Are the Grammys finally getting it?
It’s a fair question given the awards show’s recent past. Over the past couple of years it always goes to the dominant radio-approved artists that top the charts. Yeah there was 2006, but the radio-villified Dixie Chicks don’t count. Death threats equal Grammys.
But this year is insane. If you just browse through the catagories you’ll find an array of artists from big to small, major label to under the radar. In various categories all sorts of critical darlings pop up: Radiohead, M.I.A., Gnarls Barkley, Beck, Deathcab for Cutie, Kings of Leon, My Morning Jacket and Hot Chip. But they still allow big name quality pop of Coldplay and Madonna to get their due.
So playing the odds this year got a lot tougher.
Record of the year nominees: Chasing Pavements, Adele; Viva La Vida, Coldplay; Bleeding Love, Leona Lewis; Paper Planes, M.I.A; Please Read The Letter, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.
Winner: Viva La Vida was everywhere because of iTunes and because it was incredibly catchy, but the whole Steve Vai lawsuit thing (check it on YouTube) is gonna play a part. That’s why I’ll give it to M.I.A.’s Paper Planes, it’s a brilliant song and after seeing its use in Slumdog Millionaire, incredibly powerful.
Album of the year nominees: Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends, Coldplay; Tha Carter III, Lil Wayne; Year Of The Gentleman, Ne-Yo; Raising Sand, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss; In Rainbows, Radiohead.
Winner: Coldplay and Lil Wayne are the obvious frontrunners and the nod to Radiohead was just recognition of their gamechanging album distribution for In Rainbows. Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III is a rare album that catches massive airplay and makes it on nearly every year-end best list in the world. This will probably push it over the edge.
Best New Artist nominees: Adele, Duffy, Jonas Brothers, Lady Antebellum, Jazmine Sullivan
Winner: Likely secnario: Duffy and Adele cancel each other out as Brit soul singers ... leaving the Jo Bros left on top. I have to admit their power pop has forced a bob in my head a few times, but I shudder to think of a Disney-approved act furthering the company’s world domination.
Watching it this year also will be a treat. The line-up of performers includes: U2, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, Rihanna, Radiohead, Coldplay, Paul McCartney with Dave Grohl, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Jay-Z, T.I., Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake. They’re on CBS at 8 p.m. Feb. 8.
* Jeremy Dutton: 509-582-1525; firstname.lastname@example.org; blog at tricityherald.com/papercuts