Grammy Nominees 2014: The Breakdown, Part Deux

I had a well thought out introduction for the second part of this post. It was going to not only be entertaining and interesting, but poignant and provocative. But I ran into 3 problems. 1) The last post ran too long, mostly because of that big ol’ introduction, and I’d like to avoid that this time 2) I’m short on time. I started this thing Wednesday night of Grammy week, and giving myself another 500 words to edit and proofread is no fun 3) I can’t remember what the hell my idea for the introduction was. So let’s just jump right into it.

Song of The Year

thrift-shop-macklemore

This is a picture of a man who is nominated for SONG OF THE YEAR AT THE GRAMMY AWARDS ARE YOU SHITTING ME

The Nominees (they suck)

  • “Just Give Me A Reason” by Jeff Bhasker, Pink & Nate Ruess
  • “Locked out of Heaven” by Philip Lawrence, Ari Levine & Bruno Mars
  • “Roar” by Lukasz Gottwald, Max Martin, Bonnie McKee, Katy Perry & Henry Walter
  • “Same Love” by Joel Little & Ella Yelich O’Connor
  • “Royals” by Ben Haggerty, Mary Lambert & Ryan Lewis

The Breakdown

Remember, this is a songwriting award. So I guess the first order of business here would probably to ask HOW IN GODS NAME DID IT TAKE 5 PEOPLE TO WRITE “Roar”? It’s the most repetitive piece of garbage I’ve ever heard. My niece wrote a better set of lyrics in 10 minutes last year. And the song was about ketchup. I’m so tired of writing about Bruno Mars. Pink is so much better when she’s showing some attitude. “Just Give Me A Reason” shows no attitude, just a willingness to stick to the formula. Yawn. “Same Love” is a great try. It really is. I firmly believe believe that songs about marriage equality are good, because the arts are supposed to lead culture, right? And I know this is a very nuanced issue that I really don’t want to talk about here, but I just feel like a white-guy not-actually-a-rapper-rapper supporting gay rights isn’t doing much against homophobia in the hip-hop community. Switching gears, Lorde is the illuminating light, the sole beacon of hope in my dreary, miserable existence.

Who Should Win

“Royals.” 2013 was an all-time bad year in pop music, save for this anti-pop anthem. Seriously, how can people listen to that shit? I’m doing it out of an obligation for blog post accuracy. But some people enjoy it? HOW?

Who Will Win

“Just Give Me A Reason” probably. Grammy voters have such an irrationally larger boner for big, anthemic jams. Pink’s actually pretty cool, too. She’s the less-est of 4 evils.

What The Hell Is That Doing Here?

Literally everything except “Royals.” How many half-witted Cro-Magnons were in the room that came up with this list of nominees. It’s THE SONG OF THE YEAR AWARD. You mean to tell me someone-anyone- on this planet believes that these are the 5 best written songs of the year? Give me names. I want names of the people who think this. I will write them letters. I will send emails. I will kidnap their families. I will strap them down and blast Katy Perry until they puke every time she sings the lyric “I went from zero to my own hero.” KATY YOU’RE 30 FUCKING YEARS OLD AND YOU SING THAT WITH A STRAIGHT FACE HOW CAN YOU LOOK AT YOURSELF IN THE MIRROR AT NIGHT?

Who Got Snubbed?

Every song. All of the songs. I can’t think of one that is less deserving of a nomination than the 4 here that aren’t “Royals.” Taylor Swift song about an ex-boyfriend? More deserving. Lil Wayne doing a cover of Eddie Van Halen’s “Eruption”? More deserving. The audio from Kim Kardashian’s sex tape? More deserving. A 20 second recording of Bono pissing into a cup? More deserving.

Eric’s Take (in gif format)

83442866-copy.gif w=320&h=240

“These are the nominees?”

Best Rap Album

dakota-fanning-2009-22368

This category is the same age as Dakota Fanning, which is kinda fucked up. One of many cases of Grammy prejudice against rap.

The Nominees

  • Nothing Was The Same by Drake
  • Magna Carta…Holy Grail by Jay Z
  • good kid, m.A.A.d. city by Kendrick Lamar
  • Yeezus by Kanye West
  • The Heist by Macklemore…MACKLEMORE!!! and Ryan Lewis

The Breakdown

I’d like to talk less about the nominees here and more about the category and the award itself. This is the biggest year in the short history of Best Rap Album. It’s, in essence, a two horse race between good kid, m.A.A.d. city and The Heist. It shouldn’t be, but it is. Whichever way the committee goes will be a good barometer of their willingness to accept rap for what it is-the most popular genre in the year 2014. Will they pick Kendrick and the best hip-hop album of the last 5 years, or will they pick the white guy who isn’t even really a rapper but is safe and not at all edgy? Grammy credibility seems to dwindle a little more every year. But if they don’t make the right choice here, it’ll be the final nail in the coffin for many.

