It’s a tough year to be in contention for a Grammy. Why? Because, for the first time in a long time, music was actually, certifiably good. From Daft Punk and Pharrell’s “Get Lucky” to Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” to Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie,” 2013 was a year which hosted a plethora of tentpole songs – as opposed to just one or two.
Here then is your ultimate Grammy playlist. I start you out hard core and then mellow things out. All for Free 99, of course.
Record of the Year: “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk, featuring Pharrell. (Behind the scenes note: Pharrell also had his creative hands in Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” a song that led the family of Marvin Gaye to file suit against the artists and the label.)
OK. OK. Here’s “Blurred Lines” too. It’ll probably win, but I couldn’t post this video first because, ahem, this one is NOT for viewing at work. Nor can you watch it with your kids. You should, however, watch it with your boo-thing. You’re welcome.
Song of the Year: Lorde’s “Royals.” (“Roar” is a strong contender here, but “Royals” is in the major remix stage right now, being played at clubs across the world and even being remixed into a go-go beat for the Washington DC crowd. Plus, it’s a great anti-excess romp.)
Best Rap Performance: Drake’s “Started from the Bottom” (Though… Lamar’s “Drank” was massive.)
Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z’s “Suit and Tie)
Best Pop Solo Performance: Katy Perry’s “Roar.”
Best Rock Performance: Imagine Dragons’ “Radioactive.” (Lou Diamond Phillips is positively demonic in the below video, along with some Muppet-type creatures. It’s cool. I promise.)
Best R&B Song: Timberlake’s “Pusher Love Girl.” (Woman-you-love-as-an-addictive-drug-in-your-veins? I’m all for that concept.)
Best Rap Song: They should all win. But take a listen to “New Slaves” by Kanye West, if only because it’s actually conscious. Plus, billionaire Ben Bronfman (son of the legendary uber-rich Edgar Bronfman Sr. of Seagrams liquor fame and ex-fiance of M.I.A.) had a hand in production.
Best Rap Album: Jay-Z’s “Holy Grail” featuring Justin Timberlake will probably beat Kanye West’s “Yeezus.” Then again. Maybe not.
Best Country Solo Performance: Hunter Haye’s “I Want Crazy.”
Best Jazz Vocal Album: Gregory Porter’s “Liquid Spirit” is a new classic.
Best Latin Jazz Album: Wayne Wallace Latin Jazz Quintet’s “Latin Jazz-Jazz Latin” is perfect house party fare – that is, once you finish wildin’ out to Jay and Justin and need something to calm down the crowd.
Best Song Written for Visual Media: Adele’s “Skyfall.” It’s already won a Golden Globe, a Brit and an Oscar. This is not a bandwagon vote. The song is dope. If you didn’t see the movie (and why didn’t you?!) take a listen.
Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Performance: Natalie Grant’s “Hurricane.” Hands down. Have you seen her sing live? Add that experience to your bucket list.
Best Gospel Album: Chicago’s own Donald Lawrence should win this hands down. “Best for Last: 20 Year Celebration” was a feast for the eyes and ears. I was at the live taping (along with 500 others, including Michelle Williams and Natalie Grant.) Spectacular. The song below is “Celebrate” but the entire album is an inspirational headbopper.
Bonus: I couldn’t resist dropping Faith Evan’s “Say A Prayer for Me” on you here. She also performed at the before-mentioned album taping. Intercessory prayer. Always a good look.
Best Gospel Song: Erica Campbell’s “A Little More Jesus.” This simple yet energetic song brought gospel back to its roots and is a first solo hit for Campbell, who normally sings with her sister Tina as part of the Grammy-winning duo Mary Mary. By the end of Grammy night – or your party – you’ll probably need a little more Jesus too.
Listen to this playlist on Spotify:
— Adrienne Samuels Gibbs