Before I discuss the winners/nominees check them out for yourself – https://www.grammy.com/nominees
So the Grammy awards were held the other day (Feb 15th 2016) and as has become the norm now, the nominations and winners were just completely confusing. I won’t be sharing my thoughts on the performances, some were good, some were bad (the mic fell on the piano strings, give me a break), I will just share who I thought didn’t deserve to be nominated or to have won and who should have been in their place.
Firstly, there should really be a disclaimer on the Grammys, something along the lines of … “The following nominations aren’t actually the most creative, innovative, technical or best performed/produced albums, just some of the most popular, allowing us to obtain more viewers”. This description of the Grammys would be the only way of making any sense out of Meghan Trainor winning ‘Best New Artist’, she shouldn’t have been nominated or even considered, never mind win the bloody thing. Meghan Trainor’s debut album ‘Title’ featured in almost every notable music magazines, blogs, websites top 10 worst albums of 2015 (including mine). I understand that people have different opinions about what’s good and bad (especially in music), but when that many people (who listen to music professionally) are saying your first proper release of music wasn’t just bad, but one of the worst albums of the year (if not the number one), then what evidence is there that she is the “best new artist” over all others. Courtney Barnett was nominated in this category, so was James Bay, and in this same time period Grimes and Wolf Alice released fantastic albums, both being fairly new artists, far more interesting than Meghan Trainor …but again, who sold more records.
The second real problem I had with the Grammys this year was their disclusion of a certain album in the Jazz nominations. Now lets be honest, the ‘Best Jazz’ awards are now kind of chucked to the back of the Grammys list of important awards, just above the ‘Best Christian Album’ award. So how is it that when a jazz album comes out that truly makes an impact, makes it to number 1 in many top 10 albums of 2015 lists, is praised for its composition, innovation, production and actually sells well, it is left completely out of the nominations … this album being ‘The Epic’ by Kamasi Washington. Before the nominations were announced I knew ‘The Epic’ wouldn’t be nominated for ‘Best Album’ (however much it deserved it), but I was 100% certain it would be nominated for and then win one of the best jazz awards … yet it didn’t even get nominated, another sign of the Grammys simply not being in touch with music outside of the artists/albums shoved in your face everyday.
An artist that did very well at the Grammys, deservedly, was Kendrick Lamar, whom won all the rap awards (performance, album, record). The Grammys actually noticed a talented artist and rewarded his talent, for once, but still just couldn’t make that final correct decision, giving him ‘Best Album’ overall. ‘Best Album’ was instead given to Taylor Swift … just take that in a second. Now Taylor Swifts ‘1989’ is fine, actually a pretty decent pop album … but that’s all it is, a decent pop album, featuring nothing that makes it iconic and should therefore be put up on the pedestal that this award delivers. It is hard sometimes to look at recent albums and know what will become a classic, you never know what will hit, but in mine and many others minds Kendrick Lamar’s ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ is one of the decades best rap albums and will certainly be held up against ‘The Chronic’, ‘Doggystyle’, ‘Illmatic’ etc in later years. This has us call on the Grammys again, simply wondering why has the highest accolade been handed over to a generic mainstream pop album, rather than a soon to be classic.
Of course their were numerous other crazy decisions, for instance Muse’s ‘Drones’ winning ‘Best Rock Album’, an album which is probably Muse’s worst and is certainly one of the blandest rock albums out this year. Easily Wolf Alice should have been nominated for this, or Death Cab For Cutie’s ‘Kintsugi’ should have won out of the nominees. The Jack U album won over the incredible Jamie XX album ‘In Colour’ for ‘Best Dance/Electronic Album’. This was possibly because Jamie XX spelt colour correctly in his title and the Americans couldn’t handle it … or more likely it was because Justin Bieber featured on the Jamie U album, making it more popular and therefore gaining the Grammys more viewers. Finally we may aswell skip over the most popular award ‘Best Record’, an award that so many artists deserved over the ones that were nominated (even though I do like Ed Sheeran).
The few winners I feel they got right were the aforementioned Kendrick Lamar for his rap awards, Ghost certainly deserved ‘Best Metal Performance’ and I’m fine with Alabama Shakes going away with ‘Best Alternative Record’, although Bjork or Tame Impala winning would have been nice.
All in all the Grammys are a farce, an opportunity for the music industry’s pop friendly names to tell eachother how great they are. The weird thing about any of these award shows is that you can’t base it on fact, just opinion, yet there’s a feeling that the decisions arnt based on opinion either, but on what will help the Grammys financially or the artists being awarded. All these award shows are is entertainment for a night, I truly don’t think, or just hope, that no one takes them as gospel.