Tuesday, 22 January 2013

My Guide to the 2013 Grammys

So the Grammys are coming up. Again. I know that basically only eight percent of the world's population still cares about this three-hour glorification of the major record label industry, so I figured I'd share a selfish guide to get you up to speed with what I'm expecting come February 10th. 

I personally don't think I've stayed up to watch the Grammys for like nine years, but I'll be in America for the ceremony for the first time this year so won't have to start the 'is it worth staying up until 4 a.m. for?' debate with myself.

In light of the 2013 Nominees' album coming out today here's a rundown of some reactions the nominee list inspired in me, re: the state of signed musicians today. 

1. Wondering what the hell happened to rock music in the Grammy-nominating people's eyes
Okay, this year the nominations for the rock categories seemed more dismal than ever. Please don't take this as a sign that Guitar Music Is Dead (Again) because if I read one more doomsday article of that ilk I am going to scream. No, this is more about how so much great guitar and rock music was made over the last year but for some reason these nominating dudes decided The Black Keys were as good as it gets. And I'm serious about that: Between freaking Coldplay and Mumford and Sons, The Black Keys just about trump Alabama Shakes as the most credible option to win Best Rock Performance. I know Springsteen's nominated too but doesn't he have a bunch of these already? 

2. Feeling like I missed out on Fun. 
The fact that Fun. have even been nominated in six categories (seven if you Jeff Bhasker's Non-Classical Producer of the Year nod for their song "Some Nights") is entirely baffling to me. When did this band blow up? I obvs only clicked a link to their song with Janelle Monae about six months ago because her name was in the title, and she is incredible. Needless to say, I was pretty appalled at the mediocrity of this Fun.'s sound.

Are we really ready for another band like the one that did "Drops of Jupiter" ten years ago? I vote no (but given the way probability works, these guys are likely to take home a piece of the winning action). 

3. Wanting Frank Ocean to win everything, so bad 
Seriously, can this guy just get the official stamp of approval so that even old people who watch the Grammys and teens whose parents ban them from listening to music made by black guys can witness the majesty that is Frank Ocean? No seriously, that's all I'm asking for. 

4. Not caring about the Country or Gospel wins 
Sorry y'all but unless that country version of Taylor Swift's nominated for a statue (Carrire Underwood? Is that your name?), no one else really gives a care. And gospel music's all about those great harmonies but I cannot get down with lyrics that are constantly into God. 

5. Rooting for Diplo 
Like that dude working with Fun., this Canadian beatmaker is also up for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical. Unlike that guy, he deserves it (don't get me wrong, Jeff Bhasker is a talented guy but seriously, Fun. might be a low point for him).

Diplo gave us "Climax", "Get Free" and "Push and Shove" all in one year, while also finding time to release a solo EP, Major Lazer single and post constant retweets of people around the world 'expressing themselves' against walls, cars and doors.

6. Remembering that film music is a pretty big deal 
With my history of barely making it all the way through the ceremony, I'm never really tuned into the film soundtrack noms. This year though, I think we've got a couple of pretty strong leads in several categories (note The Hunger Games' double nomination in a single category!). I guess The Artist should win Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media because um without dialogue I assume the music is literally the only thing that film had going for it. (Full disclosure: I never watched it.) 

7. Hoping Björk gets to give a weird-ass acceptance speech 
Björk should bag Best Recording Package for Biophilia because wasn't that album not only an album but also an iPad app and an e-book and a braille text or some shit? Seriously, she pushed the boat out tech-wise and I'd rather see M83 get Best Alt Music Album so this should be her win. 

8. Believing Hugh Masekela deserves Best World Music 
Because he's a family friend and pretty much the only person in this category whom I grew up listening to. I'm biased. But also, he's like 70 years old and gets down on stage like he's still in his twenties. I'm talking serious bent-knee, side-to-side GETTING DOWN. If Ravi Shankar wins this posthumously, I'll be pissed.

9. Legit not minding if Drake or Kanye and Jay-Z get Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song
As long as no one gives an award to a song that features Bruno Mars, I'm good. 

10. Knowing ultimately Grammy Awards don't matter that much any more 
Because the rules defining which releases are eligible each year excludes unsigned and so many smaller acts on independent labels, do we still even care? Personally I don't look to the Grammys to help give me a sense of what I should have been listening to over the last year or anything. They're usually a guide to what big industry players have backed. They're a synopsis of songs major radio stations in each genre have probably played. And they're a place where L'il B should have been performing this year, but won't be. So whatevs. Let's watch them and have a giggle and maybe get a little drunk when things start to drag, but we don't need to freak out about What It All Means.

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