Saturday, September 24, 2016

Grammy 2017 Predictions - Part 2

After revealing the general fields last week, let's continue to predict some of the categories that people actually care about to generate more traffic for this blog. Lol just kidding. 

1. Best Pop Vocal Album
Much like its counterpart in Album of the Year, Adele's 25 will be a lock. And also regardless how much you hate Justin Bieber during his adolescent years, he's definitely matured in his latest effort, Purpose, and I can see that this will be nominated. Talking about young singers, it's safe to assume that the vocal powerhouse slash mini Mariah Carey slash Ariana Grande's kinky album, Dangerous Woman to sneak a nod here. Not only it showcases Grande's vocal, I guess this album also becomes the committee's guilty pleasure. Mentioning Justin Bieber and Arian Grande, I can't help but think of their fellow, Selena Gomez. Does Revival deserve a mention in this category? 

Have I mentioned how much Grammy loves Sia? This Is Acting will get a nomination definitely, but everyone will lose against 25. We still don't know where David Bowie's Blackstar will go, it can go to either rock or pop, but I'm not courageous enough to put Blackstar on pop category. I still have Zayn's Mind of Mine and Meghan Trainor's Thank You, and considering Trainor is last year's best new artist (ummm) Grammy probably won't miss nominating Thank You

There's not much contender from band for this category, except for the obvious choice Coldplay's A Head Full of Dreams which is released on last December. 

Final Predictions:
1. Adele, 25
2. Ariana Grade, Dangerous Woman or Meghan Trainor, Thank You
3. Justin Bieber, Purpose 
4. Sia, This Is Acting
5. Coldplay, A Head Full of Dreams

2. Best Pop Solo Performance
Expect to see Adele as she lands her millionth nomination with "Hello". Justin Bieber can also join this category with his "Love Yourself". From critically loved album, Dangerous Woman, Ariana Grande can send "Into You". Sia also can send the solo version of "Cheap Thrills" if she feels like it, Or she can send the Sean Paul's version for group/duo performance, but considering how terrible Sean Paul's version is, I guess it's safe to assume Sia will send the solo version. 

Who will fill the remaining nominees will be pretty much a wild guess. Since I have put Lady Gaga's "Perfect Illusion" in Record of the Year category, I can also put her here. Also two songs that debut in first position in Billboard Hot 100, Justin Timberlake's "Can't Stop The Feeling", especially after being criminally shut out in Grammy three years ago, and Zayn's "Pillowtalk" could see some light here. Will Katy Perry's Olympic anthem, "Rise", receive some recognition? And of course we cannot overlook the Record of the Year Lady Gaga's "Perfect Illusion" here.

Final Predictions:
1. Adele, "Hello"
2. Justin Bieber, "Love Youreself"
3. Ariana Grande, "Into You"
4. Lady Gaga, "Perfect Illusion" or Sia, "Cheap Thrills" (if she goes solo)
5. Justin Timberlake, "Can't Stop The Feeling"

3. Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
Thank God Adele doesn't do any collaboration this year, so we can take a breathe from her. Unlike last year when we have many collaboration, this year's a little bit different, because not many collaboration songs. That will make our job either easier or harder.

If Sia's team decides to send her Sean Paul's version (ew) of "Cheap Thrills" that's fine, meanwhile we can get Coldplay's "Hymn for the Weekend (featuring Beyonce)" here, one of Coldplay's best, but mostly due to Beyonce's contribution. I decided to ignore Rihanna's "Work" because that will go to urban/R&B category, but will it crossover in pop category? Talking about genre ambiguity, is Twenty One Pilots considered pop? Or is The Chainsmokers pop? Well, it's hard question, but if they aren't pop we don't have any nominees left to join Lukas Graham's "7 Years"? Possible to include Ariana Grande's "Side to Side (featuring Nicki Minaj)" here? Am I wishing too hard to include Troye Sivan & Alessia Cara's "Wild"? DNCE probably? This category is indeed full of question marks.

