Music Monday: Current Obsessions

I love the feeling of hearing new music; there’s just something so exciting about it. While there are a lot of songs on the radio I really can’t stand, there are quite a few radio hits and a few songs from recently released albums that I’m currently obsessed about.

  1. Keira Knightley, Lost Stars – It brings me absolute pleasure to see Begin Again (fka Can A Song Save Your Life?) finally get released and people loving it. I saw it at TIFF last year and just fell in love with both the movie and the songs, so it was an excruciating wait to get my hands on the soundtrack. There’s actually two versions of Lost Stars, the other sung by Adam Levine, but surprisingly I love Keira’s version more. There’s a sort of pure quality to the mix and her voice, that I really love.
  2. Nikki Yanofsky, Necessary Evil – Nikki Yanofsky is a Canadian talent, whom you may remember as the voice of the official Olympic song for Vancouver 2010. Regardless of that fact, she just released a new album with the help of the legendary Quincy Jones. This song got me right away when I first heard it because I immediately started picturing an Argentine Tango being choreographed to it. [The barometer of how much I like a song now depends on whether I can picture choreography to it…despite not being a dancer.]
  3. Ed Sheeran, Don’t – You thought I was gonna pick Sing, with all its Justin Timberlake/Justified inflections, which I still love but I’m obsessed with Don’t. It samples a Lucy Pearl (remember them?!) song and just has this awesome R&B groove to it.
  4. Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, Problem – That 90s R&B throwback sound with the horns? LOVE.
  5. Tessanne Chin, Everything Reminds Me of You – Tessanne’s recently released debut album is actually the first Voice winner album I’ve bought. This song in particular seems made to fit in with Top 40 radio in the same vein as Emeli Sande’s songs, which is part of the reason why I really like it. If you listen to the other songs on her album, you can really hear her Jamaican influences mix well with the pop/R&B sound. Everything feels authentic and doesn’t feel like it was haphazardly put together.
  6. Maroon 5, Maps – I was a little bit wary about the song because I feel like Overexposed (their previous album) was playing too much as mainstream pop. There were still some songs that I really loved, but the album as a whole didn’t do it for me. Maps though, is a little bit more true to form for the band; it has a quality that plays well to Top 40 radio but still feels more decidedly Maroon 5 than most of Overexposed. Jesse Carmichael being back certainly helps, as does the fact that it doesn’t sound so Ryan Tedder-y despite him having a hand in producing/writing the song.
  7. Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake, Love Never Felt So Good – Let’s be real, this song just feels good.
  8. Coldplay, A Sky Full of Stars – Let it be said that even when Coldplay is experimenting with their sound, their songs still sound distinctively theirs. You can tell it’s a Coldplay song and this one’s no exception.
  9. Hayden Panettiere, Don’t Put Dirt on My Grave Just Yet – OK so this is kinda old but for some reason, I can’t stop listening to it. It’s the right amount of country with a little bit of an edge that I seem to gravitate towards.
  10. John Mayer, XO – John Mayer doing a cover of Beyonce’s XO and it is awesome. After two very folk-ish albums, him doing this cover just made me think: Where has this John Mayer been for the past 5 years?! It sounds like the JM I used to know and love! Will he keep this up for the next album? I don’t know but I hope so!

Grammy Awards 2010

It’s Grammy night! For any music fan, this is THE night. Granted some could care less about the Grammys, but with this music fan, I always look forward to the Grammys. Nothing gets between me and my Grammy watching. As I did with the Golden Globes post, I’ll be writing this post as I watch the show, so comments will be made in the order in which they occurred on the show. Any awards given out during the pre-telecast (that I have any comments on) will be posted first (it comes before the actual show, so makes sense no?)

Pre-Telecast Awards

  • Best Female Country Vocal Solo: Taylor Swift “White Horse” – I like Taylor Swift but best vocal? Not so much. Especially considering she was up against the likes of Carrie Underwood and Martina McBride
  • Best Country Song: Taylor Swift “White Horse” – Good for Taylor. I can get behind her winning here.
  • Best Dance Recording: Lady Gaga “Poker Face” – It’s too bad Britney couldn’t win here for Womanizer, but there was no doubt how big a song Poker Face was.
  • Best Rap Song: Jay-Z, Kanye West & Rihanna “Run This Town” – Well deserved, although Dead and Gone was equally deserving.
  • Best Rock Song & Best Rock Performance by a Duo/Group with Vocals: Kings of Leon “Use Somebody” – Definitely well deserved. Such a fantastic song.
  • Best Male Pop Vocal Solo Performance: Jason Mraz “Make It Mine” – Jason Mraz was the only one who, in all honesty, should have won this award, so I’m extremely happy to see him win. The other nominees in the category, although being great artists, are not really considered “pop.”
  • Best Pop Vocal Collaboration with Vocals: Jason Mraz & Colbie Caillat “Lucky” – Lucky is such a great song, so I’m really happy that they won. Also, it’s Colbie Caillat’s first Grammy award so it’s just a great win overall.
  • Best Pop Vocal Album: The Black Eyed Peas “The E.N.D.” – Kelly Clarkson should have won for All I Ever Wanted. Truthfully though, The E.N.D. is more of a dance album than pop. Meh I’m just disappointed that Kelly didn’t get nominated for more awards.

