It is that time of the year again when one starts making an overview of the year and wrapping it up by Best and Worst contributions to music through albums released during the last 330 days. I do say only those days and not a full year since the artists that have the unfortunate idea of releasing an album in December have a really hard job to make it to next years nominees and this years’ was released in late November.
As we can see by Award attribution in one of the categories that relates the most to our musical taste, “Alternative” (this is what it will be called until good music is made mainstream) there are two giants competing for the throne of most awarded. On the one hand we have the extinct band White Stripes with a 100% conversion rate, with three nominations and three awards. Will Jack White have another gramophone in his house with his solo career in the near future? We don’t believe so due the complexity of his new music as well as a bend of genre to a less Popular Blues approach that makes his real fans happier than ever and his more generalist fans more distant. On the other hand, the more than obvious, Radiohead, which have almost every single album released nominated, with eight recorded so far, and three awards. They will be keep being mentioned even if for respect by this community that idolizes them since the first day. With the nomination after last year’s impressive “Moon Shaped Pool” being beaten by “BlackStar” of Bowie due to obvious reasons, we believe their next album might take them to the first place in the award list.
This year we do have two bands that already have sit in the nominees bench. First, Arcade Fire that has already been nominated five times, has now with “Everything Now” their greatest chances to finally take the award home. Since the Grammy community tends to respect the career when taking in consideration the winner criteria, they probably will take in less consideration the fact that this was their worst album to nominate. Moreover their competition this year although being very competent is as well way more inexperienced in this Award Ceremony. With the second nomination ever comes The National, which has as well a stronger statement with this new work, “Sleep Well Beast”, one of their most interesting works and surely the most connected to the band reality on stage. However The National’s sound is not popular among all as well as this album has very strong messages on death which is not a theme that everyone is ready to approach so honestly as Matt does. For this We believe that although it would be deserved, they still won’t make the cut this year. For great fans like me, they just exceeded themselves in a perfectly organic manner.
Finally there are three rookies in terms of nominations, not in experience nor career, with strong arguments to put forward. The strongest of them all being LCD SoundSystem that although not having being nominated ever, has already been awarded by many music journalist publications the award of Album of the Year with “This is Happening”. Their audience loves them, the general public is incapable of not dancing to them and popularity is not greater since they are sometimes to busy just being happy out of stage with their friends and family. Their career has due to this been less consistent than Arcade’s lately as well as of majority of the nominees, however this is for us Musically Speaking Team the Best Alternative album here presented. Our favorite comeback among the several comeback of the year, it was the most truthful to the origins of the band as well as their message passed without being force-fed down the throat of the audience has happened in my opinion with “Everything Now” and “Pure Comedy”. This latter, by Father John Misty, is one of nominated albums being probably one of my personal favorite of the Year although I do understand it is a less probable winner. Here Tillman finally fully explores his darkness and exhibits in his eccentric way the message that needed to be sent of mourn towards this desperate America led by such a corrupt monster. However as above mentioned sometimes it feels the message is slightly forced and it might be heavily political at some points with views that not even the majority respects in America. The last nominated and less relevant for the album cited to be the Best Alternative Album of the Year are the Gorillaz, that although being one of the most relevant bands of the last two decades have comeback with a work that was not loved even by their whole audience. Personally I find it a freak acids trip that has more potential that initially conceived by the general audience. However it is not their best work by far nor it should be mentioned this year for such a nomination when they could have won in 2003 with “Clint Eastwood” and were not even mentioned.
A last remark goes to how all the nominees have a political related message as their main one in any of this albums being Gorillaz the ones that distance themselves more directly from politics and going more towards morals and values. With “Everything Now” being a cal for action towards a more responsible attitude towards society as main actor in the World, “Pure Comedy” being a straight criticism to the current political state of the World and particularly of the U.S; “American Dream” immediately allusive to the final goal of this Capitalist Society built in the beginning of the 50’s that is now going bankrupt on ethics and finally with one of the darkest perceptions of reality coming in “Sleep Well Beast” with some of the best poems towards death and misery which is a negative feeling printed by our environment, both natural and social, the last years.