There’s no doubt that 2011 was the year of the “doof doof”. From the rise of David Guetta and LMFAO to the euro-club beats adopted in an overwhelming majority pop songs from Rihanna‘s “We Found Love” to Britney Spears‘ “I Wanna Go”, there was no avoiding the thudding sound of the sub woofer and all the manic, Ibiza-esque dance-party vibes that went with it. But if you abide by the laws of physics, you’ll know that for all actions, there is an equal and opposing reaction — and we can see the specter of antithesis looming for 2012. While last year saw an almost completely unblemished carpet of techno beats upholster the music landscape, 2012 looks set to tear that carpet up and replace it with raw wood.
We’re talking about the new guard, a genre of new artists we’ve dubbed “realwave” (thanks to Carles for giving us the ability to invent genres with the simple suffix “wave”), who have been lurking on the sidelines but still managing to make some noise despite the deafening reverberations around them. It began with the ascent of Adele, Mumford & Sons and Bon Iver — artists, who are, for all intents and purposes, artists. In 2011, these artists represented “authenticity,” or the ability to make music that was not only chart topping and relateable, but that also relied on the strength of songwriting, real instruments and organic talent. Yep, that means no auto-tuned voices, synthetic bass lines or garish costuming.
From Adele’s beautiful, heartfelt lyricism and emotive live vocal to Mumford & Sons’ rootsy instrumentals and Bon Iver’s gently experimental, dynamic sound, these artists have provided a much needed sanctuary from banging beats and flashing lights. And perhaps now, after we’ve worn the soles of our dancing shoes right into our heels, we’re actively seeking more realwave. We went to the party, sure, and we had the time of our lives, but it’s morning now, the sun is shining through the cracks in the curtains, our heads are splitting and we’re groping at the bedside table for Advil and Gatorade.
Last night at the 2012 Grammy Awards, Bon Iver won the prestigious award for Best New Artist, but there was still a question on everyone’s lips, or at least trending on their Twitter feed — Who is Bon Iver? While it seems strange to us that you could own a Twitter account and somehow have missed the Internet hype train that was “Holocene” last year, #whoisboniver was one of the top trending topics of conversation on the social networking device last night (a lot of people seemed to think his name was Bonny Bear).
We took to the red carpet before the ceremony to find out if anyone there knew who Bon Iver was, and we got some interesting results! Everyone we talked to, from 3-time Grammy winner Skrillex to Wilco and Mumford & Sons to Malin Ackerman, seemed to have two different pronunciations for the band’s name. The most interesting response, however, came from Snooki, who managed to throw in a penis reference and made this statement for the ages: “Well, I don’t know anybody if you’re not Rihanna.”
Ah, the Grammys! The conversation, the speculation, the anxiety! We’re gearing up to this Sunday’s awards ceremony the same way that we’re sure the rest of North America is — putting our tips on who we think will be a winner. Yesterday, we gave our opinion on who would take home the Best New Artist award, but today we’re wondering about Record Of The Year. With Adele nominated in the category, it would seem that no one is safe, but we know stranger things have happened, so let’s pretend for a second that the “Rolling In The Deep” singer isn’t a shoo in, and weigh up the odds on the other contenders.
Adele – “Rolling In The Deep”
Look, let’s just pretend Adele isn’t going to win everything at the Grammys — because the alternative is that we succumb to the fact that she’s going to win everything and that’s just no fun because it doesn’t give anyone else a fighting chance. Realistically though, “Rolling In The Deep” dominated the number one chart position last year and was a very clear favorite with critics and fans. Yeah, who are we kidding — it’s going to be really strange if “Rolling In The Deep” doesn’t win.
Bon Iver – “Holocene”
If Bon Iver front man Justin Vernon hadn’t stuck both his middle fingers up at the Grammys we would have said “Holocene” was the best bet for usurping the “Rolling In The Deep” throne. Like “Rolling In The Deep,” “Holocene” found its way to the top of almost everyone’s best of 2011 list, so who knows — maybe “Holocene” will be the song to strip Adele of her crown.
Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us.
As you know, 2012 is still an infant — yes, just like Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s baby girl — so while January welcomes us with open arms, here is a list of things that need to happen in the next 12 months to help ensure a high-quality year of music:
1. Adele Needs To Sing
No word yet if Adele will be performing at the Grammys, but she will be singing at the Brit Awards in March. You can’t have an album as big as 21 and not tour. And because Adele’s sophomore album was so huge, she may have to play arenas, the type of venue she fears playing (ironically, her voice is made for such big places).
2. Buy A Ticket To See Madonna
Every young pop star needs to buy a ticket to see Madonna when she inevitably goes out on tour this year in support of her forthcoming album, MDNA. Yes, there are pop stars younger, sexier and more talented than Madonna, but this is a lesson in longevity and consistency. Madonna is 53 years old and is going to put on a high-energy, non-stop show that will humble the artists who drive on the pop-highway she paved.
