The 2012 Grammy Awards are upon us and it's time to see what's what. Let's break down a few key categories and see where we stand as a nation. Let's start with...
Record of the Year
Last year this distinction when to Lady Antebellum's "Need You Now." Record of the Year is different from Song of the Year, though last year, Lady-A won that award, too. Record means a combination of great song, great production and great performance, while Song focuses on the writing part. Producers, mixers and other studio engineers count for Record, while the songwriter is counted in Song.
So, the nominees are:
1) Adele -- Rolling In the Deep: First, congratulations to Adele for releasing her album in 2011. I look forward to the awards you will be awarded at the 2013 Grammy Awards. For now, this year's awards are potentially many. Album of the Year, Best Pop Vocal Album, Record, Song, Best Short Form Music Video, Best Pop Solo Performance. Considering she already won Best New Artist and then Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for "Chasing Pavements," the Academy would look consistent if they continued to shower her with awards. Wasn't this song everywhere in 2011? And even when it wasn't, didn't you imagine it was?
2) Bon Iver - Holocene: Considering how few people can pronounce or spell the record label -- Jagjaguwar (I had to look it up) -- Bon Iver are the longshot. How much money does Jagjaguwar spend lobbying for their artists? What is Bon Iver even doing here? Pitchfork named their album the #1 album of 2011. Since when do the Grammys follow the lead of Pitchfork? Have they given up on following Your Flesh? On the plus side, Bon Iver's album and song did actually get released in 2011, so that's a nice change of pace compared to what follows here. Isn't there a prog rock category or if you want to get all Jethro Tull about it, maybe a heavy metal or even jazz award for these guys? Will the Academy go artsy?
3) Bruno Mars -- Grenade: Bruno is doing the smart thing here. He's showing up and performing at the Grammys. The voters like that. It shows initiative. Besides, Mars plays music that is "with it" with the new generation. Y'know, the kids that everyone wants to be like so they can live forever, too? Talented young man who fuses lots of different genres together -- elements of rock, R&B, soul, hip-hop and reggae have been sighted in his work -- should play favorable with voters who wish to cover the most ground with a single vote.
4) Mumford & Sons -- The Cave: Nominated for Record, Song, Best Rock Performances and Best Rock Song, Mumford & Sons have convinced the academy that they play rock 'n' roll. They've also done that incredible feat of releasing a song in 2009 in the U.K. and in the U.S. in 2010 and still managing to qualify as a song that was happening in 2011, so henceforth, the 2012 Grammys!
Nothing screams respect for the age-old tradition of "real" music more than acoustic guitars! Ten thousand alt.country bands wonder what they're doing wrong, while people who hate electricity break out their candles in unison! Integrity is job #1.
5) Katy Perry -- Firework: Proving that the kids like the pop music more than the gospel music, Katy Perry returns to the Grammys after being nominated for her Teenage Dream album at last year's event. Now, they've taken a popular single from that album and brought it past the judges for Record of the Year and Best Pop Solo Performance. Not likely to win unless she shows up and sings her song like that Bruno Mars guy and then only a low chance. Could be an upset!