Final Predictions:
1. Coldplay, "Hymn for the Weekend (featuring Beyonce)"
2. Sia, "Cheap Thrills (featuring Sean Paul)"
3. Lukas Graham, "7 Years"
4. Ariana Grande, "Side to Side (featuring Nicki Minaj)"
5. Twenty One Pilots, "Ride" or Troye Sivan & Alessia Cara, "Wild"

4. Best Electronic/Dance Album
Best Electronic/Dance Album will be tough to guess this year, because we don't have prolific electronic artists, like, Skrillex or David Guetta. But, thank God we have M83's Junk, unless it goes alternative which seems more likely. James Blake's The Colour In Anything can also see his first nod in this category, but it seems far-fetched. Canadian producer, Kaytranada's debut album, 99.9%, can also be nominated especially since it's the same label with Radiohead. The most handsome Australian DJ, Flume, can also be nominated with his Skin. Avicii's Stories can also be nominated here. Also ZHU's Generationwhy and it seems likely since his "Faded" is nominated few years ago. AlunaGeorge's I Remember also deserves some nod here. Is ANOHNI's Hopelessness also seeing any nod here?

Final Predictions:
1. Kaytranada, 99.9%
2. ZHU, Generationwhy
3. Flume, Skin
4. Avicii, Stories
5. ANOHNI, Hopelessness or James Blake, The Colour In Anything

5. Best Alternative Album
This is my favorite category in Grammy Award because one of this year's best album always appears here. Album of the Year's contender, Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool. If M83's Junk goes alternative, it can appear here. Best Alternative Album's darling, Wilco, just released their surprise album, Schmilco, will get their millionth nomination here. Former nominee, PJ Harvey's A Hope Six Demolition Project can also sneak in to have some revenge. Courtney Barnett's label, Mom + Pop, still has Neon Indian, and since she's nominated for Best New Artist last year, is it possible that his VEGA INTL. Night School nominated here? Another possible lock is indeed Cage The Elephant's Tell Me I'm Pretty. If ANOHNI goes alternative, her Hopelessness may appear here. Or, I'm just beginning to feel hopeless to see any surprising names. Honestly, this category is usually filled with familiar names with just one or two new names. So, I'm not expecting anything much here.

Final Predictions:
1. Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool
2. M83, Junk
3. Wilco,  Schmilco
4. PJ Harvey, A Hope Six Demolition Project
5. Cage The Elephant, Tell Me I'm Pretty 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Grammy 2017 Predictions - Part 1

After my success in predicting the 2016's Grammy nominations last year, it's already that time of the year again to predict some of the nominations for the highest award for music, Grammy Awards. Considering that the last date for Grammy's eligibility (September 30th) is just around the corner, and there won't be any release that's able to steal some of the year's best works, I guess it's safe to assume that we can start predicting, like right now. 

Let's start by predicting the easiest and the only categories that people actually care first: the general field. 

1. Album of the Year
Three albums will be a lock: Adele's 25 from pop, Beyonce's Lemonade from R&B, and Radiohead's A Moon Shaped Pool from alternative field. The next two albums will be a wild guess and blood bath. We have a lot of great releases for the past year, and it's hard to pick a standout album. From rap category, my mind directly jumps to Drake's VIEWS, the first male album that reigned Billboard 200 for twelve weeks, since God-knows-who. While the critical response isn't as lukewarm as its sales, VIEWS cannot be overlooked. Chance The Rapper's Coloring Book is also one of this year's best albums can also be nominated here as well, especially considering the fact that Chance The Rapper has a high chance to be nominated in Best New Artist as well. 

Still from pop, we know that how much Grammy loves veteran. David Bowie's final album before his passing, Blackstar, is a great album and I'm pretty much sure the committee won't miss a chance to pay some tribute to Bowie by nominating it. Janet Jackson's latest effort, Unbreakable, also sneak in here. On the other hand, it's hard for country field as there's no standout albums this past year and I'm not listening to that much country albums, but I haven't heard a single thing about Sturgill Simpson's A Sailor's Guide To Earth, but praise, so this could be pretty much the shocking nominations. 

Another contender will probably be Rihanna's ANTI, or Sia's This Is Acting (God, NARAS really loves Sia like crazy), or Kanye West's The Life of Pablo, or Frank Ocean's Blonde, but don't get your expectation up too high since NARAS is known by their bold move and Blonde is released independently. Knowing Ocean, he pretty much doesn't even bother. 