Actual Awards Show

  • Lady Gaga opens up the show with an All That Jazz-sampled intro, a medley of Poker Face & Speechless, the latter song being a duet with Elton John. Not a fan of Gaga, but that duet was kinda cool.
  • Stephen Colbert: “The Grammy awards, the highest honour that can be bestowed to an artist. Next to being covered by the kids of Glee.” LOL one of many lines by him. He should host something, or maybe I should just watch the Colbert Report more often ahaha
  • Song of The Year: Beyonce “Single Ladies” – This award is for songwriting, so I really think Kings of Leon should have won. But it’s alright, Single Ladies was quite the ubiquitous song of 2009; there’s no denying that.
  • Green Day & the cast of American Idiot performing 21 Guns. I definitely think this performance is making the song even more superb than it is. But then again, with the success of Glee, everything sounds better when sung as a group and on the verge of turning into a showtune. Still an awesome performance
  • Best Country Album: Taylor Swift “Fearless” – Obvious choice. Can’t deny how sweet/humble she is when accepting awards though.
  • Is it just me or is Simon Baker always here? Didn’t he present last year too? I mean, he’s not even a musician. He’s an actor.  Hmmm…
  • Beyonce commanding the full stage for her performance. If I Were A Boy gets a new, and dare I say better, arrangement. I really like the rockier edge given to the song. And a slight cover of You Oughta Know mixed in there? Interesting…I’m kind of suprised though that she left it at that. I was expecting more of a medley, breaking into Single Ladies or something.
  • Pink performs Glitter In The Air. Really incredible and cool performance. Not much else to say about it.
  • Best New Artist: Zac  Brown Band – Can’t comment much about them. I don’t really listen to them so can’t say much. Good for them I guess. I was disappointed in the nominations for this award to begin with, but I’m pretty sure it would’ve been either them or Keri Hilson anyways.
  • Black Eyed Peas performs Im’ma Be and I Gotta Feeling. The whole performance should have been just I Gotta Feeling, even though I was complete annoyed with the song during the summer becuase it was incredibly overplayed. Taboo looked kinda bored at one part. And I’m pretty sure those videos on the screen also included some other musicians (Timbaland? 50 Cent? I think so…)
  • another commercial break and I kind of want to see some more awards handed out? I mean it is called the Grammy Awards. I don’t want the whole show to be just awards being given out, but would it hurt to have a more balanced ratio?
  • Lady Antebellum performs Need You Now. Again, I’m not really well-versed in the country music scene. I know the names of the artists, but there are very few who I actually listen to. After this performance, I think I might have to give Lady Antebellum a full album listen now.
  • Best Comedy Album: Stephen Colbert “A Colbert Christmas” – Usually an award that gets awarded during the pre-telecast, so it seems kind of out of place during the actual show.
  • Record of the Year: Kings of Leon “Use Somebody” – ahaha “happy drunk” KOL. Awesome win! REALLY well-deserved.
  • Jamie Foxx & T-Pain performs Blame It. There was no doubt that that was T-Pain in the white wig lol. For a song that pretty much entirely auto-tuned, this performance wasn’t half bad. At the very least, it’s better than when it was performed on American Idol last year. That’s not saying much.
  • Justin Bieber has no right in being at the Grammys. He may be a fellow Canadian, but he needs to go away.
  • Best Rock Album: Green Day “21st Century Breakdown”
  • CBS really is pimping out all their shows huh?
  • Zac Brown Band performs with Leon Russell
  • Taylor Swift up next, starting with her new song Today Was A Fairytale, from the upcoming movie “Valentine’s Day.” Short and sweet, because we gotta get to Stevie Nicks joining Taylor on stage. And I’m sorry to say, but this performance is kind of making my point that she’s not the greatest vocalist. *See pre-telecast awards comments above*
  • Michael Jackson Tribute…in 3D! Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson, Smokey Robinson, Carrie Underwood and Usher are performing. Followed by MJ’s kids receiving his Lifetime Achievement Award on his behalf.
  • Bon Jovi performing for the first time at the Grammys. Seriously? In their entire music career, they’ve never performed on the Grammys? Wow. They start off with their latest hit We Weren’t Born to Follow and go into Who Says You Can’t Go Home, a duet with Jennifer Nettles of Sugarland. And then for the fan voted song, it’s Livin’ On A Prayer! Classic Bon Jovi. Although I partially wanted It’s My Life for one reason only: the fact that it now reminds me of Glee and that awesome mash-up lol.
  • Best Rap/Sung Collaboration: Jay-Z, Kanye West & Rihanna “Run This Town” – I guess they deserved it, especially Rihanna after the year she’s had. And Kanye couldn’t really lose, he was nominated 3 times in the category. But again, I still think T.I. & Justin should have won for Dead and Gone. It’s just a really good song, regardless of the fact that Justin’s a part of it.  Although it would’ve been HILARIOUS if I’m On A Boat won. And last thing, who’s kid was that? Too cute!
  • Mary J. Blige & Andrea Boccelli perform a new version of Bridge Over Troubled Water for Haiti. Amazing.
  • Dave Matthews Band performs, introduced by Adam Sandler.
  • Ricky Martin? But yay Lea Michele!!
  • Best Female Pop Vocal Performance: Beyonce “Halo” – I wonder what would’ve happened if Kelly Clarkson was nominated in this category for Already Gone? Would the votes cancel out due to their slight likeness? Or would Kelly have come out victorious? We will never know. Sidenote, I totally just realized how awesome/funny it is that Lea got to give that award to Beyonce, considering the Halo/Walking on Sunshine mash-up on Glee. hehe.
  • Maxwell performs Pretty Wings. Great song. He is then joined onstage by Roberta Flack.
  • Les Paul tribute featuring Jeff Beck. I would like to know who that girl singing was though. She was kinda awesome.
  • Quentin Tarentino can be the funniest dude sometimes.
  • Drake, Lil Wayne & Eminem performs Forever. Travis Barker on drums. The only thing I don’t like? The fact that there is so much censoring on this song. Total, I think a good 30 seconds to a minute of the song was censored. I can’t enjoy the song when I know the sound gets cut out.
  • Album of the Year: Taylor Swift “Fearless” – Good for her. I absolutely love how Colbie got a mention, and that on the screen where it says the winner, it was written as Taylor Swift & Colbie Caillat. Love.

Well, at the end of it all, no surprise, Beyonce and Taylor Swift were the big winners. Beyonce had the most wins with 6. Taylor Swift won 4 including obviously, the big one. Kings of Leon right behind with 3 awards. Overall, it was a slightly uneventful show. We had some great performances, and some not so great. Here’s to hoping that 2010 will be chock full of great music options so we can get a better show in 2011.