Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


The Grammys Actually Weren’t That Bad

Justifying whether or not what we saw on television was deserved
The Grammys Actually Werent That Bad

So hear me out…the Grammys weren’t that bad.  I know that, especially in recent years, we’ve been making fun of the chaos and seemingly uncoordinated nature of music’s biggest night.  We’ve had Jennifer Lopez wearing that dress that inspired the invention of Google Images, Adele breaking her Grammy statue almost immediately after receiving it, Twenty One Pilots taking off their pants, all of that.

But this year was more timid.

Who am I kidding?  Killer Mike was arrested after winning three awards, The Recording Academy tweeted that Nicki Minaj had won a Grammy when she didn’t, SZA hurried in from backstage to accept her award, Jay-Z stirred up some controversy with the Academy as he was being honored by them, and Travis Scott unintentionally destroyed his set while performing, just to name a few.

However, some awkward and even embarrassing moments are bound to happen, even to these A-list celebrities.  What’s really important is what everyone was there for…the music.

I listened to all the nominations for the nine awards that were televised last Sunday: Best Pop Solo Performance, Best Música Urbana Album, Best Country Album, Best R&B Song, Best Pop Vocal Album, Song of the Year, Best New Artist, Record of the Year, and Album of the Year.

Best Pop Solo Performance

We’re starting off strong with Mariah Carey presenting Miley Cyrus with the award for Best Pop Solo Performance for “Flowers.”  I think this was well-deserved.  “Flowers” is the type of song I think of when I want to listen to a pop song—it’s basic, yes, but uplifting and familiar.  I’m also happy that this was Miley Cyrus’ first Grammy win.  She’s been in the game so long, but it’s crazy that she hadn’t won one of music’s most prestigious awards in her seventeen-year-long career, not even for our national anthem.

Best Música Urbana Album

The second statue awarded went to Karol G for the best Música Urbana album, which is really an umbrella category for Latin hip hop, dancehall, and reggaetón.  Bad Bunny has won the award for this category every single time since its inception (which is only two, but still).  Beating out Saturno by Rauw Alejandro and Data by Tainy, Mañana Será Bonito by Karol G was a lot smoother and an easier listen than the other two nominations.  Maybe it’s because I’m not really a reggaetón fan and I can’t appreciate the art.  I don’t know.  I’ve only heard of Karol G anyway; she was really famous in the Latin pop community for her Spanish-language song, “Tusa,” which was released in 2021 and featured a verse by Nicki Minaj.  P.S. We can almost predict a third Bad Bunny win next year for Nadie Sabe Lo Que Va a Pasar Mañana, which just missed the eligibility period for this year’s awards.

Best Country Album

We all thought this award would go to Zach Bryan for his eponymous album.  Every country music fan I know was listening to his newest album this past fall, and, listening to it myself, especially liked “El Dorado” and “Tourniquet.”  I’m not that big into country music, but I was expecting Bryan to win since he was really the artist I’m even somewhat familiar with.  When Lainey Wilson won, I wasn’t too disappointed, but then again, I didn’t know who should have won.  Taking a listen to Bell Bottom Country, I can see why the Academy picked her as their winner.  She is definitely a country purist, but also has a more pop appeal, so she can satisfy both crowds.  Rustin’ in the Rain by Tyler Childers felt very short, clocking in at only 28 minutes.  To me, it felt more like an EP than a full-length album that told a story.

Best R&B Song

SZA absolutely deserved this award, beating out “ICU” (a close second) and three other songs that are nowhere near as innovative or transformative.  SOS is a wonderful album, and I’m disappointed it didn’t win any more awards.

Best Pop Vocal Album

This should have gone to Olivia Rodrigo for Guts, not Midnights.  She has a really good voice and has been a new kind of teen pop idol since she released her debut single, “Driver’s License” in 2021.  I don’t even know why Miley Cyrus’ Endless Summer Vacation was nominated for this category—no one knows any other songs except for “Flowers.”

Billie Eilish, pictured with her brother and record producer, Finneas

Song of the Year

We all had a feeling that Billie Eilish would win because of the cultural impact of Barbenheimer, but I was very underwhelmed by “What Was I Made For?”  As Song of the Year is awarded to the song that is the best constructed—lyrically and musically—I would have expected this award to go to Lana Del Rey for “A&W.”  Its lyrics are deeply personal, featuring a stripped-down musical arrangement that transforms into a more energetic ending, and complex melodies featuring beautiful harmonies.

Best New Artist

I didn’t really know much about Victoria Monét, but I’m glad I had an opportunity to get to know more about her through her music.  While “On My Mama” lost for Best R&B Song, I think that Monét has an extremely promising future in the music industry (just coming from me, a music fan).  While I would have loved for Ice Spice to win just for the fun of it, I think Monét has a more promising career, and hopefully, she can break the infamous “Best New Artist” curse that seems to plague the careers of its winners.

Record of the Year

This went to “Flowers.”  While I believed that Miley deserved the recognition for her previous awards, it was definitely not worthy of Record of the Year.  For me, “Kill Bill” was the clear standout.  I remember the impact it had in early 2023.  SZA’s infectious melodies (and honestly disturbing storyline she tells through her lyrics) were inescapable, not to mention it was a really good song outside of its commercial success.

Album of the Year

I haven’t taken Lana Del Rey seriously as an artist since her infamous SNL performance and never will.

— The Recording Academy

So this one was controversial.  First, we have to congratulate Taylor Swift for her record-breaking fourth Album of the Year win for Midnights.  Sorry, but this was definitely not deserved.  Even her own fans think that Midnights was one of her weakest albums to date.  When I listened to it, it wasn’t anything special.  Even Jay-Z said something about the Academy’s questionable judging.  Beyoncé has the most Grammys out of anyone and still hasn’t won Album of the Year, music’s most prestigious award.  Personally, I think she was robbed last year when she lost to Harry Styles.  Instead, I think this year’s Album of the Year award should have gone to Lana Del Rey for Did You Know That There’s a Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd.  This was wildly better than Midnights in terms of authentic-sounding, raw production, deeply personal lyrics, and heart-wrenching chord progressions.  The Recording Academy said, in the words of one of its voters, “I haven’t taken Lana Del Rey seriously as an artist since her infamous SNL performance and never will.”  They ignore the fact that Del Rey has really paved the way for alternative pop in the mainstream.  It’s not that they don’t like her music, they just don’t like her.  Ultimately, it has become clear that they gave this award to Taylor Swift because it was an indication of her commercial success as an artist and not the album.  The Eras Tour was the most successful tour of all time, but that’s not reflective of the mediocrity of the album it promoted.

Overall, these Grammys were actually one of the least controversial in history.  Surprising, right?  While the Grammys will always have work to do to better reflect the desires of the fans, I think they did relatively well this time around.

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