The 2018 Grammys have come and gone, and they were nothing if not surprising. Not surprising in way that the Grammys consistently seem to make the least popular decision. There comes a point to where one has to decide whether or not to put any value in the decisions made by the Academy. A lot of the greats in music have not won Grammys, but music legends like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder have racked up the awards. I always go into the award show saying that it doesn’t matter THAT much, but then I end up feeling a certain type of way about the results. With that being said, here are my reactions to the some of the awards given last night.
Album of the Year: “24k Magic” – Bruno Mars
I want to preface this with the statement Bruno Mars is one of the most talented individuals to grace the music industry in a long time. He fully deserves the recognition as one of the strongest performers right now. However, you can’t seriously tell me that he should have won ALBUM OF THE YEAR for what he put out this past year. That’s not to say that it wasn’t a really good album. But out of the nominees, it wasn’t even in the top 3. The true winner should have been between “Awaken, My Love!”, DAMN., and 4:44. The high powered, Prince-esque funk/soul album that Childish Gambino released was years ahead (or behind?) Mars’ 24k Magic. Kendrick’s top level lyricism and story-telling blew Bruno’s album out of the water. Jay-Z opened up and brought out a side of him that hadn’t been seen since the song “New Day” off of Watch The Throne. You can’t convince me that 24k Magic was better than those three, so it’s safe to say that they dropped the ball here.
Best New Artist: Alessia Cara
The reason that they Grammys never get this pick right is because, more often than not, the artists that they nominate for are not in fact new artists at all. Alessia Cara won Best Breakthrough Artist of the Year at the Juno Awards, Canada’s most prestigious music awards, in 2015. Lil Uzi Vert has been making music since 2014 and has always had a strong following in the rap community. SZA has been putting out work since 2012. It just always seems that the recording academy is a year or two behind on what the music world actually thinks. I don’t think that the choice to give Alessia Cara the award was wrong. There were arguments for Khalid, SZA and Lil Uzi Vert (still don’t know who Julia Michaels is). But nonetheless, I’m not mad at this pick.
Best Country Album: “From a Room, Vol 1” – Chris Stapleton
Presented without comment.
Best Rap Album: “DAMN.” – Kendrick Lamar
This was one of the more competitive categories in recent history. I wasn’t surprised by this pick. It was either going to be between Jay-Z and K.Dot. The academy loves to gift Kendrick a “Best Rap Album” award as a reconciliation for not giving him the “Best Album of the Year” that he could have won. My pick for the best album would have been Laila’s Wisdom by Rapsody, the Roc-A-Fella Record signee who has displayed some of the best lyricism I’ve seen in recent years. But I’m also totally okay with Kendrick winning.
Best Country Song: “Broken Solos” – Chris Stapleton
Seriously. Who is this guy? He dominated the country categories. Maybe I should give him a listen.
Record of the Year: “24k Magic” – Bruno Mars
My counter argument to “24k Magic” is “Redbone”, quite possibly the one of the smoothest and soulful popular songs to be released in recent history. So much went into this song that it’s criminal that it didn’t win “Record of the Year”. If you go onto Youtube, you will see a video from Genius.com from the co-producer on the track, Ludwing Goransson, take close to 8 minutes to play each instrument that went into making the masterpiece that was “Redbone”. You know that pitched up main vocal on the song? That was Childish Gambino’s real voice, with no vocal pitching done at all. The pure talent that went into “Redbone” should have propelled it to the win, but the recording academy apparently forget that Childish Gambino existed.