2018 Grammy Awards: Our Thoughts

The Grammy Awards are the most eagerly anticipated music awards show of the year and this past weekend they took place at Madison Square Garden in New York. Even if James Corden was hosting, there was still reason to watch it so here are my thoughts and opinions on the big winners of the night.

Album of the Year:

Awaken, My Love! – Childish Gambino
4:44 – Jay-Z
DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar
Melodrama – Lorde
24K Magic – Bruno Mars (Winner)

In a stacked field of great albums it was Bruno Mars who got the victory here but I personally feel this award should have gone to one of Lorde or Childish Gambino. Both of those albums felt so personal and emotive to me and although every album on this list is a great project, I feel those two stood out from the pack.

Record of the Year:

Redbone – Childish Gambino
Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber
The Story of O.J. – Jay-Z
HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar
24K Magic – Bruno Mars (Winner)

Another major win for Bruno Mars here thanks to his smash hit anthem 24K Magic but once again I feel like there were more worthy winners here. Childish Gambino again would have been a major contender to get my vote, the sheer magnificence of Redbone just cannot be ignored. Kendrick also had a chance with HUMBLE. but there is no denying that 24K Magic is a serious anthem.

Song of the Year:

Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber
4:44 – Jay-Z
Issues – Julia Michaels
1-800-273-8255 – Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid
That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars (Winner)

Wow. Bruno Mars swept up this year, winning the three biggest awards at the Grammys and I feel like this is the one he deserved most in all honesty. That’s What I Like is an unbelievable pop track and it is, in my eyes, the best song on this list. A lot will be made of Logic not winning this and although the work done on 1-800-273-8255 in order to aid suicide prevention has been beautiful and so moving, I feel like as a song it doesn’t compare sadly.

Best New Artist:

Alessia Cara (Winner)
Lil Uzi Vert
Julia Michaels

This is a bizarre pick for a winner for me. I feel like Uzi, Khalid and SZA all deserved it more than Alessia Cara because the work they have done in 2017 to announce themselves as superstars has been fantastic. If I were to pick one artist to win it would have been SZA for the brilliance of her album Ctrl.

Best Pop Solo Performance:

Love So Soft – Kelly Clarkson
Praying – Kesha
Million Reasons – Lady Gaga
What About Us – P!nk
Shape Of You – Ed Sheeran (Winner)

Ed Sheeran is scapegoat number one these days and a lot will be made of the fact that he has prevailed as the winner in a category surrounded by female artists. Shape Of You is a fantastic pop song but in terms of performance, this award should surely have gone to Kesha or Lady Gaga who do incredible jobs on their respective songs. Lady Gaga would have been my pick but I wouldn’t have begrudged a Kesha win here either.

Best Pop Duo/Group Performance:

Something Just Like This – The Chainsmokers & Coldplay
Thunder – Imagine Dragons
Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee ft. Justin Bieber
Feel It Still – Portugal. The Man (Winner)
Stay – Zedd & Alessia Cara

I was absolutely delighted with this result because it is a true triumph for invention in the pop music industry. Although I am immensely surprised at Portugal. The Man’s victory here, I won’t be here dissing the decision for one second because from a simply musical aspect, Feel It Still is hands down the best on that list. If you went on commercial value it was Despacito by a landslide, but that didn’t matter in this award.

Best Pop Vocal Album:

Kaleidoscope EP – Coldplay
Lust For Life – Lana Del Rey
Evolve – Imagine Dragons
Rainbow – Kesha
Joanne – Lady Gaga
Divide – Ed Sheeran (Winner)

Ed Sheeran was mainly snubbed in terms of nominations this year but that hasn’t stopped him from annoying people in the pop categories. This victory has ruffled a lot of feathers and I agree that he probably didn’t deserve this one. The likes of Lady Gaga, Kesha and Lana Del Rey certainly deserved it more and if I were pressed for an answer it would be Lana Del Rey, but definitely not Ed Sheeran.

Best Dance Recording:

Bambro Koyo Ganda – Bonobo ft. Innov Gnawa
Cola – Camelphat & Elderbrook
Andromeda – Gorillaz ft. DRAM
Tonite – LCD Soundsystem (Winner)
Lines Of Sight – Odesza ft. WYNNE & Mansionair

LCD Soundsystem have finally won their first ever Grammy award and I feel it was richly deserved and then some for this track. Tonite is a funky dance anthem that was up against some stern competition in this field but I feel the Academy made the correct choice with this one. Andromeda was a close second, though.

Best Dance/Electronic Album:

Migration – Bonobo
3-D The Catalogue – Kraftwerk (Winner)
Mura Masa – Mura Masa
A Moment Apart – Odesza
What Now – Sylvan Esso

Legendary dance group Kraftwerk got the win here and it had some solid competition to compete with, especially Mura Masa’s album which really took a shining to people across the globe. I would have really loved to see Mura Masa win this one but I think in a realistic world the correct decision was made here.

Best Rock Performance:

You Want It Darker – Leonard Cohen (Winner)
The Promise – Chris Cornell
Run – Foo Fighters
No Good – Kaleo
Go To War – Nothing More

Leonard Cohen is a legendary singer-songwriter and You Want It Darker is a prime example of his genius. It is a richly deserved winner on this list, particularly when you consider that perhaps the biggest rival was that vastly overrated Foo Fighters track. Chris Cornell could have had a shout, too.

Best Rock Song:

Atlas, Rise! – Metallica
Blood In The Cut – K.Flay
Go To War – Nothing More
Run – Foo Fighters (Winner)
The Stage – Avenged Sevenfold

This isn’t exactly my field of expertise but it doesn’t take a rock god to figure out that Foo Fighters shouldn’t have won this award or any for that matter. Run was a very underwhelming song and compared to the likes of Metallica and that Nothing More track, I feel like it doesn’t match. Go To War would have definitely been my pick.

