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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

2015 Grammy Nominations: Hits & Big Misses

Are the Grammys still the top awards in music? The 2015 nominations would beg to differ.

It’s that time of the year again, when the biggest faces in music get their chance at a very special Christmas present-a nomination for the highest honor in the world of music. Or is it? Lately, the Grammys have not only been losing popularity among younger generations, but credibility as well. The 2015 nominations are as follows.

First is record of the year (the difference between this and song of the year is yet to be determined). The five nominees are arguably predictable, with Sam Smith’s hit Stay with Me and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off appearing. Megan Trainor’s All About That Bass is also up for record of the year, but not most annoying one hit wonder. Songwriter turned singer Sia’s song Chandelier is also up for the honor, fitting for the artist’s talents and uniquely private social presence. Australian breakout rapper Iggy Azalea’s massive hit Fancy, featuring fellow breakout star and probable one hit wonder Charli XCX, is also surprisingly on the list. Although it was widely seen as one of the favorite songs of the summer, public distaste has grown for Azalea and her music, especially after allegations flourished about her raps being written by someone else. Also, the general consensus is that Nicki Minaj is the queen of rap, which she makes very clear. Unfortunately Minaj’s latest album The Pinkprint has a release date too late for any 2015 Grammy consideration. Ultimately, there are too many songs and albums and genres to consider, which is really not an excuse for whatever committee decides Grammy nominations. It’s too difficult to think of other songs that should have been nominated, but many may come to mind. Perhaps the nominations follow the trends of popular radio to get more viewers or remain relevant. But that’s just a theory.

Song of the year nominations are almost the same as record of the year (shocker?). All About That Bass, Chandelier, Shake It Off, and Stay With Me are all present. In place of Fancy by Iggy Azalea however, is Hozier’s masterpiece ballad Take Me To Church. Hozier is definitely a worthy addition to the nominations, having a great lyrics and strong vocal delivery.

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Beyoncé, Iggy Azalea and Sam Smith are all nominated for multiple Grammys in 2015.
Photo Credit: Photo via billboard.com under the creative commons license
Beyoncé, Iggy Azalea and Sam Smith are all nominated for multiple Grammys in 2015.

As for album of the year, the category is basically Beyoncé’s self-titled surprise mega-hit album against Pharrell Williams’ Girl, Sam Smith’s In the Lonely Hour, Ed Sheeran’s X, and the big-hit Beck’s Morning Phase. Beyoncé’s album is clearly the frontrunner, as it has won massive critical acclaim already, not to mention winning the world over. Suggesting alternative nominations is always a touchy subject, as I am not the “expert,” but really who is? It’s mostly opinion anyway. All of the album of the year nominations are good, but (with the exception of Beck), they stay very mainstream. Although it holds a bias towards rock, Rolling Stone’s top 50 albums of 2014 is a good way to compare the Grammy nominations. U2’s Song of Innocence tops their list, however outdated the band may be. More unique sounding albums could be included, as the spectrum of music is much wider than the Grammys seem to think. FKA Twigs LP1, Lana Del Rey’s Ultraviolence, and even 1989 by Taylor Swift are albums that are surprisingly not included.

Best new artist is always an interesting category, because it’s where you see which artists are here to stay and which ones aren’t. Iggy Azalea and Sam Smith are the frontrunners in this category, although Smith is a much more talented singer with a refreshingly real voice. Eclectic girl group Haim is also in this category, bringing with it an indie feel and unique sound. Upcoming band Bastille is also a contender, but one may easily confuse their sound with that of One Republic or The Script. But that does not mean they are an untalented group. The outlier in the best new artist group is Brandy Clark, the category’s perennial country entry, bringing with her nothing particularly new or exciting. Again, the absence of such artists like FKA Twigs, Tove Lo and more is disappointing.

