Taylor Swift's Fraught Win

Mario Anzuoni / Reuters
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

Hip-hop’s drought in the Album of the Year category at the Grammys continues for a 12th year. Kendrick Lamar entered the night with a historic number of nominations and delivered a ceremony-saving performance, but his To Pimp a Butterfly lost out to Taylor Swift’s 1989 for the big award. Of course, it’s never a huge surprise when a strongly reviewed 5x platinum album wins out at the Grammys, especially when its genre is pop.

Swift delivered an acceptance speech with a few layers of meaning and politics to unpack. She touted the fact that she's the first woman to ever win two Albums of the Year from the Grammys, a factlet whose mention may have been an attempt to pre-empt the idea that her win is unfair or not progressive. She also told women to not worry about men who “take credit for your accomplishments or your fame,” which probably referred to Kanye West’s recent lyric saying that he’s responsible for Swift’s fame.

Beyonce then came out and awarded Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars’s “Uptown Funk” the Record of the Year award. After that, Pitbull closed the show with the help of Robin Thicke, Travis Barker, Joe Perry, and Sofia Vergara dressed as a taxi.