Various Artists | 2013 Grammy Nominees (Capitol Records/The Recording Academy)

grammy2013 sqListening to each of the 22 songs, I understand what makes music so indicative of how we are all connected and just why each of these artists should be recognized for their achievements.


2012 was a great year for music. It was not better than the Adele takeover, but a great year nonetheless. This year’s Grammy nominees have those tunes we’ve all heard and sung along with, probably not knowing anything except for the lyrics. The 2013 Grammy Nominees album features 22 critically acclaimed smash hits from a myriad of chart-topping artists.

The 19th edition of the best-selling collection includes the most widely recognized Grammy categories representing the nominees:

Record of the Year: The Black Keys, Kelly Clarkson, Taylor Swift, GOTYE, fun. featuring Janelle Monae

Album of the Year: The Black Keys, fun. featuring Janelle Monae, Mumford & Sons, Frank Ocean, Jack White

Song of the Year: Ed Sheeran, Miguel, Carly Rae Jepsen, fun. featuring Janelle Monae, Kelly Clarkson

Best New Artist: fun. featuring Janelle Monae, Hunter Hayes, The Lumineers, Alabama Shakes, Frank Ocean

Best Pop Solo Performance: Adele, Carly Rae Jepsen, Katy Perry, Kelly Clarkson

Best Pop Vocal Album: Kelly Clarkson, fun. featuring Janelle Monae, Florence+The Machine, P!nk, Maroon 5

Best Rock Performance: Coldplay, Bruce Springsteen, Mumford & Sons, Alabama Shakes, The Black Keys

Best Rock Song: The Black Keys, Mumford & Sons, Bruce Springsteen, Jack White, Muse

Best Rock Album: Coldplay, Muse, Jack White, Bruce Springsteen, The Black Keys

The 2013 Grammy Nominee album is made possible by a special arrangement with all of the major music distribution companies and rotates labels from year to year. A portion of the proceeds from the album benefit the MusiCares Foundation and the Grammy Foundation, two charitable organizations established by The Recording Academy. Listening to each of the 22 songs, I understand what makes music so indicative of how we are all connected and just why each of these artists should be recognized for their achievements.

Kicking off the first half of the album is The Black Keys with, “Oh, whoa, I got a love that keeps me waiting, I’m a lonely boy,” followed by Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You),” which can be everyone’s theme song because we’ve all had that heartbreak before  of someone or something not living up our expectations. Start tapping your feet and nodding your head rhythmically to “We Are Never Getting Back Together” beat as Taylor Swift warms you up to get ready to sing with a vengeance; like you did to Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.,” you just find those lyrics belting out of you, “We are never, ever, ever getting back together,” and queue your best animated faces, too.

Who could escape GOYTE’s “Somebody that I Used to Know?” When I first heard it, I was instantly hooked: The simplicity of everything from subtle guitar sounds to the xylophone, bass, synth, and drum shows that sometimes you don’t need intricate, overbearing melodies in order to create a memorable, award-warranting song. Katy Perry awakes from her fairytale of being in love and completely jaded by someone that she disregarded all of the warning signs, but now she’s “Wide Awake” from hitting the concrete of reality that it was just all bad from the beginning.

As the album progresses, fun. featuring Janelle Monae reminds us that “Tonight, we are young,” so we should just live without inhibitions, and Florence+The Machine tells us that sometimes we just have to “Shake It Off” sometimes, all our issues and irritations, because “it’s hard to dance with the devil on your back.” It’s not too late to refresh your life and do something differently than what you’ve always done quite like P!nk has done. P!nk’s single “Try” from her latest album, The Truth About Love really vocalized how she’s grown up and realized that “just because it burns it doesn’t mean you’re going to die, you’ve got to get up and try and try and try” when it comes to love and that’s just what she did.

The 2013 Grammy Nominees album is such a diverse, eclectic compilation of songs that enhance our lives through melodies and words. Maroon 5’s “Payphone” featuring Wiz Khalifa shows that we all blend our abilities and styles to create ways to push through life’s lessons when sometimes we’re all we have left standing at the payphone. I surely hope someone called Carly Rae Jepsen, because “Call Me Maybe” took missing someone to different level times 10 (maybe she was just a little obsessed). Of course, the song list could not be without a few sexy tunes starting with Miguel. “Adorn” has to be the sweetest song about how he will always be fiercely loyal and devoted to his love. That’s something we all want: one person who loves us and wants to shower us love and loyalty.

Ed Sheeran tells the story of a girl in “Class A Team” and Hunter Hayes wants to make you feel wanted. Listening to his song “Wanted” initiates this butterfly feeling on the inside, like he’s singing directly to me. “You’re all I ever wanted, all I ever wanted/ And I just want to wrap you up, want to kiss your lips,/ I want to make you feel wanted… baby, I want to make you feel wanted./ You’ll always be wanted.”

“I belong with you, you belong with me; you’re my sweetheart.” Who doesn’t love The Lumineers’ “Hey Ho?” The concluding tracks break us away from the “I just want to shower you with my love” songs and pull us into a more inspired sector of patience and desire. The Alabama Shakes tell us that we’ve got to “Hold On” and wait even when we don’t want to. Mumford & Sons commit to waiting for that one true love in “I Will Wait,” while Frank Ocean has a love affair with Cleopatra, who’s working at the pyramid tonight. “We Take Care of Our Own” by legend Bruce Springsteen and “Freedom at 21” by Jack White, both remind us of freedoms we are afforded each day.

Muse is questioning if the relationship he seemingly can’t rid himself of is love or madness, but he realizes that he needs to love some way somehow, and Coldplay dreams of being completely free, running wild and glowing in the dark on “Charlie Brown.” Of course, the 2013 Grammy Nominee album could not be complete without the 2012 Grammy sweeper, Adele, delivering a live performance of “Set Fire to the Rain.” I’m pleased, extremely pleased, and cannot until the 55th Grammy Awards air Sunday, February 10. B+ | Ashley White

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