So it probably goes without saying that awards like the Grammys are no longer a surprise or, for that matter, very rewarding to the worthy candidates. The mainstream, Top 40 hits that have been driving their way into your head all year long are always the winners; while the “fringe talent” are the ones making incredible music and who never make it onto the list of nominees.Feel free to disagree or comment on my suggestions below, but these are a few artists who I think really should have taken home one of those “gold sippy cups”:
James Blake – Best New Artist:
If you don’t believe electronic music can be powerful or deep, then I think you need to book tickets to James Blake’s next gig and experience it for yourself. His throaty vocals and ghostly synths will make their way under your skin and stay there. They’ve been under mine since I heard him live at Primavera Sound 2013, and he’s been a continuous repeat on my playlists ever since. Given that Blake has been touring and claiming the international stage since 2011, when his first self-titled debut was released, it’s really a surprise that the Grammys nominated him for best new artist (trust the Academy to be three years behind when it comes to who’s hip and fresh). So given that his award is three years overdue and that Macklemore & Ryan Lewis already scooped up awards in other categories, why the heck didn’t he win?
Suit & Tie (Justin Timberlake feat. Jay Z.) – Best Pop/Duo Performance:
Whether you love ’em or hate ’em, I personally think the two J’s should’ve taken this one home. Sure, they’re not really “underdogs”, but this song is the epitome of catchy, poppy, danceable fun. I got tired of “Get Lucky” pretty quickly, but “Suit & Tie” is still a guilty favorite on my workout playlist. The only good thing about the winners in this category is that they weren’t Robin Thicke, T.I, and Pharrell.
Disclosure (Settle) – Best Dance/Electronica Album:
This is another nominee who proves that there is also depth amongst all the contagious pop riffs in the electronic genre. These two brothers are also on repeat since they first won me over at their concert in Paris, and I suggest you give them a chance. A friend of mine would always play them in the shower, and swore by the song ‘White Noise’ to get his day (and nights) started.
Tame Impala (Lonerism) – Best Alternative Music Album:
While I am still a big fan of the winners, Vampire Weekend (I was front row and center at one of their very first concerts back when they started out), I think the true underdogs here were Australian group Tame Impala, and they deserved their time in the limelight. If you’re a Beatles fan, I think you’ll find something to enjoy in ‘Lonerism’. The kind of psychedelia found in ‘Across the Universe’ is what you can expect from songs like ‘Apocalypse Dreams’ and I think it’s fair to say that Tame Impala are one of those few modern bands who do this genre very well.
Lana del Rey (Young & Beautiful) – Best Song Written for Visual Media:
Is it just me, or was the score one of the best parts of the most recent film adaptation of ‘The Great Gatsby’? And while there’s no arguing about Adele’s killer voice, Lana del Rey’s ‘Young & Beautiful’ is so evocative and fitting of this movie that I find it hard to believe that it didn’t win. Adele took home two Grammys for her soundtrack piece ‘Skyfall’. I think they could have spread the joy a little in this category.
Ariel Rechtshaid – Producer of the Year:
So he may not have a 24-hour music video, or wear a hat with its own Twitter account, but Ariel Rechtshaid produced for some great names over the years: HAIM, Solange, We Are Scientists, Vampire Weekend, and Sky Ferreira, to name a few. The people behind-the-scenes rarely get enough credit, and this particular snub is a perfect example of where credit was due elsewhere.