip-Hop to a once exclusively rock festival – that bloke with the guitar: head’s up he’s a fxxking rockstar. He also thanked the Spice Girls for being an inspiration. (Read: Mel “York version of Beyonce” B, thank you for inspiring me. Oh, wrong Bey? My B… #kanyeshrug).
GaGa: What ever are we going to do with you, pobrita GaGita?
A jazz rendition of Telephone unlike anything a studio could possibly conjure. A solo performance of “Dance in the Dark” that personified every word of the record. Crooning, careening, pounding, pleading… Looking back, she payed homage to McQueen, and at 23 was the unofficial eulogist honoring Lee on the world’s behalf. The Brits also saw the baptism of The Haus’ bouncing baby band-that’s-better-than-yours: Emma. Emma, the proclaimed “future,” is a fully-functioning keyboard, guitar, and drum machine in one. Set on a heart shaped frame, this behemoth is, well, the future. In said future I want GaGa dj-ing my next post-apocalyptic sweet sixteen Haus party (but daddy I want it nowww!) – only if Emma is the hypeman. The future sound – if Emma (getting tired of the name yet) is any indication – will be something old and new, something electronic and blues, something with dark bass riding along symbiotically with white keys… something dope.
The miscellany – The Spice Girls won “Best Brits Performance” of the past three decades: win and then some. Courtney Love came out to “Tik Tok:” Courtney on rewind, Ke$ha on fast-forward, trainwreck on play. Liam Gallagher gave his Brit to the crowd – literally (hmm Cudi anyone…). Taylor Swift was somewhere applying Sharpie as eyeliner in an airplane bathroom – because she’s classy like that. Elsewhere, Kanye was recording the album that will be the bulk of this post in a year.
The So What: Lily got drunk and pre-gamed a defeat she wouldn’t see. Lily was the general demeanor of the year, and more American than any of the Yankees there (read: I know my work was good. I’m going to sing and dance. They’ll clap and praise, vote for the other one, I’ll smile and go home.) But she chalked up her first W like every other red-blooded American did in 2000, as well she should have. Now, she’s off on hiatus (quit while you’re ahead: thumbs up) to work on starting her own record label – production > execution: win.
The death of McQueen spurred the rebirth of GaGa. Her performance was more tangible than anything we have here; it takes that unsatisfied unquenchable need to touch and feel that reciprocated echo to make an artist crash and chaotically create. In the midst of all of the monsters brought from the shadows, all of the lies made truths, all of the bxxches freed, GaGa was a muse who lost her maker. The one closest to her was the one that got away… and that is The Fame Monster.
Hov and GaGa seemed so incredibly thankful. They – in the face of assumed egos – expressed sincere gratitude that the British population enjoyed and rewarded their work. The surprising part is that they were surprised… really, so was I. I was so used to hearing “Fearless by Taylor Swift” at the AMAs, the Grammys, the NAACP Image Awards, the OZone Awards, the DeVry University Honors Ceremony… Where the U.S. has hype and potential, the U.K. has hush and projection – everything the Grammys touted themselves as being, the Brits were. No wonder Stateside artists exile themselves to England.
2010 was a breaker and onto the next one we go full force – the Brits were brilliant because they were unforced and gave credit where it was due while we’re still living in a crunch. D.O.A.’s recessional depression is real.
Hov thanked Britain because they backed him. Britain doesn’t care so much as they just keep court. It’s a shame that true artists were so grateful that their art was being appreciated for what it was, and not downed for being what we’re afraid to be, and more importantly, ashamed to see. What is underground/taboo here is mainstream there and that is progression – loiterers should be arrested; on to the next one. The VMAs in New York were five hours behind as the unplanned catalyst for Swiftboat, the AMAs and Grammys were eight hours behind in Los Angeles for conceding and contiuing to pander. Meanwhile London is on its own time – and it’s about time.
Watch This Space: Call the Brits Ghengis Khan without the Ye – Hov and GaGa brought plenty of it anyway: the pusher and the product.