The Grammys are almost upon us and it’s time to start wagering on winners. We’ve been speculating over one of the most talked about — and important in terms of a young star’s career — categories, and that’s the Best New Artist. Obviously, whoever wins is going to steal the spotlight, and with the fickle nature of music consumption it’s an all too important spotlight that’s up for the taking. With a smorgasbord of acts up for the award, covering genres from country to rap to dub to indie-pop, it’s tough to put the finger on a winner. We’ve weighed up the odds below, and given our opinion on the likelihood of each nominee taking home the illustrious award.
The Band Perry
There’s no doubt that The Band Perry are the best new country act of the year, winning Best New Act at the Country Music Awards as well as Single and Song Of The Year with “If I Die Young.” We think The Band Perry are hot favorites for the win after their winning year in 2011, and because they’ve bought some youthful fun to country music.
Bon Iver Bon Iver has been a controversial nominee at best, first with front man Justin Vernon lambasting the Grammys and then refusing to perform on the night. It seems like with the popularity and critical acclaim that “Holocene” found in 2011, they may have been strong contenders, but unfortunately took themselves out of the race with their petulant behavior. They’re not really a “new artist” anyway, so it might be nice to see someone fresh off the block win the award, even though we do love the music of Bon Iver.
Ahead of the Grammys this weekend, for which they’re nominated for Best New Artist, The Band Perry stopped by The Ellen Degeneres Show to play their song “All Your Life.” Melodic and sweet, The Band Perry played their soft, rolling country track to perfection, not putting a single note wrong. Their stirring harmonies and gently strumming guitar added dynamism to the romantic love song. The Band Perry will also be performing at the Grammys, with a whole host of new stars and old legends.
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…
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.
We’re going to announce this summer’s winner here on the VH1 Blog on Tuesday, but before we do that, we’d love to find out what YOU, the VH1 audience, felt was this year’s Song Of The Summer. What song did you jam the most on the beach? Which track was blasting when you put your ragtop down so your hair can blow? What jam got you and your friends pumped up for a night out on the town? Vote as many times as you like in our poll below. (Oh, and congrats to You Oughta Know artist Foster The People for being only the third song all summer long to hold the top spot in our countdown with their zeitgeisty smash, “Pumped Up Kicks”!)
At this time last year, hopes for Maroon 5‘s third studio album, Hands All Over, were high. The lead single, “Misery,” had hit #1 on Billboard‘s Adult Pop chart, and since the band had convinced famed superproducer Robert “Mutt” Lange to come out of semi-retirement to produce their album, everyone looked for the band to take the leap from a well-liked, fairly popular M.O.R. band to the next level and a spot among the world’s most commercially successful bands. However, once the album finally hit streets in October 2010, the masses shrugged their shoulders and largely ignored the album. The record was certified gold by the RIAA for shipping over 500,000 copies, but worldwide sales stalled out at just 529,000 total units.
Perceived failures like this have sunk many a band in the past, but thanks to charismatic frontman Adam Levine and ten weeks of national TV exposure courtesy of NBC/Universal’s The Voice (corporate synergy at its finest!), the band has totally reversed their fortunes in less than a year. Their new track, “Moves Like Jagger,” hit #1 on the iTunes chart this week, and Levine’s featured hook on Gym Class Heroes‘ “Stereo Hearts” propelled the song to a Top 20 finish in this week’s Song Of The Summer countdown. No wonder artists like Mariah Carey (The X-Factor), Sara Bareilles (The Sing Off) and more are looking to land prime positions as judges on televised singing competition shows; it’s exactly the kind of exposure to Middle America that the flagging music business is no longer in a position to give these artists using “traditional” music channels. As Maroon 5 has proved, it’s great work if you can get it!
As for the rest of our Song Of The Summer chart —only two more weeks until we crown a champion!— kudos to Katy Perry for her ninth consecutive week in the #1 spot.
Electro-sleaze goofballs LMFAO are, at this moment, the only thing standing between Katy Perry and the history books. As we told you last week, their smash single “Party Rock Anthem” is blocking “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” from ascending to the top of the Billboard 100 chart (which would be Perry’s fifth Number One off her Teenage Dream LP). LMFAO is also currently besting Perry on the YouTube and iTunes charts, while Katy is maintaining dominance on Last.fm as well as airplay on our station. And our friends over at New York Magazine‘s Vulture just named “Party Rock Anthem”—a song they described as “a contrived, effective bit of nonsense about how ‘everybody?s gonna have a good time'”—as their current Song of the Summer.
Despite this onslaught from the progeny of Motown records founder Berry Gordy, our highly scientific formula still shows Perry atop our charts for the seventh consecutive week. While it will be incredibly difficult to topple her, it’s good to see Foster The People making a run at the Top Five. After a standout performance at Lollapalooza this weekend, their outstanding single “Pumped Up Kicks” is quickly climbing the charts; if the word “alternative” still carried any weight as a genre, there’s little doubt that Mark Foster could lay claim to the “alternative” Song of the Summer crown.
The dog days of summer are upon us, people. It’s August, it’s hot outside, and the news cycle is starting to slow to a crawl. The general sluggishness of the season is even affecting the music industry, as music fans don’t seem to be gravitating towards any new material. Instead, they seem to be content to play the same songs that they’ve had on repeat all summer long.
Case in point: Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” which has exhibited a stranglehold on the top of our Song of the Summer Countdown for six consecutive weeks. Her song looks to have a lock on the prize at this point, but then again, maybe The Throne (aka Jay-Z and Kanye West) can mount a last-minute challenge when their highly anticipated collaboration Watch The Throne drops next week? Stay tuned!