Tuesday, February 26, 2013

BaD Sunday: Grammys: When Songs Become Sports BaD 10: The Grammy Blog Feb 10, 2013 1:02AM PST

Well, it's that time of year again, when no one pretends Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder was anything but spot on in his analysis of having awards shows for art being a terrible idea, and we all just watch to see if someone has their live set get crazy bad, like whatever the hell Nicki Minaj was doing last year, and we laugh at how ridiculous it was Jethro Tull won a metal Grammy over Metallica that one time. 

Also, I get pissed that Of Monsters & Men was robbed, appearing in no categories this year, despite such an amazing CD. Then I tell you who I think should win in each category I remotely know or care about, based on the nominees, found here. Plus, I put a song you might not have heard here and there every so often.

By the way, if you want to get a general sense of my musical taste, look up Joe Mike Step on Spotify. I have several playlists, two of which are very diverse musically, since I literally plug in random songs I never heard from the Facebook game Song Pop, then either delete or star and keep the songs depending on if I like them or not. Then I've got 90s and 2012 favorites, hoping to add more decades/genre-specific playlists soon.

And I realize this isn't actually sports-related on this BaD Sports Sunday, but I'm going to talk Oscar stuff after I review Zero Dark Thirty on tomorrow's Movie Monday blog, and since I'm just as much a fan of music as I am of movies, though I'm WAY more of a fan of Oscar night than Grammy night (I usually don't even watch the Grammys), I figured I'd dedicate a blog no one's going to read since it's the weekend to "music's biggest night." So, here we go!

* = Hadn't heard it before writing this, but listened to it. Italics = my pick. Underline = Never listened.

 Record of the Year

Stronger, Lonely Boy, We Are Young, Somebody That I Used To Know, Thinkin' Bout You (Frank Ocean), We Are Never Ever Ever Getting Back Together

This was a big year for an actual trend in alternative music topping charts, and Gotye's song was the strongest example of that, not to mention a fantastic song with lyrics almost anyone can relate to on some level, and the one I think people will associate with 2012 the most in years to come.

Album of the Year

El Camino, Some Nights, Babel, Channel Orange (Frank Ocean), Blunderbuss (Jack White)

While I've not heard most of these albums all the way through, I like a greater number of songs from El Camino than any other, though I would place Some Nights a close second, and honestly, being the newer band, I wouldn't be upset if they (fun.) won for Some Nights.

Song of the Year

The A Team, Adorn (Miguel Pimentel)*, Call Me Maybe, Stronger, We Are Young

In all honesty, I think it gets annoying, but of these options, it is the most anthemic, and in my opinion most deserving of Song of the Year. Aside from Adorn, I do like the other songs, but they're just catchy pop songs, making We Are Young stand out.

Well, aside from The A Team, which is an acoustic song with some good, non-sappy, sometimes poignantly depressing lyrics. I'd say it's my second choice, but again, We Are Young's anthemic nature gives it the edge.

Best New Artist

Alabama Shakes*, fun., Hunter Hayes, The Lumineers, Frank Ocean

fun. or Frank Ocean will probably win it, and it won't make me mad, cause they've both made huge waves in their respective genres, but after seeing them recreate "Ho Hey" near-studio-perfect on SNL, when most bands I've seen on that show suffer from horrid acoustics even if they're normally great live, I have to give it to The Lumineers for my personal choice.

And Alabama Shakes sounds like a great 60s band, and much like the Black Keys, is bringing a new bent on nostalgic music, but unlike Black Keys I hadn't heard of them until SNL promoted them for next week while I was watching that Bieber trainwreck last night. As for Hunter Hayes, I could care less.

