My initial goal in writing this was to evaluate all the individual songs that won a Grammy on Sunday night, writing about their worth and my reaction to them. Turns out, I’ve already heard most of them.
Now, this is some weird Grammy postgame from the perspective of a guy who didn’t listen to 90 percent of the music that won. I thought it would be fun. It was not. Enter at your own peril.
I should establish now that my perspective on the Grammys is that they do not matter. It does not speak to my interests or to what I consider important in contemporary music. So maybe don’t listen to anything I say, alright?
Thoughts: I’ve heard this song before, because I am a human being living on earth. I think this song is fine. I’m not sure what to make of this “Darkchild Version” nonsense. I guess it is an alternate mix, but the differences are negligible. It’s more pop-friendly in this form, I guess. Whatever.
Does This Make Sense? This makes sense. This is a huge song. I know that Sam Smith is having a moment, because both my 60-year-old aunt and 16-year-old cousin like him.
Should I Care? I don’t think so. You could make a case for Taylor Swift or Hozier and I wouldn’t fight you, but Smith winning seems right and just to me. I’m interested to see what becomes of Sam Smith. He’s capable of songs that I think are pretty good (“Money on my Mind,” “Latch”), but most of his traction seems to come from more Michael Buble stuff. Good luck out there, Sam.
Best New Artist: Sam Smith
Thoughts: Sam Smith has good hair.
Does This Make Sense? Yeah … but I can’t shake the feeling that I severley underestimated how popular Sam Smith is. White dudes are just out here singing RnB like it’s the 80s all over again.
Should I Care? No. I think it would have been cooler if Haim won this award, but it would have also been disingenuous. I also don’t know who Brandy Clark is.
Record of the Year: Sam Smith, “Stay With Me (Darkchild Version)
I don’t know why this is different than song of the year, and I do not care to explore why. This, however, does forever show me that “Stay With Me” is a bigger song than “Fancy,” so that’s neat, I guess.
Best Rap Album: Eminem, The Marshall Mathers LP2
Thoughts: The Grammys are racist.
Does This Make Sense? Absolutely.
Should I Care? No, this was the only one that ever stood a chance. Forget that last year was kinda a weak rap year for mainstream stuff, who else was going to win this? Iggy Azalea? Diminishing returns-personified, Wiz Khalifa? Schoolboy Q? Please.
Best Rap Song / Best Rap Performance: Kendrick Lamar, “i”
Thoughts: I love this. Kendrick Lamar drops one song in 2014, and more of the blograp internet deems it “meh.” Months later, the Grammy people couldn’t throw enough rap awards at it. I stand by not thinking that song is all that great, but as a fan of Lamar, I like that he can make a very specific, studid part of the earth move just by showing up.
Does This Make Sense? …Not really. I mean, he did put out a video, and there was some press, but this is a way-advanced single for an album that doesn’t seem to be coming out anytime soon. Drake firebombed the world with songs in 2014, and I assume that visibilty would have mattered more.
Should I Care? Nope, all is as it should be. Bummed that “Bound 2” didn’t win, though.
Also, fuck “Studio” by Schoolboy Q. Good for him for finally finding a radio hit, but that shit was lame.
Best Pop Vocal Album: Sam Smith, In the Lonely Hour
Thoughts: And the award for “singing good” goes too…
Does This Make Sense? Not a lick. Katy Perry standing shoulder-to-shoulder with a guy who over sings everything, a dude who is basically a very good open mic performer, and a baby. This category is all over the place.
Should I Care? Only because Coldplay’s reign as my generation’s U2 is over.
Best Pop Solo Performance: Pharrell Williams, “Happy”
Thoughts: I feel like some of these categories were made up.
Does This Make Sense? …Yes. I guess. Yes. This was a big song for the first half of the year. I find myself sort of wishing Taylor Swift won for “Shake it Off,” which is a weird thing to come to grasp with, because I didn’t think I had an opinion about Taylor Swift.
Should I Care? For sure not.
Best Pop Duo / Group Performance: A Great Big World / Christian Aguilera, “Say Something.”
Thoughts: This is the first song that I thought I had not heard before this specific exercise. Turns out, I know this song after all. I feel like a sucker for liking this song. The song sounds like what I imagine every episode of Grey’s Anatomy is like.
Does This Make Sense? I guess. This song was the only one not like the others in my mind, so it’s cool that it won.
Should I Care? No, but it would have made me happy to see Juicy J win a Grammy.
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: Lady Gaga & Tony Bnnett: Cheek to Cheek
I’m going to let Billy Eichner say it all here and move on.
If ur a gay tween with a grandparent who’s still mobile, may I suggest the Lady Gaga/Tony Bennett tour?
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) December 30, 2014
Best Country Solo Performance: Carrie Underwood, “Something In the Water”
Thoughts: I’m not going to sit here and act like I know what the pop country world is like, but this shit is an anthem. I think it’s kind of bullshit that this gets the country award, because it’s basically an adult top 40-song with a bango instead of a keyboard, but whatever. This is a pretty good song. Nice work, Underwood.
Naming your album Greatest Hits Decade #1 is some presumptuous shit, though.
Does This Make Sense? For sure. If there was still AIM, this would be some profile / away message fodder for sure.
Should I Care? Keith Urban had a song called “Cop Car” and, while I am not going to listen to it, I am comfortable being outraged at it’s lack of success, sight unseen.
Best Country Duo/Group Performance: The Band Perry, “Gentle on My Mind”
Thoughts: No shade on this song, this is some country-ass shit. I kind of love it. The slide guitar plays with with the vocal melody really nicely, and the banjo is killer.
