Grammy Song Of The Year
U2 – The Joshua Tree
Ah, Grammy Award nominations are out, and we can all start our annual bickering over how crappy mainstream music has gotten in the last 10 years. Let’s take a look at this year’s nominees for Song of the Year:
Now, unlike almost all my friends who know anything about music, I don’t have a huge problem with this list. Historically, the award has gone to pop music, which is hard to dispute. What other type of music has a wider reach than top-40 pop? A list of winners back to 1959 can be found here.
I think “Single Ladies,” although parodied endlessly and sung ironically by a ton of people, is brilliant. There is almost no instrumentation to be heard, with the chord structure coming solely from Beyoncés vocal melody and harmonies. The rhythm of the lyrics over the rhythm of the beat is interesting and keeps you on your toes, and the music video is wonderful (The best video of ALL TIME!).
Kings of Leon is destined to become one of those bands (see: Radiohead) that was so much “cooler” before a lot of people knew who they were. Their newest album, “Only By The Night,” is the album that’s so good it can’t be ignored by basically anyone in music, but it also makes their thousands of fans from before that album say, “Yeah, but their first album was so much better.” (It wasn’t) The song “Use Somebody” has exploded as that driving adrenaline rock that we (I) just can’t get enough of. Easily the simplest of the nominees, but that makes it so good.
Lady Gaga is a complete anomaly to me. I can’t figure her out for the life of me. Every time I hear one of her songs, I nod my head and enjoy myself, and when it’s over I find the tune still bouncing around in my head for like a week. Weird, because there’s nothing about the songs that I can point out that I enjoy. At least that’s what I thought until I heard Chris Daughtry cover “Poker Face,” and I realized there is some real music hidden inside the club beat and mass of giant bubbles or whatever Lady Gaga happens to be wearing that day.
I’ll be honest — I hadn’t ever heard of Maxwell or “Pretty Wings” until I saw the nominees. Then I listened. And I loved. I’m a huge sucker for well-done R&B, and that song is probably the best of the year. There is something to be said for Mary J. Blige’s new album, but I think it will be up for nomination next year.
And now we come to Taylor Swift. Taylor. Swift. Everything in my body tells me that I don’t like this girl. She sings teen-bop music that has somehow propelled her into an obscene level of stardom. She took home all kinds of country music awards this year — even though nothing she sings has any resemblance to country. Her songs and videos are better suited for Saved By The Bell than the Grammys. But I like the girl. I don’t love her music, but I like her. She seems like she was that nerdy girl in high school who could possibly be attractive way down there somewhere but she was too caught up in singing in the Glee Club to even care. Now she’s in Hollywood and every artist with a hairbrush has gotten hold of her and made her pretty and the love of 14-year-old boys everywhere. That says nothing about her song that was nominated, but I just wanted to throw that out there.
My pick: “Single Ladies”
My prediction: “You Belong With Me”
I know I’m going to get hammered for even supporting this list in the slightest, but I’m not a music snob. I try to see value and appeal in all kinds of music. I learned that trait over the years, and I recommend trying it for a while. It makes surfing the radio WAY easier.