Best Pop Solo Performance

Set Fire to the Rain, Stronger, Call Me Maybe, Wide Awake, Where Have You Been (Rihanna)

I'd consider her more of a "white, British, female blues singer" than anything, but this is not even a competition, if we're talking about impressive musicality. I think Call Me Maybe is the more popular song more associated with 2012, so that might win, but anything Adele does blows these songs out of the water, in my opinion. Too bad they might not give it to her, since she has enough Grammys from 2011 haha.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

Shake it Out, We Are Young, Somebody that I Used to Know, Sexy and I Know It, Payphone

I think this will also go to Gotye's song most likely, but every time I hear "Shake it Out" I envision the ending of a really high-stakes emotional movie, where the characters have finally been freed from their turmoil. Or something. Point is, Shake it Out to me has the highest emotional impact of these, and the most interesting composition by far as well.

Best Pop Vocal Album

Stronger, Ceremonials (Florence & Machine), Some Nights, Overexposed (Maroon 5), The Truth About Love (Pink)

Again, haven't listened to these all the way through, but I like the most songs from Ceremonials, so I'll say that's my favorite to win, though it probably won't. Hell, I even discovered another song I loved on Song Pop the other day.

Redheads Can Do No Wrong, Apparently

Best Rock Performance

Hold On (Alabama Shakes)*, Lonely Boy, Charlie Brown, I Will Wait, We Take Care of Our Own (Springsteen)*

This is the hardest category for me to pick so far, because I like most of them just about equally, but I gotta give it to The Boss on having a good, much-needed message and a good rock song to back it up. I didn't even know that 80s Jersey guy had new stuff out last year, but looking up the song, it won me over.

Of course, Charlie Brown has that excellent Coldplay atmosphere and Black Keys and Alabama Shakes know how to bring the classic rock style to the new generation, so they're all close behind. Mumford & Sons made my favorite album of 2011, but I was a bit disappointed this year with I Will Wait being too much of the same, and sounding a bit stale.

Best Hard Rock/Heavy 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)*

So, aside from Love Bites, which I found on Song Pop not five days ago, and Blood Brothers which came on my metal spotify radio, I have not been keeping up with metal like I used to. Look at those asterisks! In fact, the only metal band I really knew had something out last year was 3 Inches of Blood, and they're not even nominated! I guess Anthrax really did need to tell me they were still alive with that title, and that Megadeth song is off Th1rt33n (their dumbass spelling not mine, no offense Megadave), which I thought was released way before 2012?

In any case, I looked up what I missed, and it seems that especially in metal, things don't change much. Lamb of God is still channeling Pantera, Manson sounds like he did in the 90s, Megadave is still riffing with the best of them and I'm still not that big on Anthrax, their offering sounding like a generic wrestling theme song.

Hell, Halestorm isn't doing anything all that original really, they're just newer and have female vocals (think Paramore, but heavier), but I do like their song and its guitar solo enough to say let 'em have it for recognition. Although, Megadeth is a very close second, as I was actually pleasantly surprised how much I liked the riff and chorus, even if the lyrics, effective enough though they may be, could have been written by a high school student (which, to be fair, so could the ones in Halestorm's song).

Here's the Megadeth video, I enjoyed it, maybe you will too.

Best Rock Song

Freedom at 21 (Jack White)*, I Will Wait, Madness, Lonely Boy, We Take Care Of Our Own

Of these, while I did love the video, riff and solo in Jack White's song, I have to give it to Muse. Their relaxing song I've been singing along to every time it comes on may not be new territory for them, but their style was very original to begin with, so I can't take points off for them providing a familiar sound; it's their sound, and it's good.

Best Rock Album

El Camino, Mylo Xyloto, The 2nd Law (Muse), Wrecking Ball (Springsteen), Blunderbuss

I'm going to say Myloto Xyloto or 2nd Law, but I really haven't heard enough to judge, so I'm just not even going to pick.

Best Alternative Album

Nametoodamnlong (Fiona Apple), Biophilia (Bjork), Making Mirrors, Hurry Up We're Dreaming (M83), Bad as Me (Tom Waits)

That's not the actual name, but rather a description of Fiona Apple's album title. I haven't heard these wholesale or much at all outside of Making Mirrors, but while I do like Midnight City by M83, Gotye's album is both awesome, and the thing that put alternative music on the map this year.

