Record of the Year
“Get Lucky”—Daft Punk feat. Pharrell Williams and Nile Rodgers
Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” from their fourth studio album Random Access Memories won for Best Record of the Year after topping charts in over 30 countries. Co-written with Nile Rodgers of Chic fame and Pharrell Williams, the song features Williams’ soaring vocals backed by jubilant beats and plucky bass grooves.
The French duo—Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo—performed on television for only the second time ever, disguised in Star Wars stormtrooper helmets, as is true Daft Punk fashion. Joined by the great Stevie Wonder, their performance of “Get Lucky” was truly a one-time event that showcased the track perfectly.
However, in my opinion the better record was Lorde’s single “Royals” which was released in November 2012 and has since been on a steady rise in charts around the world. The New Zealand teenager’s powerful vocals and minimalistic beats provided a fresh alternative to an industry of over-produced melodies. Additionally, her lyrics criticizing a culture focused on fame and consumerism defiantly challenged mainstream ideas of success while remaining catchy.
As a complete newcomer, beating out Daft Punk was a long shot, but at 17-years-old Lorde has plenty of time to either become a one-hit-wonder or develop into an even stronger and more unique performer.
Song of the Year
Beating out such “heavyweights” as P!nk, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Lorde took home Song of the Year for her shockingly catchy song “Royals.” A win for the 17-year-old from New Zealand should be seen as no big surprise. “Royals” has been inescapable ever since it travelled stateside and its competition in this category was a bit—how can I put this nicely—weak.
However, Katy Perry doesn’t go home empty handed as “Roar” is in nearly every commercial. P!nk can also hold her head up as her live performance was considerably better than Lorde’s apparent seizures during her unique rendition of the now Grammy awardwinning song. At the end of the day, this was a two-horse race between Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and the eventual winner Lorde. With that being said, Macklemore took home enough other tiny record players, and it’s been quite a bit of time since a bonafide pop hit won.
But if I were nominating songs for this category—sorry to those which were nominated—I would have started anew. If “Kashmir” can be nominated for Best Rock Performance, there’s no reason it couldn’t be up for Song of the Year as well. If “Get Lucky” can win everything else, why can’t it win this too? Anything involving Paul McCartney and the remaining members of Nirvana can also be nominated. To cap things off, Kendrick Lamar should’ve had a song nominated, and lets add in “Radioactive” because that song is catchy as hell.
Album of the Year
Random Access Memories—Daft Punk
According to Mashable.com, 91 percent of people thought Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories would win this award—and they were right. Beating out some worthy contenders, such as Taylor Swift’s Red, Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist and Sara Bareilles’ The Blessed Unrest, the two robots took home the prize.
Because I have a penchant for real rock music, Queens of the Stone Age and Led Zeppelin should have been nominated here rather than Swift or Macklemore. To replace Sara Bareilles in the “out of nowhere” addition to this category, I would add Out Here by the Christian McBride Trio.
When The Daily Cardinal Arts staff put together our top-25 albums of the year, I was the only one strongly lobbying for this album to be at the top. It ended up at 21, so I guess I either have ESP or poor persuasive skills. To the skeptics: No, Random Access Memories isn’t Homework, Discovery or Human After All, but you can’t hold that against them. Yes, disco has been dead since the late ’70s, but “Get Lucky” is inarguably the catchiest song of the year and “Giorgio By Moroder” is the best electronic song of the year, in my humble opinion. Congratulations to both Daft Punk and whomever votes on the Grammys for actually getting this one right.
Best New Artist
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ Grammy win for Best New Artist came within the first few minutes of the awards show, but did not come as much of a surprise. When their album The Heist was released in October 2012 it reached number one on iTunes in mere hours and later reached number one on the Billboard charts.
Their critical acclaim and commercial success is a result of a balance between pounding anthems like “Can’t Hold Us” and “Thrift Shop” and the societal critiques in “A Wake (feat. Evan Roman)” and “Same Love.” The rap duo has since skyrocketed to fame with world tours and almost 500 million YouTube views of the “Thrift Shop” music video.
Still, the category was filled with strong contenders. James Blake’s third album Overgrown was phenomenal, but his relative anonymity in the United States made the likelihood of him winning very small. Country star Kacey Musgraves was overshadowed by powerhouse contenders Ed Sheeran, whose “A Team” was nominated in 2013 for Song of the Year and Kendrick Lamar, whose popularity inspired Internet outrage when he didn’t take home the gold gramophone. However, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis deserved their Grammy win, cementing their place as noteworthy musicians.