Grammy night was all about two mute Frenchmen — and big messages.
As Daft Punk cleaned up, the anti-materialism anthems “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis and “Royals” by Lorde also scored. And for once the music industry made Grammy night about something more than celebrating itself.
After a performance of Macklemore and Lewis’ gay marriage anthem “Same Love,” 33 couples, gay and straight, held a mass wedding officiated by Queen Latifah. Madonna emerged to sing her hit “Open Your Heart to Me.”
Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” won Album of the Year, while the album’s hit single “Get Lucky” earned Record of the Year. Daft Punk also earned the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance award with Williams and Rodgers.
The members of Daft Punk — in helmets as always, because they adopt mute robot characters onstage — accepted the Best Pop Duo/Group Performance award with Rodgers and Williams, whose oversized Indiana Jones hat threatened to overshadow the entire show. He did the talking.
Williams, who also won for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical, accepted Daft Punk’s first award “on behalf of the robots.”
As they accepted Record of the Year, he spoke for them again, saying, “I’ll bet France is really proud of these guys right now.”
Macklemore and Lewis won Best New Artist, while “Thrift Shop” scored in the Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song categories, and their album “The Heist” won for Best Rap Album. Over a swaggy horn loop, “Thrift Shop” raps the praises of buying second-hand instead of retail. Later the duo performed “Same Love” with Mary Lambert, in a set that led into the weddings.
Lorde’s “Royals,” like “Thrift Shop” pokes fun at the kinds of excess you used to see in hip-hop videos. In the song, the New Zealand teenager compares growing up broke in an obscure town to the kinds of lives she hears about on the radio: “But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your timepiece/ Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash/We don’t care, we aren’t caught up in your love affair.”
Lorde won for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Royals,” and Song of the Year went to “Royals” songwriters Joel Little and Ella Yellich O’Connor –Lorde’s real name.
She performed a dark, slowed-down version of the peppy piece of Top 40 social commentary early in the night.
“Royals” and “Thrift Shop” provided a counterpoint to a night of typical awards show excess: Pink dangling from the ceiling, Paul McCartney and Ringo Star reuniting, a classical musical mashup of Metallica’s “One,” and Daft Punk assembling a disco dream team of Williams, Rodgers, and Stevie Wonder.
The award for best rock song went to Paul McCartney and Dave Grohl for “Cut Me Some Slack,” which teamed McCartney with the surviving members of Nirvana. McCartney received the award for his latest work even as The Beatles received a lifetime achievement award, half a century after their debut.
Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake won for Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for “Holy Grail.” In his speech, Jay-Z held up his Grammy and said, “Daddy got a gold sippy cup for you.”
The Best Pop Vocal Album winner award went to Bruno Mars for “Unorthodox Jukebox.”
Kacey Musgraves won for Best Country Album for “Same Trailer, Different Park.” Her performance included a more subtle embrace of same-sex relationships.
“Make lots of noise/Kiss lots of boys,” she sang in her performance of “Follow Your Arrow.” “Or kiss lots of girls, if that’s something you’re into.”
Watch Daft Punk accept the award for Album of the Year below:
Watch Queen Latifah perform a wedding ceremony for 33 couples at the Grammys: