2019 Grammy Award Recap: St. Vincent, Janelle Monae, Beck, Kacey Musgraves and More

Music News
02/11/2019
Jasmine Albertson

The 2019 Grammys were full of history-making moments and jaw-dropping performances, here's a rundown of KEXP’s picks of the best moments from last night’s event.


St. Vincent took home the Grammy for Best Rock Song for the title track off of 2017’s MASSEDUCTION alongside producer Jack Antonoff. The song beat out Greta Van Fleet’s “Black Smoke Rising,” twenty one pilots’ “Jumpsuit,” Bring Me the Horizon’s “MANTRA,” and Ghost’s “Rats.”

“I want to say a big thank you to my friend here Jack Antonoff,” Annie Clark said when accepting the award. “We made a record together that I’m so proud of. I think this is the first time that I’ve given a thank you speech.”

Later in the show, Annie Clark took “Masseduction” to the Grammy stage, performing a stripped-down version of the song, guitar in hand. Dua Lipa then entered behind her, looking like Clark’s doppelgänger, to perform a very sensual interpretation of Lipa’s Calvin Harris-produced hit "One Kiss." They paid tribute to Aretha Franklin by adding the refrain from “Respect” in the middle of their performance. Soon after, Lipa won the coveted Best New Artist award.

St. Vincent was also nominated for Best Alternative Music Album but lost out to Beck’s Colors. MASSEDUCTION also won Best Recording Package. Following last night’s ceremony, St. Vincent has unveiled an apocalyptic new video for “Masseduction.” Watch it below, alongside St. Vincent’s performance of the song with Dua Lipa.

 

 

Speaking of Beck, the experimental pop artist walked away with two more Grammy’s under his belt - the aforementioned Best Alternative Music Album award and Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical, both for 2017’s Colors. For the latter category, Beck triumphed over Arctic Monkeys’ Tranquility Base Hotel + Casino, Björk’s Utopia, David Byrne’s American Utopia, and St. Vincent’s MASSEDUCTION.

Not there on hand to accept the awards for himself, producer Greg Kurstin accepted the Best Alternative Music Album award on Beck’s behalf while mastering engineer Emily Lazar and a team of engineers accepted the Best Engineered Album, Non-Classical album for Beck. In her acceptance speech, she noted that she was the first female mastering engineer to ever win the award.

The two awards follow Beck’s five previous Grammy wins, including Best Rock Album and Album of the Year in 2015 for Morning Phase. Beck was also nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance for the song “Colors” but lost out to Lady Gaga’s “Joanne (Where Do You Think You’re Goin’?).”

Today, following the Grammys, Beck has announced a co-headlining tour with Cage the Elephant with support from Spoon. They’ll play the Gorge Amphitheatre on Saturday, July 13. Watch last night’s acceptance speech on Beck’s behalf below.

 

Childish Gambino's racially-charged viral song of last summer, “This Is America,” swept the Grammy’s last night, winning a total of four awards including Song of the Year and Record of the Year, becoming the first rap song to win either award. The song also won for Best Music Video and Best Rap/Sung Performance. Glover did not attend the event and reportedly declined an invitation to perform. He was the first artist to be absent from collecting one of the "big four" Grammys since Amy Winehouse in 2008. Watch the “This Is America” video below.

 

While Janelle Monáe didn’t manage to come home with the two awards she was nominated for, she made quite a splash with her performance of “Make Me Feel” off of last year’s Dirty Computer. Turning the song into a medley of tracks off the record, including “Pynk” and “Django Jane,” Monae was flogged by a group of latex-adorned backup dancers while she slays her guitar. Taking elements from her recent videos, the pink pussy pants from the “Pynk” video make an appearance as well as a brass band,  ends her performance by proclaiming “I love you dirty computers” and literally dropping the mic.

Monáe was nominated for Best Music Video for “Pynk” and Best Album for Dirty Computer. Watch her performance below.

 

James Blake’s song with Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock, and Future, “King’s Dead,” tied with Anderson .Paak’s “Bubblin” for Best Rap Performance at the 2019 Grammys. The former comes off of the Lamar-helmed Black Panther soundtrack while the latter was a one-off single released last year. The two songs beat out Travis Scott and Drake's "Sicko Mode," Cardi B's "Be Careful," and Drake's "Nice For What."

With most of the hip hop community currently feuding with Grammy producers, the only one on hand to accept the award was Jay Rock. Blake later took the stage to make a special cameo during Travis Scott’s energetic medley performance of “Stop Trying to Be God” and “No Bystanders” off Astroworld. Watch their performance and listen to “King’s Dead” and “Bubblin’” below.

 

The most heartbreaking moment of last night’s ceremony came when Chris Cornell posthumously won the award for “When Bad Does Good” for Best Rock Performance. His two youngest children, Toni, 14, and Christopher, 13, accepted the award on his behalf, leaving not a dry eye in sight.

“I never thought we would be standing here without my dad,” Christopher said. “I’m sure he would be proud and honored. He was a rock icon, the Godfather of grunge and a creator of a movement. While he touched the hearts of millions, the most important thing he is known for us is for being the greatest father and our hero.” Toni added, “His voice was his vision and his music was his peace … thank you to our mom – his love, his muse and his savior who continues to carry out our father’s legacy … this is for you, daddy.”

The winning song comes from a four-disc retrospective box set put together by Cornell’s wife Vicky titled Chris Cornell. Soundgarden won two Grammys in 1994, for Best Metal Performance for “Spoonman” and Best Hard Rock Performance for “Black Hole Sun.” Watch the stirring acceptance speech below.

 

With all the momentous moments of the night, the evening truly belonged to country singer Kacey Musgraves. She won Best Country Solo Performance for the song “Butterflies” and Best Country Song for “Space Cowboy,” both off of her fourth studio album, Golden Hour, which won Best Country Album and the award of all awards Album of the Year.

Musgraves also made multiple appearances throughout the night, including her Dolly Parton tribute performance alongside Miley Cyrus, Maren Morris, Little Big Town, and, puzzlingly, Katy Perry. The ladies took on a medley of Parton hits including "Coat of Many Colors," "Jolene," and "9 to 5."

Watch Musgraves’ AOTY acceptance speech below.

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