What a year, right? As we get ready to put the finishing touches on the year that was, it’s time to look back at the music videos that define the year 2011. Tonight, we’ll be airing a supersized edition of the VH1 Top 20 Music Video Countdown that takes a look back at the Top 40 music videos of the year. Be sure to tune-in to VH1 tonight at 7 p.m. ET/PT to see your favorite videos of the year in all of their widescreen, HD glory, but we couldn’t resist giving you guys a sneak peek at the list here on VH1 Tuner this morning.
So, without further ado, here is our list of the Top 40 Videos of 2011…
40. Daughtry – “Crawling Back To You”
39. Jessie J – “Domino”
38. The Civil Wars – “Barton Hollow”
37. Demi Lovato – “Skyscraper”
36. Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – “Paris (Ooh La La)”
35. Britney Spears – “Criminal”
34. Nickelback – “When We Stand Together”
33. Colbie Caillat – “Brighter Than The Sun”
32. Nicki Minaj – “Super Bass”
31. David Guetta featuring Usher – “Without You”
Continue along for the Top 30 videos of 2011!
Each week here on VH1 Tuner, our VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown host Jim Shearer (@jimshearer on Twitter) will be sharing his Shearer’s Spotlight with us. Be sure to tune into the Top 20 Countdown tomorrow morning when it airs on VH1 at 9 a.m. ET/PT.
If you’re already sick of holiday music—especially since department stores have been holding Muzak systems hostage since Halloween—here is a list of non-Christmas songs that still give an essence of the holiday season. (Rest assured, this list was not complied by doing a quick Google search; all of the following tracks are quality tested and in rotation on my iPod.)
1.) “Starlight,” Muse
One of the best “big-rock” love songs of the 2000’s.
2.) “Fake Plastic Trees,” Radiohead
A tune that always comes to mind whenever I zigzag through a plastic tree display at a department store.
3.) “Toys Go Winding Down,” Primus
Behooves me that this song has yet to be exploited on various Christmas music compilations.
4.) “Walking With A Ghost,” Tegan & Sara
Ebenezer Scrooge can totally relate.
5.) “Snowflake,” Malachai
Malachai’s The Ugly Side of Love was my sleeper-hit album of last year, and this is my favorite track from it.
We hate to say we told you so, but… we told you so! All year we’ve been bringing you the best new music so you can stay aurally informed, and if you’ve been doing your homework and keeping abreast of the hottest new acts with us, you’ll notice more than a few of our amazing You Oughta Know artists on the 2012 Grammy Nominees list. We made our predictions for nominees for Song of the Year and Record of the Year, Best New Artist, and Album of the Year yesterday, and now we’re pretty excited to see some of the artists that we’ve introduced to you succeeding so decisively in their different genres. Here’s a little recap of the members of the VH1 family that were awarded Grammy nominations last night:
As we predicted, Adele was a shoo-in for a fistful of nominations, given that her fandom is almost universal and that she’s widely regarded by the industry as seminal in the singer/songwriter field. “Rolling In The Deep” scored nominations for Record of the Year, Song of the Year and Best Short Form Music Video, while “Someone Like You” was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance. Adele’s album, 21, was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album. You can check out Adele exclusively answering 5 intimate questions for VH1’s You Oughta Know here.
Talking to Common is like being sucked into a sexy, soulful vortex filled with sensitive, meaningful eye contact and Miles Davis shout outs. Really, this man is a creative god with out of this world good looks and a voice so deep it could hold all the creatures of the ocean inside it. Er, we’re not sure what that means either. It’s late. We hung out at the Grammy Nominations Concert all night. We talked to Common. Can you blame us for having a melty brain?
Gushing aside, Common’s an underground icon in the hip-hop community who performed “The Message” last night in a tribute to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. We wanted to know which nominated artists got under his skin and into his iPod. He name checked some of our faves – calling his pal Kanye West a “genius” and confessing that he’d like to collaborate with British folk hipsters Mumford & Sons. They’re featured on his new AMC show Hell On Wheels and he’s now a big fan. Common’s got an album coming out later this year – maybe there’s still time to get them on board?
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.
[Photos: Getty Images]
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.
Here’s a (mostly) complete list of the 2012 Grammy Nominations:
RECORD OF THE YEAR
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep” [WATCH]
Bon Iver, “Holocene” [WATCH]
Bruno Mars, “Grenade” [WATCH]
Mumford & Sons, “The Cave” [WATCH]
Katy Perry, “Firework” [WATCH]
SONG OF THE YEAR
Adele, “Rolling In The Deep”
Bon Iver, “Holocene”
Bruno Mars, “Grenade”
Kanye West, “All Of The Lights”
Mumford & Sons, “The Cave”
BEST NEW ARTIST
The Band Perry
ALBUM OF THE YEAR
Bruno Mars, Doo-Wops & Hooligans
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
Lady Gaga, Born This Way