Only R&B Songs I Know

Usher's Climax*, Beyonce's Love on Top*

To be honest, the only reason I recognize these two is cause they were popular when I was in middle/high school (late 90s/early 2000s), and of course they're still going strong, but I know nothing of R&B, so this is the only category I can speak to.

In a way, the production and atmosphere on Usher's song makes it sound like the 2000s, and Beyonce's fun, bouncy, mostly vocal-driven tune makes it sound like a good 90s dance number, a little Mariah Carey-esque even. I actually really liked Beyonce's song (and of course her dancing in the video, cause I'm a pervert), but Usher's was so-so.

I didn't list the full nominee list, cause honestly, I just don't like R&B enough to go through that many songs, and there are a lot of categories for it. My music tastes are pretty diverse, but nine times out of ten, I hear chimes at the top of a song, and I have a physical reaction that makes me roll my eyes at the inevitable sappy love song coming.

To compensate for lack of R&B coverage, here's a Boyz II Men song I found on Song Pop I kind of like. I'm pretty sure it has chimes in it, and is sappy, if I remember correctly, but remember, I said nine times out of ten, not 100%.

Chimes: Nature's Whiteboy Remover

Best Rap Performance

HYFR (Drake, Lil Wayne)*, Niggas in Paris (Jay-Z, Kanye), Daughters (Nas)*, Mercy (Kanye, crew), I Do (Young Jeezy)*

Gonna have to go with Daughters as a close second to Niggas in Paris. Daughters is about something besides bragging and ass. NiP has an interesting beat and lacking a chorus, is just a way for Jay-Z and Kanye to show off, but they're pretty good at it. The other songs, I honestly just find kind of dumb. Also, I didn't know Drake was Jewish until I watched that video.

Best Rap/Sung Collab

Wild Ones (Flo Rida), No Church in the Wild (Jay-Z, Kanye, Frank Ocean)*, Tonight (Best You Ever Had) (John Legend w/ Ludacris)*, Cherry Wine (Nas feat. Amy Winehouse)*, Talk That Talk (Rihanna feat. Jay-Z)*

Turns out I had heard No Church in the Wild, but only its background on car commercials... kind of odd to have a song like that associated with advertisements, but oh well.

Cherry Wine is by far my favorite here, so Nas wins again in my eyes. Love the chorus from the passed Amy Winehouse and lyrics about finding the right woman. Not sure I'd have Amy Winehouse as the poster woman for that, but she was a great singer and I liked her music style, as evidenced here, R.I.P.

Best Rap Song

Daughters (Nas), Lotus Flower Bomb (Miguel)*, Mercy, The Motto*, Niggas in Paris, Young Wild & Free

It inspired a very dumb movie that tgwtg.com members Todd in the Shadows and Rap Critic reviewed, and it's not the best message by any means, but I love the relaxed vibe, sing-song chorus and piano in Snoop Dogg's and Wiz Kalifa's ode to weed.

Best Country Solo Performance

Home (Dierks Bentley)*, Springsteen (Eric Church)*, Cost of Livin' (Ronnie Dunn)*, Wanted (Hunter Hayes), Over (Blake Shelton), Blown Away (Carrie Underwood)

Believe it or not, despite being Texan, I really didn't care for country music until recently... cause my Argentinian/Syrian mixed ex-girlfriend from Houston liked it, and my older brother had a mix CD of it in my parent's VW. I'd argue a lot of it now is just pop/rock with more twang, and that's why I like it, but in any case, as with rap, I've built a tolerance for country outside high school.

Of these, I like Blown Away the most, cause I like the bombastic chorus. Cost of Livin' does tell a good story of a soldier looking for work though, so consider it close second. I don't like Over or Wanted much.

