Music fans connect like chain links and groan with heavy intensity, the second they hear Grammy Night is on the way. It’s like the family reunion you don’t wanna go to because you know you’re just gonna walk away with annoyance taller than your height as you think to yourself: “I’d think I’ll be OK if I’m never around them again”. Time to recycle statements: Fuck the Grammys, blah blah blah, I agree. With the Grammys, it feels like a case of remembering the “losers” than the winners, picture American Idol except for everyone, in this case, made it. We know what to expect when it comes to Grammy Winners: the most popular meets the more conventional in terms of pop music.[Fun Fact: “My Humps” by Black Eyed Peas beat “I Will Follow You in the Dark” by Death Cabie for Cute for “Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals”]
So when it feels like the Grammy’s standards have been subverted and outliers win the golden ticket and take home the gold, it feels like successfully cheating the government. Songs that feel separated from their class where you say: “Oh shit…that won?”
Think “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish, “Somebody I Used to Know” by Gotye, and “This is America” by Childish Gambino, sure they’re popular but don’t feel like typical “pop” songs. Bad Guy is like Tumblr Vocals collapsed over a bouncy beat that when combined feels like something you’d hear in a Diablo Cody film. Remember that “Somebody I Used to know” takes a while to get to the hook (1:33) so you have to listen to the story Gotye is trying to paint. R.E.M. and the White Stripes said “Fuck Choruses” for their Grammy-winning songs Losing My Religion and Seven Nation Army. Sure, Lupe Fiascos’ “Daydreamin'” sampled “Daydreamin’ in the Blue” but it’s still about Chicago buildings turning into robots…only Lupe would win a Grammy for a song like that.
Igor won Best Rap Album, now sure whether it should’ve been in the pop or rap category, it still stood against its peers being an unexpected album filled with pretty 70s & 80s inspired Neo-Soul, Disco, and R&B.
Spoiler Alert for shit we know already: Award Shows suck. They’re not true solidifiers of quality, they’re more like popularity orgies, however, when the non-norm walks away with a Grammy, it feels a bit like vindication.