Friday, February 10, 2017

Music: Grammy Awards 2017 Nominations

I'm looking forward to the music awards. I have a hard time keeping up with all the great music that comes out each year so when the awards are announced, I like to listen to all of the nominations and pick some award winners, though I'm usually wrong. This year I think will be dominated by a few artist. I'm just going to look at some of the major awards and not focus on any particular genre of music. 

Album of the Year

Lemonade - Beyonce
The frontrunner for best album is Beyonce's mournful Lemonade. The album has amazing songs from Sandcastles to Freedom featuring Kendrick Lamar. The song that is getting the most attention is Formation. It is nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year as well.

25 - Adele
Adele is the toughest competition and also highly favored to at least win one award. The album 25 came out back in November and the smash hit Hello is also nominated for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. I did not like the rest of this album as much as I had liked Adele's previous album 21. There are a few songs like Send My Love (To Your New Lover), Remedy, and Sweetest Devotion that are appealing but nothing like the album full of hits previously delivered by the talented Adele.
Purpose - Justin Bieber
I would never have listened to Justin Bieber unless he had been nominated for the Grammy, but I found that Purpose wasn't terrible. It certainly does not deserve to win in this category but his bitter Love Yourself got nominated for Song of the Year and I have to admit it is catchy. Purpose isn't the worst music ever, but I don't see the appeal of Bieber. 
Views - Drake 
This album is one of my least favorite Drake albums and I have been a big fan of Drake's career. I usually like his music but I even found his hits like Hotline Bling and One Dance to not be as special as Drake's earlier raps. He is nominated for Work with Rhianna and has several hip-hop nominations but this was not his most impressive year of music.

A Sailor's Guide to Earth - Sturgill Simpson
So in the last two round of nominations, since I've been paying closer attention to the Grammys, there has been a country surprise. This primarily happens because I don't listen to the country music genre. I found Sturgill Simpson's album really enjoyable, especially the first song Welcome to Earth (Pollywog). It would be interesting if this album won but recent trends do not give it much of a chance.

Record of the Year
Every year I have to look up what distinguishes this category from Song of the Year, but this year I sort of remember that Record of the Year recognizes the artist's performance and overall contribution versus just the songwriter for Song of the Year. For Record of the Year, the top contenders are Hello by Adele and Formation by Beyonce. I suspect that the wealth of awards will be spread around between Beyonce or Adele so whoever wins Song or Album might not win this one. Drake is also sharing his nomination with Rhianna for Work
Lukas Graham also got a surprising nomination for his catchy and heartfelt song 7 Years about growing up. I'm not very familiar with Lukas Graham's other work but as soon as I heard the song, it stuck with me. 
I was happy to see that twenty one pilots were nominated for their song Stressed Out. The Blurryface album has a ton of great songs, plenty of them better than the one nominated but this song definitely struck a chord with society capturing the millienial disenfranchisement with society and debt. I don't think the song will win but it is nice to see these artists getting some recognition.

Song of the Year
Three of the songs nominated in this category also appear in Record of the Year: 7 Years, Formation, and Hello. As I mentioned earlier, I think Beyonce or Adele will win this award, I just don't know which one or how to properly judge it. Bieber got a nomination for his song Love Yourself and Mike Posner made it in with his catchy song I Took a Pill in Ibiza about that fleeting moment of fame that he got off his equally catchy song Cooler Than Me

Best New Artist
Chance the Rapper
The Chicago rapper has moved up from Acid Rap to be a Grammy-nominated artist with his popular album The Coloring Book. Parts of the album were enjoyable to me and I like Chance's singing voice but at other times it got a bit preachy and experimental making it hard to follow along and enjoy listening. Chance is my favored pick to win this award because he has a lot of momentum. He also has several nominations in the hip-hop category for writing on Kanye's songs and his own songs.

Kelsea Ballerini
Kelsea Ballerini may get overshadowed by the other country music star in the category and I can't always say I could tell the difference. Dibs is probably one of the more fun songs and she has a cool acoustic EP of some of the songs off of her album The First Time.

The Chainsmokers
The Chainsmokers have mastered a formula of making catchy music with songs like Closer featuring Halsey and their most recent top hit Paris. They released two EPs Boquet and Collage that are packed wtih decent EDM songs. If they do win, they'd be the first artist in this genre to win the award. 

Maren Morris
Maren Morris was an artist that I discovered from a magazine article and then I downloaded her album and really enjoyed it. Morris knows how to get some catchy country songs out and her album Hero is filled with them. 

Anderson .Paak
The most enjoyable discovery from my whole Grammy research was definitely Anderson .Paak's Malibu. The songs are amazing and the album has such passion to it. This will be a package of songs that I will listen to long after the Grammy awards. I'd love to see him win but I don't know if he has the recognition. 

I don't have time to go through all of the other categories that consist of the Grammys. I wish I had the time but I think I've got a pretty good idea of the songs that were nominated. I don't get to write about music much and have always wanted to review albums, though the concept of an album is slowly fading with the way we consume music changing so rapidly. Music was certainly interesting last year but probably the songs that stuck with me most were last year's winner from the Hamilton soundtrack. I look forward to the show and seeing who wins and another year of music ahead. 

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