By Joshua Van Laan
When I think about the Grammys, the first thing that always comes to mind is 2011. I still remember how it went down. I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep because I had to go to school the next day.
Suddenly, my phone began to explode with alerts. I checked it to see what was going on. My Twitter was going absolutely berserk. Almost every single musician I follow was tweeting about the joyous news: Montréal based indie band Arcade Fire won Album of the Year for their record “The Suburbs.”
All unknown and unheard musicians in the industry were proud that their voice and music was finally being heard. Even the big guns were happy about it, too. I remember Kanye West tweeting, “#Arcade fire!!!!!!!!!! There is hope!!! I feel like we all won when something like this happens!”
Unfortunately, since then the Grammys have regressed when it comes to recognizing talent, and this year was no exception. I can’t help but to compare the Grammys to the Academy Awards. Whereas the Academy Awards actually recognizes talented artists, and the Grammys recognize chart-rising pop filth. The Academy Awards would be like the Grammys if every new Fast and Furious won Best Picture every year.
This year, two of the biggest awards, Song of the Year and Album of the Year, were awarded to fun. and Mumford and Sons, respectively.
Though I understand (the two bands) are currently two of the biggest acts in the country, I don’t really like either, and I definitely don’t think they deserve any Grammys. Fun.’s songs have been heavily overplayed, overproduced and overrated.
“We Are Young” is one of the blandest radio hits I have ever seen, yet it is everywhere. I went to a conference this weekend and saw a U.S. Senator speak. He ended his speech with making everyone in the room recite the last lyrics to “a band I’m not sure that many people know,” but of course the song was “We Are Young” by fun.
As for Mumford, well, they’re not as bad. I might even put them under the guilty pleasure category, but I won’t. Because “Babel” was extremely dry and every time I turned it on I found myself turning something else on within three songs.
So who should’ve won? For Album of the Year I will forever say Frank Ocean. Channel ORANGE was a modern masterpiece. Ocean sang his heart out about growing up surrounded by drugs, economic class and his own sexuality. Never have I heard a man so vulnerable and singing his soul out in the way Frank does on channel ORANGE, all of these are much better themes than that of “We Are Young,” a song simply about youth rebellion and empowerment.
As for Song of the Year, there were unfortunately many great songs that didn’t make the cut. In fact, I don’t understand why the Grammys still have Song of the Year and Record of the Year as separate categories when they are essentially the same thing.
Hopefully, next year the Grammys will wise up, but my hopes are low. Until then, I’ll keep my faith in the Academy Awards. I hope that one day the Grammys will have as much sophistication as they do.