The nominees for the 2012 Grammy Awards—seventy-eight categories worth, if you’re counting at home!—were announced last night. Four of those categories (Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Record of the Year, and Best New Artist) were announced live on CBS during a star-studded concert, featuring performances by the likes of Lady Gaga, Rihanna, The Band Perry and more. If you happened to go to bed early or decided to watch American Horror Story instead, we’re here to help. Rather than plead ignorance when your co-workers ask you for your thoughts on the nominations, we’ve come up with this list of eight handy conversation starters to get you going. No, we’re not focusing on boring things like who got the most nominations in this post (if you want that stuff, no worries, we’ve got you covered); instead, we’re gonna give you a kickstart for some things that are actually fun to discuss, like whether or not Lady Gaga was doing dressed like a cross between a Cobra Kai member and Riff Raff from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, if Kanye West is going to go ballistic again after being snubbed in the Album of the Year category, and deciphering what exactly a Skrillex is. Enjoy, and happy watercoolering.
The nominees for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards were announced in Los Angeles tonight during a live special that aired on CBS. The 2012 Grammys will be broadcast on CBS February 12th at 8/7c. Kanye West led all nominees with 7 nods, despite being royally snubbed in the Album of the Year category, closely followed by Adele, Foo Fighters and Bruno Mars (who each snagged six nominations).
However, big surprise of the evening was certainly the recognition bestowed upon Bon Iver, who scored nominations in three of the “Big 4″ categories (Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Best New Artist). He is a virtual unknown to most Americans, and not even presenter and fellow Best New Artist nominee Nicki Minaj knew how to pronounce his name (she probably should’ve watched this YouTube video with the correct pronunciation of Bon Iver before heading out on stage). However, music industry insiders clearly know of him, and his performance at the awards in February will likely be the most lovably awkward televised performed since Elliott Smith showed up at the Oscars in 1998.
Of all the Grammy Awards, the one that artists covet the most is the Album of the Year prize. The nominees for the 54th annual ceremony are being released live tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT on CBS, and a number of artists, producers and record label executives are currently feeling a rush of butterflies go through their stomachs. Thanks to the confusing timeline in the Grammys universe, this year’s Album Of The Year nominees will be LPs that were released between October 1, 2010 and September 30, 2011. With that in mind, here are some of the frontrunners:
If there’s one shoo-in for this year’s Album Of The Year prize, it’s 21. Debuting at Number One on both the UK Albums Chart and the US Billboard 200 Chart, 21 took on the number one chart position in a total of 19 countries across the world, which was good enough for a spot in the Guinness Book Of World Records. With two Grammys already under her belt (taking the awards for Best New Artist and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance at the 2009 Grammys), Adele is a fan and industry favorite.
Year in and year out, people watching the Grammy Awards find themselves asking the same question: What is the difference between Record Of The Year and Song Of The Year? What makes this especially confusing is that different songs are usually nominated in each category; in the past five years, only 10 out of the 50 total songs nominated in each of these categories have made both categories (three of those, however, have ended up winning both prizes: “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum, “Rehab” by Amy Winehouse and “Not Ready To Make Nice” by Dixie Chicks).
To answer the question we posed above, the Grammy for Record Of The Year is awarded to the artist and production team responsible for how the song sounds, while the Grammy for Song Of The Year is given to the songwriters responsible for the composition of the song (meaning: lyrics and melodic structure). With that in mind, here are a few likely candidates to be nominated in these two categories when the 2012 Grammy nominations are announced live on CBS at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
The smoky-voiced siren is the favorite to sweep this year’s major awards, and “Rolling In The Deep” has proven to be MASSIVE in terms of its sound and its popularity; it’s been sitting in the Billboard Hot 100 for 46 weeks and counting.
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Bruno was incredibly well-respected as a songwriter in music industry circles long before he became a solo performer; in the Grammys game, respect from one’s peers is equally important as commercial success.
The Best New Artist prize is one of the more divisive categories at the annual Grammy Awards. The National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (NARAS) has been famously hit or miss with their selections, which include a healthy dose of monster talents (Adele, Alicia Keys, Sade) as well as a startling number of embarrassing, wholly forgettable choices (Milli Vanilli, Arrested Development, Starland Vocal Band).