Best Country Group Performance

Even if it Breaks Your Heart, Pontoon, Safe & Sound*, On the Outskirts of Town (The Line Jumpers)*, I Just Come Here for the Music (Don Williams)*

Sadly, it's getting too close to Grammys start time for me to keep looking up songs, so I'll say all I know is that the TSwift song is from Hunger Games, Pontoon I found on Song Pop and liked, and Even if it Breaks Your Heart has been played in every gas station I've been in for the last few months, and it's catchy as hell; I like it.

Best Country Song

Blown Away, Cost of Livin' (Philip Coleman), Even if It Breaks Your Heart, So You Don't Have to Love Me Anymore (Jay Knowles)*, Springsteen

See above.

I Don't Know Jazz (Miles Davis), New Age (New Order?), Gospel, Christian (P.O.D.), or Latin ("Volare")

I know, I'm ignorant, but there are some songs and artists I like in parentheses if you wish to look them up.

Best Americana Album

Not sure how Mumford & Sons are Americana ... the people voting on this know what an English accent sounds like, right?

Wish I knew more about bluegrass like I used to

I went to a concert once and made my Bowser plushie dance along; dad knew the band; I listened to their CD in the car a lot after that, it was good happy music and I was real little. Too bad I haven't heard much of it lately.

Don't know blues, but here's a great song I found on Song Pop


Best Folk Album

Sorry rangergirl, all I know is that Of Monsters and Men got robbed in this category! Their CD, My Head is an Animal is amazing!

Regional Roots...?

I don't know what that is


Again, I'm ignorant, but here's punk band turned reggae outfit Bad Brains

World Music? Children's Songs?

I just remember in middle school there was a song we sang about Joe working in a button factory. I hated that song.

Spoken Word - political figues, plus ellen, plus janis ian?

Yeah, I don't really go for books on tape. Too Esspensive!

Best Comedy Album

Fallon, Cho, Black, Griffin, Gaffigan, Tenacious D

Didn't know Jimmy Fallon did stand-up, haven't listened to but one song of Tenacious D's new album. I love comedy, but I'm gonna have to say let the best man win, haven't heard the recent stuff from any of these people.

Musical Theater - they don't have Les Mis

So I can't vote, really

Best Compilation Soundtrack

The Descendants, Marley, The Muppets, Midnight in Paris, Rock of Ages

I also love the 80s songs in Rock of Ages when Mary J. Blige sang them, not huge on Glee-style vocals, though. And Midnight in Paris, I remember mostly that one song about "Let's Fall in Love."

So, for diversity alone, I'm going Muppets, though I'm sure I'd love Bob Marley's stuff if I saw the film, since I'm a fan of his.

Best Score

Tintin, The Artist, Dark Knight Rises, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, Hugo, Journey

Given that it was a silent film, aside from the music and ending, I kind of have to say The Artist is my favorite, even if the movie itself wasn't my favorite of these.

Best Song Written for Movie

Abraham's Daughter (HG)*, Learn Me Right (Brave), Let Me Be Your Star (Smash),* Man or Muppet, safe & Sound

While I love the traditional Scottish sound of Brave's soundtrack, I gotta give it to the hilarious Man or Muppet.

Then it gets into instrumental, classical, choral etc. plus a bunch of weird production awards

So I'll just give you some choral work from my alma mater

Stephen F. Austin State University

Best Short Form Music Video

Houdini, No Church in the Wild*, Bad Girls (MIA)*, We Found Love, Run Boy Run (Woodkid)*

So this is the only category in which Foster the People get recognized? Then I'm pulling for them all the way, and it's my favorite song and video of these, anyway. I like We Found Love as well.

Best Long Form Music Video

Big Easy Express (Mumford and Sons)*, Bring Me Home Live 2011(Sade)*, Radio Music Society (Esperanza Spalding)*, Get Along (Tegan and Sara)*, From the Sky Down (U2)*

As you can see, I was planning on watching these, but it's now about 6:50pm as I type this, and Grammys start in 10 minutes!

Let me know who you're rooting for or if you care about Grammys at all (no one will blame you if you say no) in the comments below!


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