The Grammy book of world records 2023

This year saw it’s fair share of new records

I wonder what goes through people’s minds when they say, “Oh I really want to watch the Grammys, it sounds like fun.” No it doesn’t. You proceed to sit on your couch for three-and-a-half hours and watch artists get award after award for their accomplishments. Most of the time the voters from NARAS (the academy responsible for the Grammy Awards) get things wrong (objectively speaking), but this time they were able to get some award/artist pairings right.   

So let’s start things off with American singer, rapper and flutist Lizzo. She just became the first Black woman in the 21st century to win Record of the Year. Her predecessor in the 20th century was none other than Whitney Houston for “I Will Always Love You.” When announced, Adele was the first to give her one of those big “I wrote 4 studio albums that are my age but you go Lizzo sister!” hugs and it was sweet.  

Actress Viola Davis, who starred in phenomenal movies such as Hidden Figures and The Help, got the EGOT status. What that means is, she is one of the few artists to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony award. This is no mean feat, I assure you, as only 17 other people have achieved this status. She won a Grammy for the audiobook of her memoir “Finding Me” (how is that music? Anyways, every day we stray further from the light of God).  

Harry Styles beat Beyonce, Kendrick, Adele, and Lizzo, among others, for Album of the Year. This is now the fourth time that an artist has nabbed the “Album of the Year” award from the Renaissance artist. Clearly, Beyonce’s album did not get in formation last year just like how she was late for the award ceremony. 

But fret not, for Beyonce achieved a record for the most Grammy wins in history. This totals her collection to 34 awards! 

For those of you who don’t know, Questlove is an accomplished musician and producer, most known for being part of the group the Roots (they actually performed at JazzFest MTL last year). This year for the Grammys, he organized a performance that involved all of the legends from RnB and hip-hop. Artists like Queen Latifah, LL Cool J, Ice T, and many others graced the stage with their presence and MC skills that would make trap artists’ bones quiver. 

Also, shoutout to Randy Rainbow the comedian, who mispronounced the word “Valhalla” as “Valaha” in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla. 

Graphic by Carleen Loney @shloneys


On Repeat

Our music editors share what they have been listening to lately

Guillaume Laberge, Music Editor

“As It Was” – Harry Styles

British pop star Harry Styles is back with his first single in three years. This indie-infused cut about a relationship falling apart despite the feelings still being there is definitely going to dominate the charts.

“Ice Cream” (feat. Rick Ross) – Freddie Gibbs

Another On Repeat, another aggressive rap banger filled with cocaine references. This time the culprits are Freddie Gibbs and Rick Ross, who team up for Gibbs’ fourth single ahead of his upcoming album SSS

“Lifestyle” (with Bas feat. A$AP Ferg) – Dreamville

This track off the new Dreamville D-Day: A Gangsta Grillz Mixtape sees Bas and A$AP Ferg venting about living the luxurious and playboy rapper lifestyle, while surfing and flowing over a wavy instrumental.

Saro Hartounian, Assistant Music Editor

“Intertwined” (feat. Elchin Shirinov and Roni Kaspi) – Avishai Cohen

Jazz bassist Avishai Cohen shows that you don’t need a sextet to have technical lounge madness as a trio. Each instrument cuts through the mix so clearly, “intertwining” with one another. Not for the faint of heart! 

“Broken Cog” – Meshuggah

From the band behind “Bleed,” the extreme prog metal band brings you “Broken Cog” from their Immutable album. Beware, the intro sounds like a slowed down version of “Down with the Sickness” by Disturbed, but heavier. Listener discretion is advised. 

“Micro-Aggressions” – Animals As Leaders 

The sub-genre of Djent’s holy triumphant Animals As Leaders released a new LP and I’m here for it. Tosin Abasi’s heavy technical guitar playing cuts through the mix with this symphonic single. They could easily give Polyphia a run for their money!


Graphic by Lily Cowper


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When fashion and music meet queerbaiting

Why I’m critical of Harry Styles’ fashion

At 27-years-old, British singer Harry Styles is already a universally recognized fashion icon. In his post-One Direction career, he adopted a more flamboyant and fashion-forward dress, wearing pink suits, pearls, sheer tops, dangly earrings, nail polish, and high heel boots. He’s earned significant praise for breaking away from the strict (and boring) confines of traditionally masculine clothing. The culmination of Styles’ rejection of toxic masculinity through fashion was in December 2020 when he became the first man to grace the cover of Vogue solo — wearing a Gucci gown.

Others have already pointed out that he isn’t exactly a pioneer; his fashion is inspired by musicians David Bowie and Prince, who were also known for “gender bending” fashion before he was even born. This trio’s fashion isn’t exactly unique or revolutionary either, however. These three are just those who have been uplifted by the industry, and our culture, because they have been deemed more palatable.

Bowie was white, and although Prince was a Black man, for part of his career he was presented as multiracial due to his lighter skin tone, and his role as a biracial musician in Purple Rain. Bowie and Prince flirted with rumours about their sexuality, with Bowie even stating that he was gay and bisexual in the 70s, but both were ultimately presumably straight, as Bowie later said he was “always a closet heterosexual,” while Prince became quite conservative.