Well, while it’s still a few hours until we learn who the 2012 Grammy nominees for Best New Artist are going to be—we’ll have the nominees for you tonight at 10 p.m. ET/PT—we thought we’d pull together a few of the most likely contenders for you. This year, they include:
It’s been Nicki Minaj‘s year to shine, as the young star has been party to high profile collaborations with superstars like Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Birdman, Drake and Britney Spears. Not only does she got that boom-ba-doo-doom, boom-ba-doo-doom super bass, this melding of Lady Gaga, Lil Kim and an anime princess is the most exciting thing to happen to hip hop this year.
Remember when Hanson used to be all cute and innocent? Well, we’ve got news for you buddy, THEY’RE NOT ANY MORE! The boys are back on the radar and this time they’re not releasing a new song, but their very own beer brand. THAT’S RIGHT, THOSE LITTLE CUTIES YOU REMEMBER ARE HOPHEADS! GASP! They probably even drink the stuff, too!
All kidding aside, their new Indian pale ale, which will be available early next year is called — wait for it — “Mmmhop.” If you were too young or too old or too cool to care about Hanson in the 90s, the beer is named after their career defining hit, “Mmmbop.” This makes us think the brothers haven’t lost their boyish charms after all, the pun being so obvious it’s painfully perfect. As they say, you can take the boy out of Tulsa…
VH1 You Oughta Know alum Dawes got into the festive mood recently, covering “Christmas Time Is Here” for The A.V Club. And when we say festive mood, the boys went all out, complete with Santa hats, tinsel and stars. Dawes’ rendition of the Christmas classic hold true to Vince Guaraldi‘s original, with only hints of the L.A sunset folk sound Dawes are known for peeking at the edges. We loved Dawes’ version, and the chilled out, melodic tune matched their vibe perfectly — but wouldn’t have been upset if the boys infused it with some more laid back, surfer beach vibes either.
This holiday season it’s snowing Bublé, as Michael Bublé‘s album Christmas scrapes into the number 1 spot this week on the Billboard 200 chart. Ousting Nickelback‘s Here And Now by a freckle, Bublé’s Christmas reached the top spot by selling 227,000 copies, a mere 0.18% more than Nickelback (which is the closest race since 2007). While we’re huge supporters of both artists, as November ends and the festive season is well and truly upon us, we can’t stop humming Bublé’s “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town,” so we think it’s pertinent that the Christmas themed album should inch ahead. “Christmas” is Bublé’s third number 1 album and marks his best sales week ever — Merry Christmas to you, Sir Bublé!
Meanwhile, Rihanna’s Talk That Talk shifted 197,000 units, good for third place. This debut is a smidge off her first week sales of Loud last year, which sold 207,000 units, but with “We Found Love” firmly entrenched at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and “You Da One” steamrolling its way towards the Top 10—it’s sitting at #14 this week—RiRi’s camp is sitting pretty for an extended chart run.
Sometimes “movements are bigger than single records,” says Jay-Z in Young Jeezy’s new biographical film, A Hustlerz Ambition; a comment that can easily summarize the Snowman’s rise to fame. Last night, in two theaters at New York City’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema, the documentary tied to the release of Jeezy’s fourth album, Thug Motivation 103: A Hustlerz Ambition, was unveiled and screened for the very first time by Def Jam and the man of the hour himself. Chronicling the drug-slinging trap rapper’s evolution, the film documents both sides of Jeezy’s (real name: Jay Jenkins) personal and professional lives, focusing on painful, comedic and triumphant moments while on his path to becoming a bonafide player in the rap game.
Making the audience privy to many intimate details of his life, the film delves into Jeezy’s childhood, how his uncle “Bo” first gave him forty dollars to flip at age 11, the divorce of his military father and substance abusing-mother (who he later saw buy and be high on crack), living with his grandmother in Hawkinsville, Georgia and utilizing her stove to dominate the streets, fighting for paternity rights to his son, and battling severe health problems like Bell’s Palsy and polyps on his vocal cords. While the glimpse into his personal history is informative and helps to understand his overall story, the film, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and directed by Chris Robinson, is mostly geared toward shedding light on Jeezy’s relentless drive to achieve everything he wants in life, plus much more. Read more…
Promoting his hit single “Without You,” David Guetta appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night, joined by Usher, who brough some serious dance moves to the stage. Spinning, u-turning and collar-popping, Usher employed all the signature moves he’s known for, all the while singing over Guetta’s trancetastic beats. With a team of back-up dancers, flashing lights, psychedelic visualizations and shooting flames, the stage was transformed into a Euro-techno party with Usher and Guetta revving up the audience. No wonder this song is shooting towards the top of our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown!