PopTalk: The 2015 Grammys, “True Artistry”, and Meme Culture

The latest PopTalk podcast takes a look at whether or not, as Kanye West suggests, the Grammys and awards culture in general can or should care about "true artistry".

When Kanye West almost grabbed the microphone from Beck at the 2015 Grammys, the audience — to say nothing of the large international audience watching the show — held its breath. Although West didn’t say anything at that time, he did later go on to lambast the Grammys for giving the (ostensibly) coveted Album of the Year award to Beck for Morning Phase over Beyoncé, whose self-titled LP was one of the juggernaut releases of the previous year. West claimed that the Grammys didn’t respect “true artistry”. This leads to the obvious question: have the Grammys, or for that matter any other major awards ceremony, ever used “true artistry” as their main metric? Would it even be possible for them to do so?

In this edition of the PopTalk podcast, Evan Sawdey and Brice Ezell analyze how works of art come to be appreciated or ignored within the framework of the awards season, while also drawing out how those appreciations play out in culture writ large.

Evan Sawdey is the Interviews Editor at PopMatters and Brice Ezell is the Assistant Editor.

For more on the Grammys from PopMatters, see Evan Sawdey’s write-up on this year’s Grammys, “How We All Survived the Astoundingly Morose 57th Annual Grammy Awards”.

Splash image: screen capture from Kanye West’s attempted mic grab from Beck at the 2015 Grammy ceremonies.