Fair and balanced, people. Fair and balanced.
I started this intending for it to be short, to prove the point that awards shows are soulless debacles, but I love music and have opinions… so it turns out to be a full-on post, indeed. Enjoy!
I hope like Hell you didn’t actually spend over three hours watching this. You could have read a good book, played with your children, learned a new language, or sat around and watched Grumpier Old Men like I did. Side note: that movie is a bit of a clunker when compared to the first one. I had forgotten that.
Best Pop Vocal Album
I would have picked Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life, but good for Ed Sheeran. Looking forward to his 2018 album, √, and his 2019 release, π.
Get it? Come on, I thought that was pretty funny… Meh, I’ll keep trying.
Best Rock Performance
“You Want it Darker” – Leonard Cohen
Deeply haunting song, from his incredibly dark 2016 album of the same name. Is it “rock”? Sure, I suppose, but pitting it against Foo Fighters, Chris Cornell, and Kaleo does seem a bit odd. Nonetheless, a nice posthumous tip of the cap to an underappreciated talent, and hopefully a few people will go listen to this living obituary he wrote for himself just before his death at age 82. And then more of his work.
Best Rock Song
Foo Fighters “Run” is a fine song, but probably the 44th best song Dave Grohl has written under the umbrella of the Foo. Honestly, do these people even listen to music that is not on the radio? Clearly not.
Best Rock Album
A Deeper Understanding, the critical darling released by The War on Drugs last year, is a nice record. And frankly, it is a breath of fresh air when one considers the rest of the manufactured muck being celebrated for most of this travesty of an awards show. But Queens of the Stone Age’s Villains was hands down the best rock and roll album of 2017. How many photographers does Josh have to kick in the face to get noticed these days?!??? Hey, at least it was nominated…
Best Alternative Record
This is one that I can’t bitch about too much about the nominees, just the winner selected. The nominees were all (relatively) deserving, and the winner is one that I enjoyed quite a bit. While Sleep Well Beast was one of the twenty best records of last year, and easily The National’s best, it (nor Gorillaz, Arcade Fire, or LCD Soundsystem, the other nominees) just doesn’t hold a damn candle to the magnificence that was Father John Misty’s Pure Comedy. This was far and away the greatest record of the past year, and this category is one that should have been locked up for Mr. Tillman months ago. In a recurring theme, hey, at least it was nominated…
Best Country Solo Performance
Chris Stapleton – “Either Way”
I guess I am not the only one who thinks Chris rises well, well above the rest of today’s popular country music. This may not the best song he released last year, but it is heartbreaking, wonderful, and hit me hard when I heard it. To say I could relate would be an understatement. The man is talented, and as you likely already know, he is going to be here in August. Woot woot! Yee-haw! Etc!
Best Country Album
Chris Stapleton – From A Room: Volume 1
This was my selection for #2 record of last year, as you may recall. Stellar choice, with great songwriting and vocal delivery, and plenty of both sad bastard and rockin’ songs.
Best Country Song
Stapleton rides again, with his (and Mike Henderson’s) “Broken Halos”. Great song, great pick.. See? For country music Grammys, just alternate between Sturgill and Chris each year and all is well. Anyone else want to step their game up?
Speaking of which, it was nice to see Midland nominated. Their album last year was also a fun shot back to the 80s lounge-country vibe. They, too, will be here – in October.
Best Americana Album
Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit – The Nashville Sound
Solid effort from a one-time Drive-By Trucker turned incredible solo artist. Deserving of this award, I would have to say, even if his previous album, Southeastern, was a better one.
Best American Roots Song
“If We Were Vampires”’ by Jason Isbell. This song is beautiful musically, but the lyrics are a punch to the gut. He makes us consider what none of us want to: This will not go on forever, and those that we love are only here for a little while. This is not new ground, but it is done in a unique and powerful way. A must-listen track from last year. Now go hug your spouse and call your Mom.
Best Bluegrass Album
The Infamous Stringdusters are truly incredible. While their studio recordings can be so polished and full of musicianship that the listener can get jaded to the sounds he is hearing, catch them live and your mind is likely to be blown. The Laws of Gravity was a solid record and the best bluegrass I heard last year. The judges got another one right.
Best Traditional Blues Album
Sure, this was from not-that-late in 2016, but it was quite good. And I have said a thousand times that The Rolling Stones just don’t get enough love. Ha!
Best Contemporary Blues Album
Pretty safe bet that a collaboration between Keb’ Mo’ and Taj Mahal (TajMo) would be worth listening to. It was, and apparently the best of the nominees. I now need to go check out the rest of these albums…
Best Folk Album
OK, this is where I lose my shit that the Secret Sisters didn’t win this category. Aimee Mann, you are fine, just fine. I will now go listen to your album, but I already know it wasn’t as good as You Don’t Own Me Anymore, because it just wasn’t. This smells like a lifetime achievement gimme, if you ask me.
Every Freaking Other Category
Bruno Mars! Or as I refer to him, The Second Coming of Michael Jackson (minus the pedophilia), crushed the ceremony and took home 37,000 awards. Hail Bruno!
I can’t wait to (not) watch the 61st version next year!