It’s Grammys time again which means that a great deal of music fans are really confused. What are the Grammys supposed to reward? Is it the most popular music? It doesn’t seem that way. Is it the best in music? Nope, not that either. Then what are you Grammys?
To add to the confusion, the fact there is a “Record of the Year” award and a “Song of the Year” award, are both given to a top song is just baffling. One seems to reward the best recorded song and the other for the actual quality of the song? However, they both seem to be based on popularity too? Nobody really understands this and it is an insane system.
Which leads me to another award that makes no sense: the “Best New Artist” award. I remember one year a band I listened to for years was nominated for “Best New Artist,” and it was their third album and their worst.
Add to all of this mess is the fact that “Pet Sounds” by The Beach Boys, a popular album at the time that is consistently rated as a top 3 albums ever, was never nominated for “Album of the Year.” This all leads to The Grammys being so strange that I really want to take a look at them.
The Grammys really come down to four awards: “Record of the Year,” “Album of the Year,” “Song of the Year” and “Best New Artist.” If we were going to look at The Grammys and fix them up, obviously you start with combining Record and Song of the Year. Next, let’s look at the critics and get a good consensus on what is the best from the year and go from there.
This project will take a look at the history of The Grammys, who was nominated and who won. It will then make new nominations based on who should have been and then pick brand new winners. It will be the Grammys Remixed.
Since we are in Grammy season right now, let us start with the 2014 awards.
BEST NEW ARTIST
The 2014 Grammy nominees are: James Blake, Kendrick Lamar, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kacey Musgraves and Ed Sheeran.
James Blake whose first album came out in 2011 does not look like a new artist to me.
Nor does Kendrick Lamar who had an album in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and he had nothing in 2013! Upon further research, I just learned that the Grammy Awards cover October 1 to September 30, instead of an actual calendar year. Really? Well, we are going to ignore that rule, because that is weird. You shouldn’t be getting an award for a song that came out in 2012, when the awards are labelled as 2014.
Now Macklemore & Ryan Lewis is an interesting case. Their first album together did come out in 2012 however, Macklemore has been releasing EP’s since 2000. I don’t think a new act, made of older pieces, really counts as new. It probably should be someone who is actually new.
Kacey Musgraves had her breakout album this year however, she had a LP come out in 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008 and then this year. Your fifth album should not get you nominated as a new artist.
That leaves Ed Sheeran, somebody who I have never heard of before. He is apparently big in Britain, but his album came out in 2011.
I think we need to look elsewhere for a “Best New Artist.”
If we are going to make new nominations, why not start with Lorde? Since, you know, she was nominated for “Song of the Year” from her first album that came out in 2013. That would be a logical choice, would it not?
Haim is a band that had a very well received debut and are popular enough to be appearing on SNL, so let’s give them the second nomination.
Disclosure is another band that is getting a lot of love nowadays and their debut album came out this year. Sure they had some EP’s in the past, but a debut full album is probably a better parameter.
Savages played at Coachella in 2013 and also put out their debut album which had real good reviews.
Finally, CHVRCHES is a band I really enjoy that has critical acclaim and should be recognized.
Best New Artist for the 2014 Grammy’s Remix
Nominees: Lorde, Haim, Disclosure, Savages and CHRVCHES!
Winner: You kind of have to go with Lorde here. Loved by everyone, fans and critics alike.
SONG OF THE YEAR
Here are the songs that were nominated in the proper Grammys for “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year”: Get Lucky by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams & Nile Rodgers, Radioactive by Imagine Dragons, Royals by Lorde, Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars, Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. & Pharrell, Just Give Me a Reason by Pink featuring Nate Ruess, Roar by Katy Perry, Same Love by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Mary Lambert.
Some songs were actually nominated for both awards including the Bruno Mars and Lorde songs. Yes, Lorde was nominated for “Record of the Year” and “Song of the Year”, but not for “Best New Artist.” Why? Who knows.
There is actually some really good tunes in those nominees, but also some that are just there based on popularity not quality. Let’s take a look at what seems to be the consensus from various sources. Just a note, this is the hardest category to get a consensus on due to a wide variety. For albums, you have a bunch of songs on them and there is more agreement. Songs though are much more difficult, but I will try my best.
I think The Grammys actually got it right in nominating Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” It’s hugely popular and a real good song to boot. Seems to get love from fans and critics alike.
Although Kacey Musgraves was nominated for “Best New Artist,” which makes no sense, if you want to find a real place to nominate her it should be for “Song of the Year” for “Follow Your Arrow”.
What would a music award be without Kayne West? Well his song “New Slaves” is a song that at least deserves mention. It seems to be on a lot of people’s lists, that is for certain.
A song that seems to be at a top of most lists is “Play by Play” by Autre Ne Veut.
Rounding out the nominees is Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” which tops or nears the top of many charts.
Song of the Year for the 2014 Grammy’s Remix
Nominees: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk featuring Pharrell Williams, “Follow Your Arrow” by Kacey Musgraves, “New Slaves” by Kanye West featuring Frank Ocean, “Play by Play” by Autre Ne Veut and “Hold On, We’re Going Home” by Drake featuring Majid Jordan
Winner: A real tough category, but in an attempt to not give all the awards to one band, I think Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” should take Song of the Year. It can really be a toss up at this point because there’s lots of great stuff here.
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
We are at the most important award of The Grammys (at least to me), the “Album of the Year.” The nominees are: “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 & Ryan Lewis, and “Red” by Taylor Swift.
Unfortunately, we have to throw out Kendrick Lamar’s awesome album because it came out in 2012 and we changed the criteria. For the same reason “The Heist” and “Red” also get thrown out. “The Blessed Unrest” is tossed due to having too many other great albums in 2013. Sorry!
We will keep Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” as a nominee because of how popular it was, how well it was received and how great the recording of it was.
There are two albums that should get easy nominations for dominating two different lists on metacritic.com. For those that don’t know, metacritic.com takes every critic and combines them into one list. Kayne West’s “Yeezus” dominates the critics’ year-end top 10 lists, while “Sunbather” by Deafheaven is the best-reviewed album of 2013.
The final two albums that are making a LOT of critics top lists of the year are “Modern Vampires of the City” by Vampire Weekend and “Reflektor” by Arcade Fire.
That is actually a really impressive list of albums there.
“Album of the Year” for the 2014 Grammys Remix
Nominees: “Random Access Memories” by Daft Punk, “Yeezus” by Kayne West, “Sunbather” by Deafheaven, “Modern Vampires of the City” by Vampire Weekend and “Reflektor” by Arcade Fire.
Winner: You can’t really go wrong with any of these albums, however Daft Punk has the edge for the master skill they pulled off during the recording of “Random Access Memories.” It really is a masterpiece that everybody should give a listen to. You may know the singles, but this works much better as a whole.
There you have it! My look at the proper 2014 Grammy Awards and a look at my remixed version. Send any comments my way through the Place to be Nation facebook page and via my twitter @StevenGrahamTWS.