2006 Grammy Awards: Will Mariah March the Road to the Grammy Gold?
By RJO Taduran
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Now it is official. Last year was one of the worst years for music, with CD sales dropping eight percent further. And all those lawsuits filed by the major labels to P2P networks and individuals just tarnished the already dull colors of the industry itself.
2005 marked the return of pop diva Mariah Carey. Her record We Belong Together was the most ubiquitous in airplay and the best seller of the year according to Billboard Magazine. This could be the reason why she bagged eight nominations, including three in the major categories, in the Grammys. This could be the industrys way of thanking her for selling millions of CDs despite the overall decline in sales. Hey, how about 50 Cent? The controversial rapper also sold millions of CDs last year but he did not garner numerous nominations like Carey, since people see him more of a thug, or a gangster, rather than an artist.
Kanye West could be the leader in this category, but Gold Digger, however great it is in production, engineering and mixing, would never win because of gender issues. I doubt that women Grammy voters would vote for the said record.
Hollaback Girl and Feel Good Inc. are both exciting records, but who would take them seriously?
Green Days Boulevard of Broken Dreams, a track from the ambitious and inspiring 2004 album American Idiot is the only rock record in the nominations. Besides, it is the only material with social relevance and this could be the clincher for this record in an ideal world. But this is not an ideal world, with all the wars and wiretaps happening, and voters usually prefer pop over rock, so I guess the winner would be the capitalist markets choiceMariah Carey!
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Besides being one of the worst years in sales, 2005 was also one of the most disappointing years in terms of artistic merits. Most of the albums released were too eager to please rather than inspire the listening public. Coldplay could have been a strong contender for this category, but the quartets third effort X&Y was second-rate compared to the previous albums Parachutes and A Rush of Blood to the Head. Black Eyed Peas could have been nominated but their song My Humps was just too annoying (that graceless chorus, My humps, my humps, my humps, just get on your nerves).
And so we have Kanye West, U2, Gwen Stefani, Paul McCartney and hey, Mariah Carey, battling it out for the coveted Album of the Year plum. Careys Emancipation of Mimi was last years top seller, with almost five million units sold, as it gave us radio-friendly tunes about boyfriend troubles and, well, boyfriend troubles.
Paul McCartneys nomination is a surprise, since his album Chaos and Creation in the Backyard is a bit mediocre compared to his works with the Beatles. But the Grammy loves to honor ageing or dead musicians just like in 1992 with Eric Clapton, 1998 with Bob Dylan, 2000 with Santana, 2001 with Steely Dan and last year with Ray Charles.
But the Album of the Year could be a race involving U2, Gwen Stefani and Kanye West. U2s How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb is not as wonderful and rousing as The Joshua Tree and All that You Cant Leave Behind, and Gwen Stefanis Love.Angel.Music.Baby., on the other hand, offers us nothing but the idea of blondes having more fun in a very thrilling manner. Meanwhile, Kanye West, in Late Registration, proves once again that rap can be a potent medium to bring forth important issues, rather than the usual subjects of debauchery, murder, thug life and all the bling-blings.
For all its intrinsic worth, West deserves to win this award. But hey, the Grammy likes giving awards to top-sellers right?
SONG OF THE YEAR
This is an award given to the songwriters. Instead of production, engineering and mixing, the main criteria for this category are the lyrics and melody.
Should this be a popularity contest, Mariah Careys We Belong Together, U2s Sometimes You Cant Make It on Your Own and John Legends Ordinary People would be the frontrunners. But the Song of the Year plum is full of bizarre twistsremember John Mayers win last Grammy ceremony? Daughters was a long shot, but its touching words and music catapulted Mayer to the Grammy gold.
Could this mean another trophy for Bruce Springsteen? The Boss has been known for his vivid metaphors, but Devils and Dust could fall short and be outshined by another nominee, Bless the Broken Road. With passionate lyrics, God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you, Rascal Flatts anthem is the veritable song of the year material.
But the Grammy usually gives the Record of the Year and Song of the Year in pair. And which song is nominated for both? Of course, it would be the comeback diva and the babe of the moments We Belong Together.
BEST NEW ARTIST
Is winning the Best New Artist award a gift or a curse? Unless the newbie who wins it has the staying power and ultra-talented like The Beatles (1964), The Carpenters (1970), Sheryl Crow (1995) and Norah Jones (2003), there wont be a problem. Otherwise, extinction is inevitable, like other recipients: America (which beat the Eagles in 1972), Starland Vocal Band (1976), Christopher Cross (1980), Sheena Easton (1981), Cyndi Lauper (who beat Madonna in 1984), Tracy Chapman (1988), Hootie and the Blowfish (1995), Paula Cole (1997) and Lauryn Hill (1998).
Heres a Good luck! to John Legend.
Which artist will win? John Legend