Previewing This Friday's Nominations Ceremony for The 56th GRAMMY Awards
We're only a few days away from the start of the annual GRAMMY season that formally kicks off in style this Friday when the nominees for the 56th GRAMMY Awards are being announced during a live CBS telecast at 10 p.m. EST. The 56th GRAMMY Awards will air live from Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles on January 26, 2014 on CBS. Mark your calendar! This Friday, the nominations in all 81 GRAMMY categories will be announced and it's shaping up to be a very competitive race in most categories with many exciting newcomers vying for GRAMMY glory.
Let's stare for a moment in our crystal ball and have a look at some of the artists, songs and productions that are in pole position to grab a coveted GRAMMY nomination. Note that the eligibility period for the 56th Annual Grammy Awards is October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013. The final GRAMMY nominees are selected by multiple review committees consisting of recording industry professionals and voted for by the thousands of members of The Recording Academy (NARAS).
★ Record of the Year - Traditionally, this is considered a top GRAMMY prize that awards outstanding "artistic achievement, technical proficiency and overall excellence in the recording industry." It is an award for all the people that are responsible for the making of a record, including singer(s), songwriter(s) and producer(s). This year, it looks like "Same Love" by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis and "Mirrors" by Justin Timberlake are top contenders in the category. However, also expect nominations for "Royals" by Lorde, "Radioactive" by Imagine Dragons and possibly "Blurred Lines" by Robin Thicke & Pharrell. (According to reports, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did not submit "Thrift Shop" and "Can't Hold Us" for GRAMMY consideration.)
★ Song of the Year - Previous winners in this category have been "We Are Young" by .fun, "Rolling In The Deep" by Adele, "Need You Know" by Lady Antebellum and "Single Ladies" by Beyonce. I think that this category will mimic the Record of the Year nominees but I would not surprised if "Roar" by Katy Perry or "Just Give Me A Reason" by Pink featuring Nate Ruess would make the final selection. "Locked Out Of Heaven" by Bruno Mars that was released on October 1, 2012 and is eligible for consideration may also make the final cut. Other potential nominees are "Wrecking Ball" by Miley Cyrus, "I Knew You Were Trouble" by Taylor Swift, "Cruise" by Florida Georgia Line featuring Nelly and "Wake Me Up" by Avicii. Believe it or not, GRAMMY fave Adele may once again get nominated with "Skyfall"
★ Album Of The Year - There are five very strong contenders in this category including Justin Timberlake "The 20/20 Experience" (that was submitted by RCA as a double LP), Macklemore and Ryan Lewis "The Heist," Taylor Swift's "Red," Drake's Nothing Was The Same" and Bruno Mars' "Unorthodox Jukebox" that had both critics and fans raving. Dark horse candidates in this category include Daft Punk "Random Access Memories," Luke Bryan's "Crash My Party" and Kendrick Lamar's "Good Kid, M.A.A.D. City."
★ Best New Artist - This is always a fun category to speculate about. There are so many great new artists that are eligible and deserving in this category. I feel Lorde, Kendrick Lamar, Imagine Dragons and Philip Philips are very likely nominees, followed by Ed Sheeran, Kacey Musgrave and Florida Georgia Line. Other contenders include Emeli Sande, Icona Pop and possibly Arianna Grande who is a potential GRAMMY darling for years and years to come.
★ Also look for the following: I suspect that GRAMMY voters will show very little love for Kanye West "Yeezus" and Jay-Z's "Magna Carta... Holy Grail" in the general categories. Jay Z's "Holy Grail" featuring Justin Timberlake will likely receive a few nominations in the hip hop category (including Best Rap/Sung Collaboration). Avicii's "Wake Me Up" is solid in the lead in the Best Dance Recording category and I believe Disclosure's "Settle," Daft Punk "Random Access Memories" and Icona Pop "This Is" will lead in the Best Electronic/Dance Album category.
Who do you hope will get nominated? Let's discuss.
December 2, 2013 | Permalink
A Few Words About Fifth Anniversary of Britney Spears "Circus" [Review]
While we are eagerly awaiting the formal release of Britney Spears new album Britney Jean tomorrow, I wrote a short bit about Britney Spears' "Circus" that is the title track from her 6th album that was released five years ago. Read reviews of every single Circus track on Idolator (in their awesome Stan & Deliver series produced by Muumuse) and I also posted my quick analysis of "Circus" below.
One of the things that I love most about Britney Spears’ "Circus" is that our beloved pop princess uses the song to assert control and put herself in the middle of the situation as the ultimate pop "ringleader." It’s as if she tells the haters, pop purists and other nagging naysayers that despite the challenges in her personal life, she’s a force to reckon with who serves up a sound and message that’s uniquely hers. Produced by the winning duo of Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco, “Circus” is a slick and hooky pop confection that introduces a grand, overarching theme that lingers throughout the rest of the album it’s named after.
Circus follows the brilliantly dark Blackout that pushed the pop envelope forward by combining bonafide pop melodies with gritty hip hop textures. On Circus, Spears abandons her music’s darker sentiment and steps out into the light with an album of royal proportions that reminds us why we fell in love with Spears in the first place.
The album’s title track embodies that exact sense of rebirth and joy. Spears is astutely aware of the media frenzy that she set off during her Blackout days, but she now wants to take back the reins and have people focus on her artistic efforts again. "There are only two types of people in the world. The ones that entertain and the ones that observe," Spears aptly argues in the song’s first verse, followed by her confession, "Well baby, I’m a put-on-a-show kind of girl." And there you have it. Despite all that happened, Spears is not backing away but instead she holds steady and demands the world to focus on what really matters to her: the music.
(Read other Circus track review on Idolator.)
December 2, 2013 | Permalink
Dev Returns Gloriously with New Single 'Kiss It' featuring Sage The Gemini
After keeping us in the dark for a little while, Dev returns gloriously with new single "Kiss It" (featuring Sage The Gemini) that is the first track taken from her forthcoming new EP that will be released early 2014. The grand Dame of Sass gives us everything we hoped for and more on "Kiss It." It's a punchy blend of dance, pop and hip hop that is loaded with girl power and marked by cheeky lyrics and forward-thinking production stylings that are all drenched in Dev's genuine brand of cool. The expert production is courtesy of none other than soundboard wizard Hitboy who previously produced GOOD Music's "Clique," A$AP Rocky's "Goldie" and a track on Britney Spears' forthcoming new album.
"Kiss It" feels like a fresh new start for Dev that follows big changes in her personal and private life in the last couple of years. After she was propelled to the top of the global pop charts as the featured vocalists on Far East Movement's "Like A G6" (together with The Cataracs), Dev dilligently worked on songs for her debut album while touring non-stop all over the world. More hit tracks followed including "Bass Down Low," "Backseat" and "In The Dark" that introduced an edgy new dance-pop sound that put Dev in pole position for continued success.
The Bay Area singer's success was also fueled by high-profile collaborations with people like Timbaland, David Guetta, JLS and Martin Solveig who featured her on their tracks. The release of Dev's (very good) debut LP "The Night The Sun Came Up" was delayed several times to finetune the final collection of songs and to give her time to be a mother. Dev announced that she and her fiancee Jimmy Gorecki were expecting a baby right before the scheduled release of the record in September 2011.
"The Night The Sun Came Up" was eventually released early 2012 to glowing reviews and was followed by a tour and appearances at South by Southwest and the Ultra Music Festival. Things took an unexpected turn in the summer of 2012 when Dev decided to split with her long-time management to reset her career and start with a clean slate.
It was as if Dev decided to take two steps back in order to take three steps forward. In a candid interview with our friends at Idolator, Dev reflects on the past and explains that she learned a lot of her experiences of the last two years. She looks refreshed, focused and ready to go at it again with new music that may lean a little more R&B. "Kiss It" clearly bridges where Dev came from and where she's heading next. It's a smart move as it will excite her fans and hopefully make many new ones.
November 25, 2013 | Permalink
Bright Light Bright Light Unveils 'In Your Care' Video, Announces West Coast Tour
Following the success of his fantastic debut album on both sides of the Atlantic in 2012, Bright Light Bright Light (aka Welshman Rod Thomas) has spent much of this year in New York City to write, record and perform new music. The talented pop gentleman left his home in London to seek new experiences and inspirations, and judging from his excellent new music his decision paid off. In fact, being away from family and friends has directly inspired his new EP, entitled In Your Care, that looks at "the distance between families when people move away, and what keeps them together," according to a press release.
Written and produced with long-term writing partner Jon Shave of The Invisible Men (Jessie J, Conor Maynard, Iggy Azalea, Sugababes), the EP's title track uses a more filmic orchestration, and pulsates with heavier beats than on his previous work. But regardless of the arrangements and production stylings, Bright Light Bright Light's brand of high-grade, bittersweet pop stands strong.
"In Your Care" is the title tune from the singer's forthcoming 5-track EP that includes collaborations with Jon Shave, Ian Masterson and Andy Chatterley. One of the EP's stand outs is "Same Dream" that was a crowd favorite when Bright Light Bright Light toured with Ellie Goulding in the UK. It's a gripping dance song written about losing yourself to someone and losing yourself in the moment.
Another big tune is "An Open Heart" that Thomas wrote with Ian Masterson (who produced some of his favourite 90s remixes as Trouser Enthusiasts). It's a sleek and stylish electro-pop tune featuring vivid storytelling that captures both vulnerability and hope. According to Thomas, "An Open Heart" looks at perception, and how easy it is to miss the beauty of a moment.
In related Bright Light Bright Light news, the singer is touring the U.S. West Coast for the very first time in December. He will play Bootleg Bar in Los Angeles on December 3 (amazing venue!), Cafe Du Nord in San Franisco on December 5 and at Neightbors in Seattle on December 13. Make sure to grab tickets here. (Pre-order Bright Light Bright Light In Your Care on iTunes now.)
November 21, 2013 | Permalink
Cady Groves Sings Like She Means It on 'U Can Have My Car (Inadequate Lover)'
Cady Groves sings like she means it on her freshly-unveiled new track, entitled "U Can Have My Car (Inadequate Lover)," on which she vents about a love gone sour for all the wrong reasons. "I dated a gorgeous guy who sucked a lot at everything besides being good looking," Groves writes on her SoundCloud page." I guess I'm not shallow, because after dating for two weeks, I couldn't stand his insatiable desire for the material things in life." Following into the footsteps of her RCA Records label mates Pink and Kelly Clarkson, the rising pop sensation turned her bad experience into a fiery pop-rock stomper. It's the perfect antidote to all the inadequate lovers out there who care more about what you're wearing than you who is wearing it. "You can have my car but I'm going to hold on to the keys of my heart," Groves sings on the track, which sums up the sentiment of the song perfectly. It's a fun and hooky pop tune with a message that many will be able relate to.
"U Can Have My Car (Inadequate Lover)" by Cady Groves
Written by Cady Groves and Ryan Williams
Produced by Fred Eriksson
November 21, 2013 | Permalink