The 56th Annual Grammy Awards are coming on January 26th and music fans across the country are getting geared up to root for their favorite performers. Make sure you’re ready with shirts and apparel from your favorites. Here’s some of ours with a note on what they’re nominated for:
So you may have noticed that the first entry is neither a single performer nor an actual band. However, the performance is so noteworthy that I felt I needed to lead with it. In fact, Dave Grohl and Queens of the Stone Age are nominated for Grammy Awards. Grohl for Best Rock Song and Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media, while Queens of the Stone Age is nominated for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Album. As I said before, however, the truly noteworthy aspect of this is the ensemble performance. It’s not often that a group of music super starts get together to play like this and it should be an excellent addition to the spectacle that is the Grammy Awards.
Kanye West (Best Rap Album for Yeezus)
Kanye West would not let me finish before he made sure I mentioned his nomination for Best Rap Album. Yeezus is West’s 6th studio album and apparent attempt to erase whatever goodwill Christians felt toward him following the release of ‘Jesus Walks’. That aside, though, the album is actually fairly deep form a conceptual standpoint. The minimalist inspiration of Yeezus is in stark contrast to Kanye’s previous album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. To many, Kanye has not had a great album since Graduation, but I’ve always found the hate leveled upon 808s and Heartbreaks to be terribly unfair and I’m glad to see his latest offering nominated for Best Rap Album. His personal life may be a bit of a circus right now, but that has no bearing on his musical career. Kanye West is still one of the most talented rappers in the world, a fact that’s he’s not likely to let us forget anytime soon…
Imagine Dragons (Record of the Year)
The Alt Rock world belonged to Imagine Dragons this year. They had competition, sure, but no group hit it quite as big as them. Their debut album, Night Visions, was released in September of 2012 and they’ve been huge ever since (and honestly, a little before that). Now, their song ‘Radioactive’ is nominated for Record of the Year, but they could have easily had two songs in the category, with ‘Demons’ being such a big hit as well. Based on the competition, I’d say they have a pretty good chance of winning, but I’m pretty much fine with all the other songs as long as ‘Blurred Lines’ doesn’t win.
Katy Perry (Best Pop Solo Performance/Song of the Year “Roar”)
By now, we’ve all heard Katy Perry roar, as she predicted in her Grammy-nominated song of the same name. Off her new album Prism, ‘Roar’ has received nonstop radio play. The power-pop ballad extols the virtues of self-determination and bold defiance in the face of personal difficulties through upbeat vocals and ambpe references to established phrases relating to those themes. It’s a little formulaic, but it achieves its aim competently and enjoyably. My prediction: it loses to ‘Royals’ for Best Pop Solo Performance and ‘Just Give Me a Reason’ for Song of the Year. We’ll just have to see, though.
David Bowie (Best Rock Album The Next Day)
The latest album from the music legend came as somewhat of a surprise. Which is to say, nobody knew about it at all. So going from relative silence earlier in the year to being nominated for Best Rock Album of 2013 is a pretty impressive feat, even for someone as well established as David Bowie. Shockingly, Bowie has only won one Grammy Award in his storied career, a Best Video Award, Short Form for ‘Jazzin’ for Blue Jean’. He has been nominated 7 other times, including two this year. He did receive a Lifetime Achievement award, but this is honorary and was more or less a ‘duh’ moment. Will this be the year he finally wins for Best Rock Album?
Vampire Weekend (Best Alt Rock Album, Modern Vampires of the City)
Vampire Weekend has been a staple in the Alt Rock genre since the release of their self-titled album in 2008. They were nominated once before for their second album, Contra, but lost to Brothers from The Black Keys, because have you heard that album? But I like their chances of finally breaking through and winning this year. That’s not to take anything away from who they’re up against, but Vampire Weekend really pulled out all the stops for this one, adding new depth and complexity. Give ‘Ya Hey’ a listen. I think you’ll like it.
Blake Shelton (Best Country Album, Based on a True Story…)
Shelton has been nominated for Grammys six times including two this year, but has yet to win an award. This may just be his year, though. Tim McGraw is the only candidate who is much more established than Shelton and look I’m just going to say it…I don’t like Tim McGraw and I can only hope the Grammy folks are tired of him as well. Shelton has been around, he’s likable, and he’s a big name that everyone is going to recognize without also being Taylor Swift (that’s nothing against Swift, I just feel like she might as well be considered pop). So put all that together and that’s why I like Shelton for the award. For a twist, though, let’s see the Grammy folks right the wrong done to Kacey Musgraves by the CMAs. That’d make me smile.
P!nk/Nate Ruess (Song of the Year, Just Give Me a Reason)
It was a dream team for writing in 2013. P!nk, Ruess, and producer Jeff Bhaskar were three of the hottest stars in the musical world, and they combined to make the hottest song of the year. Going 2x platinum, it spent the better part of three weeks at #1 on the Billboard charts and is still played like crazy on the radio. It’s got rough competition and I do love ‘Royals’ by Lorde, but I don’t see ‘Just Give Me a Reason’ falling to any of its competition. It’s just a little too “pop-perfect”, combining heartfelt lyrics with a simple piano riff and heavy driving bass. The best song of the year? Maybe not, but still probably the Grammy’s Song of the Year.
Black Sabbath (Best Rock Song, ‘God is Dead?’)
The best way I can think of to capture the sound of Black Sabbath’s ‘God is Dead?’ is to say that it sounds like Black Sabbath. That is, it has their classic heavy sound with a simple yet menacing guitar riff that backs the iconic voice of Ozzy Osbourne as he postulates whether or not God has passed on to, I dunno, where does God go when he dies? Super heaven? Ireland? It’s probably Ireland.
That’s not really relevant, sorry. The important thing is that ‘God is Dead?’ and 13 (nominated for Best Rock Album) as a whole are a return to form for the pioneers of thrash metal. Simply put, the song kicks ass and has a darn good chance of winning the Grammy. In case you were wondering, Ozzy seems to come to the conclusion that he doesn’t believe God is dead, but doesn’t put forth specific reasoning for this belief, unless you count blood rain. Which I do…
Eminem (Best Rap Performance, ‘Berzerk’)
This is a tough one. ‘Berzerk’ is a pretty impressive offering from the seasoned rapper, the most significant white person to hit the genre since the Beastie Boys blew the world away. I only note that because he’s up against potentially the next in line for that title, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. Their hit ‘Thrift Shop’ took the nation by storm in 2013 and established them as future leaders of the genre. Add to that two hip-hop heavyweights in Jay-Z and Drake as well as promising newcomer Kendrick Lamar and things look pretty uphill for Slim Shady. But Slim, what if you win, wouldn’t it be weird? Why? Because you’ve already won 13 out of 41 nominations? Did I reach for that song reference? Yes, but only in honor of Eminem reaching for his 14th Grammy.
That’s our list, who’s on yours?