Best Rock Album:

Emperor of Sand – Mastodon
Hardwired… To Self Destruct – Metallica
The Stories We Tell Ourselves – Nothing More
Villains – Queens of the Stone Age
A Deeper Understanding – The War On Drugs (Winner)

I am really glad The War On Drugs won this award, it was a nice tip of the hat to newer bands as opposed to going for the usual old guard such as Metallica or Mastodon. I did really like that Queens of the Stone Age album and personally I would have picked that as my winner but you won’t see me complaining about The War On Drugs taking the award home.

Best Alternative Music Album:

Everything Now – Arcade Fire
Humanz – Gorillaz
American Dream – LCD Soundsystem
Pure Comedy – Father John Misty
Sleep Well Beast – The National (Winner)

What on earth was this decision? Literally the stand out worst of the bunch took the award in the category that was, the biggest mistake the Academy made this year. My pick was definitely that LCD Soundsystem album but I wouldn’t have begrudged any of the others, apart from The National…

Best R&B Performance:

Get You – Daniel Caesar ft. Kali Uchis
Distraction – Kehlani
High – Ledisi
That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars (Winner)
The Weekend – SZA

Another huge win for Bruno Mars in a hotly contested category and it was, for me, a three horse race as to who would take the victory here. I wouldn’t have minded SZA or Daniel Caesar taking this one home but I don’t feel too disheartened at Bruno Mars winning it with that bonafide anthem That’s What I Like.

Best Traditional R&B Performance

Laugh and Move On – The Baylor Project
Redbone – Childish Gambino (Winner)
What I’m Feelin’ – Anthony Hamilton ft. The Hamiltones
All The Way – Ledisi
Still – Mali Music

This was a deserved victory for a phenomenal artist and an incredible song. Gambino absolutely smashed it with Redbone and he has finally got the Grammy he so richly deserves for his artistry and visionary attitude. I feel like there would have been a minor riot had Gambino not won this one as it was the most plausible of his nominations.

Best R&B Song:

First Began – PJ Morton
Location – Khalid
Redbone – Childish Gambino
Supermodel – SZA
That’s What I Like – Bruno Mars (Winner)

Bruno Mars’ fifth Grammy award this year was one of his most impressive when you saw what it was up against, particularly the immense popularity of artists like Khalid, Gambino and SZA. I personally wouldn’t have given this award to That’s What I Like because it already swept up, they may as well have given another artist their time in the sun, maybe SZA or Gambino?

Best Urban Contemporary Album:

Free 6LACK – 6LACK
“Awaken, My Love!” – Childish Gambino
American Teen – Khalid
Ctrl – SZA
Starboy – The Weeknd (Winner)

The Weeknd became a two time winner of this award thanks to claiming it this year with Starboy. I love that album and won’t be rebelling massively against Abel taking the crown, but SZA and Gambino can surely feel somewhat hard done by with their efforts. “Awaken, My Love!” is the best album on the list and for that reason I think it should have been the winner.

Best R&B Album:

Freudian – Daniel Caesar
Let Love Rules – Ledisi
24K Magic – Bruno Mars (Winner)
Gumbo – PJ Morton
Feel The Real – Musiq Soulchild

Best Rap Performance:

Bounce Back – Big Sean
Bodak Yellow – Cardi B
4:44 – Jay-Z
HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar (Winner)
Bad and Boujee – Migos ft. Lil Uzi Vert

A huge win for Kendrick Lamar and his equally huge track HUMBLE. and it is hard to argue against it winning. Of course, Bodak Yellow was a groundbreaking moment in female hip-hop and Bad and Boujee was a chart phenomenon but this category is rap PERFORMANCE and nobody performed better than Kendrick on this list. Rap’s king is at it again.

Best Rap/Sung Performance:

Crew – Goldlink ft. Brent Faiyaz & Shy Glizzy
Family Feud – Jay-Z ft. Beyonce
LOYALTY. – Kendrick Lamar ft. Rihanna
Love Galore – SZA ft. Travis Scott

I love LOYALTY. I think it is a fantastic catchy anthem, but it shouldn’t have won this award in my opinion. If it were up to me it would have been a straight shoot out between Love Galore and Crew but for me the best ‘rap/sung performance’ that should have won the award but wasn’t even nominated was Boredom by Tyler The Creator and Rex Orange County.

Best Rap Song:

Bodak Yellow – Cardi B
Chase Me – Danger Mouse ft. Run The Jewels & Big Boi
HUMBLE. – Kendrick Lamar (Winner)
Sassy – Rapsody
The Story of O.J. – Jay-Z

Kendrick, much like he did on Best Rap Performance, takes the cake with HUMBLE. here and I once again agree with the decision. It was a very solid list of nominees and although I wouldn’t have minded too much if Cardi B won, I definitely think justice has been served and the correct winner was chosen.

Best Rap Album:

4:44 – Jay-Z
DAMN. – Kendrick Lamar (Winner)
Culture – Migos
Laila’s Wisdom – Rapsody
Flower Boy – Tyler The Creator

Imagine my shock when Kendrick Lamar cleans up the rap awards at the Grammys. It is just common knowledge now after the success of his last two albums in terms of awards but that doesn’t mean that he deserved Rap Album of the Year. Of the nominees, I feel like Tyler had the best album but the best rap album of the year isn’t on the nominee list, in my opinion; that would be Vince Staples’ Big Fish Theory which got snubbed sadly.

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