The Grammy nominations were announced last night providing, as usual, a pretty good encapsulation of the year in music, and further proof that everyone has awful taste. For real though, aside from like 75 of the nominations, there were some good picks in here. Hard to argue with lineup for Record of the Year anyway:
“Lonely Boy” – The Black Keys; “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” - Kelly Clarkson; “We Are Young” – Fun. featuring Janelle Monáe; “Somebody That I Used to Know” – Gotye Featuring Kimbra; “Thinkin Bout You” – Frank Ocean; “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” – Taylor Swift
I mean, I still will, but it would be hard, because that would require me listening to The Black Keys.
Here are the most egregious picks in some of the major categories. See all the nominees here.
Song of the Year
Filling the James Blunt/Daniel Powter/Jason Mraz-sized holes in the calcified hearts of the old industry pros who make up the voting committee is no small task, but fortunately there is another interchangeable lukewarm-latte with a scarf-wearing-acoustic guitar bumbling down the assembly line every year. Ed Sheeran kept showing up at the country’s work asking when our shift was over so many times that finally we agreed to let him buy us a scone.
Best New Artist
The country-pop star has been making music since he was 5 years old, and released his first album at age 9, which means he’s had almost 15 years to hone his Children of the Corn stare and Taylor Swift-with-an-aww-shucks-boner gimmick. Surprisingly overlooked in the Best Pornstar Name category.
Best Pop/Duo Performance
I had no idea this corporate-gym-soundtrack groaner was Maroon 5 until just now, but I should’ve known. It’s always Maroon 5, isn’t it, whatever it is. Related story: I saw a guy reach into an actual payphone looking for accidentally discarded change the other day, and it was the most depressing thing I’ve ever seen. Props for the completely natural-seeming and in no way calculatedly forced rap verse from Wiz Khalifa air-dropped into the middle of this spotty milk carton of a track. Bet they’re all very proud of their work here.
Best Pop Vocal Album
A friend of mine described the fun. vocalist, who probably has a name, I’m guessing, as Train’s little brother singing a very emotional toothpaste commercial. Good one. But I don’t think that’s entirely accurate, because at least a toothpaste commercial makes you feel something. “What do I stand for?” Bland, soulless corporate “indie”? Snorting lines of Metamucil? Paul Simon’s throat chlamydia?
Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album
We used to let my grandfather slice the turkey at Thanksgiving every year up until he died, and it was the only time he ever came alive save from the occasional Red Sox game. He’d use this old-fashioned electric trimmer knife thing that you couldn’t even find in a museum anymore, and his hand would stop shaking as he summoned up the will to do the one task that was asked of him for the day before slouching off into oblivion on the couch.
Best Rock Performance
Kudos to Coldplay for finally owning up to their comic strip equivalent in song. Inexplicably popular, perpetually miserable and put-upon, and yet somehow universally cherished. Unfortunately for old Charlie Brown, hair plug technology hadn’t yet made the same strides it has in Chris Martin’s day.
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance
I’m Alive – Anthrax
Love Bites (So Do I) – Halestorm
Blood Brothers – Iron Maiden
Ghost Walking – Lamb Of God
No Reflection – Marilyn Manson
Whose Life (Is It Anyways?) – Megadeth
Kind of wish I hadn’t already wasted that grandfather story up above already.
Best Rock Album
You know who liked this Freddy Mercury spaceship jazz-hands Muse album? No one liked it, that’s who. Not even Muse liked it, and those dudes are insanely pretentious and self-assured. Still, in a category with Bruce Springsteen this counts as an edgy pick.
Best Improvised Jazz Solo
BULLSHIT. You just know this motherfucker planned that riff out ahead of time.