Ahh, the Grammys. The awards that put that tiny, unknown band Arcade Fire on the map!
On Sunday, the Grammys will try pushing boundaries again with artists like Mumford & Sons, Bon Iver, and Skrillex. You know, the ones making seven figures instead of ten. But the winded award show remains about as scandalous and worldly as white toast.
And to that I say, Grammys Schmammys!
Instead, here are the artists and albums that were nominated in my dreams.
Album of the Year: Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx — We’re New Here
The late legend Gil Scott-Heron is up for a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award this year, so I’m not that mad. But his mythic collaboration with London producer Jamie xx slipped entirely off the Grammy radar in favor of Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Adele, and the Foo Fighters. (Who keeps buying Foo Fighters albums?! Show yourselves!!) This album was an airy, profoundly epic farewell to the spoken word artist, and it’s with great pleasure that I grant him this award in my head.
Real Nominees: Adele — 21; Foo Fighters — Wasting Light; Lady Gaga — Born This Way; Bruno Mars — Doo-Wops & Hooligans; Rihanna — Loud
Song of the Year: 3Ball MTY — “Intentalo”
Wait, wait…a song in Spanish, from a Spanish-speaking country that isn’t triaged in a dated Latin category?! Put down your tightly-clutched copy of the Second Amendment…it’s only a dream. These genius kids from Monterrey — pronounced (in Spanish) “tribal Monterrey” — garnered millions of views for this come-hither electro cumbia dance track. Give it a listen — then you can go back to watching Adele sit in a chair.
Real Nominees: Kanye — “All of the Lights” feat. Rihanna, Kid Cudi; Mumford & Sons — “The Cave”; Bruno Mars — “Grenade”; Bon Iver — “Holocene”; Adele — “Rolling in the Deep”
Best New Artist: Azealia Banks
With “212,” Azealia Banks converted millions to grimy hip hop, igniting love, hate, remixes, volatile Twitter fights, millions of clicks, and an Interscope deal in one fell swoop. She’s a dead-sexy New Yorker with unprecedented, pansexual, potty-mouthed flow. The Grammy censors wouldn’t be able to keep up with this crazy-ass lady. But before I die, I’d love to see her accept the award while the music plays: “*bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep* eat poo *bleeeeeeeeeeeeeep*”
Real Nominees: The Band Perry; Bon Iver; J. Cole; Nicki Minaj; Skrillex
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: 2ne1 –”I Am The Best”
No contest. K-pop legends 2ne1 are our Best New Band in the World, and we’re sticking to it. Plus, Maroon 5 could never pull off the pleather.
Real Nominees:Tony Benett & Amy Winehouse — “Body & Soul”; The Black Keys — “Dearest”; Coldplay — “Paradise”; Foster the People — “Pumped Up Kicks”; Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera — “Moves Like Jagger”
Best Dance/Electronica Album: SBTRKT — SBTRKT
The real nominees in this category are perfectly sound. But nobody asked me to make a “sound” list today, and really, there’s more to life than raving with teenagers. People are doing awesome things with MPCs these days, and London’s SBTRKT killed it with his debut, self titled album, feat. talent like Little Dragon. Off the tastemaker label Young Turks, it was an indisputable triumph in beatmaking, dance-making, and mask-donning, and you don’t HAVE to be on Ecstasy to enjoy it. Perse.
Real Nominees:Cut Copy — Zonoscope; Deadmau5 — 4×4=12; David Guetta — Nothing But The Beat; Robyn — Body Talk Part 3 ; Skrillex — Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites
Best Rock Album: Hanni el Khatib –Will The Guns Come Out
The Best Rock Album Grammy nominees this year make me want to cry. Just putting their names in small HTML tags at the bottom of this entry is enough to send me right into a bag of potato chips, face first. Believe it or not, Grammys, rock music didn’t stop in the 90s. Nor did it become exclusively whiny and derivative. New York rockabilly nastyman Hanni el Khatib is living proof. His album Will The Guns Come Out was an undervalued bastion of pure rock ‘n roll with an unnerving, completely badass, reverberating grit. Fail, Grammys, fail.
Real Nominees: Jeff Beck — Rock ‘n Roll Partying Honoring Les Paul; The Foo Fighters — Wasting Light; Kings of Leon — Come Around Sundown; Red Hot Chili Peppers — I’m With You; Wilco — The Whole Love
Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance: Dir En Grey — “Lotus”
Aaand the Grammys are still awarding Megadeth. Siiigh. It would take all day to fake-nominate the 10 bajillion important metal bands that have cropped up since “Symphony of Destruction,” but one stands out in particular. Japan group Dir En Grey is hugely popular across the globe, they kick a ton of ass, and they’re politically provocative. Right now they’re campaigning for the “truth” about radiation levels emitted after the recent tsunami, said to be covered up by the Japanese government. I’ll raise my horns to that.
Real Nominees: Dream Theater — “On The Backs of Angels”; Foo Fighters — “White Limo”; Mastodon — “Curl of the Burl”; Megadeth — “Public Enemy No. 1″; Sum 41 — “Blood in my Eyes”
Best Rap Album: Wiley — 100% Publishing
While the Grammys sort of tried to dig deeper into pop and dance, they failed majorly when it came to hip hop. Or, they just didn’t try. The same ol’ billionaires, albeit gamechanging billionaires, will grace the stage on Sunday. But we can still dream, creepily, of Wiley. The London MC dropped a mind-bending LP this year called 100% Publishing. There’s no shortage of head-bobbing goods on my fantasy Best Hip Hop Album, but Wiley’s marriage with grime and twisted electronics makes for a way trippier trip than you get with Lil Wayne.
Real Nominees: Jay-Z & Kanye West — Watch The Throne; Lil Wayne — Tha Carter IV; Nicki Minaj — Pink Friday; Kanye West — My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.
Best Country Song: First Aid Kit — “The Lion’s Roar”
There’s no Grammys category for folk. But then again, the Grammys think the Foo Fighters are metal. So here’s some gorgeous Swedish country (because I say it’s country!) from the sister duo First Aid Kit that would put Taylor Swift (and a bunch of people I’ve never heard of) to shame.
Real Nominees: Thompson Square — “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not”; Blake Shelton — “God Gave Me You”; Trace Adkins — “Just Fishin’”; Taylor Swift — “Mean”; Vince Gill — “Threaten Me With Heaven”; Kenny Chesney — “You and Tequila” feat. Grace Potter”.
Best Reggae Album: Vybz Kartel — Kingston Story
Alright, it’s more dancehall than reggae, but this category needs a little zazz. A little umph. And possibly, a rap sheet.
Real Nominees: Monty Alexander — Harlem-Kingston Express Live!; Israel Vibration — Reggae Knights; Stephen Marley — Revelation Pt 1: The Root of Life; Ziggy Marley — Wild and Free; Shaggy — Summer in Kingston.