Record of the Year 2017

The nominees for Record of the Year are:

  • “Hello” by Adele
  • “Formation” by Beyoncé
  • “7 Years” by Lukas Graham
  • “Work” by Rihanna feat. Drake
  • “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots

Who Should Win: “Stressed Out” by Twenty One Pilots

I would be totally fine with Beyoncé, Adele, or Twenty One Pilots winning Record of the Year, but as a fake Grammy voter I cast my ballot for “Stressed Out” because find the instrumentation of it great – the synthesis string work is a real ear-grabber, and the rapped verses and sung chorus really work.

Who Will Win: “Hello” by Adele

Again, I predict Adele will win all her nominations simply because she doesn’t typically lose.  But, hey, “Hello” is an incredible record.

Album of the Year 2017

2016 was a great year for albums – we got new Adele music (finally!), Beyoncé brought us the glorious Lemonade, and so much more.

The nominees for Album of the Year:

  • 25 – Adele
  • Lemonade – Beyoncé
  • Purpose – Justin Bieber
  • View – Drake
  • A Sailor’s Guide to Earth  – Sturgill Simpson

Who Should Win: Lemonade by Beyoncé

It feels like every time Beyoncé drops an album, it becomes a critically acclaimed masterpiece, and she gets nominated for Album of the Year.  This certainly was the case fore I Am…Sasha Fierce, Beyoncé, and now for Lemonade.  And yet, she has never won.  Indeed, after her loss in 2015 to Beck’s Morning Phase, a lot of people  were upset (granted, Beck has been around in the indie rock scene for a while, so his win isn’t totally random).  However, with Lemonade, Beyoncé steps up her game and provides a whole visual experience.

Who Will Win: Probably 25 by Adele

I would not be surprised if Beyonce did win, but I feel like the Grammy’s tend to favor Adele, which technically isn’t wrong – 25 did break records (it sold over 3 million copies in one week, has sold over 10 million copies to date, etc.), and it is a solid album that discusses Adele’s next chapter in her life.

Song of the Year Prediction

Song of the Year is perhaps one of my favorite categories at the Grammys because they honor the songwriter.  Far too often, songwriters are not credited fairly for their work, which doesn’t make sense as there would be no song if it weren’t for the songwriter.

This year, the nominees are:

  • Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles, and Michael L. Williams II for “Formation” by Beyoncé.
  • Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin for “Hello” by Adele
  • Mike Posner for “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner
  • Justin Bieber, Benjamin Levin, and Ed Sheeran for “Love Yourself” by Justin Bieber
  • Lukas Forchhammer, Stefan Forrest, Morten Pilegaard, and Morten Ristorp for “7 Years” by Lukas Graham

Who Should Win: Mike Posner for “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” by Mike Posner

The original version of “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” is incredibly beautiful.  It has the timeless sound to it, grabs at your heart, and you truly feel Posner’s pain.  Out of all the nominees, Posner crafted a world that his listeners travel into, and leave feeling feeling his emptiness and loneliness.  Yes, it’s not a fun experience, but it’s one that leaves me with goosebumps every time.

Who Will Win: Adele Adkins and Greg Kurstin for “Hello” by Adele

It’s not that I think Adele doesn’t deserve to win the Grammy – “Hello” is indeed a gorgeous song – I simply think “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” captured Posner’s pain a bit better.  However, out of these songs nominated, I believe “Hello” was the biggest of 2016.  Adele dominated the charts, and she is indeed incredibly talented.  She has a Grammy-winning streak – she’s won every Grammy she has won since she released 21 in 2011.  So, it seems inevitable that she will win again.

Grammy Predictions 2017

It’s that time of year – we’re one month-ish away from the Grammys, so as usual, I thought I’d share my predictions of who should and who will win throughout the month.  I like to pretend I’m a Grammy voter – which, I’ve been repeatedly told I don’t “qualify” for – and select who I would vote for.  Obviously I can’t go through each category – there are eighty-four categories – so I’ll probably just hit the bigger categories.  Grammy voters don’t vote for every category – they vote for the top four, and then I think they vote within their specified genre.  Anyway…

I Don’t Wanna Live Forever

Recently, Taylor Swift released “I Don’t Wanna Live Forever” with Zayn (originally from One Direction) for the new Fifty Shades movie, and while I’m excited for the prospect of new T. Swift music, I find Zayn’s feature…intriguing (to put it nicely).  This is because I dislike when male singers go into their falsetto voice.  It’s not necessary and it’s rather irritating.  Right from the beginning, Zayn sings in a high register – if it was going to be that high, why wouldn’t Swift just sing it.  To me, singing in a lower register and hitting lower notes can be more authentic and natural – using falsetto sounds almost fake (which, depending on who you talk to, is).

Now, I’m not suggesting Zayn’s performance is bad or anything – he does have a nice voice, singing that high for a guy is a gift – I would have just arranged the song different if I were the producer. I would have probably had Zayn sing in a lower register and have Swift sing the major part of the chorus.

