As semesters end and students enter break, kids everywhere are left with a chunk of free time. With all of the semester-end stress gone, it’s time to sit back, relax and listen to some good music. Here is a list of Grammy nominated tracks this year to guide you into the music stream of this season.
1. Record of the Year: “24K Magic” by Bruno Mars
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the titular “24K Magic” single of Mars’ latest record. His music is great for jamming with friends, but it also has some more mellow songs, such as “Too Good To Say Goodbye,” that hit you right where it hurts. The diversity of his music makes it great to play at all times of the day.
If you’ve only heard the more popular singles, definitely give the rest of it a listen before the awards come around.
2. Album of the Year: “Melodrama” by Lorde
Lorde’s follow up to “Pure Heroine” didn’t disappoint fans, which does not surprise since the New Zealand singer had been working on it since 2013 . While “Pure Heroine” could be described as a critique and overview of the youth culture, the twenty-one-year-old singer has shifted her focus to solitude and loneliness. Just because it zooms into loneliness, the album isn’t completely depressing. Lorde claims that the album is simply about the “good parts and the bad parts” of being alone. For impressive lyrics, turn to Lorde’s latest album.
3. Best Pop Solo Performance: “Praying” by Kesha
After accusing her producer of sexual assault and suing both him and her label, Sony, Kesha speaks to hope in her first solo “Praying.” Audiences have the freedom to interpret the song as either angry or forgiving, which is the beauty of Kesha’s new voice.
In the midst of Kesha’s lawsuit against her producer, Dr. Luke, she hinted that she lacked creative control over her music. If “Praying” is indicative of a song that Kesha has control over, then her fans will want more.
4. Best Pop Vocal Album: “Lust For Life” by Lana Del Rey
Fans of Del Rey have seen her outlook on life change since her first album, “Born to Die.” “Lust For Life” included many firsts for the singer. The album marks her growing up as the world continues to change, as evidenced by her reference to the tensions in North Korea in the track “Coachella—Woodstock in My Mind.”
In addition to her music becoming more politically charged, she also collaborated with other artists on the album, such as The Weeknd, A$AP Rocky, Stevie Nicks, Sean Lennon and Playboi Carti. As Del Rey evolves, her music continues to keep the lyrically hypnotizing quality that permeates her tunes, but listeners experience a different side of the singer in this album.
5. Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album: “Triplicate” by Bob Dylan
The pioneer of the counterculture during the time of the Civil Rights movement and anti-Vietnam war sentiment, Bob Dylan, has called recording this album “one of [his] most satisfying periods in the studio.” Consisting of ten thematically connected songs, the album takes full effect when you listen to it in chronological order. In this album, Pulitzer Prize winner Dylan utilizes music just as heavily as he does lyrics in his songs in order to change the mood throughout the album.
6. Best R&B Performance: “Distraction” by Kehlani
As a song about not letting relationships distract you from your own personal path, “Distraction” stands out among all the songs today in which the character seeks romantic love. In a video with Genius, the singer breaks down the lyrics into a statement about how the worry over not getting a good morning text from that special someone can become a distraction from reaching achievements. The lyrics, which started in an Instagram caption, speak to many young adults of today.
7. Best Urban Contemporary Album: “Starboy” by The Weeknd
The Weeknd’s sound is all over the place in “Starboy,” but a few great tracks save the album. Featuring Lana Del Rey, Daft Punk, Future and Kendrick Lamar, “Starboy” has a song for anyone. The album is good for background music while studying or even hitting the gym. At over an hour long, “Starboy” might suffer as a result of The Weeknd leaving in every single thought that he had, but each song adds a special touch to the album, particularly “I Feel It Coming” ft. Daft Punk at the end. If you want to kill an hour and listen to some bops, turn up “Starboy.”
8. Best Spoken Word Album: “The Princess Diarist” by Carrie Fisher
Written and narrated by the “Star Wars” princess herself, this memoir details her off screen affair with co-star Harrison Ford. Juicy and hilarious, this album will make listeners fall in love with Fisher all over again. Shortly after her death, “The Princess Diarist” topped New York Times’ list for Nonfiction Best Sellers. While the album itself is about the “Star Wars” star and her co-star, the book focuses more on Fisher herself, and hearing her read it with her own voice is essential to the experience.
9. Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media: “Baby Driver (Music from the Motion Picture)”
Honestly, I would recommend every one of the nominations on this list. “Moana” epitomizes the story of the newest Disney Princess with beautiful lyrics, “La La Land” tugs at heartstrings and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Awesome Mix Vol. 2” features bops all around. But the “Baby Driver” album expertly strings together songs from various decades. From The Beach Boys to Sky Ferreira, the soundtrack satisfies its listeners with its meticulously broad selection. In addition to being ear candy, the soundtrack is critical to the film and viewers gain an appreciation for the intersection of the two mediums.
10. Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media: “La La Land” composed by Justin Hurwitz
Even if you haven’t seen the film, “La La Land’s” instrumental score is an enjoyable listen. Perfect for studying, the piano notes lull its listeners into the story of the two main characters. The third track establishes a musical theme that appears throughout the soundtrack in songs both uplifting and dark. Even if instrumental music isn’t for you, this soundtrack will charm you immensely (just keep tissues on hand if you decide to watch the film).
11. Best Song Written for Visual Media: “How Far I’ll Go” by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Miranda hit his lyrical stride with “Hamilton” but he continues to impress as he transitions from hip-hop/musical theater to Disney. This song is perfect to listen to when you’re feeling down, and it’s also perfect to listen to when you’re feeling great. It’s just a good song all around, from Auli’i Cravalho’s amazing vocals to Miranda’s lyrics. It deserves just as much hype as “Let It Go” recieved.
The 60th Annual Grammy Awards will air on CBS on Sunday, January 28, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. EST.