So, I will admit that recently I’ve had “Good For You (feat. A$AP Rocky)” by Selena Gomez stuck in my head. I think it has some clever lyrics and interesting vocalizations. The more I listen to it, the more I pay attention to Gomez’s vocals, which has got me wondering why she wasn’t nominated for a Grammy for her vocal work.
If you forget the fact that it’s Selena Gomez singing and listen to how she sings the song, it’s actually quite substantial for the 2014-2015 music period. She does this soft, murmured vocal that effectively grabs the listener in, in rather a haunting way. This is something that wasn’t done through the year, and it is a huge step outside of Gomez’s past work. While the song as a whole includes influences of hip-hop, R&B, and electric slow jam, it’s her vocals that really create the character and life of the song.
If Gomez sang the song solo (without the feature), I think she could’ve gotten nominated for the Grammy for Best Pop Solo Performance. Maybe. Probably. If politics didn’t come into play. However, because she has A$AP Rocky featured on the track, it couldn’t qualify for the solo performance category. It could’ve, on the other hand, been nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, but it never stood a chance with this year’s nominees. When you have five nomination spots in a year of major collaborative hits (e.g. “Uptown Funk,” “See You Again,” “Bad Blood,” etc.), it was obviously going to lessen the odds of “Good For You” being nominated. This has to do with the fact that Gomez’s vocals and A$AP Rocky’s rap don’t meld as fluidly as Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar on “Bad Blood” or Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth on “See You Again.” Both those songs feature two artists from opposite musical worlds coming together to create a unified front. Meanwhile, Gomez and Rocky aren’t necessarily dependent on each other. I think a strong collaboration would require the song’s success to be due to the fact all parties involved hold equal weight in it and elevate the song. If we look back at “Bad Blood” – a song released to radio in both a solo and duo format (the song originally was a Swift-only song before Lamar remixed it and added his verses) – the song was transformed and elevated with the collaboration. Sure, the solo song is strong, but the version with Kendrick Lamar is a completely different animal and is elevated from the original. If you take Lamar out of “Bad Blood” it doesn’t stay the same. However, the Gomez-only and the Gomez-Rocky version of “Good For You” literally sound the same. You could take out the rap or put it in and it wouldn’t help or hurt the integrity of the song. That isn’t a slight against either artist, it’s just how the song is structured.
Just my thoughts. For you.