Two observations based on the Billboard Music Awards:
(1) Running through a hit-strewn preface that plays like an Obama-era catalog of very necessary vulgarity, Nicki Minaj lands on 2017 “No Frauds” and the David Guetta-produced “Light My Body Up” while Lil Wayne and Jason Derulo, the latter burdened by layers of coats and dreads, interject their love patter. The women look in charge; the dudes look like they want to squeeze into knee-high leather boots. None of this matters, though, for Minaj returns singing “You Lied” before a waterfall while nymphs writhe like the dancers on a 1970’s daytime revue. All that’s missing are carpeted stairs and a horn section with paunchy members wearing ruffle tux shirts.
(2) Ed Sheeran’s success shows that audiences do want narrative of some kind in pop. He’s a type we’ve dealt with many times before and looks odd besides the Chainsmokers — the way Dan Fogelberg did beside Kraftwerk in the mid seventies.
I contributed best and worst blurbs to Rolling Stone‘s coverage of the awards: Julia Michaels, Imagine Dragons, Camila Cabello, Miley Cyrus, and Lorde.