If you don’t listen too closely to the song, it’s not bad, but I think overall it could’ve been a bit better.

Parks and Rec

I know Parks and Recreation has been over for a while, but I just started watching it on Netflix and I’m hooked – I don’t know why I didn’t watch it when it was originally being aired (although, it’s kind of great watching a show that has ended because you can binge the whole season and not have to wait months for the new season, or a week for the next episode).

For those unfamiliar, the show stars Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope, an ambitious woman working in the Parks Department of Pawnee, Indiana, and it chronicles her (mis)adventures of her trying to make the best Pawnee possible.

The thing I really like about the show is that they did a great job making the fake city of Pawnee seem real and making it a cross platform experience.  You don’t just watch the show, you live it. For example, there’s an episode where Leslie writes and publishes a book on Pawnee, and they made it an actual book you can purchase and read – yes, they actually made up the historical background of a fake city.  Most shows would just make a prop book for the episode with blank pages, but Parks went above and beyond.

When Leslie runs for office, they naturally created her website.  But, they went further and created websites for such minor things.  Aziz Ansari’s character, Tom, starts many different businesses throughout the show, and they created websites for all of them. There’s even one episode where Leslie online dates (the service she used was made up for the show), and they made a website for that made-up service. There’s also an episode where Chris Pratt’s character writes a song for Leslie’s rally and he gets the whole cast to sing it…and they actually recorded it (see below).

I think it’s this dedication to bringing alive all the small details of the show made Parks so successful and create the cult following it still seems to have.  I do have to say that I wish Mouse Rat actually released an album.

Hurts So Good

I found Astrid S’ song “Hurts So Good” in a list of “underrated” songs of 2016…I am now obsessed with it.  The song seems to have done well in Astrid S’ home country of Norway and other parts of Europe, but it has yet to gain traction in America (thus it’s “underrated” status).  The song, overall, has great beats and cool synth work.  I also love the way she sings the chorus of “When it hurts, but it hurts so good” – it’s full of such great emotion.


The other great thing about this song is it’s snappy lyrics.  The opening lyrics of “You’re fighting me off like a firefighter, so tell me why you still get burned” is so enticing and clever.  At first, I thought it was a bit of an unusual reference, but then I realized that if the person is fighting her like a firefighter, then she must be a flame or fire.  This revolves around the entire message of the song: when things get bad, do you run or do you “take it?”  If she is a flame, she can keep this person warm or burn them.  Are they going tough out the difficult time or are they going to only stay if it “hurts so good.”

Anyway, I’m definitely going to be keeping an eye out (or, rather, ear?) for Astrid S in 2017 – hopefully a full length album is on its way.

Speed It Up

I found this article on Buzzfeed listing the forty underrated pop songs of 2016.  Naturally I found it intriguing – I’m always up for new music to listen to.  I listened through most of them, and one of the songs they list is “Pretty Girl” by Maggie Lindemann (below).  When I went to the YouTube video, one of the comments suggested changing the video speed to 1.25 (you can do that by clicking on the little cog icon).  And, my god, what a good idea.  The faster tempo suits the song better.  Perhaps we know why it was “underrated” (more like unknown) in 2016.

Personally, I thought the best songs in the list were:

Hurts So Good” – Astrid S

Good As Hell” – Lizzo

Mayday” – Cam

The music video for “Mayday” is also breathtaking.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some songs to purchase from iTunes.

Snatched!

For a while I’ve been hearing about Amy Schumer talking about filming a movie with Goldie Hawn in Hawaii.  They finally released the trailer for the movie, entitled Snatched.  It appears the movie is about Schumer convincing her mom (Hawn) to go on a trip to South America, where they are kidnapped, or, rather, “snatched.”  I generally like Schumer’s stuff – it’s a bit on the disgusting side for me (e.g. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the movie that scene where she’s cleaning her privates is heavily focused on), but on the whole it’s usually worth a good chuckle.  So I am pretty intrigued by the movie.  I’m still waiting for her movie she wrote with Jennifer Lawrence.  That’ll be great.

Stuck in the Middle With You

I find it interesting when a song gets reincarnated over the years and gets covered by so many different bands and artists.  We’ve seen it with “Angel of the Morning” and “Torn,” and so many other songs.

Recently, I stumbled across the song “Stuck in the Middle with You,” originally by Steelers Wheel,” and I love this song – the lyrics are so snappy and clever.

 

From my very brief research (the semester just ended, I’m a bit exhausted), Juice Newton, Michael Bublé, and Grace Potter all took stabs at covering this classic song – I’m sure there are more but, I think it’s interesting how they each took the song and did it rather differently:

Juice Newton:

Michael Bublé:

Grace Potter:

Grace Potter didn’t actually release a full studio version of the song – she sang the chorus for the theme of Grace and Frankie, but I think she needs to record a full studio version.

While I’m a purist and think the original is technically the best, I think Grace Potter had the best approach to the song.  It appears that in most versions, the song seems to have a slower tempo, but I think the song should be done at a faster tempo with a rock edge – it makes it so epic.