The Grammys Remix! 1995 Version
I recently read an article that pointed out all of the great albums that are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year. After reading that article you thought that 1994 was a great year in music. However, if you look at the Grammy Award winners from that year you would think that 1994 was a down year in music. What is the truth? Let us remix the 1995 Grammy Awards and find out.
Before we begin, let us recall a few notes from the first Grammys Remix which is located here. The Grammy Awards cover a weird period of autumn to autumn; we are switching that up to cover an entire year. So this 1995 Grammys Remix awards will only go to music released in 1994. Second, we are only focusing on three awards: “Best New Artist”, “Song of the Year” and “Record of the Year”. We have merged the Record and Song of the Year into one award. The distinction between the two is too ridiculous. The final note pertains to the Best New Artist award. The Grammys give it to the best breakout artist, however the Grammys Remix version gives it to the best debuting artist. With those notes out of the way, let us delve into the awards.
Best New Artist
The Grammys gave this award to Sheryl Crow, who surprisingly was awarded for her debut album. However, that debut came in 1993, not 1994. The other nominees included: Ace of Base, Counting Crows, Crash Test Dummies and Green Day. Although Ace of Base and Counting Crows were nominated for their debut albums, those albums were released in 1993. Green Day and Crash Test Dummies were nominated for their 3rd and 2nd albums, respectably.
This means that we need a whole new cast of nominees for the “Best New Artist” for the 1995 Grammys Remix awards.
Four of the nominees will be become obvious from later in this article, but they are: The Nororious B.I.G., Nas, Portishead and Jeff Buckley. The other nominee is one that had the third ranked album of the year by the Best Ever Albums Ever website (a website that polls all critics list and merges into a single list) and that is Weezer.
Grammys Remix “Best New Artists” nominees:
The Notorious B.I.G.
The winner goes to The Notorious B.I.G. and the reason why will become obvious when looking at the other two categories.
Song of the Year
The two winners for the Grammys two “Song of the Year” awards were Bruce Springsteen’s “Streets of Philadelphia” and Sheryl Crow’s “All I Wanna Do”. Other songs nominated that were released in 1994 were: “I’ll Make Love to You” by Boyz II Men, Bonnie Rait’s “Love Sneakin’ Up on You”, All-4-One’s “I Swear”, and Elton John’s two songs from the Lion King soundtrack “Circle of Life” and “Can You Feel the Love Tonight”. Mary-Chapin Carpernter’s “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” was released in 1993, so it is eliminated. However looking at the critics and through history, all of those songs will be eliminated from contention. The only way those could come close to best song awards is if it is based purely on profit. Let us form a new list of contenders.
Looking at Pitchfork’s “The Top 200 Tracks of the 1990s” and Rolling Stone’s “500 Greatest Songs of All Time” produces one nominee being The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy”. Now looking at NME’s “100 Best Tracks of the Nineties” and the Rolling Stone list yields two more nominees in Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” and Weezer’s “Buddy Holly”. Finally just looking at all those lists and the songs ranked the highest on all of them will produce the final two nominees in Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” and Oasis’ “Live Together”.
Grammys Remix “Song of the Year” Nominees:
“Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G.
“Sabotage” by Beastie Boys
“Buddy Holly” by Weezer
“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star
“Live Together” by Oasis
The winner goes to The Notrious B.I.G.’s “Juicy” for being highly ranked by both Pitchfork and Rolling Stone. Rap took a long time before it got any due at the Grammy Awards proper, the remix version will not over look any category of music.
Album of the Year
The most important category at the Grammy Awards is the Album of the Year, at least to me. This year’s winner was Tony Bennett’s MTV Unplugged. The other nominees include: The Three Tenors in Concert 1994, Eric Clapton’s “From the Cradle”, Bonnie Rait’s “Longing in Their Hearts” and Seal’s self-titled album. All of these albums were released in 1994, so we don’t have to throw away any of these nominees from the get go.
Looking at what the critics thought, at the time and into the future, yields a very different picture of 1994. The winner of the Grammy Awards “Album of the Year”, Tony Bennett’s “MTV Unplugged” album, is ranked 542 on the Best Album Ever website for 1994. The Three Tenors’ is ranked 530, Eric Clapton’s is ranked 125, Bonnie Rait’s is ranked 460, and Seal’s is ranked 312. Let me re-iterate this is a ranking of all albums from 1994 pooled from all major critics. So, what do the critics actually say should be nominated?
I looked at three main sources for gathering these nominees. I looked at Pitchfork’s “Top 100 Albums of the 1990s”, Rolling Stone magazines “100 Best Albums of the 1990s” and the Best Album Ever website. So two diverse historically looking back lists and one of just all reviews, mostly from the time.
Best Albums Ever has Jeff Buckley’s “Grace” as the top album of 1994, so that is one nominee. The top album from 1994 on Rolling Stone’s list is The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Ready to Die”, so that is the second nominee. Pitchfork listed Pavement’s “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” as their top album which gains them a nominee. The final two nominees are the two albums that are listed high on each of these lists and they are: Nas’ “Illmatic” and Portishead’s “Dummy”. I just want to note that one album in consideration was Nirvana’s “MTV Unplugged in New York”, it’s just a funny note that it wasn’t nominated by the Grammys for “Album of the Year”, but Tony Bennett’s “MTV Unplugged” album won.
Grammys Remix “Album of the Year” Nominees:
“Ready to Die” by The Notorious B.I.G.
“Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” by Pavement
“Grace” by Jeff Buckley
“Illmatic” by Nas
“Dummy” by Portishead
The winner goes to Pavement’s “Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain” for one simple reason. It was the top album on Pitchfork’s list and second on Rolling Stones. If those two diverse publications can agree, then so should the Grammys.
I am never quite sure what the Grammy Awards are trying to reward, but if they were trying to reward the best music of 1994 then there awards would be similar to this list.