Does This Make Sense? For sure.
Should I Care? The losing songs are called “Somethin’ Bad,” “Day Drinking,” “Meanwhile Back at Mama’s,” and “Raise ’em Up.” It could have been so much worse.
Best Country Song: Glen Campbell, “I’m Not Gonna Miss You”
Thoughts: WHY IS THIS DIFFERENT THAN THE OTHER COUNTRY SONG CATEGORY? WHY ARE THE GRAMMYS MAKE UP CATEGORIES JUST TO GIVE MORE PEOPLE AWARDS?
This isn’t a country song. This is an Elton John song, but whatever. The country category might as well be called “music for olds.”
The Grammys are basically grade school soccer.
Does This Make Sense? No, but fuck it.
Should I Care? If I want to make a stink about upholding the integrity of the category, yes. Luckily, I already established that the Grammys are a participation awards ceremony, so it doesn’t matter.
Best Country Album: Miranda Lambert, Platinum
Thoughts: So, I didn’t listen to the whole album, but I did listen to the first song, “Girls,” and, based on that, I am comfortable saying that this album captures what I think of when I think of “country” in a modern pop context.
This album is fine. It sounds like many other albums (I assume). Most music is fine.
Does This Make Sense? Most music is fine.
Should I Care? Most songs are fine.
Best Rock Song: Paramore, “Ain’t It Fun”
Thoughts: I am doubly amazed. Paramour is still a band, and this is what they sound like now. This sounds like J. Giles band or some shit. This is some Phil Collins shit. This song’s guitar / synth / zylaphone / whatever melody is fun. I have no beef with this.
Does This Make Sense? Not a fucking lick.
Should I Care? Look at these rock songs!
“Ain’t It Fun,” Paramore
“Blue Moon,” Beck
“Fever,” The Black Keys
“Gimme Something Good,” Ryan Adams
“Lazaretto,” Jack White
What a shitty category.
Best Rock Performance: Jack White, “Lazaretto”
Thoughts: Jack White is such a chode.
Does This Make Sense? Without a doubt.
Should I Care? Nope.
Best Urban Contemporary Album: Pharrell Williams, G I R L
Thoughts: I’m not trying to be a cool person when I say this: I legitimately forgot this album came out last year. What is Pharelle even doing putting out albums at this point in his career? Dude should make 3 mega-hits a year and call it a lifetime.
Does This Make Sense? Yeah.
Should I Care? I like Jhene Aiko, but that Sail Out album wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be, if I’m being honest.
Best R&B Performance: Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”
Thoughts: This song stinks. “Partition” stinks. “7-11” should win all the awards. I give it the Grammy for “song that makes me want to crash my car because it is so fun.”
Does This Make Sense? Yeah, I guess, but it’s some bullshit that Jay Z gets a Grammy for this. Dude has been failing upwards for a decade now.
Should I Care? I don’t want to award Chris Brown for anything, but “New Flame” is the better song.
Best R&B Song: Beyoncé feat. Jay Z, “Drunk in Love”
See above, all apply.
Best R&B Album: Toni Braxton & Babyface, Love, Marriage & Divorce
TONI BRAXTON AND BABYFACE PUT OUT AN ALBUM THIS YEAR?
My goodness. This will be made into a play / movie / live festival. If I were a 40 year old women 15 years ago, I would have lost my mind at this news. I’m mostly dissapointed I didn’t hear about this before now.
Does This Make Sense? A concept album about divorce from two 90s rnb singers who no one has thought about in 5 years? Of course this makes sense, what else did you expect to win?
Should I Care? Obviously. I need to put the rest of this on hold to see what this album is all about. To say nothing Black Radio 2, which is another thing I didn’t realized had happened. I really fucked the dog on this year’s RnB songs.
Best Dance Recording: Clean Bandit feat. Jess Glynne, “Rather Be”
I’m way over my head on dance music. Here’s a memo on this song from the mayor’s office:
“Brit Baroque-Pop outfit Clean Bandit made a clean getaway with the hearts of listeners on both sides of the pond when they kicked off 2014 with effervescent insta-hit “Rather Be.” Enslisting the more-than-capable pipes of heat-seeking U.K. house-songstress Jess Lynne, the results bring to mind what may have transpired if Joss Stone had gone the way of the Sisters Minogue. We guarantee that when you hear this one on the dancefloor, there’s no place you’d rather be!'”
Best Dance/Electronic Album: Aphex Twin, Syro
WAY TO KEEP IT WEIRD, GRAMMYS.
Best Alternative Music Album: St. Vincent, St. Vincent
This category is funny.
Album of the Year / Best Rock Album: Beck, Morning Phase
Thoughts: I’m weirdly more upset about the best rock win than I am about the album of the year win. When you think of Beck, you think of stuffy white rock critics. The Grammys are the purview of stuffy white rock critics. Beck, for a certain slice of the American world, is the fucking reincarnation of John Lennon. So album of the year makes sense, in a warped way.
Best rock album is harder to swallow. Granted, the field was not strong …
Ryan Adams, Ryan Adams
Beck, Morning Phase
The Black Keys, Turn Blue
Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Hypnotic Eye
U2, Songs of Innocence
… but I don’t know anyone who conciders what Beck does “rock music.” This feels like a misnomer, same way that Glen Campbell song ended up snagging a country award without being a country song.
Does This Make Sense? Not at all. This album disappeared after it came out.
Should I care? No. Never.