It should have gone differently. When the full list of Grammy nominations was released in late November I felt an excitement almost impossible to contain.
My eyes watered as they widened in anticipation, my chest swole as I thought to myself excitedly “oh cool, several artists I personally like have been nominated for several Grammys, that award that no one really cares about or agrees on. Nice”.
It makes no sense that the Grammys would overlook the artists I hold dear in favour of other, surely lesser artists who I do not personally listen to or enjoy.
Kendrick Lamar and Donald Glover in the running for Record of the Year! Bad and Boujee to complete the formality of being officially named the Best Rap Performance we all unanimously decided it was after Donald Glover told us so! SZA and Lil Uzi Vert duking it out for Best New Artist, an award surely only one of these two groundbreaking new artists could possibly win!
Lorde, the only woman in a field of men, sure to edge them all out for Record of the Year with Melodrama, an album showing such evolution and maturation that it almost renders Pure Heroine unlistenable, only four years after it made us fall in love with the precocious New Zealand teen who gave it to us!
I expected to celebrate! To exalt! To bask in the success of the artists I’ve long enjoyed and feel in some small way as if their success was partially my own!
Instead I was left with nothing but questions. Who is Alessia Cara? Why didn’t SZA win anything? Is Bruno Mars in fact good?
The decision to give Best New Artist to Alessia Cara has been met with some negative backlash online, which she has found herself in the unfortunate position of having to “clapback” against in a sufficiently “sassy” way on a “modern, cool, youth-oriented” platform like her own personal Instagram account.
“I will not let everything I’ve worked for be diminished by people taking offence to my accomplishments and feeling the need to tell me how much I suck.” Cara wrote.
“Here’s something fun! I’ve been thinking I suck since I was old enough to know what sucking meant. I’ve beat [you] to it.”
It’s not Cara’s fault she won Best New Artist, and not up for me to decide whether or not she deserves it. Here’s why I think Lil Uzi Vert should have won instead:
- He is the most ‘new’ artist of the nominees, not just someone we haven’t heard before singing good versions of songs we have.
- I have showed his music to several people and they all hated it!
- Look at this fucking fit:
Before the show I felt comfortable allocating this award to Uzi, as I expected SZA should surely win at least one of the other four awards for which she was nominated. But I also thought XO Tour Llife was gonna be top 10 in the Hottest 100 instead of number 74, and I also thought SZA would have like, eight songs in it instead of none. Maybe I’m extremely out of touch!
As for Bruno Mars. Maybe he deserves all his wins, I can’t really say that he doesn’t given I’ve never heard any of his music. I’ve listened to Uptown Funk several times but every time I do I only hear this:
It makes no sense that the Grammys would overlook these artists I hold dear in favour of other, surely lesser artists who I do not personally listen to or enjoy. The decisions of the academy show they are completely out of touch with the youth, and have obviously used archaic metrics such as album sales and radio plays to determine the value of this music.
In an industry where the lines between art and commerce are only just now becoming increasingly blurred, newer and more reliable markers of success such as the Streaming Revolution and Twitter followers are being ignored. The music industry professionals, artists, producers and engineers who make these decisions are acting in complete ignorance of the consumers they have been elected to serve.
I am cool! I write about music on the internet! I deserve to be heard!
Jack Gramenz is a comedian and former radio producer who is trying to rebrand as a music journalist in 2018 after deciding that’d probably be the easiest one. Follow him on Twitter for more lukewarm to hot takes at @JackGramenz