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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Grammys 2013

The Daily Cardinal weighs in on this year's Grammy Awards

Record of the Year: ‘Somebody That I Used to Know’ by Gotye featuring Kimbra

An artist often considered a contemporary to Sting, Gotye’s infectious indie-pop ballad “Somebody That I Used To Know” slowly gained momentum in the spring of 2012, becoming an unexpected, yet full-fledged chart-topper by summer, making appearances on both popular radio stations and many critics’ end-of-year lists.

Kimbra, who was barely known when the song was released, arguably makes the track. On the track, her voice is like a full-bodied glass of red wine, which juxtaposes elegantly with Gotye’s, whose voice almost cries, constantly switching between soft and striking. Along with exotic drumbeats and tranquil xylophone, the two artists stew up the perfect recipe for the indie-pop hit everyone was waiting for amid the Auto-Tuned and electronic songs hitting the charts around the same time.

Despite my love for nominee Frank Ocean’s “Thinking Bout You,” this track deserves Best Record of the Year for its unique composition and utter listen-ability. Not only did “Somebody That I Used To Know” put Gotye’s album Making Mirrors on the scene, but it also offered Kimbra the momentum to release her own well-received album, Vows.

Mara Jezior

Best New Artist: fun.

Best new artist? Wait. Isn’t this Fun.’s second album? Yes. Fun. isn’t new. Why did it win best new artist? Excellent question. Fun. is not new to the music scene but it is new to the Grammy Awards. Thus it is eligible for the award of best new artist. Not only is it eligible, it is incredibly deserving.

You can argue Frank Ocean, but the award went home with the right recipient. Fun. has two incredible albums and a youthful energy that is infectious. Anyone who saw it at Union South last month could tell you that.

The band has made a stamp on the music scene by being, well, fun. Their songs go down smooth, are easy to sing along to and leave the listener feeling good about themselves. Fun. does fast songs likes “Some Nights,” and slow songs like “Stars.”

The energy and performance make the music come to life in both a live setting and on the radio. That’s probably why you’ve heard “We Are Young” 8 million times and although it’s a little tiring, it’s still a good song. In fact, song of the year.

Fun. has been able to keep old fans while gaining new ones and I can’t wait for Fun.’s next album to be released.

Grey Satterfield

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Song of the Year: ‘We Are Young’ by fun.

Fun. broke on to the scene about a year ago with “We are Young.” It is only fitting that their wild year of fame end with a Grammy for the catalyst of their success.

The song’s message is as simple as it’s title. It’s about youthful spirit and freedom. The steady drum that opens the song and leads it to the climactic chorus of powerful harmony is what makes it so catchy and memorable, along with lyrics that are easy to remember and even easier to scream at the top of your lungs. That has to be the reason for it reaching the success it did. That, or a spot on “Glee.”

The song is a simple inspirational tale that everyone can use to get out of bed. “We are young” and “we can burn brighter than the sun” and even if being your best everyday is difficult “I’ll carry you home tonight.” Now that’s a message everyone wants to hear, heck, needs to hear. So although you might of really wanted “Call Me Maybe” to have some hardware, the Grammy went to the rightful winner.

Grey Satterfield

Album of the Year: Babel by Mumford & Sons

Mumford and Sons have added another Grammy award to its rapidly growing pile of undeserved awards. Marcus Mumford, by now, surely sleeps on a deeply uncomfortable bed made out of strangely shaped trophies, grinning despite himself and despite his own empirical lack of accomplishment.

Babel, the group’s sophomore album, won the coveted Album of the Year Award, beating out the equally undeserving fun., the Black Keys, embarrassing rock-champion Jack White and bizarrely snubbed R&B sensation Frank Ocean.

This, of course, raises obvious questions, most importantly of all being why Mumford and Sons won this year for an album that’s an exact carbon copy of their debut record. It’s not that Babel (and Mumford’s whole musical blueprint in general) is really terrible. It’s just that, you know, it’s not actually the best. It represents in its purest form the deep-seeded issue of the Grammys. Musical favoritism takes priority over the actual qualities that should be embodied in the year’s largest award show. It wasn’t the most technically accomplished album, the most adventurous, the most critically revered or any other permutation of the phrase ‘best.’ It was just the one that the academy thought would go down smoothest. I hope Marcus Mumford sleeps well tonight, at the very least.

Cameron Graff

Rock Album of the Year: El Camino by The Black Keys

The Black Keys winning rock album of the year is possibly the least surprising thing ever. Their competition really cut down on any potential suspense: Bruce Springsteen’s Wrecking Ball nomination read like a courtesy nod, Jack White’s Blunderbuss never had the commercial thunder to back up its threat, Muse’s The 2nd Law was a ridiculous mess and all of maybe three people sincerely enjoyed Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto. I’d love if any of those had come out on top (simply because I love controversy and I love the pseudo-underdog story and Bruce really needs as many accolades as possible before he croaks), but just looking at the roster it wasn’t quite in the cards.

So, no, El Camino’s win isn’t really anything to be championed or marveled at. It is, however, a well-deserved pat on the back for indie-rock’s most astounding rags-to-riches story. It does feel a little bit like a consolation gift since every single album they had put out prior to their breakout Brothers deserved and were denied every award imaginable. Still, after watching the band tear through a scorching rendition of “Lonely Boy” with Dr. John and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band providing a dazzling backup, it’s hard not to agree that maybe they were the only choice after all.

Cameron Graff

Rap Album of the Year: Take Care by Drake

A sophomore slump is common for athletes, musicians and even students. The success of the first run is overwhelming, distractions arise, and when it’s time to perform again, the product falls flat. Drake is an exception to this notion.

His second album, Take Care, picks up right where the last one, Thank Me Later, left off. It is about how Drake is able to handle success of his blossoming career. It’s relatable and ridiculous at the same time. What makes Take Care so successful is it’s ability to ignore the success, cars and money I can’t even count, and focus on the core issues of relationships, bar fights, clubs and all the other things rappers love to mention in their songs. Take Care has the ability to reach the highest heights with hits like “Headlines” and “HYFR,” then come right back with the emotions of “Shot For Me” and “Marvin’s Room.”

Take Care is the perfect microcosm for the night as a whole. It’s the pregame, the doubt, the party, the awkward run–in with the ex, the hangover, and the reflection all in one beautiful display of lyrics and rhythm that roller coasts for 80 minutes.

Grey Satterfield

Country Album of the Year: Uncaged by Zac Brown Band

Zac Brown Band added a third Grammy to their pair of previous golden record players Sunday night when Uncaged was announced as the Best Country Album at this year’s awards.

The band had already won the Grammy for Best New Artist in 2010 and Best Country Collaboration in 2011 for their single “As She’s Walking Away” feat. Alan Jackson.

Uncaged was Zac Brown Band’s third album to be nominated for the title, capturing what 2010’s The Foundation and 2011’s “You Get What You Give” could not.

The album features “Goodbye In Her Eyes,” which debuted at No. 48 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and sat for three weeks on top of Billboard’s Country Airplay chart.

“Jump Right In” opens Uncaged with the band’s signature Jimmy Buffet-esque sound, perpetuated by Jimmy De Martini’s fiddle.

From there, Zac and company transition to the title track with a little more distortion and then move to the critically acclaimed “Goodbye In Her Eyes.”

The pace picks up with a sharp fiddle on “The Wind” and works its way into another classic island tune aptly named “Island Song.”

“Lance’s Song” pays tribute to a former drummer of the group, showcasing the vocals that propelled them to popularity in the late 2000s.

Uncaged highlights what Zac Brown Band does well — smooth vocals over a sharp background.

Brett Bachman

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