Despite this, Prince and David Bowie are widely considered to be gay icons. In contrast, Little Richard, a rock ‘n’ roll pioneer remembered for his “fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona” who inspired Prince and Bowie musically and stylistically, has not been afforded the same status even though he referred to himself as gay and omnisexual throughout his life. Sylvester, an androgynous and openly gay singer best known for his 1978 disco hit (and LGBTQ+ pride anthem) “You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real)” has also been largely forgotten in this discourse.

Styles has kept his sexuality ambiguous. And while I respect his desire to keep certain details private, there is a long history of bisexuality being used by musicians to seem more interesting and transgressive which has ultimately contributed to stigma that continues to surround bisexuality. He’s denied “sprinkling in nuggets of sexual ambiguity to try and be more interesting,” but I’m admittedly a little weary. Even if Styles is queer, right now, his sexual orientation is ambiguous and he’s only ever publicly dated women. This allows him to benefit from queer aesthetics and allows queer people to identify with him, without Styles having to deal with nearly as much homophobia as other entertainers like Lil Nas X or Billy Porter, who also sport very feminine and androgynous fashion on red carpets and are both openly gay men.

Styles’ rise as both a fashion and queer icon shows how, despite more representation and diversity in our media, we haven’t made much progress since the heydays of Bowie and Prince.

Actor and singer Jaden Smith was featured in a womenswear campaign for Louis Vuitton at age 17, wearing a skirt. This made him the first man to model women’s wear for the fashion house. Smith has been wearing outfits similar to Styles for years, once wearing a skirt to his prom and even launching a gender neutral clothing line. But as one Twitter user pointed out in response to someone commenting on Styles’ impact on the fashion industry, “its the way jaden smith has been wearing the outfits harry styles has, but yall called him weird and made fun of him.”

Fashion similar to Styles’ is common among male K-pop idols, who are frequently criticized for “looking like girls” in the West. G-Dragon, a 32-year-old South Korean rapper and the leader of hip hop group Big Bang, has been called “a chameleon who often makes peak-era Lady Gaga seem staid.” Though, for much of his career, G-Dragon has dressed quite traditionally masculine (albeit much more fun and fashionable then the average male celebrity), he’s also been unafraid to wear makeup, heels, skirts, and drop earrings, or sport long hair and look beautiful. He’s gone way beyond anything Styles has ever done in terms of gender-fluid fashion, but in his more toned down moments he’s dressed very similarly to Styles.

Despite this, male K-Pop idols like G-Dragon are not considered queer or fashion icons, and neither is Jaden Smith. While there are other factors besides race or xenophobia at play, it would be irresponsible to totally ignore that.

When it comes to male celebrities — whether we’re talking about Styles, Prince, or Smith — feminine, androgynous, flamboyant fashion is usually exotica. Rarely do they actually dress that way off stage or off the red carpet or magazines. When they dress outside traditional gender roles they do deal with criticism, but they also get attention and praise while regular queer people who dress like that are at risk of violence when they walk down the street. So when our culture puts men like Styles on pedestals, it feels like a way for society to pat itself on the back as super progressive while ignoring the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, particularly queer POC.

I think Styles is helping to make fashion less binary and showing a different type of masculinity, and I’m happy he’s dressing however he likes. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be critical and have an intersectional perspective that helps us realize why his fashion is so hyped up. There is a long history of queer and Black culture being appropriated by privileged white cishet people who are celebrated for these aesthetics. And queer people are often so desperate for representation that they will idolize the crumbs they’re given even when it’s obvious queerbaiting.

So the solution seems simple: you can love and appreciate Styles’ fashion, but make sure you’re uplifting the true pioneers.


Photo collage by Kit Mergaert

Music Quickspins

QUICKSPINS: Harry Styles – Fine Line

Harry Styles inches closer to delivering a truly great rock album

With his debut self-titled album from 2017, Harry Styles made it evident that he was fully abandoning his sugary teen-pop image from his One Direction days. As the star of his own show, the British singer-songwriter opted for a sound rooted in classic rock, a genre that is increasingly waning in popularity.

On Fine Line, it seems like his personality as a solo artist is developing even more. Songs like “She” and “To Be So Lonely” offer a different perspective from Styles that would make you jump at the thought that this man was the frontman of the band that made “What Makes You Beautiful.”

The singles are, without a doubt, attempts at cracking Billboard’s Top 40, but they are nothing if not entirely pleasant and fun, especially the trumpet-filled “Watermelon Sugar.” The song is sequenced perfectly as its follow-up “Adore You” is another potential chart-topper.

Styles falters, though, in his attempts to make folk songs. “Cherry” is a slow-paced generic tune that features the same guitar strings that could be found on a Mumford & Sons track (and no, that’s not a compliment). The song’s progression is uneventful and the songwriting is lacklustre, two essential elements when crafting a track like this.

“Falling” is a powerful ballad that never quite reaches the highs of “Sign of the Times” from Styles’ self-titled project, but manages to capture the raw emotion conveyed through his strong voice.

Despite being sold as a rock album, Fine Line often finds itself jumping around from subgenre to subgenre, and that lack of sonic cohesiveness is often what makes the record so disjointed at times. It never quite figures out what it wants to be, and while that doesn’t necessarily ruin the quality of its strongest songs, it makes the album sound like a loosely compiled amalgamation of tracks, rather than a streamlined body of work.

Rating: 7/10

Trial Track: Watermelon Sugar


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