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WERS Reacts to the Grammy Nominations

Music Reviews :: 11.30.17

What WERS Artists are up for nomination?

Alternative Album

Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, Father John Misty, The National

Album of the Year

Lorde

Pop Duo/Group Performance

Chainsmokers and Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Portugal. The Man

Traditional/Pop Vocal Album

Bob Dylan

Pop Vocal Album

Coldplay, Lana Del Rey, Imagine Dragons

Dance Record

Gorillaz, LCD Soundsytem

Dance/Electronic Album

Sylvan Esso

Rock Performance (AND Rock Song)

Foo Fighters - "Run"

Rock Album

Queens of the Stone Age, War on Drugs

American Roots Performance

Alabama Shakes

American Roots Song

Dave Rawlings, Jason Isbell, Gregg Allman

Americana Album

Jason Isbell, Gregg Allman

Traditional Blues Album

Rolling Stones

Contemporary Blues Album

Tedeschi Trucks Band

Folk Album

Aimee Mann, Laura Marling

Reggae Album

Morgan Heritage

 

By Emily Harrison and Mica Kendall

The Grammy nominations of 2018 did not disappoint the public from Lorde’s comeback album of 2017 “Melodrama” to Tyler the Creator’s stylistic breakthrough “Flower Boy,” the Grammy’s this year seem to focus on the entrepreneurs of music who have made their own unique musical impact in the world, with their individualized sound found nowhere amidst the vast music industry.


The Quick Roundup:

A big category this year is Artist of the Year, with nominees like Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Bruno Mars, and Lorde.

Melodrama serves as Lorde’s 4-year comeback album, revealing a great deal of emotion and depth within the lyrics of the album about what her personal life has been like during the four years since her debut album Pure Heroine. Every song on Melodrama flows effortlessly together with its smooth transitions and is lyrically enriching and raw that many listeners can relate to the life experiences she describes throughout all 12 tracks of the album. From looking past a long-term relationship and moving onto the opportunities the world has to offer in “Greenlight” to the harsh realities found at the end of a party, with the chilling lyrics in “Sober,” Melodrama is none the less a masterpiece of an album that not only deserves its place in the Louvre, but also a Grammy for album of the year.


Read: The Return of Lorde →


SZA has five nominations - the most for a female artist this year - including Best New Artist.

The Record of the Year category includes "Redbone" by Childish Gambino, "Despacito" by Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee Feat. Justin Bieber, "The Story of O.J" by Jay-Z, "HUMBLE" by Kendrick Lamar, and "24K Magic" by Bruno Mars.

Aside from being great songs, the category this year does not contain any white males. This is the first time since 1999 to have happened.

Ed Sheeran had a pretty great year with his song “Shape of You,” and that is why he could also win in Best Pop Solo Performance. Sheeran is a phenomenal performer because it is just him and a guitar on stage, but “Shape of You” is not like his other songs. It is more upbeat than his other songs, yet he still manages to win over the audience with a solo performance by creating the song live time and time again.

Found in Best Pop Vocal Album, Lana Del Rey’s two-year comeback with Lust for Life makes its debut as a Grammy nominee. Being a personal huge fan of Lana, I was ecstatic to see her up as a nominee since her Grammy nomination in 2014 for her album Paradise. Lust for Life is Lana’s most collaborative album with songs featuring notable artists like Stevie Nicks, The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, and Sean Ono Lennon. The album contains a nice equal contrast between slow and upbeat songs and showcases Lana’s ability to stylistically take a chance with depending on other artists to vocally contribute to executing her personalized lyrics. Lust for Life demonstrates how Lana’s lyrics have grown in-depth with even more maturity since her last album, Honeymoon. This has been seen in songs like “Change” and “Love”, while still maintaining her signature sound found in the album America fell in love with being Born to Die. Nevertheless, Ms. Del Rey deserves her rightful Grammy for this beautifully crafted album.

Other nominees for this category are “Love So Soft” by Kelly Clarkson, “Million Reasons” by Lady Gaga, “What About Us” by P!nk, and “Praying” by Ke$ha.

We can’t forget about the other genres of music too like Best Rock Performance, which we think will go to Foo Fighters with their song “Run.” Best Alternative Music Album, we predict, will go to The National with “Sleep Well Beast.”


Read: Sleep Well Beast: A Reflection on Love, Loss, and Politics →


Another big category this year is Artist of the Year, with nominees like Jay-Z, Kendrick Lamar, Childish Gambino, Bruno Mars, and Lorde. While some might say the obvious pick is Bruno Mars, I am hoping that a rap album, like DAMN by Kendrick Lamar, will receive the award this year. While Jay-Z has produced 14 number-one albums in his two-decade career, he has never won this award. He has a few other chances to win an award this year, like for his song “4:44” which is nominated for Song of the Year.

Moving to the nominees for best rap album of the year, musically the stand out nominee of this category is Tyler the Creator’s well crafted album Flower Boy. What is most notable about this album compared to Tyler’s previous works is the musical risk he took. Instead of Tyler’s notable aggressive hyped up rap style that created his image with Goblin and Cherry Bomb, Flower Boy took a complete opposite 360 in terms of style giving listeners a glimpse into Tyler’s soft side. Its personal lyrics seen in tracks like “See You Again” and “November,” while still retaining Tyler’s impressive rap bars showcased in “Who Dat Boy” and “I Ain’t Got Time!”  Tyler’s boldness in introducing an album like Flower Boy proves Tyler’s ability to do it all. Nonetheless, Flower Boy is a justified nomination for being an album that breaks the common notion of what makes an album rap music.  

Other popular categories to closely watch are Best New Artist, Pop Vocal Album, and Best Pop Solo Performance. For each of these categories I have narrowed them down to my top three picks:

My top three choices for Best New Artist are Alessia Cara, Lil Uzi Vert, and Julia Michaels. This is such a tough choice and a hard act to follow up, especially since Chance the Rapper won last year. It was pretty much obvious that he would win last year, but this year is much closer. Alessia Cara has made such a big mark on us; her natural and raw beauty perfectly match her lyrics to “Scars to Your Beautiful,” which was basically every girl’s power anthem this summer.

As for movie soundtracks, there is one category to keep an eye on this year, and that is Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media. My top three picks for this year’s winner is Moana, La La Land, and Baby Driver.

While Moana was a huge hit with not only young children, but everyone in all age groups, I think that La La Land has some of the best original music of the year. Baby Driver is another top contender because, in my personal opinion, it’s just such a fun soundtrack to listen to. If you’re feeling a little edgy one day, this should definitely be the soundtrack to your day.

Overall, we are personally pleased with the Grammy’s incorporation of introducing an all-inclusive amount of nominee’s that are all musically unique in style, while also promoting those who made an evident impact in the music industry of 2017.

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