Imagine my delight as I woke up this morning to a partial list of this year’s Grammy nominations. It’s a special time of year when nods are given to movies, music, and television, affording us the opportunity to cheer (and jeer) as we see fit.
I had a whole lot of fun with music this year, allowing myself, in the darkened corners of my office, hidden from the prying eyes of the public, to download songs at will. Any songs I wanted.
What makes this year special is that most of the songs nominated for Record of the Year have been made fun of, parodied, and/or plucked to death by social media. Even by me.
And my deep, dark secret is I own them all. I’m not even (that) ashamed to say it.
First, let’s talk about Fancy, by Iggy Azalea, ft. Charli XCX, shall we? When I think of Iggy Azalea’s voice, a few things come to mind – sandpaper being rubbed on my face, long, sharp beds of nails, frothing Rottweilers. If you’re a fan at all of English grammar, I’m afraid you’re drinking from the wrong cup of Cris’. Truth be told, it’s a train wreck that will not stop fascinating me. She’s a tall, beautiful, blonde, young Australian, groomed by the lyrical stylings of the Dirty South. My husband didn’t even believe the sounds he heard had originated from her body. I actually had to play him a video clip. And, even then, he walked away confused.
That said, I bought the song. I play the song. Sometimes loudly. And I have neither an explanation, nor an apology. It’s just catchy. In addition to Fancy, YouTubers can find the parodies I’m So Pregnant, I’m So Married, I’m So Cranky, and Weird Al’s version, Handy. You know it’s gotten real when Weird Al returns from virtual obscurity to parody your song.
I’m partial to Sia. Chandelier would be my pick if I were doing the picking. The soul in her voice just moves me. But we’re not living in my world. This song wasn’t shredded to the extent of some of the others, but the video, whose concept I admire, but didn’t truly love, was.
The next nominee, I’m afraid, has managed, for the most part, to escape the scathing eye of the media. He also happens to be the only man on the list. Accident? He also performed the song flawlessly at this year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Needless to say, Stay With Me by Sam Smith is a great song, and a solid contender.
I’ve had a love/hate with Taylor Swift for a long time. She never provided the oomph I prefer in female vocalists. She was so wispy and ethereal, I imagined she’d just escape into the atmosphere with a strong wind. She didn’t possess the steel behind her words the way Pink and Katy Perry do. Like a moth on a summer evening, I found her ignorable. And then came Shake it Off. I managed to avoid this song with for a while, switching it off the radio, changing the TV channel, never clicking the links. Then, one night, YouTube beckoned me, in its soft, saccharine voice. Steph, it purred, Just watch it once. It won’t hurt you. And I did. And the girl poked fun at herself. And she was actually entertaining. There’s something to be said for an artist who doesn’t take herself too seriously. And then I, like most fourteen-year-old boys, fell just a little in love with her.
The last Record of the Year nomination, I honestly still can’t determine whether I love or hate. I’m not sure I agree with the message (though I’m supposed to, I guess?), I’m not a fan of the attitude, and it really strikes me as a one-hit wonder, but I can never get this song out of my head. All About that Bass by Meghan Trainor is one of those anomalies, like (ironically) Baby Got Back, or I’m Too Sexy, that just grows roots in your consciousness and never, ever leaves. I’ve really heard enough songs about asses to last me two lifetimes, but the effervescent quality of this quirky masterpiece has a penchant for burrowing deep into the recesses of your brain. And it’s spurred parodies as well, most notably, the viral Thanksgiving video, All About that Baste, by the fame-hungry Xmas Jammies family, the Holdernesses. I haven’t personally, and refuse to watch, but won’t forsake you the opportunity for more butter.
So, is imitation the highest form of flattery? Is hate the new love? Does contracting a literal earworm or developing a migraine pave the road to Grammy fame? Does it even need to be a good song?
I don’t know, either.
Just cue up that playlist.