It’s Grammy time! The golden gramophones will be handed out during the awards ceremony, which starts 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 12, on CBS. No one knows or cares how these artists were nominated. (Songs from Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” are nominated this year after the band already won a Grammy for the album last year.) I have a feeling that with each passing year, the Grammys mean less and less. But it’s still fun to watch the ridiculous spectacle. (Don’t forget! York County bluegrass musician Del McCoury is nominated.) We’re predicting that Adele will win the big three: Album, Record and Song of the Year. Don’t forget to chime in on the FlipSide Facebook chat Sunday night.
Here are past FlipSide reviews of some of the nominees:
Album Of The Year nominees: “21″ by Adele; “Wasting Light” by Foo Fighters; “Born This Way” by Lady Gaga; “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” by Bruno Mars; “Loud” by Rihanna
Soulful British singer Adele finally released her sophomore album “21.” The album opens with the rousing track “Rolling in the Deep.” Most of the other songs are slower, sweeping ballads, the best of which are “Don’t You Remember” and “Someone Like You.” Heartbreak never sounded so beautiful. Rick Rubin, Ryan Tedder and Dan Wilson lent their expertise to the production, but Adele’s powerful pipes need little embellishment. Her 2008 debut “19” won two Grammys and a slew of other accolades. She might want to start making room on her trophy shelf now.
Foo Fighters front man Dave Grohl recently told The Wall Street Journal that the band never left the garage. That’s a little hard to believe given the Foo’s lucrative record deal, multiple Grammys and increasing pop culture presence. But its new album, “Wasting Light,” is a step back to “The Colour and the Shape” glory days. Just listen to the blazing opener “Bridge Burning” or the slamming, scream-o track “White Limo.” (The video is just as good.) For a ballad, “I Should Have Known” kicks butt. Steer clear of the tracks named after women.
Lady Gaga dethroned Oprah on Forbes’ annual Celebrity 100 list. And her sights are set on the top of the charts once again with her new album “ Born This Way.” Her star is still rising, but her chance of a smash single à la “Bad Romance” is waning. She’s been criticized for copying Madonna’s sound on the title track, and “Judas” isn’t danceable (even though the video might be her best). “Edge of Glory,” a blasting ballad that channels Cher, is a high point, but it’s too darn long. Unlike Gaga’s previous efforts, “ Born” seems scatterbrained. It glitters, but it just isn’t gold.
Rihanna is nominated for “Loud,” but her album “Talk That Talk” is her most recent effort. (I guess it might earn her Grammy nods next year?) She revisits and releases demons from her past on her sixth studio album “Talk That Talk.” Calvin Harris cameos on the club-ready single “We Found Love.” The video features an actor who bears a striking resemblance to Chris Brown. (In 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna.) Jay-Z lends his fearless flow to the CD’s title track. Other songs pulse with electronic beats, sexually explicit lyrics and Caribbean flair. Rihanna, Esquire’s Sexiest Woman Alive 2011, will steam up your stereo system. Lips will flap and booty will clap.
Read a review of “Doo-Wops & Hooligans” by Bruno Mars.
Record Of The Year nominees: “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele; “Holocene” by Bon Iver, aka Justin Vernon; “Grenade” by Bruno Mars; “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons; “Firework” by Katy Perry
Hipsters are hailing Bon Iver’s new self-titled CD. I’m not sure why. First of all, it annoys me when singer/songwriters name their music projects instead of using their actual names. Bon Iver is Justin Vernon (who is joined for live gigs with a band). What’s wrong with his real name? Anyway, his music isn’t the stuff you want to listen to at work on a slow Monday afternoon or while driving late at night. It’s best suited for moping around in flannel. (One track is named “Michicant.”) Vernon’s otherworldly voice adds some interest to the multi-layered electronic rhythms, chilling strings and sighing choruses.
Mumford and Sons was one of the breakout acts of 2010. Four West Londoners — Marcus Mumford, Country Winston, Ben Lovett and Ted Dwane — formed the indie/folk group in 2007. Their debut album “Sigh No More” earned the group a Best New Artist Grammy nomination. The deluxe edition, released Tuesday, includes a live CD recorded in London and a tour documentary “Gentlemen of the Road.” The movie delves into the band’s history and follows it to tour dates in India, America, Europe and Australia. Get it for $42.92 at Amazon.com.
Read a review of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream,” which includes “Firework.”
Song Of The Year nominees: “All Of The Lights” by Kanye West, “The Cave” by Mumford & Sons; “Grenade” by Bruno Mars; “Holocene” by Bon Iver; “Rolling In The Deep” by Adele (This is a songwriters award so the songwriters for each track will get the trophy.)
While Matt Lauer and George Bush are playing the “Blame Game,” Kanye West is running the rap game. Just listen to his latest effort “ My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.” The industry censored the cover art, but left the mind-blowing raps and hooks alone. West is at his best when bragging about himself and blasting his critics. Jay-Z, Swizz Beatz and Kid Cudi had his back on the mike. But West is proving that he’s more than just a great emcee with a big mouth. “Runaway,” the 35-minute film with the same name as the CD’s hit single, was a mystical masterpiece.