High Notes

A compilation of Grammy-nominated songs,which the Recording Academy releases just a few weeks before “music’s biggest night”,lets the audience get a whiff of who may walk away with the hallowed gramophone

Written by Suanshu Khurana | Published: February 11, 2012 2:32:29 am

2012 Grammy Nominees

Rating: ***1/2

A compilation of Grammy-nominated songs,which the Recording Academy releases just a few weeks before “music’s biggest night”,lets the audience get a whiff of who may walk away with the hallowed gramophone. So,this year,we have 2012 Grammy Nominees ahead of the award ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Centre tomorrow. The most inviting thing about such albums is that they allow music lovers to sit back and listen to the best tracks of the year in one smooth effort,without having to change CDs or surf radiowaves. Kudos to the Academy for this exercise,which it has been doing since 1995; the revenues go to the MusiCares Foundation and the Grammy Foundation.

The 22 tracks on the album reflect the current dominance of American pop,though it does feature other genres like country,modern rock and even dubstep too. The album opens with Adele Adkin’s Rolling in the deep (nominated in six categories,including Record of the Year). The track,with Adele’s raspy voice and operatic style,has been loved by both critics and fans,and has received much airtime in the run-up to the grand finale. The fact that it is the album’s opening song indicates that the 23-year-old may walk away with an armful of trophies.

Nicky Minaj’s Super bass (nominated for Song of the Year) features on the album. Debunking the argument that mainstream hip-hop and R&B have lost their originality,Minaj really raps in the song,and doesn’t get stuck with auto-tuned vocals or rave-ish synths. Full of double-click drum claps and squeaky sound effects,the track is a likely winner. Her competition in the Best New Artiste category,Skrillex or Sonny John Moore (nominated in five other categories),also gets a place on the album with his brooding,metal-like dubstep track We are Music.

Then,there’s Katy Perry’s Firework,nominated for Record of the Year. Moves like jagger,a collaboration between American pop rock band Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera,which has been nominated for the Best Pop Performance by a Group or a Duo,finds a place on the album too. The song’s whistle melodies and funky guitar riffs are a treat to the ear.

Lady Antebellum is delightful in Just a kiss,nominated for Best Country Album. She has a tough contest with Blake Shelton,whose sweet ditty Honey bee,rendered with bluesy guitars,is a treat and part of the compilation.

A delightful song on the album is Record of the Year nominee The cave,by London folk quartet Mumford & Sons. Listen to it for its chamber folk feel and reedy vocals.

It’s interesting that Kanye West,who has bagged seven nominations,has no track on 2012 Grammy Nominees. Is he walking away with at least one trophy? We will have to wait and find out. Till then,sit back and enjoy last year’s musical greats.

suanshu.khurana@expressindia.com

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