There are so many Grammy categories that reach into what are really the less relevant corners of the music industry (bluegrass, orchestral, etc.). But some of the other more popular nominations include the pop solo and pop duo/group performances. Up for pop solo performance (again) are Shake It Off, Stay With Me, and Chandelier. Additions include live versions of Pharrell’s Happy and John Legend’s wedding-song-of-the-year All Of Me. If this category is talking about the song’s performance, one cannot help but think of all the other pop performances of this past year. The same goes for best pop duo/group performance, which includes surprisingly multi-nominated Fancy by Iggy Azalea. This category though, actually includes songs not seen in any other nominations. The remaining songs are Say Something by A Great Big World with Christina Aguilera, Sky Full of Stars by Coldplay, and the epic trio that is Bang Bang with Jessie J, Ariana Grande and Nicki Minaj. And perhaps the most out of place nomination is Katy Perry and Juicy J’s Dark Horse, a song with weak lyrics, not to mention unoriginal production and style. Maybe it’s just the lack of variety that the Grammys allow that make these nominations look bad.

Katy Perry’s latest album Prism also amazingly landed a Grammy nomination under best pop vocal album. After being widely criticized for poor vocals as well as unoriginality and even copycat style from other artists, it is shocking to see a Grammy nod for it. Accompanying Prism in the best pop vocal album are Ghost Stories by Coldplay, Bangerz by Miley Cyrus, My Everything by Ariana Grande, In the Lonely Hour by Sam Smith, and X by Ed Sheeran.

As for rock, the nominations for best rock song go to Ain’t It Fun by Paramore, Blue Moon by Beck, Fever by the Black Keys, Gimme Something Good by Ryan Adams, and Lazaretto by Jack White. Best rock album nominations go to Ryan Adams by Ryan Adams, Morning Phase by Beck, Turn Blue by The Black Keys, Hypnotic Eye by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and Songs of Innocence by U2. All of the nominations make sense, but where is Sonic Highway by Foo Fighters and Ultraviolence by Lana Del Rey or even Weezer’s latest work Everything Will Be Alright in the End? Just some suggestions.

Alternative is probably the hardest genre to judge, because artists differ to great extents. Best alternative album nominations nod to Alt-J’s This Is All Yours, Arcade Fire’s Reflektor, Cage the Elephant’s Melophobia, St. Vincent’s St. Vincent, and again Jack White’s Lazaretto. Seeing as Jack White’s work falls into two genres, this could be a reason why the Grammy nominations leave out some artists. Perhaps they just do not know where they belong. This could be unfortunate, as some of the best artists out there create music that isn’t restricted to one genre. Some of the alternative nominees could be considered rock or pop, as other albums like Ghost Stories or Ultraviolence could float between rock, pop and even alternative.

Lastly, the nominations in the rap genre go to 3005 by Childish Gambino, 0-100/The Catch Up by Drake, Rap God by Eminem, I by Kendrick Lamar, and All I Need is You by Lacrae for best rap performance. Somehow different from that are the best rap song nominees. These include Nicki Minaj’s modern classic Anaconda, Kanye West’s ultra-modern Bound 2, Kendrick Lamar’s I, 0-100/ The Catch Up by Drake, and We Dem Boyz by Wiz Khalifa. As for best rap album, Iggy Azalea’s The New Classic appears (however unworthy critics claim it is), Childish Gambino’s Because the Internet, Common’s Nobody’s Smiling, Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP2, Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron, and Wiz Khalifa’s Blacc Hollywood. Maybe it’s too late for Grammy consideration as it only came out on November 6th, but where is Azealia Banks’ Broke With Expensive Taste, probably the most unique sounding rap album of the year?

Ultimately, the Grammys may never satisfy everyone’s musical preferences, but a bit more variety wouldn’t hurt. As with all awards, there are some snubs and some deserving nominees. Find out who wins at the Grammy Awards on February 8, 2015, on CBS.

 

 

 

 

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About the Contributor
Michael Albanese, Fall Editior & Public Relations Manager
Michael Albanese is a senior at Colonia High School, and he has been a resident of Colonia, NJ his entire life. He enjoys secular courses like history and reading/writing, rather than math classes and is interested in sociopolitical culture. Albanese likes to write about society and entertainment and hopes to make a career in media. Michael enjoys travelling, and there are few places he wouldn’t want to visit. The internet and social media are a big part of Albanese's life, but he also enjoys time spent with family and friends.

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2015 Grammy Nominations: Hits & Big Misses