Who Should Win

good kid, m.A.A.d. city, obviously. Read about how awesome it is here. Yeezus is also worthy, but that would be a major surprise.

Who Will Win

Macklemore-MACKLEMORE!!! and Ryan Lewis. I’m not sure when Grammy stopped meaning anything-or if they ever meant anything- but this year’s awards will mark a new low in credibility. If this does happen-and I hope it doesn’t-it’ll be a slap in the face to hip-hop artists, journalists, and listeners everywhere.

What The Hell Is That Doing Here?

In a year filled with huge rap release after huge rap release, it’s pretty hard to believe that The Heist made it in here. Actually, it’s not. Look at the alternatives- J. Cole, A$AP Rocky, Earl Sweatshirt- edgy, edgier, edgiest. Macklemore is so nice and safe and benign and the committee is so painfully out of touch with hip-hop. It’s a match made in heaven.

Who Got Snubbed?

4 spots of this category were set in stone- Yeezus, gkmc, MCHG, and NWTS. But the aforementioned artists-Cole, A$AP, Earl, plus Chance the Rapper and maybe even Tyler the Creator are more deserving of that last spot than The Heist.

Eric’s Take (in gif format)

tumblr_lixwznlPPJ1qgy5npo1_400

“I can dig it”

Best Rock Performance

rock

The Grammy Awards-having no idea what rock is since 2012.

The Nominees

  • “Always Alright” by Alabama Shakes
  • “The Stars (Are Out Tonight)” by David Bowie
  • “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons
  • “Kashmir” by Led Zeppelin
  • “My God Is The Sun” by Queens of the Stone Age
  • “I’m Shakin'” by Jack White

The Breakdown

An interesting, star-studded mix of old and new here. “Always Alright” is an awesome song, but it’ll almost certainly get lost in the shuffle here. The nominated performance of “Kashmir” is well worth your 10 minutes if you’re interested. Bowie is less androgynous than he used to be, but you wouldn’t know if from listening to “The Next Day.” It’s the same old weird-ass Bowie. I tweeted this joke already, but what the hell I’ll say it again. “Radioactive” is a song about nothing. It is painfully inconsequential. It’s the “Seinfeld” of alternative music. “I’m Shakin” is a Jack White cover of a Little Willie John that has an awesome music video (which is incidentally nominated for best music video) and “My God is the Sun” is high-pace driving song featuring Dave Grohl kicking more-than ample amounts of ass on the drums.

Who Should Win

There’s really only one way they can go wrong here (more on that later). Most of the nominees are deserving, but I have to pick one. “My God Is The Sun” gets it, I guess. Even though it’s not the best song on the album. “I Sat By The Ocean” is, for my money, the superior single

Who Will Win

It hurts me to say this, but I think “Radioactive.” IT’S BIG AND LOUD AND APPARENTLY THAT’S GOOD JUST ASK FUN. But it’s not rock. Which brings me to…

What The Hell Is That Doing Here?

THAT SHIT ISN’T ROCK. Imagine Dragons. Not rock. Not even close. Especially that song. The production (there’s a lot of it) is very hip-hop, if not dubstep. It sounds nothing like any of the other nominees-mostly due to lack of actual instrumentation. It’s a pop song. Alternative, perhaps-but I truly think, at heart, it’s a radio-friendly pop song. That’s a really stupid band name, too. Imagine Dragons. Apparently it’s an anagram for their original name. Which is what? They won’t say. Let’s try to figure it out. “Sore mangina, dig?” “Ginseng diorama” “Smearing a dingo” “Sangria-gin mode” It’s probably one of those.

Who Got Snubbed?

Arctic Monkeys, who are infinitely more rock than Imagine Dragons. “Do I Wanna Know”, the lead single of their latest album, deserved a spot.

Eric’s Take (in gif format)

tumblr_mlkzxedf2v1rqqvdio1_400

Lightning Round

logo-lightning

Because not everything can get 500 words

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance– “Stay” by Rihanna featuring that guy who sings it with her.Who is he anyway?

Best Pop Vocal AlbumPure Heroine by Lorde. Duh. The worst part about this is that Lana Del Rey is nominated. Did you know her name is an anagram too? Yeah, if you mix up the letters it spells “anal…Del Rey” Get it? Anal! Whatever.

Best Rap Performance- “Tom Ford” by Jay Z. The fact that “Berzerk” is even nominated makes me giggle. It’s the worst thing Eminem’s ever released.

Best Country Album- Let’s make one thing perfectly clear here- I didn’t listen to anything nominated. But how did Red get here? I don’t know much, but I know Taylor is not a country singer anymore.

