Jul 6, 2021
The 2014 Grammys: The Year We All Fell In Love With Pharrell’s Ridiculous Hat
Is there another awards show that manages to be as uneven as the Grammys, year in and year out? No there is not. This is likely because only the Grammys is stuck with having to have oodles of live performances, some of which can go horribly awry. But the Grammys also don’t do themselves any favors by playing the whole “what’s the weirdest pairing of musicians imaginable” game they play every year. Also, too, the Grammys really really really like it when piano players that are not rock musicians play unlikely duets with rock musicians. Sometimes this goes insanely great, like when Chick Corea played “Times Like These” with the Foo Fighters a few years ago
…and some years it turns into the horrorshow we had this year, which was Metallica and pianist Lang Lang doing “One.”
To be fair, Lang Lang brought it, but Metallica was a cavalcade of things gone wrong. Lead singer James Hetfield now looks like the king of dad rock or maybe Brett Favre. Take your pick. Kirk Hammett’s guitar could have used a good tuning, and all in all the band sounded like they hadn’t bothered to play the song together in ages. But there was fire, which is almost as much of a Grammy favorite as pianos, so whatevs.
Ringo Starr showed up to sound exactly like Ringo Starr always sounds, backed by a legitimately solid group of musicians that included Peter Frampton and Benmont Tench. It was sweetly nostalgic, but the superstars singing together sounded awfully close to a Fenway Park crowd singing “Sweet Caroline,” quality-wise.
Some pairings worked surprisingly well, like Imagine Dragons with Kendrick Lamar, which should have been an absolute shitshow but instead was exhilarating, in no small part due to the fact that Kendrick killed it.
Kendrick got straight up robbed at these Grammys, coming home empty-handed even with seven nominations. Do you really want to live in a world where Macklemore walks off with a fistful of rap Grammys and Kendrick has none? No you do not.
Speaking of Macklemore, he was the centerpiece of the most over-the-top piece of the night, in which he and his producer, Ryan Lewis, performed with Madonna while Queen Latifah performed marriage ceremonies for 30 couples mid-song. That performance was mainly notable for two things. First, Ryan Lewis tugging Queen Latifah aside for Madonna’s entrance.
Really, Ryan Lewis? We know that people have inflated your and Macklemore’s ego to outsized proportions, but let goddamn Queen Latifah finish a sentence.
The other thing that was notable was, of course, Madonna’s ridic outfit that included a pimp cane, which is her new thing, we guess? Madonna, we love you to death, but seriously.
Immediately after that photo was when Ryan Lewis tugged Madonna aside too. We like to imagine that after the show, Latifah and Madonna dragged Ryan Lewis out to the alley and kicked his scrawny ass.
The real showstopper, though, wasn’t Beyonce, though damn, Bey
…or Paul McCartney or Daft Punk or Willie Nelson. It was, of course, Pharrell Williams’s hat.
Pretty much all of Twitter immediately pointed out that thing could have been stoled from Smokey the Bear.
Also too the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter movies and the Arby’s hat. All was forgiven, though, because Pharrell swapped out hats to sing song of the year “Get Lucky” with Daft Punk, Nile Rodgers, and Stevie Wonder (!!!)
Before we go, we’ll remind you that Carole King is 71 and still looks and sounds at the top of her game.
For Carole King, we’ll forgive the piano fetish, Grammys.
Full list of winners, if you care about that sort of thing, here.