An album like The 2015 Grammy Nominees is an ideal way to look back at the year in music that was. Or, at least, the year in music according to the Grammy’s, which means an unrepresentative proportion of the artists on this compilation are Caucasian; the songs have been so overplayed on commercial radio that you might well find yourself singing them in your sleep; and at least a third of the tracks come complete with oversexed, overproduced music videos.
That said, although the album is representative of only one very specific sort of music, there’s no use denying that it contains some of the best examples of said type. Miley Cyrus’ Wrecking Ball and Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off are both on here, as well they should be. My respective Swift and Cyrus infatuations hit a high last year, as both artists released stand out albums: Bangerz and 1989 are perfect records, and instant classics that fully deserve their ridiculously huge record sales. If either of these two artists don’t win in their nominated categories, I’ll eat my hat, regurgitate it back up, and then mail the semi-digested fabric to the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences along with a strongly worded letter.
Iggy Azaela’s nominations are another example of the Grammy’s getting it right. Both Fancy and Problem, the Ariana Grande song she guests on, are featured here, and listening to both I was reminded of Azaela’s genuine talents. She’s a versatile, exciting artist, capable of combining high glamour with true grit in a way that is relentlessly compelling.
2014 was the year of Sia Fuller – a substantial irony given that 2014 was the year Sia Fuller essentially decided she was done with the world of commercial music. Her Chandelier is on the compilation, and again, rightfully so. It’s a stellar song, and another keeper.
But sadly, that’s it for the good stuff – at least from where I stand. The popularity of the remaining artists proves that they are obviously doing something very right, but I personally can’t stand John Legend’s derivative crooning; Meghan Trainor’s uninspired sass; Keith Urban’s treacly nonsense; Hozier’s lip quivering melodrama; or Ed Sheeran’s irritating blandness. I guess I should just add these artists to my list of things I flat out don’t understand: they can sit there comfortably alongside advanced calculus and the appeal of celery.
The album closes out with a live version of Pharrell Williams’ Happy, because of course it does. God forbid a day of our lives should go past without hearing that song. For the record, if the Biblical concept of Purgatory does indeed exist, I’m convinced that Happy plays there in endless loops, and rather than lasting for only 24 hours, the accompanying musical video lasts for the rest of the mortal concept of time.
But hey, that’s just my opinion, and obviously the Grammy’s don’t agree. It saddens me to admit that with each passing year the Grammy’s and I seem to be growing further away from each other. Either I’m getting more snobby, or they’re getting more commercial. Either way, I’m beginning to think we might need some time apart.