Final Predictions:
1. Adele, 25
2. Beyonce, Lemonade
3. Radiohead, A Moon Shaped Pool
4. David Bowie, Blackstar, or Sturgill Simpson, A Sailor's Guide To Earth 
5. Drake, VIEWS or Kanye West, The Life of Pablo

2. Record of the Year
I can't help but thinking of, "Okay ladies now let's get in formation" when "Formation" is announced as one of the nominees for Record of the Year. This anthem is definitely what committees mean by a good record. With that being said, Adele's "Hello" also begs to say hello for this category as well. It's tough to pick the next contenders. I can see Rihanna's "Work (feat. Drake)", but is it good enough? Or probably Rihanna can send another song, like "Needed Me" that sounds more friendly and less obnoxious? Talking about Drake, we cannot dismiss his song of the summer, "One Dance (feat. Kyla & Wizkid)". I also love Radiohead's "Burn The Witch", one of Radiohead's best produced track ever, but is NARAS willing to take brave move? 

Justin Bieber's not-so-surprising victory last year, also proves that Grammys has begun to warm up to Bieber's work and "Sorry" is this year's best record as well. Also, don't forget how inexplicable Grammy's love to Sia is, so "Cheap Thrills" can also be nominated here. We also notice that Grammy puts something recent for the general field, like, Lady Gaga's "Perfect Illusion" probably, and since it comes from the same cold hand of Mark Ronson, its quality is guaranteed. What about the current leader of Billboard Hot 100, The Chainsmokers' "Closer (feat. Halsey)"? Do they even stand a chance against these giants? 

Final Predictions:
1. Beyonce, "Formation"
2. Adele, "Hello"
3. Sia, "Cheap Thrills" or Lady Gaga, "Perfect Illusion"
4. Radiohead, "Burn The Witch"
5. Justin Bieber, "Sorry"

3. Song of the Year
Pretty much with Record of the Year, there won't be much differences for this category. Still, same old Beyonce and Adele. David Bowie probably can sneak in with his "Blackstar". Also, I can see Lukas Graham's "7 Years" just for the sake of surprising us. If Bieber decides to send "Love Yourself" for Song of the Year, yes he can get a spot in this category. 

And still we're missing any country song, but Florida Georgia Line's "H.O.L.Y" can represent the country field or am I just wild guessing? We can also consider Radiohead's "Burn The Witch" again for this field. To be honest, really, I won't see any difference with Record of the Year. 

Final Predictions:
1. Beyonce, "Formation"
2. Adele, "Hello"
3. David Bowie, "Blackstar" or Radiohead, "Burn The Witch"
4. Justin Bieber, "Love Yourself"
5. Lukas Graham, "7 Years" or Sia, "Cheap Thrills"

4. Best New Artist
The ultimate question is: is Twenty One Pilots eligible? I'm one of the few people who never get the charm of Twenty One Pilots, but it just seems unfair if they're overlooked? Since Grammy committee expands their rule for Best New Artist, it's a probability that Twenty One Pilots is eligible. And also The Chainsmokers, after releasing monstrous hits, like "Closer" and "Don't Let Me Down", the committee is not blind to see their success. I can see former Grammy-nominee Charlie Puth, especially after he released his Nine Track Mind. Shawn Mendes? It's a long shot, but why not? Alessia Cara and Troye Sivan are inseparable duo, but I know NARAS can be a cold-blooded bunch of people, so they will only pick one and that's Alessia Cara. Chance The Rapper is a lock definitely and be the Courtney Barnett of 2017's Grammy Award. We also have Zayn, Halsey, Zara Larsson, Flume, Bryson Tiller. God, who would've guessed that this category will be the most competitive?

Final Predictions:
1. Charlie Puth
2. Alessia Cara
3. The Chainsmokers
4. Chance The Rapper
5. Flume or Twenty One Pilots or, well, Zayn?  

Review Saturday: Cymbals Eat Guitars - "Dancing Days"

Cymbals Eat Guitars
"Dancing Days"
Pretty Years

Dancing is often regarded as a form of showing someone's blitheness and happiness. It's something that you'll never correlate with despondency, even though you may suffer from the dancing mania like in 1518. With that being said, in the hands of Cymbals Eat Guitars, the word that beams happiness as much as dancing can be turned into a track that is somber and evocative, inducing old memories of good old dancing days. 

