The Daft Punk Dialectic: A Marxist Interpretation of the Grammys

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Pfeifer, Sean
The Grammys are one of a handful of annual American ceremonies that offer insight into the state of American culture. The 2014 Grammy ceremony featured an unusual combination of contemporary popular music stars and older musicians who have long since passed out of cultural relevance. In this essay I argue that the choices made by the Grammys, in terms of who to put onstage, can be read as a paradoxical attempt to tap into the sense of social unrest in American culture in the wake of the Great Recession, while at the same time remaining politically ambivalent. The Grammys represent a contradiction, a dialectic that suggests that American popular music is struggling to find its place in our increasingly tense political moment.