Grammys 2024: 10 takeaways from music’s biggest night (Taylor’s version)

By Stephen Thompson
Taylor Swift poses with Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus of boygenius after the 66th annual Grammy Awards.
Taylor Swift poses with Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers and Lucy Dacus of boygenius after the 66th annual Grammy Awards.

The Grammys are nothing if not a three-and-a-half-hour infomercial for the music industry: The telecast foregrounds music’s biggest stars, programs performances that span many genres and generations, and otherwise assembles a digestible package of major milestones and musical moments. Sunday night’s festivities were no different, so here are this year’s major storylines and other takeaways, starting with… no, you’ll never guess. Wait for it…

1. Somewhere along the way, we have left a world in which Taylor Swift

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dominates the cultural conversation and entered a world in which Taylor Swift is the world and we are just tiny specks of flotsam, floating listlessly in a sea consisting of her disembodied essence.

Okay, so we kinda knew, going in, that Swift would be a significant player in Sunday night’s Grammys, given that she was nominated for six awards and that, when it comes to music news in 2024, all roads lead back to her red-lipsticked visage. But few could have seen Sunday’s onslaught coming. Swift’s Midnights won album of the year — her record-breaking fourth win in that category alone — as well as best pop vocal album. And, of course, the singer made a splashy entrance and danced and sang along during performances even when seemingly everyone else was seated. But Swift set aside her headline-grabbingest moment for her first victory speech, in which she announced the imminent arrival of a new album titled The Tortured Poets Department, out April 19. Which means the conversation around Swift is only going to get busier and louder and more all-consuming, with next Sunday’s Super Bowl just six Swift-packed days away.

2. Saying “women did well” is underselling the degree to which women dominated the night.

Remember the 2018 Grammys, in which men dominated the major categories and the then-head of the Recording Academy later made a boneheaded comment about how women need to “step up”? Six years later, up has been stepped. All nine of the categories represented in Sunday night’s telecast were won by women artists, spread across seven different names: Swift (album of the year, best pop vocal album), Miley Cyrus (record of the year, best pop solo performance), Victoria Monét (best new artist), Billie Eilish (song of the year), SZA (best R&B song), Lainey Wilson (best country album) and Karol G (best música urbana album). Elsewhere, bands like boygenius and Paramore won big in categories representing rock and alternative music, while the performances in the telecast’s first half were dominated by big names such as Dua Lipa, Olivia Rodrigo, Eilish, Cyrus and SZA.

3. Two tear-jerking performances ruled them all. Luke Combs Tracy Chapmanthrilled Joni Mitchell Brandi Carlile Lucius SistaStrings Allison Russell Blake Mills Jacob Collier4. Speaking of tear-jerking, the best speeches showed how much the Grammys can mean to the artists who win them.5. Jay-Z didn’t spare the Recording Academy. Dr. Dre Blue Ivy Beyoncé6. The In Memoriam segment went long, but it worked. Stevie Wonder Tony Bennett Annie Lennox Sinéad O’Connor Jon Batiste Ann Nesby Clarence Avant Fantasia Barrino Adam Blackstone Tina Turner7. Killer Mike won three Grammys… and then got arrested. Run the Jewelsa tweet this morning8. Billy Joel performed his first new song in 17 years, then came back for an encore.The Downeaster ‘Alexa,’[taps earpiece]9. U2 offered us a look inside Las Vegas’ famed Sphere, and the world is still heaving from motion sickness. unlikelyArgylleArgylle10. The Grammys mostly resisted the urge to humiliate themselves. determined to have been lip-syncing Jethro Tull Metallica Macklemore Kendrick Lamar Ed Sheeran
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