Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Great Grammy Questionnaire: Record of the Year

Previously: Album of the Year, Song of the Year

Our category-by-category dissection of the last 20 years of questionable (and occasionally appropriate) Grammy decisions continues!


Blandest Nominee: If someone knows how Train managed to get nominated in 2002 for the abhorrent "Drops of Jupiter," please don't ever tell me. [Mark says: Celina Dion, "Because You Loved Me" (1996)]

Nominee That Had the Least Chance of Winning: My first inclination was to say Nelly and Kelly Rowland for 2003's "Dilema" (remember when that was a song?), but honestly, the honor goes to the Foo Fighters last year, if only because even if anyone could remember the song ("The Pretender"?), there was no way it was getting past "Rehab," "Irreplaceable," and "Umbrella." (It also singlehandedly sunk '08's chances in the "Best Field" category, for bonus points.) [Mark says: M.I.A., "Paper Planes" (2009)]

Most Justified Winner: Tough to pick a winner here because I so rarely like the songs that win this award. Even when they do give it to a song I love (Coldplay's "Clocks" in 2004), it ends up beating out even more deserving songs (see "Best Field" below) and I can't feel 100% good about it. That happens to the runner-up here: Green Day's "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" in 2006, which was great...but great enough to best Gorillaz's "Feel Good Inc." Kanye's "Gold Digger," Mariah's "We Belong Together," and "Hollaback Girl"? It's at least a close call.

Which is why I'm actually giving it to the 1994 winner -- that's right -- Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." Say what you will, but the song has endured, and more than that, it beat out a grand total of one good song (Neil Young's "Harvest Moon") and three absolutely hideous ones (Billy Joel's "The River of Dreams," Sting's "If I Ever Lose My Faith in You," and "A Whole New World" from Aladdin). [Mark says: Shawn Colvin, "Sunny Came Home"]

Best Field: Check out the genius of 2004: Coldplay's "Clocks" (the winner, and a song that's become underrated via the Coldplay backlash of '05-'09), Beyonce's "Crazy in Love," Eminem's "Lose Yourself," and Outkast's "Hey Ya!" Four indisputable classics of pop music (undisputable!). Even the weak-sister fifth nominee (The Black Eyed Peas and JT on "Where Is the Love") isn't nearly bad enough to tarnish the above four.

Distant (distant!) runner-up status goes to 2001, whose five nominations are all much weaker, but still represent a highly defendable cross-section of what everybody (everybody!) was listening to that year: U2's "Beautiful Day," N Sync's "Bye Bye Bye," Madonna's "Music," Macy Gray's "I Try," and Destiny's Child's "Say My Name." [Mark says: 2000]

Worst Field: 2003, which was kind of given to Norah Jones ("Don't Know Why") by default over Eminem's "Without Me" (which, in retrospect, is a seriously weak Eminem entry), the aforementioned "Dilema," Vanessa Carlton's "A Thousand Miles," and Nickelback's "How You Remind Me." I will pay you cash if you've listened to any of these songs on purpose in the last three years. [Mark says: 2005]

Worst U2 Nomination: This category has actually been fairly circumspect when it comes to Dublin's finest. Back-to-back wins in '01 and '02, sure, but that's been it, at least since "Joshua Tree," and "Beautiful Day" and "Walk On" are certainly defendable picks. "Walk On," I suppose, but I'm not really putting my back into it. [Mark says: "Beautiful Day"]


Dave said...

How much do I get for 'A Thousand Miles'?

And no, I'm not ashamed.

Joe Reid said...

You know, I almost included a caveat about "A Thousand Miles," because that was clearly the best of the five.

Dave said...

Oh good. I don't have to be ashamed now.

It isn't as good as its massive status would suggest, but I do have a soft spot for Vanessa. (Or at least her first two albums.)

Cora said...

WAIT a minute. The theme from Beauty and the Beast is "an enjoyable song," but Sting's "If I Ever.." is "absolutely hideous"?? Yes, that album marks Sting's turn into the territory of unmitigated arrogant assholery, but it's not that hard to listen to. Your calibration is confusing.

beadgirl said...

I just bought "A Thousand Miles" from iTunes a few weeks ago. You'll be sending my check in the mail?

I like Sting. But I am not at all surprised you don't.

Julia C said...

Do I get the Norah Jones cash if I've only listened to the Sesame Street version where she's singing about the letter Y? Because I have a six year old niece, and we listen to that at least once a week.

jessica said...

Damn. I was hoping for cash, but ... I seriously don't qualify. Not once on purpose in the last 3 years.

Joe Reid said...

Cora: I'm standing by that. Solo Era Sting is insufferable to me. The "Beauty and the Beast" song is what it is (a Disney ballad) and doesn't make me want to die.

Also, note to all bloggers: Never offer cash when your readership is full of contrarians.

Eric J Williams said...

A thousand miles... send me cash dude. I like that song too.