The Grammys: A Celebration of Popular Music

The Grammys: A Celebration of Popular Music

Nick Glennon, Reporter

 

The Grammys is a yearly awards ceremony that presents honors to the best musicians of the year. However, is the truly best music always honored?

The awards show has always had an infamous reputation of honoring the most popular music rather than the highest quality music. This year was no exception. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “The Heist” won the Grammy for Best Rap Album over Kanye West’s “Yeezus” and Kendrick Lamar’s “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City”, outraging the hip hop world. According to aggregate music review website Metacritic “The Heist” has a score of 74 while “Yeezus” and “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City” boast scores of 84 and 91 respectively. Macklemore had 4 Top 20 hits this year while Kanye and Kendrick had 2 combined. “The Heist” is not a bad album by any means. It’s a solid lyrical album and a delight for any popular music fan. However, calling it the best rap album of the year is a statement that could definitely be disputed.  Not only was Macklemore up for Best Rap Album, he was also up for Album of the Year.

Macklemore is good but, in my opinion, not the best.   There was also another strange nominee up for the Album of the Year, Taylor Swift’s album “Red”.  The album has sold almost 4 million copies since its release in October 2012 but only has a 77 on Metacritic and only received 3.5 out of 5 stars in a review from Rolling Stone, historically one of the most accurate music review sources out there. T-Swizzle is a fan favorite and beloved by young girls across America but did her album really deserve this nomination? I don’t think so. An aggregate score of 77 indicates a decent album, not one of the best quality albums of the year. However music fans can rejoice – Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” won the award. It’s a bit of an oddity – electronic/dance albums are never usually up for Album of the Year – but it’s a very high quality recording that was beloved by fans and critics and very deserving of the award.

Another complaint with the Grammys is that they generally tend to neglect the alternative genre of music. Genres like pop, hip-hop, rock/metal and R&B have four or five different awards each. However, alternative only has award – the award for Best Alternative Album. Vampire Weekend won the award with their brilliant new album “Modern Vampires of the City”, which was elected best album of the year by several magazines including Rolling Stone, Pitchfork Media and Slant Magazine. Alternative is one of the most popular music genres today. Jazz has five different awards and you don’t seem to hear anybody listening to jazz anymore. Even rock is not nearly as popular as it once was. How is it that one of the premier genres of music in America is given only one award in the most prestigious music awards show there is? It seems ridiculous to me.

In my opinion, the Grammys are a biased awards presentation to undeserving artists who are constantly on replay on the radio. Thanks to the Grammys, musicians who make generic radio songs garner all the awards while more deserving artists sit at home and cringe at their TV’s. Not only do they snub artists, but they also snub genres in favor of older genres that are far less popular than they used to be. I will not watch the Grammys until it becomes more balanced and legitimate. I will start to watch when the Album of the Year actually means the best album and not some commercial brainwash.