Best Artist Who Wore Leather Pants In Jail- Savor it, JB. This award I made up is the closest you’ll ever come to a Grammy. Not sure why the voters seem so hesitant to give the teen idols any love, though-they’re not any worse than Katy Perry or Taylor Swift.

Best Song By A Child Star Whose Wholesome Image Was Created By Disney Channel Executives But Now They’re Older And They’re Trying Desperately To Shed That Image And Get People To Take Them Seriously By Over-sexualizing Themselves In Music Videos- A busy category this year. Bold prediction- Selena Gomez scores a major upset. “Come and Get It” should just be called “I’m Your Subservient Sexual Doormat.” Great message for the young women of America. I would say the song is suggestive, but it’s so obviously about her vagina that it’s beyond suggestiveness. It’s just blatant. Here ya go kids, vagina song.

Alright, let’s finish this up

Album of The Year

mumford-grammy_wide-d3f39e3eb523579ab3497d7c289fe34c2aaae723-s6-c30

Mumford and Sons-sporting unhealthy and, frankly, alarming amounts of denim-won Album of The Year last year (and I called it).

The Nominees

  • The Blessed Unrest by Sara Bareilles
  • Random Access Memories by Daft Punk
  • good kid, m.A.A.d city by Kendrick Lamar
  • The Heist by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. MACKLEFUCKINGMORE IS NOMINATED FOR ALBUM OF THE YEAR.
  • Boys Are Mean To Me Volume IV Red by Taylor Swift

The Breakdown

Maybe the most scattershot, album-covers-on-a-dartboard field I’ve ever seen. I am pulling so ridiculously hard for good kid here. Kendrick deserves it, and hip-hop deserves it; it’s an album that wouldn’t win because it had a single that crossed over into pop territory (like the only other hip-hop winner, Outkast’s Speakerboxxx/The Love Below) or because it was a commercial juggernaut. If it wins (unlikely), it’s because Grammy voters are truly recognizing the best rap album made in a long time for its artistic merits. Taylor Swift sold a bajillion copies because she’s the reigning queen of corporate, bubblegum, vacuous, diet coke-sponsored pop music. That’s the only reason she’s here-sales. The Blessed Unrest is the most interesting and, overall, best effort of Sara Bareilles’ career. But its inclusion here, in this field is…mystifying. I don’t want to say it doesn’t deserve to be here, cause it’s a hell of a lot better than Red, but to see an album that got almost no media/big sales and wasn’t acclaimed by critics is bizarre. Random Access Memories is probably Daft Punk’s best album to date, and is covered more here. Macklemore, whose name has come up in this post way too many times, is the way out for Grammy voters. What does that mean? I’ll get there in a minute.

Who Should Win

Kendrick Lamar and good kid, m.A.A.d city. It’s a socially conscious, street-savvy hip-hop classic that values storytelling and lyricism over accessibility. Therein lies the problem-lack of accessibility. This sounds an awful lot like what I said last year about Channel Orange. Unfortunately, I’m inclined to believe Kendrick will suffer the same fate as Frank Ocean

Who Will Win

*sigh* Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. They’re the way out. The way for Grammy voters to embrace the rising tide of hip-hop and its music industry dominance…without actually embracing the rising tide of hip-hop and its music industry dominance. The independently released The Heist is a great way-and, most importantly, a safe way for voters-to stay mainstream but look cool (to some; disingenuous to others) while doing it.

What The Hell Is That Doing Here?

It’s a labor at this point to talk about Taylor Swift. I’m exhausted. And you can end it all so easily, Taylor. Just do something different. I get it-you’re rolling in cash and 90% of 15 year old white girls in America would take a bullet for you. Why would you change the formula? Why would you try to actually be an artist and progress? But I’m begging you. Anything different. Do a cover album! Write an album of piano ballads! Polka! Bluegrass! Do a duet with 2 Live Crew! Just do something different, it’s even getting old for me to hate you for. I’m sick of making fun of you, Taylor. I really am.

Who Got Snubbed?

Seeing as this category tries to narrow down every album released in the eligibility period to the 5 best, there’s gonna be some snubs. Immediately, I think of Yeezus, …Like Clockwork, Pure Heroine, and The 20/20 Experience (although that’s partially Timberlake’s fault because of the double release thing). Expect Arcade Fire and Paul McCartney to be early favorites for 2015, as their albums narrowly missed the cutoff date.

Eric’s Take (in gif format)

tumblr_m7xap0X1VT1rt04f0o1_500

Generally, not looking like a great year for the Grammy Awards. But it’s not like you’re not gonna watch it, amirite?. Plus Queens of the Stone Age and Dave Grohl are gonna close the show. How gnarly is that? Pretty gnarly. See everybody on twitter at 8 o’clock sharp.

Advertisements