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ON RECORDS: RANDOM GRAMMY THOUGHTS

It’s time to spark another blunt and ponder some of the more compelling questions swirling around the Grammys. We find the Grammy process endlessly intriguing—don’t you?

     

Butterfly Collecting

The #OscarsSoWhite controversy creates an opening for the Grammys to make a progressive statement with its topline award, Album of the Year. If the trophy doesn’t go to Taylor Swift, it will likely go to Kendrick Lamar. The hip-hop artist’s acclaimed To Pimp a Butterfly addresses racism and inequality in powerful and creative ways, and honoring it would shield the Recording Academy from much of the criticism that’s hobbled the Motion Picture Academy.

While Grammy Whisperer Paul Grein has opined that Alabama Shakes are the likeliest winners after Tay, it feels as though the Academy has honored this kind of hip/alternative/rock album several times recently (see Beck, Arcade Fire, Mumford). And while Chris Stapleton is highly acclaimed, he clearly owes his breakout to the CMAs. Besides, it seems it’s just not his turn. The Weeknd is likely to take home most if not all of the category trophies for which he’s nominated, but if a release from the hip-hop, urban and/or R&B worlds is going to be honored here it’ll be Kendrick’s urgent, provocative and timely set.

Little Big Town’s Big Little Song

While Grein chooses Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”—undeniably an excellent choice—you can’t rule out Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” Once again, socially relevant content gives the work an edge; this song with gay undertones turned into a country smash (and though label promotion was unable to cross it to Top 40, “Crush” still resonates everywhere). If “Thinking” doesn’t carry the day, the surprise choice would be LBT—and we would be on our feet to express our approval.

What the Funk, Part 1

If Record of the Year goes to anything other than Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk!” it’ll be a steal.

What the Funk, Part 2

Will Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis be invited to the podium with Ronson to collect the ROTY statuette? They deserve to be—“Funk!” is at the very least an homage to “Jungle Love,” as well as countless other stomping records the pair crafted over the years. Uptown Respect! We loved Morris Day and The Time. Still Do.

     

Between Rock and Hard Places

James Bay could win Rock Album. His Chaos and the Calm is excellent, but it’s simply not a rock album. So why is it in this category, competing with the likes of Slipknot? Why is he not in Alternative or Pop? Is it so he could win without having to compete head-to-head against Alabama Shakes in Alternative or Taylor in Pop? Not that we won’t be happy to see him take home a statue, but put his music where it belongs and let it compete with his peers. It should be important to all of us that the Grammy committees do the right thing.  

Shake It Off

We’re really looking forward to Taylor’s performance. With Adele’s utter dominance returning to earthly proportions after its record-setting run, Tay needs to strike back and attempt to retrieve the mantle of Pop Queen. She’s such a gifted, charismatic performer—we can’t wait to see what she does.

Chasing Amy

The brilliant Amy Winehouse doc Amy will win for Music Film—which will pave the way for an Oscar pickup for Documentary Feature. Both will be huge coups for the burgeoning Universal Films division.  

Lamar's To Pimp a Butterfly addresses racism and inequality in powerful and creative ways, and honoring it would shield the Recording Academy from much of the criticism that’s hobbled the Motion Picture Academy.

Where’s Her Pageant?

Kacey MusgravesPageant Material —which did get a nod as Country Album—is still our pick for Album of the Year, even though it didn’t get nominated in that category. It’s great. If you haven’t spent time with it yet, we recommend you do so. Kacey is as good as any artist could possibly aspire to be. She just hasn’t yet had a clear format to break her to the masses.

Ready for Prime Time

We’re delighted that the Grammys will be broadcast live. It makes our lives considerably easier, as we’ll be able to cover the show and the parties. It’s good for the biz. Thanks, Ken, Jack and Neil.

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GRAMMY VOTING
How the sausage is made.
BIEBER'S BIG BOW
Changes changes the conversation.
PRIMARIES
So hard to decide...
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