After two strong albums, Lenses Alien and LOSE, the departure of their old rocky and ferocious persona in Pretty Years, their fourth album and their most experimental one, is pretty much noticeable. In Pretty Years, they incorporate electric sound, resulting some songs that make you awkwardly dance, such as "Close" or "Have A Heart". But, in the middle of the album, you'll find the crown jewel of Pretty Years. "Dancing Days" may easily fit in LOSE as it invokes languorous atmosphere as much as "Jackson". But, it also fits the experimental noise that they try to implement here. "Dancing Days" itself is a rock-ballad, and as you can expect from a rock band that goes ballad, it sounds sweet and vulnerable. "Spring, the days lengthen/ the block is blossoming drifts of pink petals," D'Agostino describes his state of desolation that happens amidst the beautiful days of spring. With his shaky voice, D'Agostino continues in whisper, "Can't shake the feeling/ that I lost something precious/ my heart's finally fixed." between the slow beat of Andrew Dole's drum that sounds hypnotic as it reminisces us of our old good days. As D'Agostino loudens up and gains much confidence and courage, the track climaxes on the most sing-along chorus that Cymbals Eat Guitars has ever written, "Goodbye to my dancing days/ goodbye to the friends who fell away/ goodbye to my pretty years." The second part of the song couldn't be more tragic when D'Agostino goes cathartic, where his jamais vu makes him unable to recognize anything and his feeling goes numb as the impact of goodbye finally hits him. Farewell, and especially a farewell to our beloved one, is always an emotional experience, and "Dancing Days" perfectly captures the sense of it. 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Review Saturday: American Football - "Give Me The Gun"

American Football
"Give Me The Gun"
American Football

The first time I was digging into American Football's reissue of their self-titled debut album, I have to admit, I thought American Football is a new band with great songs; "Never Meant" became my jam for weeks, and I couldn't stop singing it. Oh, boy, how wrong I was when I found out that American Football is released in 1999, and their 2014's album is the reissue of the cult-following American Football's debut album. What makes me shocked is how ageless the songs in American Football are, enduring the tests of time--and that's the proof of how eternal their album is. The reissue of American Football cannot be more prompt as well, as it marks the start of the revival of emo music, the genre music du jour in late 1990's and beginning of 2000's, that happens in 2014 until now. And it's no surprise when American Football decides to release their second self-titled album, the world rejoice. 

After dropping "I've Been Lost For So Long", the song that fits their absence of their second album for this seventeen years, the Illinois emo legend guns another taste from their latest album, "Give Me The Gun". It begins with the concoction of Holmes' guitar and Lamos' drum, "Give Me The Gun" reminisces their old songs, bringing back nostalgia of the emo phase of our life where everything seems so gloomy and portentous back then. Still, "Give Me The Gun" talks about the critical  part of a relationship, where Kinsella's love interest is in the edge of her life as he sings, "But I'm scared for us both." with his Owen-acquired throaty voice, something that's nonexistent in their debut album. "Give Me The Gun" rolls like an unfinished story, when Kinsella ends the story with just, "You're made of wet paper" in minute two, and leave the rest of the song with just instrumental guitar and drums, pointing the fragility of his love interest and leaving their fate unknown.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review Thursday: How To Dress Well - "What's Up"

How To Dress Well
"What's Up"
Weird World

For most of people, "What's up?" may be the most mundane way to start a conversation. Trying to engage and provoke other people's business are probably the most dreadful thing to undergo and something as simple and as colloquial as "What's up?" may evoke our fear. Either we enjoy being "what's up"-ed or not, there's no way to ignore it and a response is unescapable. It may be various, but one thing that remains the same is that "what's up" is the door to people's soul as we get to know someone better, and it leads into something deeper and bosom. 

For someone who's a maven in nihilism, Tom Krell, surprisingly thoroughly understands the surreptitious meaning behind a simple "what's up". His "What's Up" is not trifling and it's not intended to fill the void in an elevator or break the ice in a lame party. Instead, it is honest, veracious, and direct. "I wanna know your mouth/ I wanna see the things the way you see them," Krell begins fortrightly amid the bravura beat that we're all used to. Krell repeats "Say it was you" four times in a choir-esque before hitting the second chorus when the tempo crescendoes and Krell infuses the bongo-like instrument in an upbeat and gay rhythm, something that you won't associate How To Dress Well with immediately. "I really feel like you know me/ And that's just the craziest thing," Krell emphasizes that his "What's Up" is not a dreadful question, and as it's proven from the absence of question mark in the title, "What's Up" actually skips the trivial part of the question, but jump directly to the true meaning of asking such question: to bring an intimacy.