Wow, Grammy voters, we see that your institution is really getting with the times this year. For the first time, streaming only releases are being treated as actual music, and you just discovered this hot new kid Chance the Rapper. Awesome!
We also see that you recognize our queen Beyoncé, who led this year’s nominations. Her groundbreaking album “Lemonade,” earned nine nods, including the prestigious Album of the Year award. Well done, the album is incredible. It’s both a healing meditation that works through infidelity and other forms of betrayal and also a powerful call to arms that resonated profoundly with women everywhere.
Obviously, it was the most important of the year, right guys? (Is it safe to assume most of you are guys?) It seems like surely, we must be on the same page this year, but we’ve been here before. We also know that “Lemonade” tackled some tough themes, what with the menstrual references in the videos and all that black power stuff. (Is it safe to assume most of you are white?)
So lest you get squeamish, gunshy or confused, we’ve compiled a few helpful tips to help you get this vote right.
1. Don’t get distracted by Drake’s kitten hands.
Look, we love Dreezy too. We love him enough to invent fake encounters with fake tacos so we can fake hang out with him. And we loved the “Summer Sixteen” tour. But in a year loaded with vital, urgent hip-hop, Drake took us on a dreary ride down the same street he’s been driving on for years. “Views” is not your album of the year.
2. Adele’s “25” was no “21.”
We feel kind of bad saying this about our new best friend, Adele, but we’re pretty sure even she would agree. “25” has a few excellent tracks, “Send My Love,” “Water Under the Bridge” and even “Hello” are all great songs that belong on everyone’s 2016 break up mix as we gratefully kiss this year goodbye. But “25” is not your Album of the Year.
3. Avoid looking directly into Bieber’s eyes
We know. You’re mostly guys and at least some of you are heterosexual. We’ve been through this. But it doesn’t matter. Do not underestimate the power of the sad-eyed gaze of the Biebs. You think you’re unaffected, then suddenly, you’re nodding your head yes when you want to say no. “Wait,” you find yourself saying, “this is a redemption story. This kid’s had a tough run. But now he’s getting it together. How uplifting!” Avert your eyes immediately! “Purpose” is a good album, but it is not your album of the year.
4. Voting for the country guy, does not make you a maverick
As his golden voice soars, so go your hopes and dreams. We know. He represents a genre that rarely gets this level of shine with authenticity and grace. He can be a stiff performer (unless you bring a lewd sign to the show) but his recent ‘ACL’ taping was a master class in cool. You’re ready to stick it to the man and vote for a totally different kind of white guy. Read that sentence again and remind yourself, “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth” is not the Album of the Year.
There was one album that captured the fury, the pain and the righteous rage of America in 2016. It made the political so intensely personal and invigorated a new generation of feminists while revitalizing the old guard. There’s only one clear choice for Album of the Year.